For Christmas I may give my wife a divorce. She tells me that marriage is embarrassing and is contrary to who she feels she is so if the tax office and Department of Immigration have no issues we might get a divorce. Nothing will change, me wife will still celebrate the rock and the roll of me and I’ll still buy her cookbooks, I just won’t be able to call her me wife any more. It also occurs to me that if we do get divorced we can possibly reverse the nonsense that was our wedding.
This week as a workmate has become engaged. When folk tell me they are engaged I stumble over what to say – congratulations on still being with the person you were with last week doesn’t seem to quite cut it. She has the ring and the smile and the discomfort of folk saying Ohh and Ahh a great deal as they ask for details. I wandered past the discussion and heard someone point out that I was one of the few happily married people they knew.
It’s hard to find happily married people but he’s happily married.
I nodded and shrugged at the same time - I am, I guess I am.
I was asked what marriage means to me and without thinking I said Socks. Marriage is having socks.
When I was single. I’d have maybe 4 functional pairs, 3 dysfunctional pairs and a few random lonely mismatching socks that I’d had since school. One morning I found my housemate had yanked my laundry from the machine after the rinse cycle rather than the spin and scattered my clothes on the clothes dryer. This was one of the many reasons why my other house mates and I trained the cat to throw up in his room by feeding is tinned salmon and shutting it in his room until we heard the Greeecccc Greeecccc sounds of its stomach coming up. His boasting that his girlfriend had a perfectly symmetrical vagina, his taking money from the bill bowl for his food and cigarette needs, never flushing his deposits down the toilet and my wet clothing, lead us to feel that second hand cat salmon on his pillow was a reasonable consequence.
My socks were unwearable but movies came to the rescue, as for me they often have. I remembered Uncle Buck microwaving laundry and dashed my socks onto a plate. High power for 15 seconds should do, but when I popped the door a cloud of foot smelling steam belched out. My socks were now both hot and wet so I put them in for another 15 seconds. This lead to more foot steam and my socks being molten, but dry. I pulled them on and felt my feet burn, jammed on my shoes and left for work.
On the walk to work I felt something give, a powdering around my toes. At my desk I pulled off my shoes and found on both feet my sock extremities had disintegrated. The tips of all my toes were showing and I could see more crumbling happening before my eyes. My black socks were turning brown and in a moment of unutterable stupidity I grabbed a stapler and closed the holes with 5 staples on each sock and sprinted off to a meeting.
Since marrying I have always had socks. I don’t credit this to my wife; there is just something about being in a couple, especially when you have kids, that makes something as basic as socks achievable.
To the newly engaged girl I also said that marriage is embarrassing.
My wife asked me to marry her while sat on the toilet. I was in the bath. She was only sat; I didn’t give a tearful Yes to the romantic sounds of pee. Our reasoning for marriage went no further then my need for an Australian visa. Her proposal was a shrugged we may as well just get married then huh? Pleased with our decision, my to-be-wife wearing a green plastic ring that was on the cistern (was it God placing it there to bless our love? - .no, it was a relic from Christmas and a testament to our housekeeping) we went out and got drunk on Veuve Clicquot. Drinking lead to phone calls and soon Australia knew about our engagement while English family was left in the dark. Australia seemed safe to tell as we didn’t think they would come to the wedding.
It got out of all control, weddings stop being about the couple and become about everyone and everything else. Everyone wants to come, to stare, to eat, give advice, take photos, giggle, dance and drink. We were lean with our invitations but we still ended up with considerably more attendees than intended.
Our original plan was 2 witnesses and a curry afterwards. We ended up with 50+. As soon as people knew the wedding grew. And grew.
After socks and embarrassment I said relief.
It’s nice to be married in some ways. Marriage means you have a bosom in your home. I said it was good to be in a team, especially when you have kids. I taught my son to pee in pot plants. My wife taught him to make pasta. I taught my daughter to deride her grandparents, my wife taught her to make them birthday cards. Having a wife means always having someone to talk to about my stool consistency. It’s nicer to be with someone then have a concerned liver and be living on me own aged 38. The marriage part of it matters the least though, it's the having someone that is the great part, especially if they feign interest in your stool consistency.
Knowing then what we know now it would be extremely unlikely that we would have married. If we had, it would have been 2 mates as witnesses and a curry afterwards. More likely we’d have saved the cash and gone to Morocco. It made no difference to my Australian visa or our relationship. We’d still have had the kids we just wouldn’t have that pointless piece of paper – which I signed on the Wife line so technically my wife is my husband.
So yeah, maybe we’ll get divorced, and if we do we’ll celebrate with a curry and 2 mates.