Thursday, October 14, 2010

Breathe Deeply

One of the best bits of relationship advice I ever got was from my dear and wise friend Lindsay. If you're going to do something a bit messed up, she said, then cover your tracks.

The beauty of this piece of advice - which sounds utterly obvious but really isn't always - is that it can be applied to a great number of situations. If, for instance (and obviously I'm talking PURELY hypothetically here) you are going to have a fucking BREAKDOWN about the growing suspicion that your girlfriend's enthusiasm for the relationship might be waning, it is a good idea to have said breakdown in the privacy of your own bedroom instead of, say, on the university campus in front of a whole bunch of curious people very pointedly Not Staring At The Car Crash But Actually Very Obviously Staring At the Car Crash.

Similarly, if you're going to read your sister's diary you should remember where you got the diary from in the first place and replace it, not casually leave it open on the desk to the part where your sister was (over)analysing the two minute conversation she had with Beautiful James by the stairs and wondering whether what he meant by "see you in History" was something closer to "the combination of your glasses, braces and orthodics enchants me - take me now, by the D-block lockers".

Which brings me to my friend. Let's call him... Wooster.

Before I go on, a brief disclaimer. Wooster would like it to be known that he is NOT a habitual sniffer of womens dirty underwear. Nevertheless, the facts are these:

1. Wooster did retrieve a pair of his girlfriend's dirty knickers from her laundry basket.
2. He did sniff them.
3. He did leave the knickers on the bed.
4. He was caught.
5. He is now in trouble with his girlfriend.

Leaving aside your views on knicker huffing (for the record I think it ranks fairly tamely on a spectrum of kink that includes pegging and scat) what's important to recognise is that Wooster ran into his current troubles because he forgot The Lindsay Principle: if you're going to do something a bit messed up then cover your tracks.

Here's how it could have played out.

1. Wooster did retrieve a pair of his girlfriend's knickers from her laundry basket.
2. He did sniff them.
3. He did not leave the knickers on the bed.
4. His girlfriend never needed to trouble her pretty little head about it.
5. Wooster did get to have sex with his girlfriend again.

But accidents happen. I should know: I once dyed my dear friend Ali's hair ginger. So sometimes 'covering your tracks' doesn't cut it. You did something a bit messed up and now you need to deal with it.

Or do you? Have you met my friend denial?

I met denial back in primary school when, for reasons that still remain slightly unclear to me, I at some point decided that to turn up at school IN MY PAJAMAS AND DRESSING GOWN was not a terrible idea. It's not quite as bad as it sounds: our school was having its annual musical and my Mum was driving to school to pick up my sister, who had been doing backstage work... or something. Anyway, I went along for the ride and only decided to get out of the car on a whim... for some reason. Obviously I immediately ran into a huge number of my classmates who, strangely enough, did not spontaneously forget this fact by the following day. Never overburdened by popularity I was unwilling to make the jump to fully fledged social outcast. And so I lied. Or rather I denied. It went something like this.

CLASSMATE: Why were you at school in your dressing gown?

ME: (Casually eating an apple as though to demonstrate just how ludicrous such a suggestion is) I wasn't.

CLASSMATE: But I saw you.

ME: (Chewing ponderously) No you didn't.

CLASSMATE: Yeah I did. So did other people.

ME: (Now starting to run out of apple) No they didn't.

CLASSMATE: We all did.

ME: I think not.

I wasn't entirely successful. (Marlon Brando I was not - I was more like... Tom Brando). But as a strategy the idea that you could simply deny something, just will it out of existence, was very appealing and I never forgot it (just as I assume certain classmates never forgot the sight of me in my Noel Coward dressing gown and pajama pants racing across the carpark, the over-long cord of my dressing gown trailing behind me to give the impression I was enjoying a spot of nighttime kite flying).

With this in mind, let's take another quick look back at how Wooster might have fared had he failed on The Lindsay Principle but remembered to deny, deny, deny.

1. Wooster did retrieve a pair of his girlfriend's knickers from her laundry basket.
2. He did sniff them.
3. He did leave the knickers on the bed.
4. He was caught.
5. The following scene ensued.

GIRLFRIEND: Wooster, uh why is there a pair of knickers on my bed?

WOOSTER: (Also eating an apple in the misguided belief that it makes him appear nonchalant) I don't know.

GIRLFRIEND: I put them in the laundry this morning.

WOOSTER: (Smacking his lips) Oh really?

GIRLFRIEND: Yes really. Did you take them out?


GIRLFRIEND: So how did they get on the bed?

WOOSTER: (Chewing a bit faster) I don't know.

GIRLFRIEND: Well, if I didn't do it then who else do you think took them out of the laundry and put them on the bed? On your side of the bed? Any thoughts?

WOOSTER: (Taking increasingly big bites of the apple) Nope.

GIRLFRIEND: I know it was you!

WOOSTER: (Mouth full of apple) Fjkdfkjdfkljf


WOOSTER (Mouth really very very full of apple): dfskjsdflkjdsf


WOOSTER: (Barely intelligible among all the apple) I'm... choking.

Because this is the second great piece of relationship advice everyone should know: that when you paint yourself into a corner and there is absolutely no other way out, having tried but failed to deploy The Lindsay Principle and a generous serve of denial, it is perfectly acceptable to fake a near death experience, provided that you at no point allow an ambulance to be called. We're calling this The Wooster Principle and I hope for all of your sakes, dear readers, that you never need to use it.

POSTSCRIPT: My charming boyfriend would like me to point out to those who know us that "Wooster" is not him. I do so gladly, though I may say he is welcome to sniff my knickers if he cares to. I also add that, although this story is real, Wooster is not his real name, though it would be a good one.


Anonymous said...

Miss E,

You are very good at this writing business. I laughed. I learned some new words. And I will be wary of Lindsay in future.


Opinionated said...

I came across your blog because I clicked next blog and I am glad I did. You made me laugh.

As a window to your personality, your writing tells me you are gorgeous. If that is a photo of you next to the bike, you really are gorgeous.

I have just started blogging and have learned a lot looking at your blog. Like don't be so bloody serious and make it more entertaining. Thanks.

my name is kate said...

Thankyou and thankyou. Sadly not my arse next to the bike. If it were I'd own up to it.