Watering the garden

Trinidad Express
June 12, 1999

THE BOOK of Life begins with a man and a woman in a garden. It ends with Revelations. One of the most interesting revelations I have heard recently concerns gardens.

It seems that some men and women prefer gardening to sex, choosing the flower bed to the marital one. This was the major finding of a survey on lifestyle trends conducted by Home and Garden Television among Americans identified as home-centred and interested in such areas as gardening, decorating and home crafts. It found that 52 per cent of the men in the group preferred working in the garden to having sex, which was the preference of 47 per cent. Among women, 42 per cent preferred the garden, 31 per cent sex and the rest other (unnamed) pursuits.

It is difficult for a West Indian to understand that so many men and women do not give either a fig or a fork for sex, squash the idea completely or do not carrot all for it. When a West Indian woman complains that her husband is interested in hoes it has nothing to do with gardening. Similarly, when a West Indian man, like calypsonian Shadow, describes the joys of "Watering the Garden", it also has nothing to with horticulture, regardless of how the word is pronounced. This is one time when we normally blunt people do not call a spade a spade or a garden a garden.

It is possible that the fear of contracting sexually transmitted diseases might actually turn people away from sex. However, a male gardener who shares a vegetable bed with his wife or some other woman, can still come into contact with her peas. Some people eschew the bedroom and embrace the garden for exercise. Others claim the bedroom is the best place for exercise since it is there that they usually get the most resistance.

There are indeed people who don't like sex at all, referring to it as one damp thing after another. There are those who exult in the joy of gardening rather than of sex. One of them, Charles Dudley Warner, in My Summer In A Garden, writes about gardening in the same way others would write about sex. He says, "To own a bit of ground, to scratch it with a hoe, to plant seeds and watch their renewal of life-this is the commonest delight of the race, the most satisfactory thing a man can do." I do not agree with Mr Warner, although there are others who would, particularly those whose experiences with sex might have been or are unsatisfactory. One man, for instance, when asked if his wife kept her eyes closed while making love, replied, "She sure does. She just hates to see me having a good time." A woman married to a ninety-year-old man, when asked to describe the quality of her sex life, sighed wearily, "It's the same thing weak in, weak out."

Some men realise that it is time to take up gardening when your wife gives up sex for Lent and you don't find out until long after Easter. There is also the case of the man who, after suffering a heart attack, was told by his doctor to cut down on his sexual activity. "A good rule of thumb," the doctor advised, "is to have sex only on days of the week with an 'r' in them." Thursday, Friday and Saturday were fabulous.

However, when a day passed, his passionate wife could not sleep, tossing and turning all the time. She finally shook her husband awake saying, "I need you." "What day is it?" he asked groggily. She replied, "Mondray."

Some men and women might also be disappointed because their sexual expectations are not met by their partners. Jerry Seinfeld, the comedian, says, "The basic conflict between men and women sexually is that men are like firemen. To us, sex is an emergency and no matter what we're doing we can be ready in two minutes. Women are like fire. They're very exciting, but the conditions have to be exactly right for it to occur."

Another comedian, Craig Shoemaker, has a similar perspective. He says, "To a woman, making love is like baking a turkey. You have to preheat the oven, stuff, baste, make some gravy-put it in for two hours, take it out-not done yet. Another hour, another hour-finally it's ready. For men, it's microwave cooking. Rip off the package, three minutes-Ding!-gotta take a nap for an hour."

I've had too much of gardening and am ready to throw in the trowel. I am not alone. There is a story about two big vegetable marketing companies who, after a price war that severely affected their profits, decided to settle their differences. They had a peas conference.

I've decided to make up with my lady. Tonight we're having a piece conference.

Tony Deyal was last seen in his garden attempting a revolutionary experiment. He plans to cross onions and beans to get tear gas.

A page from:
Guyana: Land of Six Peoples