Growing up, I had a firm idea in my head as to what being a grown up and being a girlfriend would be like.
The idea was set in stone through reading magazines like Jackie, Just 17 and More and watching films like Dirty Dancing, Mannequin and the Lost Boys.
I knew what my future had in store!
As I got older, I gradually realised that these ideas were far from reality.
The ideas I had been sold and the hope I clung onto were fraudulent, and with hindsight, probably written by single ladies (or girlfriends) pushing middle age and harbouring a dream.
The realities of being a girlfriend.
(Written by a, very nearly, middle aged girlfriend.)
You’re not eternally young, slim and beautiful.
OK, some girlfriends may well be but not me.
I was barely any of those things when we got together, but 9 years and two children down the line I’m even further adrift.
I am not fresh faced and glossy haired and I don’t look amazing when I wake up.
I look more like the love child of a panda and Tim Minchen.
You can’t wear his baggy white shirt or boxers whilst eating croissants and reading the papers in your pristine, white apartment of a weekend.
For starters, his clothes don’t fit me, I’d look like the Hulk.
Our ‘apartment’ is a house and it’s full of toys, messy hand prints and children.
As far removed from pristine as could be.
There’s no playful lifting.
There’s no being scooped into his arms and swept off my feet.
He’d throw his back out and do himself some damage.
If there’s any lifting to be done in this house it’ll be me lifting him.
Or Seth lifting us all.
No one will ever look at him in envy for bagging such a fitty.
They’ll look at him with a mixture of concern, worry and curiosity.
Concern that he is being held against his will.
Worry that I might eat him and curiosity as to whether he’s actually one of those feeder types you see on Channel 5.
Holidays in the sun won’t see us frolicking at the shore line or in the pool playfully throwing one another about. Rather, he’ll be swimming while I sit on the beach or by the pool in my ginormous, billowing, marquee of a kaftan.
Simultaneously ‘glowing’ and creating an eclipse effect – it’s a skill.
The girlfriend phase can actually go on FOREVER.
You can be an old lady and a girlfriend all at once. No matter how hard you try, you can remain firmly girlfriend with no movement toward wife.
The kids can go on and on and on about something and he caves and gives them what they ask for.
I go on and on and on and get tuts and loud eye rolls.
There are no constant looks of adoration, or gushy declarations of love.
‘my life was nothing until you came along and rocked my world’,
it’s more ‘my life was cheaper until you came along and we thought kids would be a great idea’.
Looks are mostly of the WTF variety and there’ll be an ‘I love you’ when leaving the house or going to sleep – mostly in case I die. I’d hate my last words to be something twattish.
Valentine’s Day is not a guaranteed date, with flowers, candle lit meals and rose petals.
In fact, if it falls on a Tuesday, well, that’s football day.
Otherwise it’s a meal deal from M&S in front of the TV. The idea of the romance is nice but it’s just such hard work.
Besides, we always tell each other how much we love each other -when leaving the house and going to sleep.
You always have a best friend around.
There’s always someone to talk to, or sit silently staring at the TV with. There’s always someone happy to have a good old bitch with you.
There’s always someone to laugh with, someone to take your side – even if you’re not quite right.
Someone who probably finds you less attractive than once before but thinks that other aspects of you are more important and loves you just as much anyway.
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