I remember the day that I realised that my boyfriend was a weirdo.
It was back in November of 2011 on a cold Winter's night. My boyfriend Jay had been working on the computer in the living room and stopped to grab himself a cold beer from the fridge. I entered and spotted the vacant seat in front of the PC and decided to seize the opportunity to quickly check my email.
I sat down at the PC, lifted my right hand, cupped it over the mouse and wiggled it to jolt the computer to life.
Suddenly I was startled.
Startled by the crash of a beer bottle hitting the kitchen floor. Startled by the thunderous clatter of footsteps pounding across the laminate. Startled by a shrill yell 'Nooooo!' as Jay leapt into the air like a outstretched panther pouncing to snatch the mouse from my palms.
My heart stopped in my chest.A dagger of fear drove through the centre of my core. What was happening?
What did he not want me to see on the screen?!
In that instant, my gut told me it was another woman. He was having an online affair with a big breasted blonde and my life was about to come crashing down around me.
But my guts were wrong. It wasn't another woman.
It was...an Action Man.
Yes, pictured on the screen in front of me was a muscly plastic army man sporting a menacing glare whilst wielding a large threatening pistol. I didn't know what to think!! How does one react when they find that their significant other has been gawping at plastic army dolls on the internet?!
I felt like Monica in Friends when she walked in on Chandler watching a shark attack programme with his hands down his pants. She thought that he was into shark porn! Was my man into Action Man porn?!
Thankfully there was an explanation. Jay said that this was 'no ordinary Action Man' but a highly sought after figure called the 'Talking Commander' (circa 1978 to be precise). Jay passionately explained that he was in a bidding war for him on Ebay and the auction was about to close therefore I wasn't to touch ANYTHING.
My heart returned to a steady beat. He wasn't having a sordid affair with a robust blonde woman. He was just a doll collector- sorry, a 'figurine' collector and had been building a collection since he was a small boy.
This discovery came as a huge relief to me as it explained the unusual behaviour that I had noticed since moving in with him. It explained why he would frequently sit at the computer until the early hours of the morning long after I'd gone to bed and why he often made hushed phone calls behind closed doors.
It also accounted for all of the mysterious little brown envelopes that were delivered to our flat and immediately swept off the doormat and hidden in the bedroom before I could see what was inside.
And what was inside these envelopes? Nothing untoward as I feared but little tiny items of Action Man clothing: jackets, shoes, miniscule plastic rifles or sets of flippers that completed the outfits of the boxed dolls that he had hidden away in his wardrobe.
Jay wasn't a despicable cheater and a harbourer of dark secrets. He was just a vintage doll collector....sorry 'figurine' and although it was rather strange (mega weird) I made my peace with it and welcomed the dolls into our lives.
That's what you do when you love someone, you accept them for who they are...dolls and all.
8 YEARS LATER:
I remember the day that I realised I'd married a bit of a genius....a soon-to-be wealthy genius in fact.
This day was last week when I sent Jay (my now husband) up to the loft to get the bag of Summer clothes down. He disappeared up the ladder and came back with several giant boxes FULL of his childhood toys. He had forgotten they were there and before I knew it, my living was trashed as he just had to open every single box and play with what was inside. The Summer clothes?...still in the loft.
My 44 yr old husband embarked on a mammoth nostalgic play session for three full days before coming to the conclusion that it was time to sell some of his beloved toys.
He was ready. The time had come.
He wanted to 'test the waters' and decided to sell something small first. He chose this teeny Bat Mobile Set.
Jay put it on Ebay and it had more internet views in a week than a video of Hugh Jackman doing naked lunges might if it existed (sadly it doesn't...I checked). Within a week, the price escalated from 99p and it sold for....
......a WHOPPING £607.
My jaw hit the floor! £607 for a tiny Batman car and helicopter!! Who knew that these things could be worth so much?! But Jay knew as it happens- and this was just the tip of the iceberg as he had far more valuable toys in his collection...all of the Star Wars toys to be precise. He called Christie's and the 'Star Wars Specialist' virtually had an orgasm down the phone when Jay told him what he had in his loft.
We are currently waiting to get the toys valued and if all goes well, we shall be able to retire early and live out the rest of our days drinking jugs of Magners on a big balcony in Bognor. This is the dream.
What amazes me is that I thought that I had married a penniless musician with a substantial musical gift and a penchant for collecting muscly plastic army men. But it turns out that I have married a genius antiques dealer who specialises in figurines....they're not dolls you know.
So if you want to marry a millionaire (a mild exaggeration), choose a man who is:
1. A big kid who loves playing with toys
2. Older (the older he is, the older and more valuable his childhood toys are)
3. Meticulous (If he has mild OCD issues then chances are he has kept all of the original packaging from his childhood toys)
However, if you are already married and divorce is not an option, just make sure that you don't become enraged and tear apart the boxes of your kid's Christmas toys just to satisfy the impatient toddler that is humping your leg in anticipation.
Be patient. Open the box with care. Preserve it.
Do this and you too could be drinking jugs of Magners on the balconies of Bognor in 40 years time!
I'll see you there millionaire.
The Commander, his threatening pistol and his adoring wife.