Girlfriend Away

Girlfriend Away
Warning! Adult Content Ahead

God alone knows whetaver happened to the layout for this piece. Anyway, it’s gone, although it originally enthralled the gentle readers of B magazine in about 2004. It did, I tell you.


There is a long list in my head. At the top it used to say, “To do”, but I’ve crossed it out with a mental pen and put, “Probably won’t do”. This list includes items like, “washing up”, “vacuum”, “investigate dead thing behind fridge” and “change underwear”.

The main – in fact only – reason none these things have been done is because my girlfriend has gone away. For a month.

A month! I can’t be expected to maintain standards for that long. Actually, I’m not expected to. My girlfriend calls me on the phone to ask me “what the flat’s like now”, as if I’ve taken up drinking pigs’ blood and slopping it about the place. “And have you washed the sheets?” she asks, almost happily, knowing there’s no way I’ve done it. Her last advice in a recent call was, “For God’s sake eat some broccoli.”

She has few illusions about me. Women have few illusions about men. For some reason, if the situation was reversed, and I’d disappeared for a month, I’d fully expect life to carry on as normal – minus my wonderful personality to jolly the place up, of course. My pining other half would eat well, water the plant, do some laundry and possibly even go to church.

Women know men have the capacity to do all the above, but they just need a bit of encouragement. Without their guiding hand, a man’s lifestyle, well, reverts back to normal, doesn’t it?

This tends to mean a sharp deterioration in willpower, followed by a gradual decline in just about everything else. The diet is stripped of all vitamins and most nutrients in the headlong quest for fat covered in gravy. The way I see it, if I start to shake or feel fuzzy, I can always have peas on my pie, or something. The kitchen is something I have to go through because the (beer) fridge is in there. And the plant has gone brown.

Cleaning becomes a kind of vague concept, like a manned Mars landing. Men don’t notice dirty surfaces, floors and bathrooms with the same part of the brain that they also don’t notice colour schemes or new hairstyles.

If I had more energy, I would have brought some dodgy mates round at an inappropriate time of night to drink stupid amounts of alcohol and swear at a boxing match on the TV. As it is, I’ve only had time to have one mate round and he just wanted tea.

Which brings us to the sticky problem of sex. As we’re all now sickeningly over-aware, Men are a manned expedition to Mars, and women have established a thriving base on Venus. To guys, one of the extraordinary things women say, is that they don’t need sex when they’re not getting it, if you see what I mean. “I didn’t have sex for six months, but it was fine. I just switched off. Did some reading instead. Great fun… ”

Switched off? Men don’t do that. You can tell when a man’s switched off, because he’s dead. How does that joke go? Men don’t think about sex every 10 minutes. They think about something else every 10 minutes.

Again, my girlfriend is well aware of this, which is why now is as good a time as any to apologise to her for the huge coke-and-prostitutes party I had round here last Friday night. Love, if you’re reading this and feeling a little cross, I’m sorry. I was thinking about you the whole time. If anything, I believe this has strengthened our relationship.

OK, that was a joke (it was!). The same sort of joke we’ve been having over the phone, when she asks how many affairs I’ve had while she’s been away, and I say, “Oh, about five. It’s hard to keep count.” I know she’s thinking about what could happen. And she knows I know. Joking about it’s the best way to get through conversations you must have but can’t.

Yes, a bloke gets bored and lonely – and hornier and hornier. But if he’s got his head even slightly screwed on straight and values his relationship, thinking about sex is as far as he’ll get. It’s a big if. Blokes think about the consequences about as much as Stephen Hawking thinks about the Wiggles.

On the other hand, I can go and pick my girlfriend up from the airport with nothing worse on my conscience than the dead thing still behind the fridge and some rotting, unused vegetables in it.

Should probably do a bit of vacuuming, but.