Thursday, 24 September 2015

Seven things I don't understand about my wife

Image courtesy of Ambro at
I met the future Mrs Jones 36 years ago at a social-club disco in the psychiatric hospital where we both worked. We’ve been a partnership ever since. My love for her strengthens with each passing year, and no one understands me better (and vice-versa); we often finish each other’s sentences.

Nevertheless, there are several recurrent behaviours my wife displays that leave me befuddled – perhaps others can inform me whether these actions are peculiar to Mrs Jones or endemic across the female population.

  1. Moving household items for no apparent reason
Often, I return home and believe, for an instant, I’ve mistakenly entered the wrong house as some combination of armchairs, settee, cupboard and coffee table have exchanged places.

On other occasions it is smaller items that are rearranged. In the shower, while facing the gushing water, the shampoo was always on the left while the conditioner lived on the right. One memorable day in July, Mrs Jones swapped them around; it took me three weeks to realise why I wasn’t working up a lather!

 2. A liking for busy outdoor flea markets

My lady could spend a whole day rooting through the stalls on an outdoor market, burrowing into the merchandise in search of a bargain. As for me, I don’t take kindly to the back of my legs being rammed by prams, my ribs poked by pointed elbows and my personal space invaded by a frenzied shopper with body odour and bad breath - all for the sake of buying some crap

  1. Irritation when I leave the toilet seat up
I’ve always struggled to comprehend the angry reaction to my leaving the toilet seat up. I don’t respond with fury when I go to splash the porcelain and find the seat down. In a society of gender equality, shouldn’t she lift it after use so it’s ready for me?  

  1. Criticising my dress sense
I accept that selecting matching clothes to wear is not one of my strong points, so I often depend on Mrs Jones to choose my outfits. Sometimes she complains, asking - with hands on hips and indignant expression – ‘do I always have to dress you’. Yet, on the rare occasions when I strike out for independence by dressing myself she responds, ‘Oh no – that shirt doesn’t match those trousers’. What can a guy do?

  1. Quilt hogging
Throughout the 30-plus years we’ve slept together, and irrespective of the size of the bed and quilt, there will usually be a point in the depths of night when Mrs Jones turns over while clinging to the bedspread as if on the crest of a roller-coaster ride. This sudden – nay, violent – movement invariably exposes my bare arse to the elements.

    6. Inconsistent spending

Courtesy of Stuart Miles at
Sometimes Mrs Jones will dedicate a whole week to a mission to half our grocery budget, rejoicing in her achievement of saving a few pennies on a loaf or a bag of potatoes. These periods of austerity are punctuated by spending binges when she shops like a crazed Russian oil baron let loose in London’s West End.

    7. Fluctuating sexual interest

Now both in our mid-50s, those days of working our way through the Kama Sutra have – sadly – long gone. While my sexual interest remains constant, albeit less than in my young adulthood, Mrs Jones would admit that these days she can take or leave the rumpy-pumpy. Nevertheless, it has not gone unnoticed that there is a sudden increase in her libido in the aftermath of those rare occasions when she's witnessed an attractive woman talking to me.

Any help in de-ciphering the mysteries of my wife’s psyche would be gratefully received. I eagerly await your comments.



Thursday, 27 August 2015

Beware the Egyptian god of the bowel

Courtesy of Arvind Balaraman at
After a wonderful two-weeks holiday in Egypt, I returned home to the UK with a tan and the shits. And I don’t mean any run-of-the-mill shits; this was an erupting-mount-Vesuvius-with-an-explosive-personality-disorder type.

For 8 days I spent my time within a 3-metre safety zone of the nearest lavatory, fearing to tread beyond this imaginary line in case the angry Egyptian god of the large intestine decided to make yet another unwelcome appearance. During this extended period of captivity, I often pondered the source of the bug that had decided to squat in the depths of my gut: I had followed advice, and drank none of the tap water; I’m obsessive about washing my hands thoroughly prior to each meal and after using the loo; and we tourists were repeatedly reassured that bottled water was routinely deployed to wash all the salads and other food stuffs.

