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Roddy Doyle: A man condemned...to a spa weekend with the wife


Roddy Doyle. Photo: Mark Condren

Roddy Doyle. Photo: Mark Condren

Roddy Doyle. Photo: Mark Condren

The wife wants to go to a spa. I asked her what she wanted for her birthday and that’s what she came up with.

 It serves me right. Why didn’t I just get her a scarf or one of those One4all vouchers — or even both?

The problem is, she expects me to go with her. I went to a Christian Brothers school. It wasn’t a happy time; they were mad bastards there. But I’d rather go back to the Brothers for a year than go to a spa for a long weekend.

You knew where you were with the Christian Brothers. But I’m not even sure what a spa is.

I’m looking at one on the laptop when the daughter walks into the kitchen.

— What’s that? she asks.

— A spa, I tell her.

It’s actually a photo of about 10 women in white dressing gowns, and a man — he’s in a dressing gown too. The women look like they’re having a great time but the man looks a bit lost. Not lost, exactly — his face reminds me of Fredo’s in The

Godfather when he knows he’s going to be shot.

— It looks fab, says the daughter.

— Does it?

— Ah, yeah, she says.

I point at the man.

— Look at that poor sap.

— What’s wrong with him? she says. —That’s just a projection, Dad. He probably thinks it’s epic. Oh, wow; massage therapy, body treatments, hot stone massage.

I whimper. At least, I think I do. Some sort of noise comes out of me.

— What’s wrong with you? she asks me.

— Would I have to do all that? I ask her back. — If I went.

She sits beside me. Actually, she shoves me off the chair and I’m standing beside her as she takes over the laptop.

— There’s loads of stuff for men as well, like, she says.

— Is there?

My eyes are swimming, she’s hopping from page to page so fast

— Look, she says. — Cool. There’s a man package.

— A what?

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