My mirror has two faces

Sometimes there’s a difference between what sort of a person you believe yourself to be and the sort of a person everybody else thinks you are.

I try to be a good person. Really, I do. As a general rule I’m outwardly pleasant to most of the people I meet (except for the klutz who pushed me in line for the bus this morning). However I’ve never formally introduced everybody to what I call my bitter and twisted inner voice. It lives happily in my head and it really isn’t very pleasant at all. I still say good morning, or, hold the door for a complete stranger whilst smiling sweetly, but sometimes I’m thinking – God what a horrible suit, or, could you hurry up please I really don’t have all day you know. I’ve always thought that’s how everyone’s head operated. I’ve assumed they’re all doing exactly the same straight back at me in equal measures (I see you’ve not managed to lose any weight then, still can’t believe you’re screwing that hot chef, and so on).

Last week I was asked by a tutor friend of mine to give a presentation about creativity to an evening class full of enthusiastic mature students at a night school. Rather than names on badges I noticed they’d been specifically asked to write two words on a sticky label to reveal their personalities. During the coffee break I found myself chatting to a blonde called, Vivacious Fun, and a guy with a very intense stare called, People Person. It struck me how they really didn’t live up to their labels. She wasn’t the life and soul of the party, and the guy with the stare turned out to hate everyone in the room.

I told Guido all about it when I got home to the café.

“When I began high school,” I said, “a sheet of paper with our names on it was passed around my classmates and we were told to write underneath two words to illustrate our first impressions about one another.”

“Why do I get the feeling this is one of your stories which ends horribly and you’ve been mentally scarred by it for the rest of your life?” said Guido warily.

“Well, naturally I was heartbroken to read that someone had scribbled under my name, Total Wacko,” I said shrugging. “But what could I do?”

“I guess their first impression about you was wrong,” said Guido diplomatically. What else could he possibly say?

“Yeah, but, no.” I said. “You see it’s true, underneath I am a total wacko so whoever wrote that was actually very astute for an eleven year old.”

“All I know,” Guido said lounging on our sofa in a pair of super tight boxer shorts, “is if I had to write two words on a sticky label that best described me right now I’d be totally honest about it. No kidding. No lies. Total undiluted truth.”

I knew Guido was trying to make me feel better.

“I believe you,” I said, “so what would the two words be?”

I cynically braced myself for something altruistic like, Amazing Chef or Under-rated Footballer, or as is much more closer to the truth, Sex Maniac.

Lucky Guy,” he smiled.

That’s the great thing about Guido. What you see is what you get.


The trouble with tartan

I realise it’s an annoying habit of mine but, once in a blue moon, I like to drop a bombshell in bed just before lights out.

“I’m thinking of ditching the pink tuxedo idea for our marriage,” I said to Guido under the blanket last night. “I’m worried I’m going to look like Liberace.”

Rest assured readers, despite the fact that it’s the final countdown to our wedding I’m completely relaxed about the fact that I currently have nothing to wear to it. And breathe in 1, 2, 3, and exhale, 1, 2, 3.

“There is a God,” said Guido. I noticed the distinct whiff of relief fill the air.

“Yes,” I said casually preparing to detonate, “instead I’m going down the less controversial route of a loud check or plaid, or, get ready for this one – a tartan suit.”

I’ve got my blogger friend at over at to thank for the plaid idea. She’s been researching her family history and has discovered they have a tartan.

It took a moment for what I’d call stunned silent contemplation to kick in from Guido’s side of the mattress. It was the calm before the storm as my latest fashion revelation got fully absorbed. Sadly Guido’s brain can be a bit clunky like this on occasions. You know the pilot light’s lit but you seriously begin to wonder if anybody’s cooking with gas. That is unless of course Guido happens to be in the middle of averting a culinary meatball crisis at the time, in which case I can guarantee the gas is going and the gravy will always be rescued. Just splash in some Worcestershire Sauce. Hey, there’s another little one of his secret tips for you to try at home.

“I’ve seen a Vivienne Westwood tartan suit,” I said to Guido. I think at this point he had his head buried between pillows. “It’s reduced from £775 to a paltry £542.50. It’s a total bargain.” Once the wedding is over it’s going to make a great pair of bathroom curtains. As far as I was concerned it was a complete no brainer.

Guido suddenly sat bolt upright.

“Have you got splinters for the windmills of your mind?” he asked. It’s a distinct possibility, yes. “That’s more than the cost of our honeymoon flights to Lanzarote. Anyway, I thought you told Best Man Ted kilts were out.”

“They are, well, let’s just say, his is,” I said. “I mean, really, have you seen Ted’s legs? They’re not what I’d call Chippendale, but they could possibly be what I’d call Queen Anne.”

No disrespect intended but Ted has the sort of knees which scare small children. At the very least they’d have other guests gagging on their calamari. Forget a meatball crisis, can you imagine half nibbled squid leftovers? And not even a spicy dip to save the day.

“One day soon, when all this wedding nonsense is finally over you’ll have nothing to think about,” said Guido turning out the light. “I, on the other hand, am concentrating my thoughts on the vital ingredients that will form a signature raspberry ripple cheesecake recipe.”

I suppose there are worse things to think about in bed other than cheesecake. Guido could be tossing and turning all night worrying about the perils of an over stuffed haggis.

Lena, this one’s for you.