So you’ve fallen for a rugged, outdoorsy archaeology-loving type, well done you! Cue a life filled with adventure, travel and… mud all over the house.
Yes, dating an archaeologist is a many-splendoured thing. Sure, your time together will (mostly) be good, but from time to time you will catch yourself wondering if you could be doing a heck of a lot better with someone who doesn’t live in a B&B outside Wolverhampton for six months of the year.
Well, maybe you could, but does that really mean you should ditch your shovel jockey? Since we didn’t want hordes of jilted lovers who are all highly skilled in the use of heavy tools coming after us, here’s a few things you’ll lose if you do (plus a few things you’ll gain). Consider this our Valentine’s Day treat.
Gain: Waking up at a normal time
Gah! That stuff has been in the ground for thousands of years, but for some reason your archaeologist still has to be on site ready to dig at 8am. Plus the site is in Cambridge and you guys live in London, but her company has decided not to shell out on accommodation so now she’s commuting. As you lie there at 5am listening to her clatter around like a drunk hippo, you remember once thinking that you weren’t sure you could ever love someone more than sleeping. Now you know you were right.
Lose: Your personal tour guide
Chances are your archaeologist has dug all over your hometown, and will be unstoppable font of knowledge about your local area that’s often verging on obsessive. On days when the weather is nice and you have nothing to do but wander around hand in hand, your archaeologist can transform even the most mundane of suburban streets into a glorious patchwork of history, transporting you to other times and places and doing it all for free with a glint of passion in his eye that makes you fall in love all over again.
Gain: A mud free house
Boots, trousers, coats, hands, face, walls, food, sheets, ceiling. Everything you own has mud on it. You’ve tried everything short of hosing your archaeologist down at the door (although you have got as far as pricing a few power sprays so that idea is still on the table), but still she has managed to drag enough soil into the house to have it reclassified as an allotment. There is now so much mud from so many sites that the only way to work out where it all came from would be to get in a team of archaeologists to dig it, which would be annoyingly counter-productive. Dump her now and you’ll never have to sleep in a bedroom that smells like a potato patch again.
Lose: Free stationery and gloves
Think of how cold your morning bike ride would be without the industrial strength, hi-vis gloves your archaeologist stole from work for you? Imagine how annoying it would be next time you need to write down a note whilst on the phone and there isn’t a pot full of pens that he has accidentally brought back in his trousers. Digging the garden bare handed now? Mistakes left un-rubbed out? This would be the life you condemned yourself to if you dropped him. Sure you could buy your own, but who in this day and age wants to add extra costs to their domestic budget; dating an archaeologist is saving you tens of pounds a year and you know you can’t walk away from that!
Gain: The chance to date someone with money
Archaeologists are almost universally skint. In fact, if you ever see one out flashing the cash about its pretty safe to assume that they’ve got a ‘Breaking Bad’ situation going on. If you leave your archaeologist then you give yourself a chance of meeting someone with such wild and exotic things as; A Fixed Term Contract (Ooooooo); A Pension (Aaaaaaa); or dare you dream, Savings (Ee Gads!)? For anyone who ever wants to own the house they live in, it’s time to go fishing in richer waters.
Lose: Get out of jail free card with boring people at parties
We’ve all been there, trapped in the corner of the kitchen at a party whilst some guy drones on at you about the relative merits of different kinds of lagging, but you’ve got an ace up your sleeve. Archaeologists are like lightening rods for dull people; you can almost guarantee that anyone who can monologue for 20 minutes about British Gas would jump at the chance tell an actual archaeologist about an unusual rock they once saw. Just drop the hint that your other half digs for a living and stand well back as all the dull in the room is drawn to her and you get party with the cool kids.
Gain: A life-line for your liver
Two things archaeologists do better than most people are complaining and drinking. They regularly combine both of these disciplines in a post work trip to the boozer. As such, you’ve probably spent a lot of time drunk because, a) if you want to spend time with him you’ll have to tag along because he’s gonna be there a while and b) you’ll need to drink to put up with all the moaning. Sure you love the guy, but your doctor and internal organs would thank you if you moved on.
Lose: Half a sexy back
Hours of shovelling gravel and digging through clay has left your archaeologist looking like a lopsided Adonis. This is perfect if you are harbouring a secret Quasimodo fetish, but even if you don’t, you can still work it to your advantage. With the simple application of a full length mirror placed between their shoulder blades you suddenly have access to two lovers for the price of one; point it towards their dominant digging arm and you will see a muscle bound love machine, but angle it towards their other half and you will see the comfy torso of someone who will keep you warm whilst snuggled in for a Netflix marathon.
Gain: Freedom from the shadow of BBC weather
The tyranny of rain and cold is a constant refrain in the life of an archaeologist. She talks to you at length about how it was ‘the wrong kind of rain’ when there has been a down pour that was too light to stop working, but still enough to soak her. You are kept up to date on every slight change in temperature, every breeze and how the sun is (shocker) hot. Without an archaeologist by your side, you’ll be back to chancing it with an umbrella and contemplating the fact that ignorance really is bliss.
Lose: The ‘other’ stuff
Archaeologists are renowned for their incredible attention to detail, ability to carry out repetitive movements and being delicate when necessary. Make of that what you will.
PS. Paul is taking his sell-out Edinburgh show ‘Ask An Archaeologist’ on tour. It’s dead funny! You can catch him in Liverpool (February 16th), Nottingham (7th March), Leicester (9th March), Cambridge (16th March) and London (18th March). For ticket and venue info go to www.paulduncanmcgarrity.co.uk.
Dig with us at Lindisfarne in 2017
Join the search for the heart of Anglo-Saxon Northumbria