There’s nothing better for the ego than hearing your woman refer to your bulging manly muscles. That’s why it’s such a subtle form of manipulation. Mrs Grump is very good at this.

We had to have a washing machine repairman out. Having fixed the problem, he had left the machine not quite in the right place. So as I returned home from work, having said hello to the lovely Mrs Grump, she asked if I could move the washing machine back with my big muscles.

Of course, I could see straight through this. But still, I didn’t challenge or question it. That’ll be the ego running the show.

I stood facing the washing machine as it stuck out of its small gap at a slightly jaunty angle. I felt the pulsing energy coursing through my veins. I briefly considered stretching first but didn’t bother. Spartans don’t stretch, I thought.


Stretching is For The Weak!

I stepped, actually no, I bounded towards the machine like a superhero about to lift a giant boulder off someone trapped underneath.


This bloke has more hair than me.

As I started to inch the washing machine one way and then the other trying to get it into position, I soon realised that it wasn’t going to be such a straightforward job after all.

I pulled it out and tried again, then realised that it was in exactly the same jaunty angle that it had been left in by the repairman. “What kind of evil sorcery is at work here?” I said under my breath so as to not let Mrs Grump that her other half with his “bulging muscles” was struggling and getting not only very frustrated but also a bit of a sweat on.

Wriggle wriggle wriggle. Wriggle wriggle wriggle. Still the bloody same!

Our flooring in the kitchen is tiled in a slate tile, which as a natural product, is uneven and is raised in various places and it was as if the back foot of the machine (I don’t know the proper term for whatever it is, I’m calling it a foot!) might have been caught between two tiles. I just couldn’t get enough purchase or lift.

I did that thing that many men do at a time when a manual task is a bit tricky. Take a step back, pull your trousers up a bit, place hands on hips, sigh and scratch your head with a scrunched up face as you try to work out how such a simple task can suddenly seem like the hardest Sudoku problem ever created.

Then Mrs Grump walks in, in her dressing gown. Hello, was I about to be rewarded for my manly work?


“Are you struggling?” she asks.

“I just can’t seem to get a good purchase on it. I’ll sort it. I think it’s caught at the back.”

“Let’s have a look,” she says and then get’s both hands on the machine and somehow harnesses the strength of ten tigers and wriggles the machine into the position that I’d been trying to get it in for the past 15 minutes!

It must have been like when mothers lift a car off their child in moments of extraordinary physical ability. Similarly here, the thought of a slightly jaunty, un-centred machine fired up the same kind of physical response within her.

I looked on open mouthed as she wriggled it into position then as my masculinity was being completely pulverised, I felt the need to step in in some vain kind of show of the little masculinity I had left within me at that point. “Here, let me finish it off love,” and sure enough I did – by moving it about 3mm. It was pretty sad to be honest.

It was done. The machine was back, housed within its rightful place. But how did she do it?

“How did you do that?” I was now red faced, not only from the physical exertion but mainly from embarrassment. “I’ve been faffing about with it and then you just stepped in and move it relatively easily! You said I had bulging muscles.”

“You have,” she replied unconvincingly, “It was probably something to do with physics or something.”

Yes, physics, I tell myself, it was definitely some sort of physics. Twenty minutes ago, I was a Spartan, now I’m reduced to a seven stone weakling with Xena warrior princess as a missus!



“Definitely physics.” I say pathetically. I wondered whether I could tweet Neil De Grasse Tyson but decided that I’d never get this story into 140 characters.


“Yes, that’s the feeling of your balls shrivelling up”

I needed to reaffirm myself as the man of this house. I needed to step up and regain control as a man. I contemplated tearing a phone book in half, crushing an apple in my palm or wrestle with the postman.

But instead, the next evening, I decided to fix the fence.

Sure enough, I had put my foot down as the man in this relationship. I was once again, the bloody bloke! I mean, nothing says “Man” more than getting the toolbox out does it? I did a proper job too! I used the drill, used screws, did a bit of sawing and when I got a splinter in my finger, despite it really really hurting, I didn’t cry.

Me Man!


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