Warning: Marriage and ladies bits. If that’s not your thing read something else.
An article in the Guardian yesterday piqued my interest. In essence, it said you can forget the societal stereotype of women as being more suited to monogamy than men. When tested women are pretty much up for it anytime and surprisingly, with strangers. But not because they are strangers, just because the strangers were giving them what they wanted. And it got me wondering…
I’ve had a bad week. I’ve been in physical pain for 5 out of the last 7 days. For two of those it was acute abdominal pain along my lateral surgery scar, which I think can put down to adhesions, as it doesn’t seem to be related to any infection or muscle strain. But in the early part of the week this could not immediately be established, so I was given a high-dose antibiotic. Two doses in and I’ll give you an option, depending on your preference, they will both achieve the same result:
1a) Find your local BDSM practitioner and get them to spank your entire groin area until it’s red raw.
1b) Stop by the school chemistry lab, obtain a bottle of weak acid. Pour over entire groin area until it feels like it’s on fire.
2) Try and go about your business without resorting to walking as if you’ve just spent three days on the back of a horse.
Yes, welcome to the exciting new world of antibiotic-related vaginal thrush. Gosh what an inexplicable joy I’ve missed out on all these years. Oh it’s delightful isn’t it? Can’t sit down, can’t walk about, can’t pass water without adding to the problem. Muck about with the delicate bacterial balance of ourselves in our most intimate places and all hell breaks loose. Ouch!
So, after several days of that the husband arrives home from a week away and this is where it goes a bit wrong. Now, in my head I’m expecting something along the lines of (but not these exact words), ‘Oh my darling, how awful for you, it must be so painful. Why don’t you have a soothing bath (obviously with no harsh detergents – more ows) and I’ll hold you in my arms until dawn.’ Instead I explain it and get something along the lines of (but not these exact noises) *grumble* *grunt* *snore.* Of course, up go my eyebrows, my mouth does its best cat bum impression and my head throws its latest blockbuster romance to the floor and grumbles that this sort of crap never happens to Elizabeth Darcy.
Obviously, I appreciate what a long day is. Mine start at 5.30am and rarely end before midnight. I appreciate how wearing driving a long distance can be. I appreciate that a week away when you haven’t slept well doesn’t make it easy to be Mr Seduction when you walk through the door. But at some time over the weekend it might occur to you to express your condolences and do your best to soothe your aching, sore and now frankly pissed-off wife. No? OK, so I’m Mrs Unreasonable Expectations.
There was a row, I started it, I always start these things and I always come away thinking ‘is it me?’ Should I be content with ‘look there’s money in the bank account for food this month, be satisfied woman, I have met your needs!’ Well of course I need food and I need the bill for Anglian Water paying so I can get something to drink and wash in. I need a roof over my head and we pay the Nationwide for that, NPower are paid insane amounts so we can have electricity and gas, Direct Line have to be paid so I can drive the car safe in the knowledge that if something happens, they’ll wriggle out of paying up. Yes, my fundamental needs are met, but what about my other needs, the ones that you can’t put a price on? I am talking of course about love, sex and romance.
I’m your classic heterosexual female, I like most men. I say most because if you are a beer-bellied football fan who insists on spending the summer in your back garden in board shorts and no top and use the phrase ‘larging it,’ I don’t want to know. You are not attractive to me and I don’t even want to be friends with you. But I appreciate that some women find you attractive – God alone knows why. I don’t have a specific type, but by and large I go for smartly turned out and educated. If you have at least a first degree and can rock a suit, darling you and me are going to be friends.
Every woman wants her needs met and speaking personally, they do encompass more in my life than being able to pay the bills. It isn’t about throwing money at me, it’s about the need to feel loved and cherished ABOVE ALL ELSE. I’ll just put that in shouty capitals, and bold, italic and underline it for emphasis. The understanding that you are first in your husbands thoughts, that he would deliberately make it part of his day to find out how you are and that you are the person he can’t wait to be with when he gets home is a heady and wonderful feeling. It’s knowing that you are important to him and having that reinforced again and again with a succession of free or relatively cost-free actions. A text message is hardly breaking the bank. This isn’t about turning up every night with the contents of Kew Gardens in your arms, but it is about… well, actually, it’s what Madonna said in 1986:
“Make you feel like you’re a queen on a throne, make him love you ’til you can’t come down.” Express Yourself.
I was 16 when that song came out, which probably explains why my entire adult life has been on a mission to be made to feel like I’m the queen of someone’s life, that I matter to them. And when I don’t get it I seek it out in books, or on films and in my head. My needs become met by the likes of Mr Darcy, by Mr Knightley and a whole host of other books where a woman is of paramount importance to a man. She is everything to him and he can’t wait to get back to her, can’t wait to hold her, wants to know what she’s doing – not because he’s keeping tabs on her, but because he’s genuinely interested in what she’s doing. Correct me if I’m wrong but isn’t that the basis of love?
But there’s a downside for men. Meeting a woman’s emotional needs may not require much in the way of money, but it will require effort. I’m not proud to say it, I don’t think it’s possible to beat the sight of a freshly showered, clean shaven, well-turned out man in a suit. Which leads me to think that I need to be taking the commuter trains into London a bit more. But that aside, your appearance does matter to your partner. A lot of pressure is heaped on women to keep looking good, but I think it works the other way too. If you can’t be bothered to take an interest in yourself then how is your partner to expect you to take an interest in her? Get a wash, man! Your sartorial role-model should not be Jim Royle. This is not to say that my husband is rocking the Jim Royle, it’s a general point.
For me the written word is a very powerful thing, second only to the person actually looking you in the eye and saying it. Reading them or hearing words sung will set my head alight and once my mind’s engaged the rest of me is too. I have little need to see pictures, the pictures in my head are so much better. I bet that I’m not the only woman who gets her emotional needs met by fictional men and I’m sure it’s no great piece of detective work to work out that if men are being written about in this way, then it’s what women want.
It’s the nature of me to be frank and open, I have no desire to hide in any sphere of my life, but my repeated attempts to explain to my husband that he’s not meeting my needs in this area (and this isn’t the first time I’ve done it), results in hurt bewilderment. But I have paid all the bills, I have done all the paperwork. As someone famously once said in a book ‘oh fuck the paperwork!’ Perhaps it is my no-nonsense northern way of conveying such information that results in this bewilderment? What part of I need to be kissed don’t you understand? Perhaps I should sugar-coat it a little and coyly suggest that flogging the guts out of himself out at work all day and leaving naff all for me isn’t really hitting the spot.
I don’t know. There are times when I feel after the umpteenth go around on this that I might just as well give up. Does anyone else feel like this or does everyone else have a man who is able to pay the bills and pay you attention at the same time? Can I borrow him? I don’t like retreating into a fictional world, but it is my preferred method of self-preservation. I need to feel loved, I need to feel of value and importance to the man I love. I don’t want to find he’s fallen asleep in the middle of a conversation, that’s just hurtful. He doesn’t understand my brand of telling him how he can put things right, if he did this would have been solved years ago. I don’t know what to do, other than lose my hurts in the pages of a novel until he somehow twigs that I’m getting from there what I’m not getting in real life. A husband should be a provider, that is true and the paramount thing he should provide is love. Anything else is just paying the bills.