Amber McNaught’s weekly column on life after marriage
A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I went to a barbeque. As I stood in the queue, waiting to collect my burger, I noticed something amazing: there, attached to our host’s wall, was a retractable washing line. It was fifteen metres long! It stretched all the way from one end of the garden to the other! Did I mention it was retractable?
“Gosh, lookit that!” I said to the person standing next to me. “Isn’t that a great idea? So handy!” A few minutes later, my husband joined me in the queue. “You have to see this,” he told me, “It’s a retractable washing line. Isn’t that a great idea?” I agreed that it was. Not long after that, we were joined by some other friends of ours – a couple who got married a couple of years ago. “Would you look at that!” was their opening remark. “Why, it looks like a retractable washing line, isn’t that handy?”
And so it went on. We progressed from talking about the retractable washing line (So handy!) to talking about our new garden furniture, and from the new garden furniture to wondering aloud how much it might have cost our host to have the rather attractive decking we were standing on installed. My point? We never used to talk about things like this before we were married. In my teens and early twenties – in fact, even just a couple of years ago – a barbecue would have been an opportunity to drink to much and have fun, not to talk about time-saving domestic devices.
Well, we did still drink too much and have a lot of fun. But there’s no doubt that since we got married there has been a definite shift in the types of things we tend to talk about when we get together with friends. It is no longer unusual, for instance, for us to spend half an hour at a time talking about property prices. Garden furniture is a valid conversation starter. We have even been known to touch on the topic of – wait for it – pension plans.
I’m not quite sure how much this sea-change in our interests is down to the fact that we’re now an old married couple, and how much of it is due to the fact that we’re just getting old. Perhaps it’s something that comes to us all, regardless of our relationship status. One thing I have noticed, though, is that we now tend to socialise mostly with other couples, and that does have an influence on the way we socialise (restaurants rather than bars, barbeque’s rather than…. well, bars) and the things we talk about.
Getting married also prompted a new found interest in the home – a nesting instinct, if you will. We’d lived together for several years before we got married, but it was only in the run-up to the wedding that the shabby paintwork in the bedroom became unbearable, and I realised that I absolutely could not live without new cushions for the living room. These are also topics on which I will quite happily expound for hours – something else I would never have dreamt of before I got married.
No, there’s no doubt about it: marriage/age has made us boring. Just a few days ago, for instance, my husband returned from the shops with a gift for me. It was a retractable washing line for the garden. I love it.
Amber McNaught is a freelance writer and regular Shiny contributor. She hasn’t yet set up her retractable washing line, but when she does, she’ll tell you all about it. With pictures.