What men really think about family holidays


What men really think about family holidays

Simon Davis reveals what your partner is really thinking when you go on that ‘idyllic’ summer break

By (Daily Mail)

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Published: Tue 19 Aug 2008, 10:19 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 2:50 PM

FAMILY HOLIDAYS: men view them the way they view Christmas - something with the potential for fun tinged with a bit of unpleasantness.

Like broken glass hidden in ice cream.

First there’s the journey.

Whether it’s being stuck in the airport and used as a human cash machine, or holed up on the M4 being forced to listen to ‘Now That’s What I Call Music 83' and playing I-spy.

Then there’s the bickering, of course. During one particularly difficult journey, a friend’s wife turned to him and said “I spy with my little eye something beginning with D-i-v”

which seemed a bit harsh.

Trouble starts

The airport is the place for the first major fracas - let’s call it the “seven-hour hitch.”

You’re on the way to the departure gate as one child insists she rides the trolley while your little boy decides to relieve himself in the (ridiculously expensive) Boden shorts Mummy insisted he wear.

Even hint at this stage that it is all getting that tiny bit stressful and it’s an excuse for women to deliver, with relish, their favourite line of the year: “Now you know what it’s like for me every day!”

Then all hell breaks loose.

“Well, you try doing my job every day,” you foolishly reply.

Thing is, they probably could, and there’s no way most of us men could look after children day in and day out.

The wise man adopts the Kofi Annan mode - diplomatically accepting defeat - and looks to score points elsewhere.

The beach is a good place to start. Men don’t like lying around and doing nothing, which is handy, as someone needs to make sure the children don’t drown or get buried, sunburnt or stolen.

Man’s forte

Entertaining children while on the beach is a man’s strongest hand on the family holiday. So men build castles, splash about, throw balls, catch crabs, buy ice creams and play boules - relentlessly.

Most women are useless at all this because it demands unflattering positions in swimming costumes.

But most men love it: the children end up adoring Dad, and there’s the added coup that wives are smitten (the savvy man knows that the true way to a woman’s heart is through making her children laugh).

It’s a full house.

This tactic is even more important if you’re on the extended family holiday, because no matter how long you have been married, you remain on trial.

In-laws will sit on the beach like umpires in a dressage competition and judge your skills as a father and husband. Therefore, just keep doing stuff. If you can bag a “He’s great with the children,” the benefits can last until next year.

The extended family holiday is a doddle compared with the joint family holiday, however. Never in the field of human misery has a more feverish, cumbersome and torturous recreational event been devised. Why do women organise these bloody things? Most men would rather eat their own hair.

A spectacle

Thing is, men don’t really like other people’s children - particularly not on holiday.

We also can’t resist a bit of competition, so there’s the awful spectacle of dads taking beach cricket seriously, or trying to be Michael Phelps in the pool and doing tumble turns.

Also, any chance of a school gates flirtation with one of our wife’s friends is certain to be dashed once she sees us in our trendy but ill-fitting Vilebrequin shorts. In a cunning ruse, women buy these in a size they expect their husband to fit into. Men are too proud not to wear them, so they squeeze in and are mercilessly teased for the resulting love handles.

Then there’s the dreaded cooking rota that invariably turns into a massive showdown as women vie to create the most lavish meals and the men are sent into darkest Cornwall to find Thai basil.

Still, anything’s better than one of those package family holidays that young couples with children have to go on. A week in Tbilisi would be more relaxing.

Swanky resorts

Unless you can afford one of those swanky resorts where children are deposited after breakfast and returned at teatime with an even tan, some awardwinning shell pictures and improved French, it’s ghastly.

In the less expensive versions - the ones most of us go on - they have buffets of swill, rooms like Guantanamo Bay and “nannies” who look as if they might eat your children.

Next week, I will go on the annual extended family holiday to Cornwall with nearly 20 people, and I shall hit the beach and keep digging, splashing, catching crabs and playing badminton like seaside’s Daley Thompson. It’s the only way.

You see, ultimately, the central issue with the family holiday is that, for the majority of men, it’s the only time of the year we get to spend a continuous stretch of time with our family.

Thrown in at the deep end, most men don’t have the foggiest idea what to do. So best just to keep digging.

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