EVER since he and I met, our relationship has had three in it. Well, five if you include the kids. Oh, all right, seven, if you chuck the cats into the mix. But the original threesome was me, him, and his moustache.
When we met, all those years ago as young cinema managers at the ABC Lothian Road. He sported a dashing black moustache which fair swept this gal off her feet. When we married, his best man was a friend who also rocked the ’tache. Since I spent a lot of time avoiding the camera, the photos look like a record of Scotland’s earliest gay wedding.
As we accrued those children I mentioned, each of them as toddlers spent happy hours pulling dad’s lip down as far as they could before the swearing started. It was a great game, especially when I joined in.
The moustache greyed as the decades rolled on. It was joined by a goatee beard arrangement which I was never entirely happy with, but as long as it didn’t startle the neighbours, I figured I could live with it.
As long as we two have tottered along life’s sometimes rocky road, there was him, me and the moustache.
Last Friday night I came late from work. The light was on. This is never a good a sign. It usually means Something Has Happened That Merits My Attention. I should have guessed. The Christmas whisky was finished. His Stranglers albums (note: old school vinyl) were littering the living room which suggested he hadn’t cracked on with the few little jobs I suggested he catch up on during his holiday, like redecorating the living room, redesigning the garden or putting up shelves.
Oh no, he had clearly decided to have his very own middle-aged party.
And at some point he got bored, as men who are not drilling holes in walls, digging up herbaceous borders or messing about with spirit levels tend to get.
In short, there was strange moustache-less man in my house. He had shaved his face clean without so much as a by-your-leave or a “what do you think if . . ?”
When, I shrieked, was the consultation period for this major re-adjustment in my landscape? To which – and get this, women of Edinburgh – he said, had the gall to say, did I consult him when I changed my hair colour? To which I icily pointed out that I went from Eva Peron blonde to Barbara Castle red last year and it took him three days to notice the difference.
He said, what do you think?
I threw out the razor.
Oiling the wheels of creativity
This is what happens when men are left to their own devices, and forget those little jobs we mentioned earlier. It was worse prior to the advent of television, Stranglers albums and Gillette Mach 3 razors. Back in the day they just sat about quaffing coffee and claret and coming up with philosophical thought, which has caused no end of bother.
Apparently, Adam Smith came up with his best economic thinking when he was blootered on Burgundy. He knew a lot about plonk, because he’d travelled a lot in the wine-making regions of France, but that didn’t stop him being regarded as the most boring man in Edinburgh at the time. It was considered a great party game to get old Adam stocious, make him face the wall and then explain the Wealth of Nations.
David Hume was rarely without his claret. He was a member of The 3 Bottle Club, where they drank three bottles of the stuff a day. That’ll keep you regular.
Mind you, bevvied they may have been, but they astonished the world with the Enlightenment. Not bad.
I feel somewhat sniffy about getting ‘squiffy’
At Celtic Connections this week there was a great wee debate about speaking Scots. There is still a sneaky snootiness about the words we use. There are those who will say that it’s English as spoken by Mrs Windsor and her family that is the richest way to communicate.
Havers, say I. During the evening, almost inevitably, the subject of how many words Scots has for being drunk – I admit to special fondness for stocious, but look at steamin’, blootered, bevvied and bladdered. Whereas our cousins south of the Border have “squiffy”. I rest my case.
Of course, they trust me implicitly
SO the furious rivalry between Glasgow and Edinburgh can be traced back to a loaf of bread, then? Well, as a Clyde-built gal who now berths in Leith, I can say this so-called rivalry is
well overstated. I’ve never felt in the slightest bit looked down on for being a Glaswegian in Edinburgh. I’ve felt watched, usually by the Neighbourhood Watch team that was set up. They didn’t ask me to join. But they do always twitch the curtains when I go out. And count the spoons . .