It turns out that the life sentence of twenty-one years of marriage, thus far, hadn’t fully revealed to me the full extent of the old man’s competitive nature.
Why do men have to turn everything into a competition? Perhaps it’s boredom, or he’s missing bullying his staff at work, but everything the old man and I do together, (when we are forced to spend too much time together), has to become a competition for him.
Have I mentioned that he has besmirched the Christmas holidays (and all they represent in terms of alcohol and food over-indulgence) by commencing another of his fitness crazes? That’s right, the one time of the year when we have a bonafide excuse to eat and drink excessively (in celebration of the birth of the baby Jesus, of course), the old man decides in his wisdom to become a born-again fitness freak.
And not content to enjoy some personal, superficial smugness, with his carbonated fucking water and slices of cucumber instead of crisps, he makes me feel guilty about literally every bottle of wine I consume.
But he’s also decided to compete with me in the pool, and as you are aware, dear readers, swimming is the one sport that I have attained some level of coordination at without embarrassing myself – which makes it MY sport. Swimming also happens to be a sport that the old man has ridiculed for years.
It seems that he has to find something to focus on with all this free time, and obviously morning to noon cricket just hasn’t been adequate.
So he has dedicated much of our precious re-bonding holiday time researching swimming techniques on Youtube, and yesterday he even made me video him at our local outdoor pool. The same man who used to laugh at swimmers who warmed up around the pool, now obviously thinks he’s the next Michael Phelps and smiles at them, knowingly, in some secret nodding code of swimming camaraderie.
He times his lengths, gives me tips about my style and laughs at the unfortunate strokes of other swimmers, even though he has developed his own try-hard, poncy, left-arm movement to his freestyle that makes him look like he’s signalling the lifeguards for help.
He keeps begging me to let him time my lengths. So far I have refused to give in to his need to win.
He spoiled our six-course Japanese meal the other night by calorie counting and making me watch video after video of his breathing technique and has wasted many an evening in search of the perfect goggles and budgie-smugglers, when we should really be having holiday make-up-for-the-rest-of-the-year sex.
How are you coping with the enforced quality holiday time with your partner? Do they always compete with you?