Where’s the beef?

Paul Newman once famously said that the reason he remained faithful to his wife Joanne Woodward was his discerning taste. “Why eat hamburger,” he said, “when you’ve got steak at home?”

There is a point to this story.

All this week I’ve been in Sheffield working for a very demanding client. For the purposes of anonymity, and so I still eventually get my pay check, let’s call her Cybill. Against my better judgement I’d agreed to style everything in Cybill’s home hot pink. Apparently her ex-husband had hated pink. I was happy to help out but the finished look was always going to be like living inside a human sized version of Barbie’s Camper.

“My ex-husband Simon had an expensive love of silk ties,” said Cybill, “he had every design you could possibly think of and some of them were even pink.”

You know sometimes being an interior designer is just like being a shrink.

“And then when I found out he’d cheated on me I calmly took out a pair of scissors from the kitchen drawer and I went up to the bedroom and I chopped up every tie he ever owned into tiny little pieces.” She smiled as she said that. “And then when I found out who he was having the affair with, well, I went straight round to her home and threw a tin of pink emulsion over the roof of her car.

“Really?” I said.

I didn’t know whether to call the Police and report the whacko or just paint faster.

“My ex-husband was not what I’d call a dependable man.” Cybill looked around the room and let out a big sigh. “But pink is such cathartic colour, don’t you agree?”

Fortunately I’d been staying in a hotel nearby where nothing was pink. It was mahogany brown with tired looking purple tones and a weird sticky green stain on the carpet right where you’d put your feet when you stepped out of the bed. There was also a completely useless throw over the mattress which, when I rolled over in the middle of the night, it wrapped me up tight like one of Harry Houdini’s old straightjackets. Depending on how many shades of pink my day had been, I’d sit in the hotel bar before dinner. I’d have a warm Diet Coke and, to alleviate thoughts of psychotic Cybill, flick through a tattered visitors’ guide of the Yorkshire Dales. Then l’d drink four large glasses of dry white wine in quick succession, one right after the other.

On Thursday night I called Guido on my mobile. I’d never been so pleased to hear his voice. Apparently the heating in the loft had broken down again and he was in bed still wearing all of his clothes plus a balaclava on his head.

One of the things I love about Guido is his dependability. If there was ever a gas explosion in the café you’d find him standing upright once the dust settled still pickling a plum.

“What’d you have for dinner?” he asked.

“A hamburger,” I said.

“Well.” he said “when you get back here I’ll knock up a steak au poivre for you as a treat.”

I switched out the lamp and lay in bed thinking about pink bedrooms and Paul Newman. Trust me. I couldn’t wait to get home.


41 thoughts on “Where’s the beef?

  1. I always thought pink was supposed to be a calming color. I guess not in Cybill’s case. I already feel sorry for whoever’s dating her.

    I’m also glad you’ve got Guido. He sounds like a keeper. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Paul Newman, wise wise man. I cannot comprehend pink, and more pink, however all to their own. Hope Guido has been able to get the heating sorted and as always I love reading your posts. Ivan


  3. 50 shades of pink?

    Genuine question: to what extent is it your job as an interior decorator to protect your customers from their bad taste? I mean, I can make bad design decisions all by myself without hiring anybody.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Obviously I know I’m not always right, but just as obviously, my opinions always feel very right (otherwise I wouldn’t have them because I’ve taught myself to work very hard to get things right because, heaven knows, it doesn’t come very naturally). The point is, I’ve started practicing in the mirror, to arrange my face in a way that is not insulting when I see something I disagree with. Like Mum Jeans. Did you know that is a thing? My teenager bought a pair, even though I’m a Mum and I have jeans, and we share a size, they don’t count. They’re not Mum-enough. The face came in handy…but I think I’d need more practice if anyone around here starts decorating in all pink.


  5. When I re-read this today, I recalled that I came to a halt [briefly, really micro-briefly] the first time, reading ‘still wearing all of his clothes plus a -baklava- on his head’.


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