Friday, June 12, 2009

Fanning the flames

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 sixteen years, thirteen 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, in the first fourteen years of our together, my effort was mostly shovelled into enhancing the work persona long after he had departed for work - styled hair, subtle mascara and lipstick, snappy suit and the latest boots. When I got home, that gear was immediately thrown aside and replaced with tracksuit pants, the ubiquitous ugg boots and a shapeless windcheater that was able to hide the bralessness. Now that I'm a work-from-homer who drives a desk in the spare room, this is get up is my work uniform all the time and 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 baby.

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 school uniforms in napisan will do that to you) whilst my wheat bag is being nuked in the microwave. This hot bag now smells like an over-used 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.

To be fair, 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.

Love Chunks 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 our marriage was a movie, we'd wake up attractively 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 contemplate doing any of 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 pokes me with the ornamental back scrubber: "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 kind and 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 Robert Menzies-like 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......


Benjamin Solah said...

Naww, how sweet ;)

Do I have this to look forward to? We're past a year now so how long before I expect no action? :P

Cat J B said...

Shortly after the first kid, Benjamin.

Yup, trackies, ugg boots, baggy woollen jumper.....standard evening attire here.

tom said...

And most of us try not to fart too much when dating, but's all part og the prize(-:

Baino said...

Oh Kath you have no shame. Poor LC! That's what love is all about, the old warts n all . . .although just once in a while, perhaps you should get rid of the nana pants!

Kath Lockett said...

Benjamin dearest I didn't say you'll get 'no action', just that it will be slightly, um more 'real' and 'earthy' than in the first heady months of lusty passion.

Cat JB - guess what I'm wearing right now?!

Ah Tom, a man after my own heart - and we're going out for curry tonight!

Fear not Baino - the 'nanna' pants don't get much of an airing these days, thanks to being worn out and liberal use of the treadmill.

BK said...

Seeing the perfections in the imperfections. The part about "morning breath, smelly shoes and farting" etc is so true isn't it. When I was in my college, I was still looking for that perfect and beautiful girl until one of my friends casually made a remark that "beautiful girl digs their nose and farts too." It was enlightenment. Girls still look the same but expectations are different now.

River said...

Sounds like True Love to me....

I love Rhinocort. It's the best thing for keeping me breathing. Unfortunately, rhinocort doesn't love me. I get nosebleeds from it. Not just a few drips, we're talking twenty minute gushers here. Last time while I fumbled for a length of toilet paper, the bathroom ended up looking like a crime scene. I have to stick with Polaramine tablets.
As for soaking uniforms, buy the largest size wooden spoon you can find and use that to poke and swirl the uniforms in the napisan. Also, wear rubber gloves.

Heh, trackies, uggs, no bra, universal mum wear.

drb said...

You leave out the romantic moments of sharing wine and chocolate after a nice dinner...

Hi River,
Try Beconase from the Chemist, it works like Rhinocort but do not cause nose bleed (I had that too).

Anonymous said...

did some one once say love is blind?

You take your love the good and bad parts it is just the bad bits are hidden at the start as the love of my life tells me about my farting! If you find true love after a while you find it is warts and all but you forgive that for the good bits!


Kate the Retail Girl said...

yeahhhh, that all sounds about right. though i feel a little perturbed, because my husband and i have been like that from the very beginning. poor guy. ahh well!

eleanor bloom said...

Yup. all is fine and good as long as the good outweighs the bad.

I will also say, cos i just can't help it:

PS - Try some thigh high ugg boots - how can that not be thex-thee!

JahTeh said...

I was just married and talking to other just marrieds and I don't know who was more surprised that they were still sleeping entwined with each other all night or that the now ex and I had already marked out territory on the edges of the mattress as far as possible from each other.

Now I wallow in the joy of a queen bed that's all mine.