Alas, the likely cause of my spectacular rear-end emissions occurred to me: contaminated beer glasses. The 7-day cruise along the Nile River had witnessed several of my fellow tourists succumb to ‘tummy upsets’ and it occurred to me that all those stricken were lager drinkers. On several occasions, late in the evenings, the boat staff had ran out of clean glasses and were forced to rinse the used ones; I’m certain they resorted to tap water on these occasions thereby exposing my inner tubing to over 2000-years’ worth of detritus that had been slopped into the ancient river.

Motivated by her constant fear of being shat on in bed at night, Mrs Jones persuaded me to seek medical assistance and so I ventured out the house to consult my local doctor.

‘I’ll require a stool sample’ he said, while handing me a flimsy plastic pot with a red spoon in it, rather like the ones used for eating ice cream from a tub.

‘Here and now?’ I asked, while disturbing images of me squatting in the corner of his office pushed into my mind.

‘No no’, he said with a tolerant smile, ‘take the pot home with you. When you next feel the urge to open your bowels, place several layers of toilet tissue in the bowl and, once you’ve emptied, scoop out a piece and return it to the reception desk for analysis.’

As I sped home, I suspected the doc had failed to grasp the extent of my looseness. ‘Scoop out a piece?’ Think water-bomb with flecks of sand and you will be getting closer to the essence of my lavatory experience.

Within minutes of arriving home, the irresistible rumble returned. Upon reaching the bathroom, I decided upon my own strategy to capture a sample of dung. I stripped naked, wrapped toilet tissue around my hand and forearm and squatted above the toilet bowl. At the point of detonation, I swung the plastic pot to-and-fro under my arse; it was a bit like wafting a thimble over the nozzle of an over-pressurised hose-pipe.
Courtesy of Tuomas_Lehtinen at

Having successfully captured a splash of excrement, the next morning I returned to the doctor’s surgery, my specimen bottle hidden deep in my jacket pocket – it may have been my imagination, but passers-by seemed to stare at me, as if they had insider information about my secret cargo; or perhaps I just stank of shit.

At the reception window, the practice nurse casually collected my specimen while munching on a cheese and tomato sandwich – such professionalism! Within 48 hours, the bug had been identified and a 7-day course of antibiotics successfully rid me of the bacterial intruder.  

So if you are contemplating a visit to Egypt, the threat of terrorism is the least of your worries. It is the intestine-grasping revenge of the Nile River that you should fear. Don’t say you’ve not been warned. 

Thursday, 23 July 2015

The middle-aged man's survival guide

Women are complicated. Sometimes they're unfathomable. Despite a relationship spanning over 34 years, I cannot yet claim to understand the mind of Mrs Jones. But I have learnt a few things along the way – how else would I have survived? – and I’d  like to share them for the benefit of other men out there who might be even more perplexed than I am about the female psyche.

With regards to her body shape and appearance, a lady will never ask a question of her man unless she has already identified the response she wants to hear. Consequently, such questions strike pulsating terror into the bowels of any male. We know there is a ‘correct’ answer that, if delivered promptly and with sincerity, could later be rewarded with an assortment of sexual favours. But get it wrong and punishment awaits, ranging from icy silences to physical assaults.    

So gentleman, here is my guide to how to (and how not to) respond to six common questions from our partners. If you’re masochistic enough to offer response 1, brace yourself for punishment of a type that would have seemed gruesome in the dark ages. Offer a response 2 and expect to spend at least the next 24 hours in social isolation during which she will emit only one-syllable replies to your attempts to initiate conversation. But get it right with a response 3 and you could be creasing the sheets while entwined in the limbs of a passionate woman (that is, your partner).

Question: Which of these two dresses should I wear at the restaurant tonight? (asked while trying them on)

RESPONSE 1: ‘Won’t your jeans and sweatshirt suffice?

