My TS is learning about the whims of women the hard way.
It was the Shah's birthday last week and, as is customary with us, the four of us decided to go out for a meal to celebrate this auspicious occasion. The venue was a smarter-than-your-average Indian Restaurant (the type you need to book for, as opposed to the regular curry house into which fifteen people can tumble at a moment's notice knowing they are guaranteed a table somehow). The table was booked for 7.30 and it has to be said that, knowing how long her ablutions can take, TD was leaving it a smidge late to begin getting ready. Eventually, after a lot of shrieking up the stairs and issuing of threats, the kind you can carry out and the kind that would be impossible to maintain (these are the kind in which the Shah specialises, but that's a story for another day) her ladyship deigns to answer. "I'M READAAAAAAAAAAAAAY" she bellows from her bedroom but still doesn't appear. I decide not to go upstairs in pursuit of her because I know it will only lead to a full scale investigation into the contents of her wardrobe and a rendition of that well known million-selling hit beloved of teenage girls everywhere "I've got, like, nothing to wear!"
So, after a lengthy interlude, she appears, looking lovely, wearing jeans tucked into boots and some trendy top or other (I would like to say they all look the same to me but daren't in case she reads this :) This is where it all fell apart. Her brother, who has been lounging against the wall, rolling his eyes for the last 20 minutes takes one look at her and says approvingly, "You look like you're going for a riding lesson."
Wrong,wrong, WRONG,WRONG,WRONG! The only acceptable comment in these circumstances as all men should know is something along the lines of "Wow! You look great!" No other comment is necessary or desirable. The inevitable consequence was that TD emitted a scream of rage and disappeared upstairs, sobbing loudly. From the bowels of her bedroom all that could be heard was "I look HORRIBLE!"
"Oh well bloody done! You and your big gob," I bellow at TS who is looking somewhat shell-shocked. "I meant it in a good way," he bleats unconvincingly and hurries after his sister whose roars of fury are continuing to rattle the foundations. I have sympathy with TD because I know only too well how one misplaced remark can kill your confidence at a stroke. Viz my Moroccan handbag. I bought it as a birthday present to myself some years ago and it is black leather with some engraved silver decorations on it. It is a very nice handbag but, as I unpacked it, the Shah remarked "Ooh! Rock Chick!" And that was the end of that. Every time I thought of using it, the Shah's words echoed in my head and, consequently, the lovely handbag never saw the light of day.
But back to the present. I look around for the Shah who is nowhere to be seen. It is true to say that, generally, he is very supportive of me in any dispute with the children but, when it comes to girly things, he comes over all butch and testosterone-ridden and buggers off sharpish. But there is no hiding place and I knew where I would find him because, at times of great stress, the Shah takes comfort from surveying his beer stash which he thinks is hidden in the utility room. Sure enough I find him there gazing misty-eyed at some bottles of Cobra and instruct him to sort his errant offspring out. He takes on his twin, sorry, his daughter (but they may as well be twins) and I take on the TS. Ultimately, calm is restored and TS and TD make up and all of us (including the cowboy boots make our way to the restaurant where a korma atmosphere prevailed (sorry).