Tuesday 17 January 2012

31 Days of Blogging - Day 17

Day 17 – Black - Wonderful Life

Wonderful Life is a beautiful song and back in 1987 life really seemed wonderful. The video is even better – I think its mesmerising.

At that time, W and I had bought our first house in Altrincham, a three bedroomed semi-detached house – though the third bedroom was so tiny that you could barely swing around a cat in it – not that I would ever have done that.

I’ve always been tempted to ask people how they can dare to describe a house as having three bedrooms when you cannot actually fit a bed in the small room that masquerades as that third bedroom.

“This isn’t a three bedroomed house – unless the third bedroom’s for a bloody cat.” was a consistent rant for me at the time.

In a moment of madness, I bought a rowing machine that year and tried to set it up in that third bedroom – no chance. It barely fit – I had to use it with the door open and I kept smashing my elbows on the walls.

It was even more disastrous than that because the thing was so cheap that when I dismantled it to move it to the “second bedroom” I almost castrated myself with the springs before bending the metal and effectively rendering the thing unusable.

How I put it together in the first place is beyond me – and how it managed to survive as long as it did without running my chances of procreation is another miracle.

Anyway, I digress; the wedding was planned for 1988 and we were (sharp intake of breath) “living in sin”.

W’s mum is a lovely woman but she has always had principles, and she frowned on people who didn’t adhere to them. I was surprised to find that when we went to visit them and stayed over, I was not allowed to share a room with W – even though she knew that we shared a room back in Manchester.

I respected her so I slept in a separate room. It was no bother, though I did joke about it on occasion.

It’s quite amazing how the whole process of dealing with and living in a relationship has changed over the years. Tradition dictates that a relationship is almost like a recipe – you have to follow certain steps.

Remember my first major girlfriend, C, from my post a few days ago? Well her mother made it quite clear from the very start what she thought of young men.

We had been going out for about three months when I went to her house. As soon as I sat down, her mum offered me a cup of tea and then, in the next breath, said openly in front of C, her brother and her father:

“If you make my daughter pregnant, I will cut off your balls. Would you like some sugar with your tea?”

It was a surreal moment and I actually laughed out loud before realising that she was deadly serious.

W’s mum wasn’t that bad but she expected me to follow tradition. I had already failed because W had proposed to me. I would have to repair the damage by asking W’s dad for her hand in marriage.

W’s mum nagged W to nag me to do this but I steadfastly refused. W's mum would never have nagged me; I found it weird that there was a middle-(wo)man and when I talked to W's mum, the subject was never broached - but we both knew what was going on.

I told W that people don’t do that sort of thing anymore and no matter how hard she tried to persuade me, there was no way I was going to do it.

And I didn’t.

In fact, W’s dad didn’t seem to mind at all – as far as he was concerned, the deed had already been done. What’s more, I later found out that W’s mum was upset because W had got engaged without discussing it with her first.

I was quite surprised and in retrospect I might have done things differently. It would have been a gesture, nothing more, that would have made W’s mum happy and content. Perhaps I was just too stubborn.

In the end, it didn’t matter – we all got on very well and I was already a part of the family.

Tradition is important to some people and in the interests of harmony, I could and perhaps should have been more flexible.

It’s the little things that can sometimes make life more pleasurable.

W’s mum got her own way at the wedding though – and I was a willing pawn, being shoved around, photographed, videoed all in the name of pomp and ceremony.

It was a very traditional wedding and W and I were, as expected, the centre of attention, something I was definitely not used to. There was certainly no invitation for shyness or introversion, which made the day even more of a struggle for me.

I had to make a speech (my first real public speaking exercise) and everybody wanted to speak to me, especially relatives that I had never met before. At one stage, both W and I found separate hiding places and just spent about an hour in total solitude trying to get our breath back.

People were wondering where the bride and groom were and when I turned up some time before W, I was interrogated.

“Where’s W?”

“I haven’t seen her – I reckon she’s hiding – that’s where I have been.”

It was a great day and everybody enjoyed it.

At that point in my life, I can honestly say that Wonderful Life seemed to sum everything up perfectly - for a while at least.


drb said...

Hi Mr PM,

I am surprised by this song choice as we have polarised music taste (in addition to geographical and period differences). I like this song too!

Please to hear that you had a great wedding day afterall. :-)

I don't know what your mum or exMIL will think about having children outside the wedlock. Most of my students are doing things in reverse: live together, buy a place, have a child or two then get married when the children are old enough to be flower girls or page boys.

I wonder that will be a better recipe and will cut down divorce rate?

Kath Lockett said...

Ah yes, the 'living in sin' conundrum and then the wedding which is, in reality, mostly for the parents....

We 'lived in sin' fairly early on too and at first my mum didn't approve until I said to her, "How old were you when you and Dad married?"
"Well I'm twenty five, so by my age you'd already had to extra years of regular sex, hadn't you!"

She laughed so hard, she had tears. It was never an issue from then on.

LOVED this song and even bought his follow up, 'Everything's coming up roses' as well.

Elephant's Child said...

My mother always referred to my smaller portion as her 'son in sin' and tried to smile. Nonetheless she wasn't smiling. And we are not married yet. So I hear you on the subject of expectations. A minefield.

I am loving this series. Thank you mega heaps.

Anji said...

It is a lovely tune and life is Wonderful.

I hope that my daughter's fiancé (their idea not mine) doesn't resent me. When they came home together for the first time I never thought to ask if they might want to sleep seperately.

How times have changed - at least young people don't have to hide and pretend any more

Jackie K said...

I. LOVE. THIS. SONG! I love it so much, always have. I just spent a lovely ten minutes listening to this and reading your beautiful post. Thank you!

Plastic Mancunian said...

Bonjour Kath,

Good response :-)

This song is one of my favourite pop songs. I love it too.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi drb,

I'm sure that our musical taste isn't *that* polarised. I like rock music, yes, but there are loads of melodic masterpieces similar to this wonderful song that perhaps haven't drifted past your radar.

Yes - the wedding was great - if not tiring. The problem is, had W and I had kids and NOT got married, the outcome would have been the same.

People just differ sadly.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi EC,

I like the term "son in sin". I am sure had W's mum grown up in our era, she may have had a different outlook about living together.

W's dad didn't give two hoots.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi ANji,

Well I have that to come. If my boys are anything like me, they will expect it I guess.

That will be an interesting moment.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Jackie,

It really IS a beautiful song, isn't it?

Glad you like it.




drb said...

I wonder if people are not bound by marriage, would they have stayed in the relationship as long or even proceeded to have children?

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi drb,

I can only answer from my perspective; to me marriage was just something that was expected; living in sin was frowned upon. I have a rather cynical view on marriage these days - but only for myself. I'm happy for other people to get married - but it is up to them. I don't think my life would have been different had W and I lived in sin - apart from the bedroom arrangements at her mum's house.