RESPONSE 2: ‘They both look OK’

RESPONSE 3: ‘You look great in both; they each show off your figure, but I think the red one just edges it’


Question: Do you think my bingo wings are disappearing? (while tugging the flabby bits on her upper arms)

RESPONSE 1: ‘No, but all women your age have bingo wings. And now I come to think of it, even the pretty lass next door has them, and she’s a lot younger than you’

RESPONSE 2: ‘They’re getting there’

RESPONSE 3: ‘I can’t say I’ve ever noticed them; your arms always look slender and elegant to me’


Question: My boobs are getting really floppy; don’t you find them a big turn off?

RESPONSE 1: ‘Yes. They’re like two blubber-filled hammocks in a gale’

RESPONSE 2: ‘No, I like them floppy’

RESPONSE 3: ‘I love your boobs; what man wouldn’t? Soft and natural and so much better than those plastic ones that some models flash across the newspapers’


Question: Does my butt look big in these jeans?

RESPONSE 1: ‘Of course it does; I didn’t nickname you “bacon arse” for nothing!’

RESPONSE 2: ‘No, not really’

RESPONSE 3: ‘No way! It looks firm and pert. In fact it’s taking all my willpower not to caress it’


Question: Doesn’t that bracelet look gorgeous? (while gazing into a jeweller’s shop window)

RESPONSE 1: ‘Give me strength! At that price we should be living in it, never mind wearing it’

RESPONSE 2: ‘Yes it’s nice’

RESPONSE 3: ‘It would look fantastic on you. If only we could muster the funds to buy it’ (buy it later that day and surprise her)


Question: Do you think I’m losing weight? (while standing in front of a full-length mirror)

RESPONSE 1: ‘No, I can’t say I’ve noticed’

RESPONSE 2: ‘I hope not; I like you with a bit of excess poundage’

RESPONSE 3: ‘Without a doubt; you’re shape reminds me of our wedding day’   

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic at











Friday, 26 June 2015

Reflections in front of a carriage clock


Image courtesy of farconville at
Tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock… …

I sit alone in the corner of a room, mindful of the passing seconds. Three months from now I will be 57; a year of existence for each of the Heinz varieties. Well past my half century, 8 years from ‘pensioner’ status, 41 years beyond the age of legal consent for sexual shenanigans.

Tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock… …

I’ve always had an aversion to time. Relentless, taunting clocks spewing out their unsettling messages each time you glance into their faces: another hour of humiliation to endure in the school woodwork class at the mercy of a sadistic teacher; 45 minutes beyond the scheduled meeting time at the bus-stop confirms she’s stood me up; only 10 minutes remaining in the History exam and I’ve yet to start the final question; 11 hours into my wife’s torturous labour and no sign of my son’s head.

Tick-tock, tick-tock… …

Yesterday I learnt of the sudden death of a longstanding friend. He was my age – seven months younger, actually. Fifty-two-years ago we sat, side-by-side, in the infant class on our first day at school, flushed pink with a combination of excitement and fear. Yet now he's gone, and each tick and tock proclaims I, too, am one second closer to nothingness, as Time inexorably inhales my juices, drying me up, edging me closer to that arid shell on the mortuary slab.





I will book the flight to visit my only brother in the Bahamas, rather than just talking about it

Tick-tock, tick-tock… …

I will start to write that block-buster novel I’ve been pondering on for over a decade

Tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock… …

I will invite my wonderful son over for a couple of bottles of Abbott’s ale while we listen to, and discuss, our favourite music. And take my beautiful daughter to a Mexican restaurant to catch up on her university experiences while imbibing chicken fajitas and a cool drop of Corona Extra

Tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock… …

And tonight I’ll surprise Mrs Jones by preparing a meal of fillet steak, swilled down with a Spanish Rioja. We’ll talk, and reminisce, about our 34 joyful years together. After which I’ll lift my lady off her feet – a (little) bit like the iconic scene from An Officer and a Gentleman – carry her to bed, and pound her into multiple-orgasmic ecstasy. (Okay, just one orgasm, if I’m on form – and my lumbago doesn’t flare up while I’m in full piston-like flow – but it will be high quality).

Because, after all, we need to grasp each fucking tick and each fucking tock as if it’s our last.    





