Photo by Tijana87

My husband and Zoe

Claudia Savage-Gore is irked by her man’s latest obsession

Hot House

This article is taken from the February 2024 issue of The Critic. To get the full magazine why not subscribe? Right now we’re offering five issues for just £10.

Delighted to hear that my friend Pandora’s trip to St Lucia was a disaster. Pandora has been doing New Year in the Caribbean since school, which induced feelings of acute envy back then (my mother thought winter sun — unless skiing — was tacky) and still gives me an annual jealousy hernia.

Anyway, Pandora had an awful time and won’t be returning because the resort had become a Four Seasons, where nobody cared that her family had been visiting for three generations or knew her children’s ridiculous names. Kenzo! FFS. And no, my own kids’ names (Minnie, Lyra, Hector) are not comparable. All of them pass the shouting in Waitrose test.

Meanwhile, we were stuck in the Home Counties with Will’s parents (shoot me now) on a phone/tablet marathon. Not that kind of tablet — or only in my case. The children, on their bloody devices. Hector disappeared down a Minecraft hole on waking, all day every day. What is Minecraft anyway? Making square farms? What did I do to deserve this?

At least I can relate to looking at other women in bikinis and heavily filtering my own selfies

I thought boys were meant to be like dogs and need exercising, but Hector is actually even more agoraphobic than his older sisters. The girls weren’t much better, though at least I can relate to looking at other women in bikinis and heavily filtering my own selfies.

And now here we are, staring down half term! Why are private school terms so sodding short? And yet again I’ve left it too late to book anywhere decent in Cornwall, and we’re too broke for skiing, so I’m answering all the school gate enquiries about whether we’re going away with a breezy “No, thought we’d just have a chilled one!”

As if home is “chilled” and Soho House is somehow stressful. Baffled by the number of mothers who have congratulated me on this decision, as if their upcoming safari holidays are wildly reckless and causing them intense anticipatory stress. Judging by Pandora, this may actually be true.

We actually can’t go anywhere anyway, because Will is so obsessed with Zoe — his new year’s resolution (i.e. doomed attempt to lose weight). This is Zoe as in the health tracker device and app, not another woman. That would actually be easier. The signs were there years ago, when he first got a FitBit, then Apple Watch, then the dreaded sleep tracker, which was possibly the most irritating of all.

Actually, to be fair, I bought him the sleep tracker knowing it would result in him taking himself off to the spare room to get a high sleep score — which it duly did. But I was still subjected to hearing how he “only” got six hours of sleep, every morning.

And Zoe has proved just as annoying, if not more so, because it’s mostly about his poo which we must refer to as his “gut biome”. After the initial testing process, when he was devastated to discover he doesn’t harbour a special unicorn bacteria that basically keeps you thin whatever you eat, he’s now fixated on Kefir, avoiding a random list of foods and preaching about high protein midday “breakfasts” at any opportunity.

I mean, it’s not like I actually want to go out to dinner with him, but it’s even more of a buzzkill when your husband won’t accept a table any later than 6pm — as if we’re already in the care home.

Obviously I’m slightly intrigued to know if I have the special unicorn bacteria, but I can’t give Will the satisfaction of signing up myself, or he’ll think I’ve finally taken his advice on something. I give it until May.

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