19 Apr

I don't like mackerel

Adele’s albums – 19 and 21 – signified good years for her. Now that I’m fast approaching my next birthday, perhaps I’ll write a book and call it 35. Or maybe not. I read in the Guardian yesterday that this is the best age to be. Having worked in the non-scientific branch of research, I take all of these ‘findings’ with a pinch of salt. And as much as I am enjoying my mid-30s far more than my mid-20s, I hope 35 won’t be the king of ages, upon which all the other years will look back with longing and say “Oh, it was such a good year. Everything’s nosedived since then.”

Perhaps one of the good things about moving closer towards middle age, is the awareness that I don’t have time to make space for everything and everybody in my life. I spent years trying to like things, and even if my gut instinct was telling me “NO!” I always thought I’d give it another try.

As a result, I’ve made an unapologetic list of things I’ve never liked, and have a feeling I probably won’t ever like. I don’t mind how uncool, uncultured, uncouth or unsophisticated my list will make me sound. No, now I am nearly 35 I have the ability to stand up and say “I don’t like that.”

1. The theatre. It’s not that I am dismissing it altogether. It’s just that I prefer the cinema. I’ve been to some great plays and fallen asleep in the middle. My poor husband has had to put up with me snoring in the middle of a gripping scene in Frost/Nixon. He had to wake me up so I could applaud Jessica Lange’s performance in The Glass Menagerie. He should have taken his brother. Perhaps it has something to do with the evening performances, and the boozy pre-theatre dinners, and the woozy atmosphere down in the stalls. I recently saw Matilda with my children. It was excellent, and I didn’t yawn once. No alcohol was taken before I sat down, so maybe I should blame my drinking.

2. Going on top. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that I feel like a basset hound (their ears always remind me of my tits when I’m rising to the trot) but even in my more nubile days, I often thought “what’s the point?” If you can be a passenger and still give good directions and occasionally help with the gear changes, then why not? I’m not sure I’d classify riding a man as anything near as unpleasant for a woman as anal sex – I’m not sure any woman would admit to liking that – but I wonder when it became a popular choice. Obviously, the late stages of pregnancy are the only time when I thought “this is an acceptable alternative.”

3. Sport. I do the occasional bit of jogging but I’ve always been a loser when it comes to physical activity. I look at people who enjoy team sport and wonder if they’ve ever spectated. Reading the newspaper, drinking coffee and occasionally cheering on the participants is a much more pleasant way to pass time. But I know that I don’t like sport because I still have no idea how to throw or catch a frisbee. If I could just master that, then everything else (netball, tennis, shot put, swimming, sprinting, high jump, long jump) would fall into place.

4. Mackerel. It’s an oily fish and it’s recommended as a good choice by wise domestic owls. And yet I buy it, tinned or fresh, and look at it with mild disgust and think “I need Ottolenghi in my kitchen to make that into anything appetising.” I then keep it in my fridge for a good few weeks in case anyone visits who likes eating old fish out of other people’s cupboards, before I think “I’m never going to eat that and Mary and Joseph are not going to knock on my door.” Then I throw it away.

5. Boats. I once went on a very luxurious holiday with a wealthy family. I was the only pale-skinned one present. They were quite bohemian and all the girls sunbathed topless on deck. I joined in. I burnt my boobs so badly that my skin peeled off my chest like cling film. I blame this for my hatred of boats. If I were rich, I’d never ever entertain the idea of owning – or holidaying on – a yacht.

6. Flying. The smell of the food even gives me the creeps.

7. Cat Stevens. Perhaps I think he’s a popular choice, but maybe loads of people don’t like his music. I can’t understand why anyone would want to listen to a man who sings like Kermit the Frog.

8. Country life. Actual life in the country as opposed to the butter or the magazine featuring posh girls for sale. It’s great for visits and the occasional woodland walk. I never, however, look wistfully at open green fields and say, “I think it’s time to leave London.” I grew up in the country. I loathed it. My friend agrees. When she was a child, she used to think that every black man she saw on her rare visit to the city was Daley Thompson. If I get fed up with London, I think it will be time for me to die.


5 Responses to “35”

  1. everymealmatters April 19, 2012 at 2:41 pm #

    I had to read that twice to establish whether you were suggesting that during the late stages of pregnancy anal sex was an aceptable alternative or going on top. I am still not entirely clear but am assuming the later.

  2. Leanne White April 19, 2012 at 2:44 pm #

    I cant do yatchs either…..make me want to heave!

  3. Liz April 19, 2012 at 5:16 pm #

    Brilliant,,,and it does get better, take it from one who didn’t even have children until I was 36…

    • mothersruined April 19, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

      Thank Liz. You’ll always be an inspiration…

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