The other day I found myself crawling slowly along the road while clusters of MAMILS – Middle-Aged Men In Lycra – cycled along the bike path two and three abreast, as I grimaced and swore at them from the quiet and safety of my car.
Where did these men come from? I understand that something strange happens to women at around the age of 45, with menopause fast-approaching, when we suddenly stop sleeping, burst into tears for no reason, and are irritated by everything. Could this be the modern version of the male mid-life crisis? They run out and buy cycling shorts in fifty shades of black?
I approached a traffic light where two old boys were balanced on their souped-up bicycles, helmets bobbing as they chatted. The light changed, they very slowly creaked their limbs up as I finally lost it.
“Come on!” I shouted, rather politely I thought. There were no swear words involved. The men looked round in disgust, as I shrank in horror, and gave a big smile and a wave, pretending to be joking.
The one on the right was my husband.
There were more further up the street. All these men used to commute into Manhattan on a daily basis, and then either retired, took a redundancy, or decided to stay home and bother their wives by mooching round the house all day asking what’s for lunch, where are you going, and are you writing today? No? Why not? Don’t you have a book due?
Once upon a time I was in a relationship with someone who worked from home. Every time I would stand in the doorway and ask if he would do something for me, he would sit behind his large mahogany desk and bark that he was very busy. I would gaze over his shoulder to the reflection of his computer screen in the darkened window, and the only thing I ever saw on that screen was computer solitaire. Every time.
I’m not sure about the whole men being at home thing. On the one hand, I love it. Now when the children have doctor’s appointment and Beloved comes to remind me, I bark that I am very busy, as I turn the iphone upside down to hide my facebook activity.
On the other hand, I quite miss having the house to myself. I miss that me time when girlfriends come over and we could sit at the kitchen table talking up a storm for hours and hours. Every time a friend comes over now, Beloved now comes in to say hello. He sits. And stays. He has become my most reliable gooseberry, and although I love him, I’m quite missing the kind of girlie gossip that only happens when the men have gone.
Luckily for me, there is lunch. The Organic Market is a largely-male-free zone, which has subsequently become my meeting place of choice.
As long as you don’t tell my husband.
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