Thursday, August 25, 2005

Sweet Mystery, where have you gone?

It would be safe to say that, for most successful relationships and marriages, your beloved partner gets to see you at your absolute worst, yet still stays around and puts up with it. Right? Is it any wonder then, that Hollywood marriages only last the standard time that intrigue and passion does - about twelve months. Is it then that these overly-cossetted celebrities realise that the daily indignities of morning breath, smelly shoes and farting is not at all acceptable within their unrealistically sanitised concept of long-lasting love?

Even a mathematical numbnut like me could figure out that the average length of a stars' marriage is miniscule compared to ours in the real world. My own relationship is going on for thirteen years, ten of 'em married. Whilst Love Chunks and I are proud of this achievement, we also accept that there is very little of the intrigue and romance of our first twelve months together. But would we have it any other way?

My foggy brain thinks back to my dating days: when we thought River Phoenix was a drug-free vegan, Seinfeld was new and those crazy Branch Davidians were a bit over-zealous with their pop guns. The pre-date preparation always involved a shower, cleanly shaven legs, nice perfume, a hint of make-up and a new outfit. And today? LC leaves for work by 7am and sees me in my once-white towelling robe, ugg boots, matted hair, dragon breath and a face not yet unfolded from the shape of the pillow. He's still willing to kiss me goodbye and is even kind enough to say "See you tonight."

Alas for him, most of my effort goes into the work persona after he's long gone to work - styled hair, subtle mascara and lipstick, snappy suit and the latest boots. When I get home, that gear is immediately thrown aside and replaced with tracksuit pants, the ubiquitous ugg boots and a shapeless windcheater that's able to hide the bralessness. This is what the lucky LC comes home to every night.

Bedtime in the heady first days? Too x-rated, fun and exuberant to mention with no concerns for the lateness of the hour, comparing our states of exhaustion or having to keep an ear out for the kids. Today it seems as though I'm doing everything I possibly can to appear as unattractive and as 'nocturnally unavailable' as possible, but not intentionally so. After cleaning and flossing the teeth, locking all doors and switching off the lights, I drag my now aching body into the Marital Magic room. LC's already in bed, reading. I hang up the dressing gown, kick off the uggs and slather lavender cream over my cracked hands (soaking stained uniforms in napisan will do that to you) whilst my wheat bag is being nuked in the microwave. This hot bag now smells like a horse trough and is draped around my neck which seems to be permanently cricked. I give my snozz one last full-throttled HONK into a tissue and spray two squirts of Rhinocort up each nostril. I then pop in a valerian tablet to help me sleep and slip on my mouthguard. This infernal contraption makes me lisp, so dear old LC is treated to a slurpy "Goodnight Ssshweetie, Sssshleep well," as he turns out the light. There is a bit of surreptitious fumbling in the darkness - I can't find my bedsocks and it's freezing in here!

But wait - there's more. Even in our unconscious states, we 'treat' each other to aspects of our physical selves that don't exactly leave us smelling of roses. Dutch ovens, for a start. I can't help it - if that's what my digestive plumbing needs to do, then so be it. LC gets his own back via his snoring; so sonorous our blinds rattle. Many's the time I've lain there in sheer wonder at the incredible noises his throat makes and him such a quiet person during the day....

If this was a movie, we'd wake up, entwined in each other's arms - his manly torso on display, my chest discreetly hidden under the sheets. We'd gaze adoringly into each other's eyes, kiss passionately and get right down to business. Yeah right - how could you do that before going to the toilet or rinsing out your mouth for gods' sake? What about those cornflakey boogers that have formed around your eyes? The dried white drool marks on your chin?

At least the morning shower gives me a chance to clean up, wake up and tidy up. Not that any of this is a mystery to LC. In our one-bathroom house, he's busy cleaning his teeth and scraping away his whiskers whilst I'm surreptitiously trying to blow my nose in the shower and shave my armpits. Then our darling daughter bursts in, has a giggle at my soapy backside and yanks open the curtain: "Hey Mum, remember you said I could order my lunch from the canteen today!"

In the movie High Fidelity, the Rob character (played by the gorgeous John Cusack) bemoans that his live-in girlfriend only wears sensible underwear and not the sexy, lacy stuff he'd see when they were just dating. LC laughed at that scene, commenting, "I should be so lucky." On fat days or full-laundry basket days, the old maternity knickers get dragged out - purely to flatten the tummy, mind. The dag in me likes to put on my socks before my trousers, so LC's had many conversations with me only clad in nanna pants and those knee-high tights that make the tops of my legs look like a mini mushroom cloud. Yet still he says, "See you tonight."

He's been helpful to me too, at times when I've been less than my best. "Pssst - you've got one of those dangly boogies in your nose," as I gratefully fumble around for the cafe's napkin to wipe it away. Or, less quietly, in a fluorescent-lit chemist, "Hey, here's the thrush cream you want!" He's emptied my sick buckets during migraines and tactfully told me that "Um, there's a couple of friends that you haven't flushed properly."

What mystery? We have NO mystery in our marriage, and it goes both ways. I've politely pointed out that his nose hairs were long enough to hang beads on; have plucked out some scary long eyebrow hairs (you do not want to have eyebrows that will join up with your fringe); and nearly fallen to the ground in airless agony after visiting the loo too soon after he's been. Yet I too, say, "Yes, I'll see you tonight. Have a great day at work!"

He's the first person I clap eyes on in the morning, and he's the last person I touch, kiss, talk to and see at night. I wouldn't want it any other way. Although he could lose those pongy old slippers of his......

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