Saturday 10 December 2011

If Men Ran Christmas?

I read an extremely short article by Jenny McCartney in the Telegraph yesterday. Go on, have a quick read; it won't take long. See? There's little or no point to it, really. Maybe, in her haste to file copy she hit 'Send' before she'd finished it. Or maybe they only gave her 230 words? We'll never know, but I thought it needed finishing, so here goes.

"Why can't a woman be more like a man?" Jenny concluded. Well dear, for a start, how would that help? If men ran Christmas, A & E would be overwhelmed. Carnage. Far better to just scrap it all together. I speak for all the men who do not have a voice here - that is all men in relationships where Christmas is an important anniversary. You poor guys can't escape it and you have to put up a show of forced jollity, but don't pretend your teeth don't grind through the night as you tick off the days to the blessed release of going back to work.

Work, you see? That's what men live for. Hate it or love it your work defines you and a man is nothing without toil. You might long for retirement, to spend more time at home, but the cold reality is that home is a place your family made, where they let you sleep so long as you don't get in the way. That's why married men need sheds; a place of work away from work. (Yes, I know 'she' doesn't think it's proper work, but 'she' really doesn't understand.)

Try as we might, we fellas just don't have the welcoming, home-making, holly-and-the-ivy*  gene. Even when a man's true nature is temporarily hobbled in the humbling presence of his offspring, he still manages to view his family as a project, as a thing to be judged by. Men are nothing if they don't have something to fight. The Christmas tree offers not an opportunity for familial harmony but an individual, masculine challenge; bigger, better, more baubles. Although that whole fairy-on-the-top business has us a tad wrong-footed at times. Sexy fairy? Funny fairy? Teddy fairy? No? Me neither.

If men ran Christmas it would be a competitive, work-centric event. Witness the almost exclusively male-dominated arena of lights. Lacking any form of taste when in the presence of the far-higher power of electricity, we big-fingered buffoons blunder about on rooftops erecting enormous challenges for all to see. Christmas lighting displays don't say 'welcome' they say, "Look on my works ye mighty and despair"

So, Jenny, do you see? If men ran Christmas it would no longer be an annual trial by family, but it would become a year-long trial by combat and much blood would be spilled. Better all round that we leave it to the ladies. And while you're up, any chance of a top-up for this sherry? There's a love.

(*As it's come up, why is that bloody song called the Holly AND the Ivy when the ivy never gets a mention beyond the first line of a couple of verses? )

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