Tuesday, May 4, 2010
The Fake Husband
The break-up isn’t going to be easy, there’s the emotional fallout to consider, not to mention the way the kids are going to react. I know we can still be friends, but that’s easy. It’s because we’ve only ever been friends… it’s my family that seems to be getting confused.
My poor housemate Jim has met my parents one too many times. I suspect they think we’re in the middle of some sort of romantic comedy – the kind where 2 people who’ve known each other for years turn to each other at the end and realize they belong together. We are not those 2 people. We have had several discussions where we have clarified we are not those 2 people. But until we can prove we are not those 2 people, my family may well cling to the idea.
When I received my invite to my brother’s wedding it was addressed to Painefull & Jim. It wasn’t your classic, unconditional ‘plus one’, it was your highly rigid ‘plus Jim’. Some of my nephews refer to him as Uncle Jim (admittedly he did attend one of their birthday parties dressed as a teenage mutant ninja turtle - Rafael I believe - complete with face paint and a washing basket attached to his back). He scores special baked goods from my mother, special shout-outs at family events and the spare bed in my old room has been christened ‘Jim’s bed’.
At a family dinner on Sunday (which Jim attended), I made some quip about my sibling’s kids being further confused by the fact that Jim and I live together. It was as if I had called everyone at the table Parking Inspectors, such was the defensive response. Snorting derision and purposeful mouthfuls of Chinese food abounded in between declarations of ‘no one being serious’, ‘we’re definitely not serious’, ‘no one’s confused’ and ‘we’re certainly not planning your wedding, drawing up a guest list and agreeing Autumn is probably best for an outdoor ceremony’. Maybe not that last one, but the gist was there.
Jim is my Fake Husband – the husband my family has in their head whenever they’re forced to imagine my future. They can’t imagine Colin Firth, Gerard Butler or Justin Bieber (too old, can't act, and who?), and they certainly can’t leave the face blank. Jim is their go-to guy, their bench warmer. I pity the woman Jim eventually does marry – she won’t just have to get through his mother, she’ll probably have to get past mine as well.
If my family ever does realize Jim and I are not star-crossed lovers, then there remains the high possibility that he will simply be adopted and take my place. Mum also spent a great deal of Sunday night introducing him to waiters as her son.
Then again, if they give up on Jim, there’s also my other housemate Mick. Jim will become the red herring, and Mick will Mr Darcy his way into their lives to take up his rightful place. Poor guy, doesn’t stand a chance.