The first time my flatmate asked me if I thought we should go for a Wii, I very nearly tore up my copy of the lease. After the second time he made the suggestion, I changed the locks on the bathroom doors and took to sleeping with a hand grenade under my pillow. It was only on the third time, when as per my instructions he had handwritten his request and slid it under my bedroom door, that I finally called off the restraining order. In my defence, the confusion wasn’t helped by his vague hand-waving gestures, which I feel constituted a decidedly double-edged mime.
Being grown men, however, we were able to laugh it all off in the best tradition of awkward manly moments. And come the morrow, I was resolved to go hunting. From the moment I stepped outside I felt different. The blood was pounding in my head, my stomach started to tighten and my nostrils began to flare. Rough, primal urges which had lain dormant for years beneath the facade of H&M sweaters and pleated chinos violently overtook my senses. With the frenzy of the chase burning the inside of my skull, and the coursing of sweat and adrenaline sending millenia of evolution sprawling into the gutter, I took the Piccadilly Line towards Green Park and then changed to the Northbound Victoria line for Oxford Circus.
“Drops the wind and stops the mill;” remarks little Buttercup with a certain degree of poignancy. As a woman clearly possessed of an intimate knowledge of the turbulent emotions that exist among our freshwater wildife, she goes on to point out that “turbot is ambitious brill”. True, no doubt, but scarcely germane to the issue at hand. “Gild the farthing if you will,” she adds, “yet it is a farthing still”. Ah. Rarely, I venture to say, have truer words been sung in a contralto register. You can take Man out of the outback, give him language, fire and music, teach him to substitute spas for spears, Asda for adzes and archness for archery, but you can’t take the outback back out of Man. Not if you want to remain coherent, at any rate.
Whether enjoying the London light from the 40th floor of the Gherkin, or reading the London Lite at 220 feet below ground on the Northern Line, modern man is intrinsically the same hunter-gatherer as his great^100 grandfather before him. And there is nothing that gives him as much pleasure as the excuse to have a quick forage. He does not have the patience to browse. He does not have the tact to engage a shop assistant in conversation. He does not have sufficiently developed eyesight to differentiate between Air Force Blue and Cerulean, and is not in possession of the glands which enable him to care. But if you give him something to find, the money to buy it with and enough time to get lost on the way, he will be as happy and malleable as a lump of Pleistocene.
And as I emerged onto Oxford Street on the morning in question, with my sharpest debit card by my side and my quarry firmly within sight, I took manly, purposeful strides towards the HMV. Some short while later, I walked out into the evening breeze with a lifeless Wiildebeest in my hand and an overwhelming feeling of pride in my chest. I travelled home, and dumped my catch on the dining room table. “Honey, I’m home!” I bellowed, as I collapsed into the armchair and swung my feet onto the desk. I was still picking up the chess pieces when my flatmate came into the room. As he grunted in recognition of my achievement, I let him take care of the very distinctly un-manly task of dealing with the wires and plugs and things.
And now it sits, a testament to our masculine heroics, stuffed and framed over our mantlepiece between the gilt-edged mirror and the landlady’s collection of scented candles. And as we relax in the evenings, we can be content in the knowledge that our adventures are behind us, and we now have a Wii and a gripping story to tell our children. Streamlined, smooth and sexy, oozing with a ‘pick-up-and-play-me’ urgency that we both find irresistible. This is still the Wii, of course – not the unborn and biologically improbable children.