Tuesday, 14 May 2013
My wife seems to be under the misapprehension that I am a flirt.
It has long been a standing joke in our household that, if everybody has some kind of secret super power, then mine is the ability to charm ladies of a certain age, waitresses and checkout girls. Well, as super powers, I'm pretty sure there are worse ones to have....
There has been some concern, lately, that the target range for these powers is extending; that as I get older, my powers are beginning to expand to affect a younger audience. To my mind this reflects nothing more than the fact that as a bald, married, middle-aged man, most members of the opposite gender consider me pretty harmless and behave accordingly, but my wife is sceptical and keeps looking at me with narrowed eyes as though I'm guilty of wilfully charming all young ladies who have the misfortune to cross my path.
An example: we were in Sainsburys doing the weekly shop on Sunday afternoon; my wife was busy selecting bags of assorted seeds and I manoeuvered the trolley into the next aisle. As I rounded the corner, a lady with a small child sat in her trolley was coming the other way, we did that thing where we both stopped and waited to see who moved first, and then I scampered the long way around the corner with my trolley to leave her as much room as possible to get past. I carried on up the aisle to pick up some bottles of soda water.
As I was about half way down the aisle, my wife caught up.
"Did you hear what that woman just said to her child?"
"Um. No. What did she say?"
"Just after you'd gone past her, she turned to her child and said 'He was a nice, smiley man wasn't he?' What did you say to her?" (It was hard not to hear a slightly incredulous, accusatory tone to her voice as she asked this question, but perhaps I imagined that....)
"I didn't say anything to her"
"You must have done!"
It appears that my wife simply finds it hard to believe that - to that lady, at least - I might just be a nice, smiley man pushing his trolley around a supermarket. And what could possibly be bad about having a husband who is seen as being a nice, smiley man? Why does there have to be some kind of other, more complicated agenda-that-I-don't-really-understand at work? Maybe I'm just happy-go-lucky by nature?
Well, that lady only saw me in passing in a supermarket. How could she possibly know that I'm really grouchy, argumentative and untidy? True, but it's actually quite difficult to convey all of that in a brief smile as you navigate your shopping trolley around a corner and I'll admit that she may have taken away quite the wrong impression of me as a person. In fact, she has no idea who the real me is at all.
It really takes a little more time and commitment to get to know me properly.
I've never understood women. Quite how anyone thinks I am in any way emotionally equipped to flirt with one is entirely beyond me.