The following post appeared on the Loveahappyending Lifestyle Magazine on Friday 20th September 2013:
Once upon a time I had a male work-colleague who, in these enlightened times, would have been called a control freak sociopath with psychotic tendencies. In those days he was regarded as a leader of men, a tosser-testerone role-model and destined for ultimate command of the galaxy. I used to call him Alpha Moron. This gentleman had a deep seam of weakness which could be easily accessed through his trousers. A good female friend was mining his fossil fuel when he astounded the world and fell in love with her. Of course, I knew it was a mistake. Firstly he could not love anything outside of a mirror frame and secondly she was far too good for him. So, incidentally, was my cat and she had been squashed by a truck.
In any event, he declared his love and announced to his “friends” that he intended to marry her. She did not receive a ring but instead a pair of hiking boots and an anorak. I should point out that Alpha Moron was a health-food-Nazi, hiker and mountain scrambler. He declared that his bride-to-be would be tested. He arranged a weekend in Wales where she would have to climb two peaks in two days to prove her dedication. In her leisure time she would be allowed to massage his muscles and wash his socks. My dear demented friend had fallen so far under the spell of his rock-hard fossil that she agreed. Alpha Moron then invited my boyfriend and me to join them for the test and suggested that I too could be tested if my man (Colin the Beta Moron) felt it appropriate. He did not and to be honest his fossil had never hardened to the same extent.
We set out for Wales. The peaks were Pen y Fan and Cader Idris. We slogged and scrambled. We slithered and slaved and that was just getting into the sheep-dung scented guest house. She surprised him by hiding her three kids in my car. Alpha Moron took one look and dumped them on me and Colin. We took them to Llandudno and ate burgers on the beach in the rain. He berated us as child abusers for feeding them non-organic junk. She climbed and survived. Although surprised by the children he married her and took total command. The kids ran away and she turned to drink.
Ladies – let me tell you there is another way!
You get a tandem bicycle. If you want to test him – this is the ultimate denouement. You need to know what sort of character he is. By tradition a tandem bike has the larger (male) “captain” on the front and the smaller (female) “stoker” on the back. This may sound daunting but it raises the potential for back-seat driving to ultimate heights. Men like to pedal faster which can set the female bouncing on her saddle. Too much of this behaviour can mean there’ll be no night of love to reward his pedalling. Let him know this early on!
He cannot tell how much effort you are putting in. If he is a world-conquering super-hero who wants to display his dominance and bionic uber-power – let him!
Lycra is not necessarily flattering to the body. If he doesn’t like what he sees now, he’ll like it less in a few years. If you are wondering what he’s got – Lycra, Time and Shakespeare tell all truth. If you want to know if it’s in his kiss, simply kiss him and see if the elastic goes ecstatic.
If you want to check out his health, metabolism and social adjustment feed him a veggie curry, hold your breath and grip those rear handlebars.
Team understanding is essential. Gear changes are moments of great stress but also enlightenment. If you can’t sense your partner’s need for a gear change, your simultaneous harmonies may never sync up. Aaaaah……oh dear….another late change of pace! Most tandems have twenty-four up to thirty gears so don’t give up on him too soon. The older male needs more time, so a bit of feeble fiddling and dribbling on his own levers can give you the secret time to lube up your own cogs.
His choice of language is a real game changer. Long weary climbs are a metaphor for a whole marriage. Any hint of tetchy sarcasm rules him out. Anything like “I thought you’d gone home,” or “You’ve usually got enough breath talking to your mother,” you’ll be better off on your own.
My mother told me men only wanted one thing. The truth is they only want the one thing they haven’t yet got hold of. And, truth to tell, it’s probably not coated in antiseptic nappy-rash cream. When you watch the glamour and swirling fashion-logo-fest of Olympic cycling, you’re probably not thinking of saddle sores or intimate blisters. All those heroes and heroines are greased up like oven ready chickens. If your man can’t face a bit of intimate Sudocrem he’ll never wield a bog brush. Ditch him!
Test his emotional intelligence. If you tell him twice it would be nice to look at the view and he shouts back that the football/cricket/golf has already started on the TV just stop pedalling and bail out. It’s over.
If you arrive at your destination, he kisses your fly-spattered gasping lips and tells you you were brilliant – it’s love. I’m a lucky woman – but……the test never ends. There’s always the return trip.
I love our bike. It’s a true harmony and a team sport. If you are at two with your partner introduce them to the new politics. Tandemocracy – it’s a vote for the coalition of love or the dissolution of empire. Chant the slogan of equality –
“Forever on four legs, together as one”
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Emma Thinx: Love on a bike has no reverse gear.