GAZING hungrily through the kitchen window, I could see my dinner – a juicy steak – on the barbecue.
But I couldn’t eat it yet as my husband Malcolm, 38, was busy getting the perfect shot for the ‘Gram. Welcome to life with a budding “himfluencer”.
Until April this year, Malcolm, a university manager, was a social media virgin and would roll his eyes as I scrolled through Facebook. But then he set himself the challenge of cooking 100 barbecues this summer.
Bored in lockdown, he decided to chart his attempt on Instagram. I really didn’t pay much attention as he chose the handle @lockdown_bbq_king and began posting. Yet three months after his debut post, I’ve found myself an Insta widow.
Malcolm racked up 355 followers in his first month, and is now at 464. Our weekly food shop is dictated by what food will photograph best, and I’ve become used to discussing tactics to attract followers.
To make his photos look good he’s added lighting to the decking our barbecue sits on, and last week he queued outside a shop from 7.30am to buy a second grill.
While Malcolm’s joy when a post is well received is adorable, his dedication to Instagram is interfering with our relationship.
Last weekend I climbed into bed with a glint in my eye, only to find Malcolm too distracted by DMs from a fellow barbecue aficionado in the US about the pros and cons of marinades and dry rubs to take any notice.
I ended up rolling over in a huff as he sat in the dark, his face bathed with light from his phone. It felt like there were three of us in this marriage. Me, Malcolm and his Instagram account.
I’m not alone when it comes to living with a man who’s obsessive about his hobby. A quick poll of friends revealed many women in the same boat.
There’s Jessica, 42, whose husband took up beekeeping four years ago and has now become a “massive bee bore”. She says: “I go to bed alone while he makes beehives, and he’s invested hundreds into it.”
And spare a thought for Emma, 35, whose boyfriend buys old football shirts on eBay. “Packages arrive every day,” she says. “We live in a tiny flat and are fast running out of storage for his collection.”
I asked psychologist Katie Woodland if getting obsessed with hobbies is a gender issue – as it feels like it’s always men. “This isn’t a ‘male’ trait,” she says.
“But men are more likely than women to have the time to invest in their passion, while women may find it harder to prioritise their interests above responsibilities to kids and chores.”
I know what she means. There was the time I was cooking tea for our two boys, both of them swinging from my legs demanding attention, while outside Malcolm was on his hands and knees photographing a slab of salmon. FFS.
But Katie says hobbies can be beneficial. “When you get pleasure from something, there’s a release of feel-good dopamine and serotonin hormones,” she says.
“However, when hobbies cause you to neglect people and responsibilities, that’s when it stops being healthy. There needs to be a balance.”
Indeed. And with a summer of barbecues stretching ahead of us, I’ve told Malcolm that while I love his cooking, I’m feeling jealous.
MOST READ IN FABULOUS
Mum-of-two shows how she feeds her whole family for just £200 a month
STATE THE OBVIOUS
Woman shares apology from a bloke's seeing after finding out he's engaged
I spent £2.5k & 4 years transforming this boring beige home into my own paradise
June 21: Mars is headed for your home zone to turbo-charge a property quest
ICE TO KNOW
You've been making ice wrong – woman shows how to fill trays with no spills
Top doc answers 10 most common questions women ask about their vaginas
In the spirit of marital harmony, he’s agreed to cut back his time online and all ‘Gram chat is banned from the dinner table. Move over Instagram, I want my husband back! F
- Follow Malcolm @Lockdown_bbq_king.