‘Have you farted?’ the old man said to me as he brushed past me to get into my bath water.
Not exactly the three words I hoped to hear when we said our vows nearly twenty-five years ago. But if he’d said ‘I love you’, I would probably have worried that he was hiding something. Not that we never say those words, but we tend to reserve them for special occasions like Christmas or for serious negotiations over the last cube of chocolate or drop of wine.
‘What’s for dinner?’ ‘let’s watch Netflix,’ and ‘can you unload the dishwasher?’ is our language of love these days. ‘Take off your panties’ – not so much – the sultry words whispered by Christian Grey to Anastasia Steele over dinner in Fifty Shades Darker, the viewing of which, (NC and I decided yesterday afternoon) counted as slightly more of an achievement than sleeping for two hours on the sofa.
Anastasia obliged immediately because she’s that kind of independent, modern woman that woman starved themselves for, who does exactly what she’s told, whereas I would probably have reacted with ‘YOU take off your panties,’ (more M&M than S&M) or the simplest words, ‘I’M EATING!’.
Even more entertaining was when she managed to inch down the itsy-bitsiest lace g-string over six-inch strappy heels which she obviously couldn’t take off first because a) they were sat in a restaurant and b) I imagine they took two hours to do up. Let’s get serious here: there is no way you could inch a g-string down your legs – no hands – without them getting caught on sandals with enough straps and buckles to look like an S&M torture device. I couldn’t help imagining my version of the scene and the camera’s lingering focus at the end on my huge granny undies caught up in my Hush Puppies to the crooning of Barry White.
Yep, romantic gestures change with age and the longevity of relationships.
A romantic gesture from the old man these days is a take-out meal or a bottle of wine that costs more than ten dollars; mine to him is permission to watch the rugby. Flowers are a rarity, that occasionally appear on our anniversary if I threaten to leave him and the last time I told him I loved him was when I got two consecutive parking tickets in one morning.
If you want a cinematic delight of a trip down memory lane to those early, heady days of young love, I suggest you don’t watch Fifty Shades Darker – the tale of two robots with dialogue that was obviously written by two kindergarten kids who forgot that both characters need lines, leaving the female protagonist stuttering and sighing with frustration through every scene – or at least I imagine that’s what all that groaning was about. Although she does still manage to score the top job in a publishing house at the age of twenty-one so maybe I should try whimpering like a dog next time I want to nail a job.
I can recommend a good old-fashioned classic such as An Officer and a Gentleman, though. We caught the last half of it at the weekend and decided that nothing beats the chemistry between Winger and Gere, who hiss like a Chinese sizzle dish on screen. An anti-hero like Christian Grey, don’t expect awkward declarations of love from Richard “Love God” Gere, but if broody, smouldering looks, a confident swagger, a very nice chest and defined peen lines stir those dormant embers – sorted!
In the words of Ronan Keating, ‘sometimes you say it best when you say nothing at all.’