Fanatics all across the world grow up. There comes a time in everyone’s life when the nookie becomes more important than finishing the paintjob on your Leman Russ company. So after all is said and done, you remember those tanks, dusting on your shelf, now sharing the space with Oscar Wilde and pot pourri. But you want to paint them. Fanatics rejoice, even in love, does dice war prevail!
The topic today my dear fanatics is the dicotomy of an adult, functioning and loving relationship, and the maintenance of our benevolent hobby. Not even two weeks ago my wife and I tied the knot and this article has been in the planning for a little over a month. Needless to say I have postponed writing in absurdum, as wedding planning and constant butterflies in my stomach have been preoccupying. Pesky schmetterlings….
But to the question at hand. There is a stigma lying over us fanatics. The stigma of the primordial nerd. No matter the fact that since some time back it has become actually cool to be a nerd and e-sports are the meta for any cool person out there, but us true fanatics? We are still the thing that goes bump in the night.
Did we miss the cool-train?
There is nothing odd with hearing someone speaking of their gaming passion, especially not computer games. Everyone is doing it and there are even professionals. But when it comes to miniature painting, this is not a first-date confession topic. But is it really that bad?
The problem isn’t the passion itself, it is having to hear ourselves trying to explain something we are crazy about in short, comprehensive and non-imaginary language, without sound effects. Can you imagine that conversation? ”Babe check it out, I got this sweet new warlord titan, it can litterally crush armies with its feet cruuuunschh paowwww pew pew!!”. Not too sexy.
The way I found to be the most natural and non-eyebrow-lifting way to explain my hobby is to say I paint miniature figures. Plain and simple. The usual follow-up question is, ”do you mean like toy soldiers?” and the natural way of answering is, yeah pretty much. It actually isn’t more complicated than that. Yes, yes, we want to explain to this guy/girl that it isn’t that simple and that we honor the ancient codes of Terra and the codex astartes, every piece of ceramite is sacred in its own right…. and so on and so forth. But boil it down, we are assembling and painting, toy soldiers. Once you have actually introduced your hobby, they have been able to lift up, touch and look at your minis, the questions of why and how will show up. Here you can at your significant other’s discression tell them the more detailed version of your hobby.
Show and tell!
One part of the stigma is that we, not just as fanatics but as members of the human race, are afraid of critisism. Especially when it comes to something dear to us, and we all know how attached we can become to a mini we have spent countless evenings on finishing.
A good thing to do is to show and tell. Trust me on this one, my biggest fan and also most objective critic is my wife. She has gone through great lengths to empower my fanatism. For one she actually bought glass cases for my imperial knights so that they would look pretty and as a part of the decoration on the bookshelves. Same thing goes for my partner in crime and co-member in Southern Painting, his biggest fan is his girlfriend, who actually said and I quote ” Of course honey I want you to buy that new kit, it is always more fun watching you paint than playing computer games”.
If your significant other truly loves you for who you are, they will be completely honest with you, but first and foremost supportive.
Me time vs. Us time
Let’s face it dear fanatics, your hobby time is me-time. In order for everything to run smoothly and gently, don’t be selfish. When it comes to hobbying, your significant other will usually be more understanding and generous with giving you the time and space to actually glue and paint, compared to playing or hanging out with your friends, but do not abuse this generosity.
There is basically a list for do’s and don’ts:
- Be honest about how long a project is going to take to finish
- Be honest about how much a project is going to cost
- Be straightforward on how much time you feel you want to put in at every session
- ALWAYS ask your significant other about plans you have coming up.
- Make a schedule; in essence sit down with your partner and say ”tuesdays and fridays I would like to have 4 hours of painting time”.
There is the matter of balance. If your significant other gives you time, you give time back. It is simple as that. If this balance is disrupted, you will both end up in a situation where you start demanding and taking time. This will start a fight, I guarantee it.
If you are reasonable and honest, you will find that you get plenty of hobby time, plenty of support and plenty of structure. Since you actually schedule and plan your hobby time you will become more effective, gradually paint away that massive pile of unfinished boxes, for every finished model you will get praise and you will enjoy your time together so much more. Win win I would say. Keyword here is honesty and don’t be selfish. Be generous, you will be surprised how much love and generosity will be returned to you.
Time for game, but parents-in-law are coming
This should be rather self-explanatory concidering the previous section of the article, but with a few knicks and knacks. Remember in a relationship you are both on equal terms. What is important to your significant other should also be important to you, and vice versa. Plus when it comes to a very lustindulging activity such as playing with your toy soldiers, getting your priorities straight is a good thing. Take it from me dear fanatics. Every single time I have follwoed my own advice, my wife and I have had perfect harmony, as soon as I try to squeeze or bend the rules I have set up for myself, I end up hurting her feelings, but even more so, both our feelings. And you don’t want this, this places a stigma on your hobby, both for you and your significant other.
How far can you pitch it? – sharing the hobby
This is probably the final thing to think about when in a relationship with someone. Should you try to introduce them to the hobby? How much should I talk about the hobby? Should I invite my significant other to participate in an event?
There is no right or wrong here dear fanatics, but there is definitelly one person that should give the answer, and that is your partner. If they ask, explain. If they want to try, invite. If they say no more, you should concider putting a sock in it.
Another great anecdote about my wife. One morning I wake up and my wife has come home from work (she works night shifts at the hospital) and is all bubbles and happiness. She hands me a box of something she knew I needed for my imperial guard army and happily pulls out another box of high elf knights and exclaims that she wants to paint this. Being excited about this I got eager and told her how and when and what and….. bla. bla. bla. Why? It was all wrong, they weren’t my minis, they were hers! I realized this and said to her, honey, whenever you want we will sit down and I will help you the best way I can. We sat down one evening and got to work, we painted half a mini. That is that but we had actually a good time, especially when she was dictating the terms. Remember the don’t be selfish thing? Comes great into play here, she wanted to learn, I am supposed to be in the back seat just being supportive. We shared a very nice and fun moment.
Today my wife is encouraging me to buy Eldar Harlequins and Eldar. I am afraid of them. I know I am above avarage in skill when it comes to painting, quite a lot if I may be so bold, but Eldar scare me. I am afraid I won’t make them any justice. But thanks to my wife I actually think I can make it.
This is article is for my wife and best friend. Thank you so much honey for all the support and patience you have shown me in my fanatism. Thank you for tolerating my workbench and insane bits pile standing next to the bathroom. Thank you for being you. I love you.
To all fanatics out there, hobby on, share a laugh and time with your significant other. Be their biggest fan, just as they are yours.