Thursday, 21 May 2015



Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking. At 56 years of age I believe it is time to review my life,
take stock, make amends. I don’t believe there is a God or an afterlife, but who can be certain of such things. So I’d like to play safe and acknowledge all my major wrongdoings from over half a century of prowling the planet earth. After I’ve drawn my final breath, if I find myself at the ultimate junction, I want to ensure I’m ushered in the direction of the arrow labelled ‘fine wine, ale and warm female flesh’ rather than the one indicating ‘fire, brimstone and a perpetual knee to the bollocks’.

So brace yourself, here goes; my confessional.

Dad, I’m sorry I lied to you when I was 9 and you asked me about my 14-year-old brother’s liking for tobacco. Adopting my most sincere facial expression – chin jutting, eyes fixed on yours – I swore that I’d never seen Tony puff on a single cigarette. Father, I sinned. Your older child was smoking like a damp log on a campfire. Forgive me. I know it’s no excuse but I had been bribed by my big brother; he’d allowed me a couple of drags if I remained silent.

Mum, I’m sorry I lied to you when I was 7. I was responsible for those giant spiders that infested our house. My behaviour at the time would today have led to a hefty prescription of Ritalin. Forgive me, for it was I who engaged in frenzied fly-murdering sprees (aiming for a minimum cull of three bulbous blue-bottles a day) and stored their pulped carcasses under a loose window tile; word most have spread through the spider community that a ready-made feast was being served daily, motivating all the dominant eight-legged creatures within a 2-mile radius to descend on our living room. And didn’t they fatten up quickly; our window ledge soon resembled a scene from Arachnophobia.    

And mum, it was not the cat’s fault that your wardrobe smelt of piss in 1977 – it’s amazing where a semi-slumbering young man will urinate after ingesting 12 pints of finest ale.

Mrs Fenwick, I wish to retract my comment to you when you returned home to break up your son’s house party 39 years ago. With the maturity of middle-age, I can now understand why you might have felt annoyed to discover muddy foot-prints on the Artexed ceiling of your recently-decorated dining room, semi-naked teenagers in your bed, not to mention the pools of vomit on the bathroom floor. You were never a ‘stuck up, snotty cow’ so please forgive me for my foul-mouthed ignorance; again, the demon drink may have distorted my mind. (Although come to think of it, you did often carry an unfortunate facial expression, as if someone was wafting a turd under your nose).    

Jean, the cougar, please accept my sincerest apologies for my failure to rise to the occasion, particularly after that delicious three-course meal you prepared for me. I was good-to-go, until I caught sight of your lady bits which, after churning out three children –one of whom, at 20 years old, was my age – seemed discoloured and misshapen, like a poorly-assembled tent flapping in the wind, and not at all like those of my female peers. Please forgive me.

Jane, the lovely young lady from Durham, you were totally right to deny me access to your inner treasures on our first date. I was 20 years old, full of anger and resentment, and treated you shoddily. And I’m sure you were far from being a ‘frigid slab of whale blubber’; please forgive me.

I think that should just about cover it. Oh wait. To the old lady I met last week in the frozen-fish aisle of the local Tesco store: it was I, not you, who was responsible for emitting the rotting-cabbage smell; it just slipped out when I bent over the refrigerators in search of battered cod. I should never have accused you. Sorry.

Well, I feel lighter already. Wine, ale and warm female flesh, here I come!  
Photo courtesy of radnatt at



Thursday, 16 April 2015

I'm a weight Nazi!

Courtesy of Raktim Chatterjee at
    'Wow, he's a big lad,' I said to Mrs Jones as we sat together on the settee watching our twice-weekly dollop of Judge Judy. 'Look at that gut; when was the last time he saw his knees, not to mention his bits and pieces!'

The victim of my verbal assault was a young man in his early 20s, standing before the solemn queen of arbitration in an attempt to sue his ex-girlfriend for the cost of an engagement ring. Clad in a grey suit and black tie, he clearly had made an effort to dress appropriately for Court. Articulate and respectful, he outlined the rationale for his claim. Thinking back, his demeanour suggested a pleasant, intelligent human being. But at the time I ignored those qualities, my attention focused only on the straining lower buttons of his white cotton shirt as they struggled to contain a wodge of overhanging flab demanding its freedom.      

