Love Rules: Take a holiday

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Perrier-nominated comedian, author and 35 year old married father of three, Andrew Clover is best known for “Dad Rules”, his long-standing column in the Sunday Times Style with musings on being a father figure, which turned into a hit book. He’s now writing a sequel called Learn Love in a Week. Last year Andrew toured the country with his highly acclaimed one man comedy show “Love Rules” which he is now sharing with eHarmony Advice. Join Andrew each week as he picks apart some of those old clichés that abound about love.

Cliche #2: “Take a holiday to relax”

Since doing this blog, I’ve been asking blokes:  “What’s the hardest thing about living with a woman?”  The most common answers are (1)  nagging, (2)  watching films that star Matthew McConaughey, and (3) cushions.  My answer might surprise you:  I can’t take all the scheduling.   70% of our conversation involves saying things like:  “We’ll leave at 7 10…”    That’s why I resent it that magazines always say:  “If you want to rekindle that special spark, take a holiday.”   I fear holidays.     They’re something else that needs to be scheduled.

But this week my wife gets a voucher, which offers a romantic break in the Canary Isles.    The accommodation is free.  The flight is free.   And my mum offers to look after the kids.   Even then, I’m not convinced.   I mumble about air pollution (a flight to the Canary Isles makes as much carbon as six months’ driving).    So she hits me with the brochures.

You’ve never seen such sexy brochures!  The hotel is set in a banana grove.   And all the guests are smiley young sex symbols who are all playing guitars and drinking from coconuts.  And there’s an amazing picture of the beach nearby.  (A single umbrella stands on a white beach).    “You can whale watch!”  She tells me.   Then she gives me the clincher:  “The travel company sort out everything!   Come on!  We never have fun anymore!”

That gets me.  I love my wife:  I want us to have fun.  Indeed, I want to prove to her that we are Mr and Mrs Fun, and that we can have more fun than ever before.   But holidays are treacherous things.  They create moments in which even Mr and Mrs Fun are in danger of losing it…

7 am, Mr and Mrs Fun (slightly tired) are driving to Stansted.  It’s fine.  They’ve got another twelve minutes in which to check in.  They realise they’ll have to park at Short Stay, which will cost £138.   That’s fine.  Who doesn’t want to spend £138 on a car park?

7.09 am.  They reach the Check-In desk.  There’s a queue of sixty people, being attended by an exhausted woman made up like a magician’s assistant.   Mrs Fun feels she’s not the person to queue;  Mr Fun, however, she regards as queue fodder.  “I’ll be back in five minutes,”  she says.  “We forgot the travel adaptor.”

7.18 am.  Mr Fun is now at the front of the queue.  Mrs Fun is nowhere to be seen.  Mr Fun is now boiling with stress.  He’s threatening to explode, like an egg in the microwave.

8.12 pm, twelve hours later.  Mr and Mrs Fun reach the hotel.  They make an interesting discovery:  in the next door cabin are a couple from Birmingham.  It turns out the couple are extremely keen on Aston Villa;  they’ve brought their videos with them.  For the next three hours, Mr and Mrs Fun can hear a commentator.  He sounds extremely enthusiastic about a gentleman called Darren Bent.  Mrs Fun is less keen.   She thinks Mr Fun should go and speak to them.

9.12 am.  Next morning.  Mr and Mrs Fun arrive at the beach which they saw in the photographs.  The umbrella is there.  So are three thousand others.

4 pm.  Mr and Mrs Fun are whale watching.  They can’t see any whales.  They can however see the couple from Birmingham.  The Darren Bent fan is saying:  “That bloody scampi has given me the runs!”

Just to be clear… I’m sure there are many charming, attractive people from Birmingham, who have bowels of commendable strength.    And perhaps holidays exist which do not make tension, or pollution, or a situation which makes Darren Bent fans chunder vigorously over the rails.   But that’s what happens to us, and I can say it without qualification:  this is not the best way of rekindling that special spark.

The next day, we stay in the hotel all day, and we read.  It’s a wonderful thing to lie in bed reading next to your lover, and I’d urge you to try it.   Don’t book yourself a holiday, I say.  Just get a book and go to bed early.  You may find someone there waiting for you.

Yes, they may be Googling about holidays.


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