When Jo’s fourth girlfriend arrived, I knew I should have gone to the pub. I stayed because I was curious to find out what women do when they gaggle. Yes, I know it’s not really a verb, but it conjures a pretty good image of what women do when they get together for a night in.
It was the birthday of one of Jo’s closest friends, so they had arranged an evening of pampering. They’d booked a hairdresser, a manicurist and a pedicurist, or at least I think that’s what they call someone who cuts toenails for a living. To me, having your toenails clipped is an annual ritual to be performed quietly on your own, with one foot placed firmly on the edge of the bath. Sometimes I remember to retrieve errant cuttings from the soap dish. Mostly I don’t.
Forgetting to pick up nail clippings is on a par with leaving all the cupboard doors open, forgetting what I’m saying in the middle of sentences, littering the kitchen table with tools from half-completed tasks, or throwing my socks on the floor beside the bed every night and only retrieving them when the pile gets big enough to trip over. I am a man, and I am wired differently to half the world’s population. Men don’t notice stuff. But we can do speed shopping.
I can never understand why women get so excited about clothes. They started talking about them the moment they walked through the door. I can buy a year’s supply in just five minutes from a single shop. If I find a pair of jeans that vaguely fits I’ll buy six to save having to go back again: it saves on the washing, too. I have eight black shirts, one for every day of the week and an extra one in case there’s a power cut. I wear the same shoes every day till they fall apart, whereas Jo has a roomful, and knows when she’s worn every pair. Neither of us throws shoes away: my trainers have been loyal to me for at least 15 years, so I haven’t the heart to discard them. Jo says she can smell them from the end of the garden.
Though clothes shops leave me cold, I can’t walk past an Apple store without buying a new toy. It will eventually end up in a drawer stuffed full of wires, connectors and old mobile phones and electric shavers. If I suddenly woke up back in the eighties I'd be completely ready for a world of analogue technology. I even have a VHS machine somewhere, and a reel-to-reel tape recorder. If I could find them. I’ll ask Jo – she always knows where everything is. She has a cupboard full of nothing but carrier bags: she even has carrier bags inside the carrier bags. I always forget to take them to Waitrose and come back with another load.
By the time the manicurist had unpacked all her little coloured bottles, I realised that the ladies were now speaking a language that was completely foreign to me, so I retreated to the snug where football teams I don’t support were playing a match I didn’t much care about. Jo was happy to see me go, leaving them to intuit away and analyse each other’s emotions. I assume that’s what women do when they go to the loo together in restaurants. My friend Keith would look at me very strangely if I suggested joining him in the gents for a discussion about our feelings or the latest polo shirts in John Lewis.
So while the women put the world to rights, I watched the game, drank beer and replaced the batteries in Izzy’s baby monitor, thereby disproving the theory that men can’t multi-task. Later Jo found me fast asleep on the sofa. The batteries were on the floor.
Excellent. When Jen shops on foreign supermarkets she has to examine everything, just in case its better than our version. Great to hear you also have a 'Man Drawer' have 3! Have a look at Michael McIntyre on the subject of Man Drawers on YouTube if you havent seen it already.
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