Thursday, 18 November 2010

In which I am converted to the merits of a man who can wield a screwdriver

I don’t make much secret of the fact that I like my men to be men. It’s all well and lovely to find a chap with a nicely moisturised face and the ability to tell the difference between Blue Gray and Lamp Room Gray. But I prefer my men to eat steak, drink whisky and have a bizarre fascination with sports trivia that, try as I might, I will never, ever understand (I’ve tried. I really have. And I can see the merits of Alistair Cook. Just not the ones men normally want me to see).

In a recent piece in the Telegraph, Harry Wallop confessed to not possessing ‘dad skills’: the ability to “fix the leaking shower, put up a shelf, fit a lock and tinker with a suspect washing machine”. Now, whilst I associate these with Being A Manly Man (and, if I do ever need them done, call Pa Blonde instantly), the ability to put up a shelf is not something I’d previously considered to be much of an aphrodisiac – mainly because I’d never been faced with the prospect in a prospect.

Total DIY failure ran in the whole male line of Long Term Ex’s family. Having seen his pitiful attempts to put up a picture, the thought of him now wielding a scalpel and trying to fix people has me a quivering wreck. And Minor Celeb is so utterly ineffective at anything that isn’t having a jolly good time that his one-time preparation of an M&S ready-meal whilst we were together was the most useful thing he ever did.

But I was recently converted to the merits of a man who knows his way round a screwdriver when The Northerner came to Blonde Towers one night for supper.

We’d been chatting away as I stood at the oven cooking (ah, perpetuating stereotypes, what?), when he suddenly looked around the kitchen, faint bemusement on his face.

“Blonde, why are all the clocks in here at the wrong time?”

“Oh, that.” I looked around as I threw some asparagus into a roasting dish. “I’ve not got round to changing them yet. And I’m buggered if I can work out how to change the one on the oven. I stood there for ages the other day fiddling with it. No clue. I’ll just leave it, I think. At least I’ll always make my train if it’s always running fast.”

Whether it was disparagement or the thought of a challenge that prompted TN to put his wine down and walk across the kitchen, I don’t know. But within seconds, the microwave and oven clocks were sorted, and the main clock was off the wall and a screwdriver hunted down to take the back off it.

Over the course of the weekend, he re-set all the clocks in the house; tuned the ancient telly in the bedroom so that it not only works with the freeview box, but all the channels appear in the right order; and taken the lawnmower apart to find out why it’s not working (the motor’s gone, apparently). He even had a fiddle with the broken fridge, but concluded it was beyond his powers of repair (not surprising, since it turned out to be beyond the nice John Lewis man’s powers of repair too).

As I watched the mower being taken to bits on the lawn from the kitchen window (I’m no good with these things – I’d only have got in the way. And besides, it was cold and drizzly), it struck me that I found it oddly attractive, TN tinkering with stuff and being generally useful round the house. Quite why, I don’t know. The thought of not having to wait in for repairmen is a nice one. The thought that I can feel all girly whilst someone else looks after me is another. The thought that it’s a quality that TN shares with Pa Blonde is one I don’t think about, and the first person to mention it will get a slap.


HC said...

Freudian analsyis aside, I had you down as a Guardian reader.

Blonde said...

HC: Tsk! Blasphemy. I'm a Times girl, normally.

HC said...

It's ok, we all have rebellious tendencies. I won't judge.

nuttycow said...

Lips. Sealed.

The Pedant said...

"Over the course of the weekend...".

So.... he stayed at yours for the weekend and the most exciting thing you can tell us about is diy?

Blonde said...

NC: Nicely done.

TP: Ah. So you noticed that, then?

Redbookish said...

Ahem, I see I'm not the only one to notice that.

I know what you mean about DIY, though. It's on my list of desirable qualities (I mean, it would be if I had a list). I can fix my computer and my sewing machine, and put together IKEA bookcases, but that is it.

Zstep said...

Setting a clock is DIY mastery? Really? You are easy to please, my dear.

So one question, is your Dad 5'7" too? *snicker*

Mike said...

I'm considering mentioning it just because I know you can't actually slap me. But I'll let it go in the name of international relations.

So give, did the weekend go?

Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

Weekend, eh?

I'm going to put it out there and say...

...So I guess the, ahem "lack of carnal shenanigans" is now not so lacking?

Oh yeah, and DIY, blah blah blah, just so I am slightly on topic.

soupemes said...

A useful man is very attractive indeed.

And as for your final sentence... you were the first person to mention it ;)

Blonde said...

Redbookish: And there I was thinking I'd snuck it past everyone. Ho hum. The DIY thing IS bizarrely attractive, isn't it?

Zstep: It is in my kitchen. (I'm ignoring the other thing.)

Mike: Thank you - the UN would be proud. It was... excellent.

PDEWYMO: Um... No, not so much. *Smirk*

Soupy: I am glad it's not just me (being lazy!) who thinks so. And, er, we'll gloss over the fact that you're right on that one, shall we?!

theperpetualspiral said...

I had you down as the kind of person who'd have a gardener myself!

Brennig said...

I am an inveterate fiddler when it comes to things not being 'right'. I have been known to re-hang a rack of shelves for a girlf, when noticing that they didn't hang completely straight and level. So good for him for getting on with it. *cough*

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