As a bloke, you know you're in need of a masculinity/testosterone audit, when you start getting excited by the prospect of decorating. Now I'm not knocking the value of a lick of fresh paint, or even a roll of funky wallpaper (I like to think of myself as a modern man, after all),but come on, when did the sense of adventure die? This isn't to be confused with "shed syndrome". No, this is much worse. For those of you closer to 20 than 40, "shed syndrome", is the technical name for middle-aged man's need to consolidate his territory. Think of it like a woman's tendency to "nest", but with the addition of a drawbridge and gun emplacement. "Shed" man, is likely to be overheard comparing lawn treatments, home-brew vintages, and the pro's and con's of taking the Channel tunnel vs flying. It is a moment in life to be if not embraced, then at least acknowledged. But the decorating thing is something else entirely, isn't it?
After all, it seems like only yesterday I was obsessing over the exploits of the SAS, season 3 of "The Unit", and other such wellsprings of unadulterated machismo. Yeah, I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, that's all vicarious thrills, what about my own adventures? OK, I'm no Bear Grylls, but I have been known to go up mountains with ropes and crampons and do stupid things with fire. Heck, I've even whittled my own tent pegs. Sadly, the knife collection has long been gathering dust in the loft, and the climbing gear in danger of mildew. "What went wrong?" and "is it too late to rediscover my inner Rambo?" are the questions I long to ask my younger, butcher self. In the silence that follows this moment of tormented soul-searching, I hear a small voice. The voice says " go up to the loft, get the tent down, and use it, seek rocks and climb them." I shall obey. After I've applied this undercoat.