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.