What if my socks are out of line?
Bikram Vohra talks about the marital guessing game
The other day, getting into the car, my wife made this observation. She said, your socks do not match your shoes and trousers, there is a tear in one of them, no, that one, the other one, what would people think.
I would never think of telling my wife her blouse didn't match her sari or her top wasn't buddies with her jeans. The reason is simple. It would not cross my mind.
And I am thinking, so what if my socks are out of line, do people really go to parties or places to look at other people's socks? Like, look at Vohra's socks, what a mess, I think they are going through a financial crisis. Really!
So, I say to my wife, does it matter, my socks, my shoes, my trousers, I am sure they will have better things to do. She said, in that typical wifely way that is so logical it defies all logic, that is not the point, what if someone does?
It is this huge gap between men and women that often manifests itself in what is cheerfully called marital discord. Men just do not get it, the ability to see, register and react is just not in their DNA.
Take what I call the scariest situation for a husband to suddenly be confronted with: one little question for which they are never quite prepared. Notice something different? Three words fraught with danger.
Now, no husband would play this dirty trick on his wife. If you are a man reading this, when was the last time you engaged in this entrapment by asking her to make a guess. Notice something different about the car.hmm, I had new tyres put in, got you.
Men are just not to the manor born. Women, on the other hand, use this gambit as a measure of love. Like, if you love me, you will notice I'm wearing a dress I've never worn before and why aren't you more observant? All of us have been victims of this strategy.
Walk with me through this quicksand. There is the husband, back after a rigorous day at work, looking forward to nothing more than putting his feet up and relaxing with some silly TV and wondering what's for dinner, when the wife says, notice something different? Immediately, panic descends. What could it be? The sofa covers, the cushion, some new painting, dash it, has to be something, has she redone the table setting, what is it?
For wives, this is a major event and not to be taken lightly. A husband worth his salt is expected to get it right. Those who are a little smarter stall for time. Give me a clue, they say, everything looks so perfect, it is impossible to tell what's new. Liar, you haven't any idea, stop pretending. Now, that sort of blatant flattery might wash under normal circumstances but it hasn't a chance when it comes to finding the change, the stakes are far too high.
By now, the husband is on his knees and she is going into freeze mode and she says, don't tell me you can't figure it out, after all the trouble I took... This means we are now moving into very sticky territory and things are not looking good.
So the poor guy takes a deep breath and says, umm, it isn't the curtains, it isn't the sideboard, nor is it the potted plant, running this list in the hope that her body language will give her away, was that flipping potted plant always there or was it changed? Finally, he says, the cushions, you changed the cushions. She goes all rigid and chilly is the wind that blows through the room. Then she says those awful words that make the strongest of husbands quail. "I don't know why I bother, not that it makes any difference to you."
And then you go to dinner and she hits you with the second barrel: I changed the recipe for the chicken, guess what I used.
Fennel, ginger, garlic, mustard, turmeric, cardamom, cinnamon, can I just eat it in peace?