Looking through recent posts here (as one does, in a totally non-vain way), it has come to my attention that I am not painting my partner in the best possible light. Let’s look at the evidence:
- a few weeks ago he’s away on a school trip as part of his training so I moan about how I’m the main carer and the main earner and it’s all rubbish and unfair
- now it’s half term and I moan about how I’m not in fact the main carer and he is and everyone thinks he’s amazing just because he’s male
- next I moan about how I want another baby but we don’t have enough money and hey, did I mention I’m not the one who doesn’t have a job?
- for good measure, I throw in a post listing all the ways in which he meets the criteria for being a hyper-privileged public-school male, apart from the being rich bit.
Basically I am like Polly Filla in Private Eye, complaining about “useless Simon”. It’s just not good enough, not least because my partner is ace.
By way of recompense, here are just some of the ways in which he is totally brilliant. You will read this and be well jel (or possibly stop now because it’s all a bit personal and soppy):
- he is mega-intelligent. Although at primary school he took an IQ test and achieved a score of 84, indicating “dullness”. He then spent several years playing along with it because he liked the Fuzz-Buzz reading scheme, before pulling his finger out and getting a first from Cambridge, a PhD and teaching fellowships at several high-profile universities. He’s a right joker like that! (Actually, this might make him sound a bit of a knob. But he’s not. He just genuinely liked the Fuzz-Buzz characters.)
- in a single day he can: eat a full English breakfast, make flat-pack furniture, advise me not to get a particular dress because “the asymmetric cut isn’t for you”, commiserate with my dad over dead goldfish, bathe and put the kids to bed, give a fully referenced analysis of pre-industrial warfare and how it should have been represented in That One Film I Have Seen All Year… Basically, he is Renaissance Man (don’t actually know what Renaissance Man is. It’s not a film, is it? But anyhow, that’s him).
- he delivered our second son. I think I may have mentioned this once (or a million times) before on this blog. But did I also mention that as I went into labour he put on a chicken casserole? Fresh ingredients and everything. Then he delivered the baby and spent a bit of time bonding before nipping home to check on the cooking so that our other son and the babysitter could have a nice home-cooked tea.
- he knows everything that happened in the past, ever. At least, in comparison to how much I know, which is fuck all unless it’s related to the German Romantics. Sometimes, to be fair, this is annoying. One of the first films I saw with him was Gladiator. I was sat in the cinema between him, a historian, and his friend, a classicist.* Both of them kept guffawing knowingly for reasons I will never comprehend (some shit about historical accuracy and anachronisms). I mean, it’s Gladiator! Give Ridley Scott a break! At other times, though, his historical wisdom is just cool. For instance, at Baby Rhythm and Rhyme, the group were singing The Grand Old Duke of York when one mother wondered, idly, who said Duke might be. To which my partner replied “he’s thought to be the second son of King George the Third, who fought during the last military campaign where royalty commanded troops directly. It was during the Napoleonic Wars and …” etc. etc. Actually he did go on a bit. But it was good. Like that time he decided to explain to a one-year-old, quite literally, what that twinkling “little star” is. Wonder no more, kids.
- my parents mock him for being a useless over-educated historian. Then he fixes their telly, builds their chest of drawers, sorts out their internet connection and they don’t say a word. That’s not him being useful. That’s just him being “a man”. Only my dad can’t do any of this and he’s a man. But that’s my dad being “not technical”. Ooh, it all gets very complicated.
- he’s more of a feminist than I am. For instance, one of our most blazing rows ever was about the sex discrimination case raised by Libby in Neighbours. He was totally on the side of Libby whereas I was less sure. At one point I even stormed out of the house, speechless with outrage. On reflection I was the one in the wrong. Partner, I’m sorry. And you too, Libby. But not the actress Kym Valentine, who played Libby. That would be going too far.
- on Christmas Eve 2002 he picked up an old man wandering along the side of the road in his slippers. The man was freezing cold, couldn’t speak due to a tracheotomy and had set off from the hospital three miles away. Other drivers had ignored him but my partner took him back to his parents’ house, fully aware that this would make him look like a liberal bleeding-heart softy. Yet my partner being “weak” and not assuming that this was just “some drunk” may have been what saved this man’s life. Nevertheless, he also has time for random drunks (and not just me). Once my partner was on a train when another passenger threw up in the carriage. The other passengers were furious, but my partner talked to the man, found out that he’d just lost his job and got wasted and was worried about getting home. My partner sat and listened, and made sure he had money and knew where he was going next. My partner is just an incredibly kind, humane person, and he is kind to people even if it makes him seem foolish or wrong to others. He doesn’t judge people and I wish I could be more like that (instead he’s frequently trying to persuade me that my utopian society in which “the mean” – as defined by me – aren’t allowed to vote would be morally wrong. Although deep down, I still can’t quite see why).
- he’s good at general “partnery” things and being fit and stuff. None of which will be gone into in any detail.
- he puts up with me. To be honest, he has some kind of delusion regarding what I’m actually like. But it works to my advantage so I go along with it.
- he is dead funny. Incredibly witty and astute. Having said that, my favourite joke of his makes him despair. In 2003 he bought his dad a hat for Christmas. When writing the gift tag, he considered putting “Hatty Christmas!”, then changed his mind. But his subconscious thought better of it and he ended up writing it anyhow. I cannot explain why, but to me, this is the funniest thing ever. I’m laughing now just thinking about it. Hatty Christmas! He wrote “Hatty Christmas”! He is a man of great wisdom, and an expert in the art of punning and verbal wit, but no, for me, “Hatty Christmas” will always be his finest hour. He finds this immensely depressing. He’ll often come up with some marvellous bon mot, but I’ll forget to laugh, and then he’ll look at me and say, sadly, “I guess it’s no “Hatty Christmas”…” No, alas, it isn’t. But he came up with “Hatty Christmas!” once. That’s enough for me (actually, having finished that particular gift tag, he then thought “fuck it” and totally went for it with the puns. I particularly liked the tag for my mum, who’s called Pauline: “Tis the season to be Polly!”).
Anyhow, that is my partner. He is 100% ace. I would put all of this on the CVs he’s sending out, if it would help. But it probably won’t. Still, I have been adding “Hatty Christmas!” at the end of every covering letter. That wouldn’t be connected to the lack of interviews, would it?
PS Another thing: He never says “stop writing that sodding blog and talk to me!” Even though that is what he is thinking right now.
* Note to pedants: I’m not putting “an historian”. I don’t hold with it. But I did consider it, so ner.