So here it is. You knew it would happen eventually…we both did. “Poor bastard”, you thought, “she’ll throw him under the bus next”. Of course she will, and here she goes.
My husband is going through ‘The Change’. Now, before I continue, it is really important to me that you understand that I love him with every fibre of my being. He’s an amazing partner, my best friend and a terrific Dad but, more simply than that, he really is a good man. The majority of women reading this will know that a truly good man is hard to find, one who is also chivalrous? near on impossible. One who still, after seventeen years, pulls your chair out when you’re out to dinner, changes your tyre or jump starts your car in the rain, comments on your new ‘do’ or new dress every time and still manages to be a ‘bad man’ in all the right rooms of the house.
Now that I’ve sufficiently inflated his ego…time to tear it down.
I’ve decided to call it ‘Manopause‘. I’ve been assured by another Manopausal friend that the correct term is ‘Andropause’ however I’m pretty sure this friend has endured a substantial loss of testosterone over the past eighteen months so I’m not inclined to listen to much of what he has to say and anyway I’m not talking about falling hormone levels, a red sports car and a sudden interest in the receptionist Andropause- Manopause is way more serious than that.
My ‘Manopause’ starts in the early forties. The first thing you’ll notice is an obsession with packing. ‘The boot?’, you ask. Well, yes and the shopping trolley, the checkout travelator, the board game, the pen drawer, the pantry, the laundry cupboard, the shed…the esky. A Tetris like compulsion to stack and re-stack, to twist, swivel and replace all items into a neat, symmetrical and aesthetically pleasing lie. My advice?…don’t help…you’ll do it wrong anyway. Unless of course you want to piss them off, then just place a bag or bucket full of single items somewhere in the middle of the space, on a lean so it slowly falls over, the contents gently flowing out – then just sit back and watch the twitching commence.
The aesthetically pleasing lie theme continues as you begin to notice his compulsion to measure and conquer the exact linear middle of any car parking space. A fixation on finding ‘the mid-line’ and a hatred of those who park ‘seemingly at random Debra!’ with their tyres clearly on or, god help them, over the white line. My children and I have near on died of malnutrition in the McDonalds car park, suffering motion sickness from the endless forward and backward movements, non-allowed to open the doors until the parking ritual is completed and signaled by the cessation of the engine. Nearly died I tell you!
More perplexing than these is what I now refer to as ‘Grill Daddy Fever’. We’ve always BBQ’d, charcoalling pieces of dead animal is one of our most favorite things to do with friends. This hasn’t changed. What has changed is how long a marinade is left to solidify on the grill plate. In our twenties it was forever, in our thirties between grills, “adds to the flavor”, we’d say. Now?…approximately 30 minutes. The grill is cleaned before and after every cook. Sometimes with a fervour previously unknown to man. My other ‘Manopausal’ friend is so afflicted with ‘Grill Daddy Fever’ that he even cleans the base, sides and jets after every cook. He is a couple of years older than mine, so what I have to look forward to really is beyond exciting. But as the scantily clad, big breasted, Global Shop Direct Grill Daddy Pro presenter purrs: ‘Grilling is much more than a hobby, it’s an art!
To his absolute credit my Manopausal man has recently outdone himself. Always a lover of tongue in cheek comedy, he has lately also become champion of the Dad Joke. Another symptom of Manopause, the Dad Joke, you know the type – Two peanuts were walking down the street, one was a salted – type. Annoying as hell and even more unfortunate surprisingly funny. Last weekend – a bucks show, starting at 3pm in North Adelaide, my Manopausal man was ‘surprised’ to find himself at one of Adelaide’s finest gentleman establishments ‘The Firm’ at 3am with the last few stragglers. Another, very scantily clad, young women cuddled up on his knee and after a few minutes of fluffing and compliments asked if he’d be interested in a private dance. ‘Sorry’, said my Manopausal male with a smirk, ‘Afraid I’m not a very good dancer’.
And that is the epitome of the Manopausal male. Through all their faults and flaws they, over and above all men, understand the one true Universal rule of contentment and longevity in marriage – Happy wife, happy life.
Love you x