The International Writers Magazine:
In which he asks the question

The Big Question
Michelle Attridge

His perfect mouth with those kissable lips uttered the words that sent my heart into a flutter. They rolled off his tongue with such ease. In the exaggerated silence that followed, whilst I was hypnotized by said gorgeous mouth, I realised that he probably wanted an answer.

We Don't need men. Do we?

He repeated the question. If I was like most girls the ding dong of wedding bells would have echoed in my head, fireworks should have exploded and champagne corks popped, but my heart fluttered for all the wrong reasons. He was starting to look rejected…I would have to answer soon. Damn why did he have to ask this question now, at HIS house, when my plans A and B only work at MY house. Hallelujah his phone is ringing…I’ll start wracking my brains for a suitable answer.

Don’t get me wrong I love him in all his Adonis glory but could I really bear living with him for the rest of my life? For example, the dictionary hardly inspires confidence in the concept of commitment. It defines it as a "responsibility that restricts freedom of action" so why would anyone want to actually do it if even the all important dictionary lacks faith in it? What’s happened to the Independent Woman celebrated by Destiny’s Child? Even they have fallen into the trap of not practicing what they sing.

We don’t need men. What good are they for? Apart from fixing the odd light bulb here and there, and they’re not exactly great at that considering it takes them five days of sitting in complete darkness before they actually change it.

I enjoy my freedom thank you, even if it only entails a few piss-ups with the girlies every so often. I couldn’t do that if our relationship got more serious. He would want to come out with me even if I emphasized the fact that it was a GIRLS night out, and hint ever so subtly that he lacks the certain bits. And if he did (miraculously) get the hint, he’d then offer to come pick me up which would rule out the greasy kebab and drunken gossip on the walk home. The piss-ups would go out the window and in would come the dreaded dinner parties. Dinner parties…you can’t exactly get sloshed at them. You have to act the dutiful host with a fixed smile on your face, whilst you mess up the dinner and order takeaway from down the road, praying to God that no-one will notice. (Of course you can get sloshed at other people's dinner parties).

Commitment also comes hand in hand with meeting his parents and that all important Sunday lunch where his mum gives you evils across the table and his dad tries to get you drunk or even worse crack jokes that you forget to laugh at. Plus you try to make polite conversation, which proves very tricky when all the time you’re thinking back to when you had fantastic sex on this exact dining table when they were on holiday.
And don’t even get me started about moving in together. Boys aren’t renowned for their cleanliness. I’m not saying I’m a cleaning freak (far from it) but I do like things nice and tidy. Also if he moves in where do I go when I want to get away from him? He’ll follow me round like a love-sick puppy, and if I tell him to ‘politely’ go away he’ll start sulking and ask questions such as ‘Is it me?’ and ‘Don’t you love me anymore?’ so I will then feel guilty if I do actually manage to shake him off.

My hairiness would also become a problem if we co-habited…I would have to shave my legs (not to mention my bikini line) every day for fear of him being frightened off by the furry monster that I can quickly become. And make-up…he would have to see me bare-face in the daylight. My hideous real face which I’ve managed, and gone to great lrengths, to conceal would be exposed in all its ugliness. Oh no we definitely can’t move in together!

This is only the beginning of what he’ll ask. Next it will be can I leave the door open as I go to the toilet or when should we start trying for kids? O.K. granted I may have thought of their names (Mya Enola if it’s a girl, Harry Callaghan if it’s a boy) but that doesn’t mean I actually want them! God a girl can’t even plan her wedding song (‘Don’t wanna miss a thing’ by Aerosmith if you’re wondering) without people thinking she’s ready to don a white dress and run up the aisle. So the answer to his question is a big fat no. I’m not ready to have my freedom restricted just yet. Maybe in a few years time. I just have to tell him that.

He’s just finished on the phone. He repeats his death sentence question and his sexy eyes plead with mine. I feel myself giving in. Those eyes are just too irresistible. It might not be that bad I suppose. The words tumble out of my mouth before I can stop them (damn his gorgeousness)… "Of course you can leave your toothbrush at mine" I hear myself say.
© Michelle Attridge November 2005

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Michelle is a second year Creative Writing student at the University of Portsmouth.

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