HUMOUR: all presents are accounted for
Christmas is all about great teamwork, according to husbands who want to take credit where no credit is due.
Around this time every year a mysterious stranger enters our lives. They don’t stay for long, they don’t make a mess and they don’t outstay their welcome, which I should be grateful for considering the in ux of relatives who appear over the Christmas period, often uninvited.
They also make themselves known around family birthdays and always near Mother’s Day. My husband announces their arrival when he walks into the room and asks me the same question he’s been asking me for 21 years: “What have WE got my Dad for Christmas?” At this point I stop whatever it is that I’m doing, look him in the eye and ask the same question I’ve been asking for 21 years: “Just who is this WE, darling? Can you please introduce me to them? WE hasn’t got anything for your father for Christmas. I’ve purchased your father a new golf shirt which I’ll be wrapping up and putting under the tree from all of us, but WE has nothing to do with the Christmas shopping, not this year, not the last nor the year before that.”
His exasperated reply is always the same: “Don’t be funny, what have WE got Mum, the kids and Uncle Pete who’s coming to lunch this year?” Again
I can never resist the opportunity to reinforce my point with, “WE hasn’t done any Christmas shopping, WE has had nothing to do with any of the preparations for the festive season. I have it all sorted. I just think you can tell your lovely friend WE that it’s all done thankyouverymuch.”
I don’t mind doing this presentbuying job. In fact, I think if I had any assistance from my husband and we actually shopped together the whole experience would sour. There would be ghts over selection, style and, being of Scottish origin, he’d constantly question the price. I’d also spend half my valuable retail time gently but rmly explaining that nobody in our family (including the kids) wants a battery-operated pepper grinder with LED lights.
If we shopped together I’m sure we’d turn into one of those matching tracksuit wearing couples, silently and sullenly pushing the trolley, the resentment for the task and each other rmly etched on our faces.
Nay, I want to keep my marriage alive and gure that the key to happiness is dividing jobs into an old-school his ‘n’ hers arrangement. He does his “jobs” unaided and unchallenged by me, and I do my “jobs”. Like Julius Caesar, we divide and conquer, albeit domestically.
It was an organic process – we never sat down and decided who should do what, rather the jobs found us and, like Torvill and Dean, they just t perfectly.
HIS: Shoe polishing, lawn care and maintenance, light bulb changing, coffee making, wound and joint strapping, hedge trimming and bakery product purchasing. He was responsible for jar opening until the tech revolution cruelly made that position redundant with the invention of the magical JarKey jar opener.
But he’s held onto his most treasured domestic activity, outside meats, id est, meat products exclusively requiring alfresco barbecue or charcoal cookery.
HERS: Dry cleaning drop-off/pick-up, laundry stain removal, leaf blowing, social calendar entries, deletions and excuses, linen changing and selection, school form administration and sh and chip ordering because annoyingly, he never gets enough chips. Maintenance of three-bin system inclusive of annual hard rubbish pick-up, cutlery draw crumb removal, inside meats, and my favourite domestic job, rug cleaning. And no, this isn’t a euphemism – 24-hour hire of a rug cleaner makes me deeply happy.
So consider these keys to a happy marriage via largely stereotypical yet strangely functional and comforting chore distribution my gift to you.
WE’d like to wish you all a very
Merry Christmas. My husband and I would, too ...