Better out than in…?

My Grandad used to burp a lot at the dinner table. He did it in quite ostentatious and unabashed fashion, rather like a town crier declaring some urgent news.  He performed with full-throated vibrato and legato. It was a ribald coda to many a meal time, and whilst my Mother used to wince, Gran used to greet it with a quiet pride, as though it were almost tangible evidence of the sumptuousness of her sprouts. Or at the very least, a heartfelt compliment…

In a strange way, I viewed snoring in a similar vein. I thought it expressed some primal delight, in much the same way that my Grandad’s post prandial belch did. It was only when I married that it became evident that whilst I might have been wallowing blissfully in hoggish slumber, my wife wasn’t enjoying herself quite so much…

Lately, for no apparent reason, my snoring’s getting worse. I woke yesterday morning and rolled over to give my wife a peck. In my torpid state, it was a moment or two before I could deduce why I had a face-full of toes. It wasn’t evidence of some night of Kamasutric revelry. Oh no… My snoring had driven Mrs D down the other end of the bed during the night. The indignity of it…

But things are worse still. Not only is my snoring troubling my wife, who constantly elbows me in the ribs, ensuring I don’t get a decent night’s sleep either, my allegedly thunderous snoring is now waking the baby too… So it’s a perfect storm of collective insomnia. And whilst my snoring is shaking the bed, in our fatigued and fractious state, that’s about all that is… Much to the chagrin of the youthful and vivacious Mrs D…

To be honest, what with my unappealing nocturnal grunt-wheezing, and demand outstripping supply in the carnality stakes, I’m starting to feel a bit of a flop in the bedroom. The problem is, these days, having barely slept, having the cares of work weighing heavy and a dozen other concerns to boot, when I get into my bed, I really just want to sleep in it. Not only that, I feel I’m losing that spark of easy and seductive repartee that used to make me such a fatal swordsman in my years as a London buck…

My pillow talk these days is infected by the sort of pedestrian domestic concerns I never had when I was 25. Before I go to sleep, I invariably find myself chuntering a closing valedictory on the day’s woes. It’s like a reflexive unclenching of the anxiety muscle. I just can’t help it. My wife turns in earlier than I do, so not only do I normally disturb her as I struggle out of my clothes in the dark, I then apparently affect her with alarm and despondency by muttering about the VAT… Allegedly, it kills the moment. I can see how it might…

Interior: DM’s bedroom. Night:

DM climbs soundlessly into bed:

Mrs D (drowsily and seductively): “Hi darling…”

DM: “How long have those chipolatas been in the fridge?”

Mrs D: “What..?”

DM: “We’d better eat those chipolatas tomorrow. Before they go off…”

Mrs D: Pause.

DM: Pause.

Mrs D: “I think they’re the only chipolatas likely to go off in this house tonight. Goodnight…”

[That was just for illustrative purposes. And I can see my error now. In retrospect…]

But it is often said that sustaining the first flush of passion as one ploughs one’s comfy connubial furrow (or *ahem* doesn’t, as the case may be..) is tough. And I suppose it is, in a certain way. But only if you expect the rest of your married life to be like a first date repeated ad infinitum. Let’s face it, life’s not really like that. Just for starters, there’s no way I could get into those trousers now…

But married couples do fret endlessly about the glister of lust wearing thin… I think it’s just a matter of expectation management, to be honest. I mean, this is real life, with bills and dirty nappies, with busted boilers and parking tickets. Under these vexatious circumstances, the fact that familiarity alone doesn’t breed profound contempt is an absolute miracle.

I also think that people by and large live in a fantasy world conjured up by magazines and movies. They get married on a white beach in some Far flung flea pit and think the whole performance of the conjugal contract is going to be just as fantastical and fairytale. Well, it’s unlikely to be. And actually, that’s what draws you together. Closer than you were on your first date. Closer than you were on your honeymoon. And closer than people on the pages of Hello magazine…

But people just don’t get it. I mean, I was in Boots the other day, and I caught site of the condoms. Mint flavour condoms. I mean, come on, what do you want, a shag or an After Eight? I’m not saying start developing ‘crotch flavour’ or ‘sweaty jeans on a summer day flavour’, but come on, let’s disentangle the airbrushed, gold-plated, silicone enhanced, pine-scented fantasy from reality, eh? Let’s drop the lifestyle and come to terms with life.

But, you know what, I will concede that it doesn’t hurt to try to sustain a little mystery, a little respect and a little romance. I’m now making a positive effort not to call Mrs D, “Mummy”, for instance.

But just occasionally, the gorgeous cloak of romance does inevitably slip from the regal shoulder, dislodged by a perfidious belch at the dinner table. It’s entirely out of my hands, of course, being a sort of gastric legacy from my Grandfather. Perhaps over indulgence plays a part too, but Mrs D is an excellent cook, and I dare say she knows it’s just my way of saying thank you…

Thank you Mummy… I mean, Mrs D. And I promise I’ll serve something up soon…

Could I interest you in a little toad in the hole, perhaps..?




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