I pride myself on presenting the best of me. That's not to say I spend hours in front of a mirror primping and plucking; I don't. But I take care over my appearance. However, someone might point to a time when I once let my standards slip.
Picture the scene; Susan and I are sitting at my table, replete after dining on a gorgeous curry, a dish we had prepared and cooked ourselves. We are relaxing, chatting about the ingredients, the hot spices, the wonderful colours, looking forward to a cosy evening on the sofa with a good movie. Our eyes meet and we exchange happy smiles of contentment.
But something's wrong. Susan is frowning. In an effort to recapture the mood I widen my smile, why I'm practically beaming. But this doesn't have the desired effect. Susan rocks back in her chair, laughing in little hitching gasps. "What's up," I query, a degree of confusion creeping over me, and indeed a little disappointment.
"Look in the mirror," cries Suzie. "Look in the darn mirror, Paul!"
Uncertainly I rise from the table and move to the bathroom. The mirror returns my look of bewilderment, but wait, there's something more. My mouth is surrounded by the sumptuous red juices of our wonderful curry! Indian spices are strong in colour, in flavour and it seems impervious to the discreet dabbings of a napkin. In horror, I run the hot tap and soak a facecloth. I lather a bar of soap and scrub and scour with gusto. At last the curry stains transfer from my face to the cloth.
I creep back to the dining table and crack a sheepish grin. "Is that better?" I enquire.
"Oh honey, the look on your face... and the curry!" And once more Suzie dissolves in fits of hysterics.
Footnote: If you see us exchange a beaming smile, I mean a big, fat, clownish smile, you might guess we are secretly reliving that moment.