I used to be a nice man. Size didn’t matter – except, of course, when creasing the sheets in the midst of lust – it was only behaviour and personality that counted when evaluating another human being. But that all changed in 2013 when a self-imposed exercise programme resulted in me shedding my beer-belly and 30 pounds.

Since my conversion from a chubby slob to thoroughbred athlete (don’t puncture my delusional bubble – it’s hard enough to maintain a positive self-image at 56), I’ve developed an obsession with people’s shapes and, like reformed smokers, I am now the harshest critic of those who are yet to change their ways. When meeting males for the first time, I zoom in on their contours and mass. Does he carry more than one chin? Are there any man-boobs lurking under his outer garments? Is that a poorly inflated rubber ring clinging to his waste or a swathe of whale blubber?

I know my reactions are distasteful, ignorant and sometimes repulsive. My rational self often immediately challenges my prejudicial thoughts:

‘Don’t be a fatist; you’re no better than a racist, sexist or any other “ist”’

‘If you must form opinions of others, look further than their physical appearance’

‘Never judge a book by its cover’

‘Some people are born to be bigger than others; it’s in their genes’

‘There are unfortunate folk with medical conditions that render weight loss difficult, even impossible’.

I’m familiar with all these retorts and believe them to be morally and factually sound. But there is an emotional, almost instinctive part of me that is impossible to restrain. Feel free to unfriend me now; I’ll understand.

Nor is my discriminatory gaze exclusive to males. When I’m introduced to a woman one of my first thoughts is, ‘How firm is her butt?’ A close second is, ‘What proportion of her breasts are pure mammary rather than excess poundage?’ And so my internal conflict is triggered again, my emotive prejudice challenged by my rational and moral values.

I often feel compelled to explain my turmoil to Mrs Jones. When she catches me staring at women’s arses and boobs I’m at pains to point out that I’m not yearning for soft, silky, tender, warm, succulent female flesh … …[* breath quickens*] … … but struggling to resolve my internal conflict. She is not yet convinced!









Friday, 3 April 2015

Measuring up

I recently stumbled upon an article in Medical News Today titled ‘What is the average penis size?’ My curiosity pricked – it’s my scientific mind, you know – I read on. Apparently, the average length of the male member is about 3.4 inches (8.5 cms) when flaccid, and 5.5 inches (14 cms) when fully erect.

Seconds later, I’m rummaging in Mrs Jones’ sowing tin for the tape measure, hands trembling with anticipation. After a fruitless search among the needles and threads, I shifted the pursuit to my toolbox – the puns just keep on coming; whoops, there’s another one – until I located the spring-loaded tape, and retired to the bathroom to determine how I measured up.

I’m sure most men will be familiar with the process of penis measurement, but I doubt whether many have carried out the procedure deploying a steel-bladed, automatic-locking device with push-button retraction; you’ll be familiar with the contraption, the one that closes like a mouse trap when you press the ‘recoil’ knob. Suffice it to say that, at the age of 56, I almost earned entry into the Guinness Book of Records for the oldest man to perform a do-it-yourself circumcision.

Smug with the realisation that I was comfortably within the average range (albeit after a fair bit of burrowing into the testicular region), I returned, reassured, to read the remainder of the article. One study had reported that women’s satisfaction with the sexual act depended more on penis girth than length. My eyes scoured the text for the relevant data: the average circumference of the trouser-snake is 3.7 inches (9.5 cms) at slumber and 4.7 inches (12 cms) when reporting for duty; cue round two of jousting with the steel tape measure.

After the discovery that my member was again firmly within the average range, not even the loss of 50 units of O-negative could erase my self-satisfied grin.

Apparently, there are cultural differences in average penis size. It seems that Indian men were dealt an inferior stack when the todger cards were distributed, their average length falling a crucial half-inch short of their American counterparts. So it’s New Delhi rather than New York as a destination for me this summer; brace yourselves Keshika, Sita and Shefali, big Bryan – or comfortably-in-the-average-range Bryan - is on his way.