Better half turned… – column

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I met him in Arnhem and recognized him. The son of a motorcycling acquaintance, now it seems that he is already a well-worn thirties. So the son, not the father. I knew he also rode a motorcycle and he was wearing an old leather jacket with a sewn on Triumph emblem. The jacket was really old. Not fancy vintage. As I said, he looked rather drunk for what I remembered as his age.

"John, how are you?" The politically correct answer from any vague acquaintance is, "Good." Then you chat a bit and you go on with your own business. The answer, however, was a heartfelt “Shit”. Then of course you can say: “Okay! Good to see you again. And strength is it.” But if you have a little more time in your life, you can say: “We'll go into the pub here and have a cup of coffee.”

It really went bad. The son of an acquaintance had moved in with his love after a few years of pioneering. She was not a motorcycle woman, but let him have his way as long as he continued to fulfill his relational and social obligations. He did. And then came The Wish for Children. That was a bit of a shock, because children's wishes are usually more of a woman's thing. And something for kids when it comes to wish lists. But because life is a give and take, parenthood seemed like an option.

At least the base seemed better than a couple I knew. There was an age difference of 23 years. And he already had grown children when she wanted at least one of her own when she was 35. That was neatly negotiated: She became pregnant, he bought a Harley. She had a Caesarean section. He has a fat tattoo. Also a deal. By the way, he made quite a few miles on his Harley. Because changing diapers had never been his thing.

But here in the pub the story turned out to be different. When my table partner came home one day, he found his Lief and her mother. The message was clear: Now that a child was on the way, the motorcycle had to get out the door. And there was no discussion about that. The young father-to-be was from the generation of men who still remember the first emancipation tsunami. So he was the kind of man who just realized that he didn't just have his soft side to sit on and that the kinder sculpted sex needed to be heard too. But the confrontation surprised him and he threatened to get angry like men 1.0 did. He gathered himself, took some clothes and a toothbrush and left for the nearby motel.

There, incidentally, he met a friend of his with a lady other than the one the friend was married to. Relationships remain difficult things apparently.

After a cooling off period of a few days, during which a lot of messages had arrived on his smartphone, he contacted his girlfriend. They made an appointment on neutral ground. The mother turned out to be there too. And the hard demand to get rid of the motorcycle had remained. The approach was clear: “The engine will go away, or it will be the end of our love.” Emotional blackmail could have been more subtle. And more effective.

It was quiet at the table for a minute or so. “I am sorry for you and your child. And not because of the child. But I don't want to share my life with such a mother-in-law and such a daughter. And you don't have to leave. I am gone." He greeted calmly. And walked outside. Where I ran into him.

“You know, if she had tackled it differently, I would have liked to put the engine away. But now I felt that I was sitting in front of a court. And how much she actually looked like her mother. The scales caught my eye. "

I've been a man for as long as I can remember. I know from experience that being a man is not everything. But I have not been tempted to convert to one of the currently 23 other possible genders. You have to make of it what can be made of it. And I have seen several emancipation waves. Emancipation in the truest sense of the word is fantastic. Just like democracy or liberalism.

But there is quite a tension between reality and theory. And between men and women. But still: emancipation is fine. But there is an age-old wise saying among men: “Women are like mushrooms harvested by themselves. If you hit the wrong one, it will destroy you.” And a hard decision can be a good decision.


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  1. My girlfriend has nothing to do with motorcycling.
    But after less than a year of dating, she bought a 5 year old Aprilia RS250 for my birthday because I didn't. . . . .

    Now 20 years later.
    I don't drive a motorcycle much, but oldtimer moped does,
    First done together, because then you can tour without all kinds of driving licenses.
    And now with a child seat on the back for the oldest.
    And he thinks it's beautiful.

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  2. Dolf Peeters belongs in the list of men who can write fantastically not only about cars and motorcycles, but also about life. I like him alongside Peter Egan and Sludgo's Mile Markers (from Bring a Trailer, highly recommended). Big fan, and thank you very much for his writings.

  3. Wise decision to resign, I would say, and also some sincere advice: Enjoy your freedom, and never fall for it again in your whole life.
    The comparison with the mushroom “if you find the wrong one it will destroy you” is a great wisdom!

  4. My wife and I were both riding motorcycles, when the first one came she stopped but didn't expect me to stop. Yet it did happen, when the second kid came I realized that I didn't get around to it myself anymore. Perhaps in time again, for the time being an MG convertible for the open air feeling and driving together..

  5. Hey Dolf,

    Am an avid JH fan (Johnny Hallyday), partly Flemish and Waal and lived in Provence, motorcycles make life clean, the togetherness when you meet, MAGNIFIQUE !!! Always nice people meet women , your attitude , be open to it , new world opens up !!!

    Msg and we are cool,


  6. Very nicely written and… the man was most likely right. You don't take away anyone's hobby if that hobby is safely practiced. Unless it's weird. Mother-in-law there: I would piss and poop at the same time with anger, so to speak. What is that older lady doing? I married my boyfriend and he would never take it from me. Unfortunately, he himself does not like two-wheelers, in any form. You can't have everything. Twelve years ago he had a massive brain haemorrhage, just in bed. All the while I take care of him at home. Men should be able to be there for each other, regardless of what the female and her parents think. Through music, love, motorcycle or whatever. Friendship comes first for me.

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    • If you have someone to love, if you love someone, if you have even a real friend, then you are a blessed person. And then it doesn't matter whether you, he, she or nowadays them is of the standing or usually sitting peeing kind.

  7. Shakespeare said it already:
    “If it's the daughter you want to win,
    look at the mother
    before to begin.”

    That was wise advice that I used to heeded my ears.
    I have (for many years now) a wife who enjoys my old-timer hobby, plus a sweet mother-in-law.

  8. Even before we got married, my wife demanded a sidecar: In case a little one comes, otherwise we can't drive anymore. In the meantime, she had already started taking motorcycle lessons herself.
    No need to say, but we're still together.

  9. Beautiful piece of Dolphin. 1 of 23 other genders. Heard it on the radio yesterday
    that Master and Slave cylinder is no longer allowed in things like “Lordco” (Car parts)
    I wonder what will take its place, a gender neutral shift and/or stopping aid?
    Who knows.


  10. Ha, here's a motorcycling lady, at least until ten years ago.
    Then I decided to stop after a relatively serious car accident through no fault of my own.
    I still miss it every day….
    But the relationship with my love (also wife) has never stood in the way of riding a motorcycle.
    And never the children, they liked to go with mommy…

    • Okay, women are smarter than men. But in this day and age you should also be able to afford stupid things as a member of the more pleasantly modeled sex! Just get another motorbike. Also fun for the grandkids!

  11. God damn, nice story, shit for that boy and the poor kid who can't proudly say in the schoolyard, "My father rides a motorbike and so does my grandfather".

  12. Many men (read: fathers-to-be) give in and find out as a 'returner' as a 'returner' what they have done at the time..
    There is only one person who decides to give up motorcycling, and no matter how selfish…that is the motorcyclist himself.
    Many relationships eventually break down because the dismounting motorcycle man realizes that he has made the wrong choice…

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