Putting up with some indecent exposure

2008-04-29 00:00

After almost 16 years of wedded bliss, my husband has forsaken me for a new love. At first I ignored it, thinking it was a passing fancy, a little part-time dalliance, but I was wrong, for it appears that the man has found his grand passion.

Several months ago his interest was aroused by the neat, compact body and fine features of a nifty little number from China.

Following lengthy consideration on his part and much consternation on mine, he finally got his hands on the object of his desire, with every spare moment since spent engrossed with this new-found distraction.

While no one can accuse me of self-neglect, I simply don’t possess the same fascinating or scintillating assets, and, to be honest, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to compete.

Initially, he was quite discreet and only indulged in what he calls his “creative expression” in private. But recently, with a confidence that belies his usually reserved nature, the new love has been paraded in public and proudly flashed in front of family and friends and anybody else who doesn’t cover their face and flee as soon as he whips it out.

I even caught him extolling its finer virtues to my best friend the other day, which I thought particularly rude since she’d come to visit me and not to admire my competition.

Then, to add insult to injury, she wanted to know why I didn’t get involved too.

Nowadays, my husband’s focus is centred on recognising opportunity, creating the right “mood” with careful lighting and then fiddling with the length of his exposure.

And don’t even get me started on angles.

I’ve found him contorted into some very strange and awkward positions, to the point where I was convinced he’d been studying the Kamasutra. And given his avid interest in things Oriental, it was a fair assumption.

Until now, there has been little that could entice my beloved from beneath the duvet before 9 am on a weekend. However, of late, he seems to possess boundless energy and creeps out of bed with the sparrows, disappearing for hours at a time before staggering home flushed and exhausted, looking like he’s been rolling in the clover.

My reluctance to join in the fun has resulted in his seeking out others who share his passion. These cosy little groups take delight in comparing their tackle or discussing the performance of their equipment.

Most of this would be bearable except I never know when my dear husband is going to pop up and flash in my direction. The other day I was innocently tending my begonias, when, like an army sniper, he crawled from among the foliage where he’d clearly been lying in wait for me. But when I confronted him, he had the audacity to admit it wasn’t me he was waiting for, but for some other bird.

At this point I decided if I couldn’t beat him then I’d better take my friend’s advice and join him, and we set about acquiring a Chinese import for myself.

“It’ll be great,” enthused my man, “just imagine how much fun we’ll have with them on holiday.”

In order to get the best out of our new holiday companions we signed up for a course together — although I could have done with a support group for distressed wives.

Up until then I had considered my husband’s apparatus to be quite substantial, even if it was rather dinky and came from the Far East. Then I caught a glimpse of everybody else’s and underwent a swift change of heart.

Looking from my husband’s little gadget to my even tinier one, there was no doubt about it — I had been short-changed.

Clocking my stricken face, the lecturer said: “Don’t worry dear, photography is a lot like sex, it’s not the size of your equipment that counts, but rather how you use it.”

Well, that was a relief as you can imagine.

• Heidi Steyn is a freelance writer who lives in Pietermaritzburg.

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