Secret surfboards help my relationships flourish!
It’s true. I do hide surfboards from my fiancé. New boards live in the van or the shed, places she has no business in.
Recently, late at night and under cover of darkness, I found myself on my knees on the living room rug, surreptitiously stroking a new board. I caressed the foil and froze like a frightened young hind whenever I heard movement from other rooms.
A new snowboard cowers in the corner of my shed, still shrink-wrapped after more than a month. I persevere with an old board for show: “Look, darling, look how knackered this old board is! Aren’t I good for not getting a new one this season?”
Does this make me a bad person, less of a man? Should I be ashamed of this behaviour? I think not. An economy of truth is necessary in a healthy relationship.
Have you seen the movie Interstellar? Let me introduce an insightful dialogue between the main character (Cooper) and his artificially intelligent robot companion (TARS):
Cooper: Hey TARS, what’s your honesty parameter?
TARS: 90 percent.
Cooper: 90 percent?
TARS: Absolute honesty isn’t always the most diplomatic nor the safest form of communication with emotional beings.
Are not women the very definition of “emotional beings”?
There is no reasoning, there is only the path of least resistance.
But not everyone gets this. On that podcast Afternoons with Chas and Dave or whatever it’s called, David Scales (a divorced man in his late thirties, interested in wine) lambasted me for a comment I made on this very site, a comment about hiding board purchases from my significant other.
And while I can’t remember the exact jist (or perhaps jiss) of his comment, it was something along the lines of this being a bad omen for my relationship, lack of communication etc.
Spoken like a divorced man in his late thirties, interested in wine.
My relationship is great. Without going full Rory Parker on you, my fiancé is wonderful. Attractive, funny, compassionate, incredible mother, all of that.
But I’m sure all of that would become untenable if she knew just how much fucking time I waste thinking about my universally, globally useless obsessions. Much less spending the modest amounts of money we have on them in lieu of a new kitchen, a family holiday or plain old “savings”.
Does my significant other hate surfing? No. Does she hate that I love surfing? Not at all.
Is she dead right that new boards will not make me surf better/more often? Yes.
Is she rightly concerned that a man in his thirties with a child and a mortgage and a dog and soon to be another child should prioritise any one of these things over his own selfish agendas? Absolutely yes.
But as much as I love my family, some things need to remain just mine and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
We’re not one of these happy-clappy wanky couples who enjoy wonderful shared passions. We have shared interests, but I’m bloody glad they’re not the things I really love. I can’t imagine anything fucking worse than having to take her surfing.
I know couples who work together, play together, socialise together, all of that. They call each other “best friend”, despite seeming constantly on the verge of spousal rage killing. I love my future wife dearly, but she sure isn’t my bloody best mate.
Call me old fashioned, but I’ve got best mates for that. And I don’t shag them or cry in front of them either.
In relationships and in life, some things are best compartmentalised or kept to yourself entirely.
For me, surfing is one of those things.