Published Woman and Home Magazine 2009
By Phillip Hodson
Tick your likeliest answer to each question
1) The family saloon acquires a deep scrape down one side while you are out driving on your own for the day. Which of the following phrases is your partner most likely to utter when you get home?
a) “What the dickens did you think you were playing at?”
b) “Ohmigod, are you okay?”
c) “I fear that’s going to prove rather expensive!”
2) Your husband shouts offensive remarks at the television whenever the Prime Minister is being interviewed. Do you:
a) Wonder what happened to the young radical you dated?
b) Accept that time makes most of us conservative?
c) Join him in shouting at the screen?
3) You inadvertently let slip that the woman who does your hair charges 14 times as much as your husband’s barber. Does he:
a) Say that, judging by results, the money would probably be better spent on the garden?
b) Compliment you on your new highlights and suggest you are worth every single penny?
c) Commence an elaborate joke with the punchline that you should definitely switch to his barber?
4) Your ageing mother needs residential care because you’re no longer able to lift her and visiting her every day is no longer practicable. Does your husband:
a) Complain that she’ll squander your inheritance on doctors and volunteer to look up the number for Dignitas?
b) Propose that she comes to live in your house if that’s what you would prefer?
c) Agree to the switch but mutter she isn’t all THAT heavy?
5) Your 30-year-old son announces that his girlfriend is expecting triplets. Does your husband:
a) Say it’s high time the two of you retired to the safe distance of Florida or South Africa?
b) Give you a big kiss and take out extra life insurance?
c) Make it clear there is no history of multiple births on his side of the family so it must be your lot to blame?
6) Your golden wedding anniversary is looming next year but clashes with yet another national sporting contest against Australia. Does your husband:
a) Explain that – as you will obviously understand – he won’t personally be available for the celebration due to inflexible prior commitments?
b) Suggest flying to Bermuda for a romantic fortnight to renew your wedding vows?
c) Float the idea of holding the party in a sports stadium at the end of the day’s play?
Mostly A’s – VICTOR MELDREW – This almost suggests that the original wedding may have been a bit of a mistake and you probably would not want to compound it with a repeat performance. However, the passage of time accounts for many of the traits in “grumpy old man” syndrome. Some of his cynicism is a defence against feeling out of date and left behind by those children (as he would call them) who are now apparently in charge of the world. It is still possible to use a mix of humour, shame and nostalgia to reach that old interior beau – so consider whether past virtues and your shared history together make a reasonable case in his defence.
Mostly B’s – MR DARCY – Be very careful of this paragon because practically every other reader would like a piece of him. Of course, he’s a bit unreal, dare I say it, and something of a fantasy. I’d be suspicious of anyone who posed as a saint – because frankly we’ve all got our difficult and self-interested sides. Fine words are cheap and can be uttered by any salaried performer; elements of passive aggression are also common (saying you love someone when your behaviour suggests you really don’t). So look beyond the packaging and only judge your man by his actions.
Mostly C’s – THE BRITISH BLOKE – not to be underestimated – especially by himself. Has hidden reserves of sincerity and you could do a whole lot worse. Unlike the Victor Meldrews (A – above), our BB is guilty of having a bark that is worse than his bite. Nor does he flatter as easily as Mr D. In a nutshell, he needs to grumble as the price he pays for fitting in with your plans and co-operating against his inclinations. His heart IS in the marriage – he genuinely does see this as a twosome. But also recognises that much of the business of making a good partnership means accepting you don’t get everything you want from life. My queries for you are simple – would he be the one to stand by you in a crisis – and would you want him to? Then he’s worth every pain and you should certainly make your proposal.