Part 6: Ha-ha-ha-heartbroken

We’re going to practice mindfulness.

Make yourself nice and comfortable. Some people find it helpful to smoke. Obviously if you don’t smoke this won’t help at all.

Close your eyes and think about your breathing. As you breathe in, remember to alternate this with breathing out (footnote: not at the same time – you aren’t a trombonist. Or if you are, you may wish to put down your trombone). Feel the cool air going into your body, and the warm air back out again. It doesn’t really matter which hole it comes out of.

Focus on your breathing. Breathing is good! Breathing means you’re alive. (footnote: If you find you aren’t breathing, you may want to stop here)

Some people find it helpful to listen to something soothing. I advise the older reader against anything involving running water, or One Direction.

Now think about a beautiful place. Imagine you are lying under an umbrella on a lovely deserted beach. In the distance you hear waves lapping against the shore, and a gentle breeze rustling the fronds of the palm trees. It doesn’t really matter where your beautiful place is, but it should never be the Ikea ball pool.

As you breathe (Remember! In and out!), begin to count down slowly from fifteen to one (beware: watching Countdown or Fifteen to One will not induce mindfulness. It will merely create the illusion of slipping away into another room from which there is no return. Deal or No Deal on the other hand will however help you to reach mindlessness quite quickly)

By now you will be feeling relaxed and warm. Yes, thoughts of the everyday will pop into your mind, but just let them go! (footnote: this is no time to be planning a patio, or wondering where you get the gas from for the blowtorch thing that means you can make crème brulee).

Begin to become aware of your head. If it helps, it will be the large device through which you are breathing. Now think about relaxing your head. Allow it to loll. Loll is a beautiful word, and you will want to play with it on your tongue for a moment, but just let it go.

Become aware of your eyebrows – try not to think about the last time you got them seen to, but relax them. Think about your mouth, and as you do, think about relaxing it by, for example, shutting up.

Relax your chins – no-one can see you, and frankly, no-one is really watching – relax your arms, your legs, your stomach and your bottom. If you have breasts, allow them to fall naturally into your armpits. If you don’t have breasts, you may instead have a penis, so just let it go. It will be fine for a while.

You are aware of sounds around you, of the feel of the chair on which you sit, of your breathing, of the room temperature, but these are of no consequence as you are calm, relaxed and in a beautiful place.

While you’re in there, try to bring to mind a person. Someone perhaps from your past. Maybe someone who broke your heart. Try to remember how it felt, and if it helps recall, poke your eyes out with a stick, and make yourself sick.

See this special person with their special person. See them laughing and having lots of fun.

Got it? Try to make it very real. See their joy, smell their fragrance diffusers, taste their baba ganoush. (footnote: whatever)

Breathe deeply. Focus on your lovely beach.

Now see those two people throwing things at each other. Hear your once adored shouting “I hate you! You broke my heart! I loved you and all you did in return was treat me like shit! How could you do that to me? I loved you!” See the actual snot.

There we are. It feels good doesn’t it?


Part 5: The Serious One

BBC Radio 4 is currently running a drama series called How To Have a Perfect Marriage, in which a couple learn to cope with a husband’s coming out by attempting a closed loop relationship. It is written by Nicholas McInerney who chose to tell his autobiographical story from the persepctive of the wife. Continue reading

Part 4: Struggling in a wheelie bin cupboard

If you find you have accidentally married a gay man there is a good chance that you will find the person you married has been unfaithful.

There are two types of infidelity: the affair, and the shag. If your husband is gay their infidelity is the latter, although to them it may feel like the former. An affair is often seen by the parties having the affair as lots of fun, exciting and dangerous. It is likely to make at least one of them feel younger, thinner, and if bald, temporarily hairy. It will be characterised by crashing waves, net curtains blowing through an open window, and classic power ballads: to everyone else it will merely be two people struggling in a wheelie bin cupboard.

The main culprit in the affair is known as a philanderer. The philanderer, despite having a lovely time, will often be tired. Trying to fit in an affair around a marriage requires a high degree of energy and subterfuge. The best way to conduct an affair is to “join a gym”. Health clubs know that 35% of their turnover comes from people who join but never actually attend as they are busy having affairs – this explains why there is always a space available in the spinning class (footnote: if you like all things yarn-based you will be very disappointed if you are hoping to join a class where you can spin the wool for your own traditional Welsh nursing shawl). The advantage of “joining a gym” is that you can plausibly be absent for several hours a week and come home sweaty and tired: the disadvantage is that your spouse will begin to wonder how someone so dedicated to the gym is still not ripped. To counter this, the philanderer must try to incorporate star jumps and bunny hops into their sexual repertoire. Other strategies include:

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Part 3: the GU clinic

It’s quite probable that if you have accidentally married a gay man you will at some point have to get yourself down to the GU clinic and stop pretending you have cystitis. The GU clinic should not be confused with the Gü clinic.

In the olden days only Samuel Pepys, prostitutes and sailors really got venereal disease. This meant that the clap clinic was hidden away rather like the things in the cupboard under the stairs, or Wolverhampton. These days, anyone can have a sexually transmitted disease and so clinics are friendly places with pictures of Chlamydia. Middle aged people will be surprised to learn that this is not, as they had thought, a variegated hardy perennial.

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Never accidentally marry a gay man Part 2: how to know if your husband is gay

My married friends often ask me “Gill, how do I know if my husband is a gay?” This is perfectly understandable of course because these days most people are gay. Before the Internet there were hardly any gays. There were however (a) men who hadn’t found the right girl yet and (b) men who had found the right girl but for all the wrong reasons. Men who thought they might be gay really had one of only two choices: stay with their mothers in England and be clean shaven or go to San Francisco and grow a moustache. Some men suffered much confusion about their sexuality and this can be seen in photographs from the 1970s of men who had moustaches and a wife. The wife of a gay man is called a beard, and so these men had quite a substantial amount of facial hair, one way and another. Some men continue this tradition today and honour their brothers by growing a moustache in November. This is now known as Homovember.

Lesbians however have always been around. Lesbians are woman who are disappointed with men and therefore are as old as time itself. Queen Victoria famously didn’t believe in lesbians and so they had to go into hiding. This was a relatively straightforward business and simply meant not wearing stays and thus not getting married. They were then free to write novels and go on expeditions. It is for this reason that lesbians are known to wear sensible shoes. These are not the only sensible choices that lesbians have made.

In order to help my married friends who are hoping to discover if they have accidentally married a gay I conduct my simple four-point queerstionnaire.

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Part 1: how to get married

Yes of course I mean if you’re a straight woman. If you’re a gay man, then marrying a gay man might be rather nice. Or indeed, legal. Although one should neveraccidentally get married. Getting married ought to be something you go into with a certain amount of intent and planning. It would be wrong, for example, to be out shopping one Saturday, have a coffee, read the paper, buy new water filter cartridges, and get married. And to be perfectly honest with you, some Saturday mornings I don’t even bother having a shower, and I think if you’re going to get married it’s the least you can do.