Thursday, 6 August 2009

Ambition: The Drive of your Wife

Anyone who knows me knows that my wife wears the trousers in our relationship - while I sit around in my pants.

So today, while she was on a conference call with the director of a multi-national corporation, I was leafing through some magazines and contemplating me/her (and by extension men/women) and our differing ambitions. In my pants.

First up: GQ, which I felt like a fraud even buying, endowed as it is with desires that I couldn't dream of hoping of aspiring to. However, the cover story titled "Lie. Cheat. Steal: Why we'll do anything to get to the top" had a profound effect on me, albeit in a different way to most of the urban sophisticats who read it. The message I took away from this "guide to ambition" was a quote from the associate editor's dad: "you cannot fake hunger".

It's obvious, but also liberating - because, while I've been aware of my lack of ambition for years, I've never allowed myself to be... OK with it. I've felt like the underdog in the ultimate dork-umentary The King of Kong, who sets out to beat a Donkey Kong high score that had remained uncontested for over 20 years. His wife says, "he was smart, he was an athlete, he was talented - and for whatever reason he could never get those to fit." Sure, I'm no athlete, but I too am lacking something - focus, self-belief, the readiness to risk failure... some essential component of the drive to succeed.

So I'm destined to play second-fiddle to a smart, talented woman who has way more drive than me. And that's OK too. The G2 in today's Guardian features excerpts of interviews from Harper's Bazaar with sickeningly successful power couples, but ones in which the woman is the star. The other halves of the likes of Helen Mirren and Vivienne Westwood pay tributes like "the thing that turns me on... is talent", "she has a remarkable capacity for focus... she knows what she wants, and insists on making progress" and (bless you, David Bailey), "shit, there's something special about this one". Of course, all the women happen to be beautiful - depending on how you feel about wor Viv or civil rights campaigner Shami Chakrabarti (good hair for her pixie-like frame, but still...). But what attracted these men, who are no slouches themselves, to these women is their talent and ambition - precisely the kind of attributes that would make insecure buffoons like Silvio Berlusconi shit their tiny, tiger-print pants.

Hmmmm, back to pants. I, for one, am going to sit right here in my drawers and bask in my own laziness, and the reflected glow of the most talented, driven, destined-for-greatness woman in the world. And you all thought I was gay...

[Illustration: when I can be bothered]

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