Sunday, 19 August 2007

Blooms and balloons

I bought Nini some flowers this week. This should be a wholly unremarkable act ("Man buys wife flowers, Nation fails to notice") but in our family this is not the case: Nini will tell you that in the flower-buying department, I am not really that great. In fact, I am downright rubbish: she calculates (not without a certain bitterness) that I buy her flowers a little under once a year. She tells me that these are the not only the first flowers I have bought her since Neve was born (and Neve will be celebrating her first birthday in two weeks) but they are in fact the first flowers I have bought her since she got pregnant (um, possibly with Amelie).
But wait! Before you turn away in disgust, sickened to the very core at the pitiful level of appreciation I appear to lavish on my better half, I will add in my defence that:
a) I have bought her some form of chocolate product on at least a weekly basis, which she has unfailingly ripped from my hands and eaten at such speed that I often feel the need to check that I still have all my fingers
b) Everyone else bought her flowers when Neve was born. Why would I buy her more, when the house was already full of them? It doesn't make sense. Surely she appreciates them more now, when there's none already in the house and they were (obviously, given the length of time that has elapsed) totally unexpected?
c) I have never even so much as thought about beating her, despite the grevious woundings she has carelessly inflicted on my person over the years.

I am simply not very good at romantic gestures. Nini once told me that when we got married she had all these romantic ideas and ideals about what wedded life would be like, that are now slowly fading away. The metaphor she used was that these romantic ideals were each represented by a bright helium balloon, and when we were married she was holding a vast bunch of them in one hand. Then, during the course of our marriage, she has on irregular (but sadly frequent) intervals had cause to sigh deeply at my behaviour, and then carefully disentangle a balloon before wistfully letting it go, watching it float away forever: another ideal gone, and another, and another...
My laughing out loud at the analogy probably didn't win me any favours, either.

Anyway: I got her flowers this week. Seeing as I have already mentioned grevious woundings, there was a discussion, to whit:
P: (jokingly, with playful arched eybrows and twinkly eyes) "So: flowers, eh? Of course, suddenly buying your wife flowers is sometimes the sign of a guilty conscience..."
N: (deadpan)"You should have a guilty conscience. You should be feeling guilty you haven't bought your wife more flowers before now"
P: "No, I mean, you know, as a cover up. Men buy their wives flowers when they have been seeing other women. I just wanted to reassure you that I haven't been seeing other women."
N: (involuntarily laughing out loud) "Haha! Of course you haven't!"
P: "What do you mean, 'haha'? You think it's funny? It's not funny!"
N: "It is! The very idea is hilarious. You, and another woman! Hahaha! Like you've got the energy..."
P: (sullen)"I don't think its funny."
N: "Hahaha! Hahaha!"
P: (annoyed) "Hey, I am still an attractive man, you know..."
N: "Hahahaha!"
P "You stop it! Look at me, I still have a powerful sexual presence..."
N: (wiping genuine, unforced tears of mirth from her eyes) "Hahahahahaha! Stop it, my sides hurt..."
P: (fairly angry now) "Stop laughing at me, dammit, and acknowledge that I have still have a powerful sexual presence!"

Bah. And she wonders why she doesn't get more flowers....