Wednesday 31 December 2008

The danger of compliments

Late morning, on a day during that weird dead period between Christmas and New year - the period where if you are back at work then you wish you weren't, but if you aren't working you kind of wish you'd saved your valuable days holiday for something better. We are in the car en route to Dunstable to book a holiday, which serves to heighten my mixed feelings about both the trip and the day in general, as although I definitely want to go on holiday, I very much don't want to go to Dunstable.
Fortunately, my internal tensions are suddenly swept aside when my wife pays me a compliment: "I like the stubble you've grown on your chin" she observes. "In this light it almost makes you look rugged"
There is short pause, filled with wonder. Even the girls, singing in the back, fall silent in astonishment.
"Really?" I question, in confusion more than anything else.
"Yes," she says, idly turning away to gaze at the frozen fields rushing past. "It's nice. Sexy."
Now, I am sure there are men out there who receive compliments from their spouse so frequently that this seems trivial, even tiresome. And there are still others who have the presence of mind to know how to react appropriately, instantly returning a compliment to their partner and engendering a general sense of well being and mutual admiration in all parties concerned. Sadly, I fall into neither of those categories - I react like a habitually beaten dog who has been given a sudden inexplicable tickle behind the ears, and become quite giddy.
"Well," I say the blood rushing in my head, "I am a very sexy man..."
"Uh-huh" she says, in a tone of voice that is at best non-committal, but which I suspect actually signifies rapidly waning interest in the topic.
"Powerfully sexy..." I blunder on.
"Dangerously sexy, in fact."
"So dangerously sexy, I had to be registered with the United Nations... "
"You should probably stop talking now."
" a weapon. Because, you see, my weapons-grade sexiness is such a danger to..."
"Well done" she interrupts. "You've babbled so much egotistical rubbish in 10 seconds that it's really put me off you. Order is restored: I don't think you're sexy any more - I think you're an arse."
There is moment of silence while I consider this.
"I think you are are just saying that out of self-defence" I announce. "Because my sexiness is so overpowering, you need to try and protect yourself..."
She groans and turns the radio up. It is looking like a long day ahead for both of us.

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