I got a test for all the men out there. Close your eyes right now and tell me what colour your wife’s hair is.
Now if your wife is anything like mine, the problem with even askin’ that question is the answer depends on what day of the week it is, or the time of day, or the season, or god knows what. I swear Minnie’s had more dye in her hair over the years than I’ve had shampoo in mine.
So the way I put my foot in my mouth was, I walked into the house last Tuesday night, which is when Minnie and Joan and two of their friends have their club night. In case ya don’t know what club night is, it’s when a bunch of middle-aged women get to together and pretend to play cards while they eat egg sandwiches and drink tea and talk about men. It’s a lot like when men have a poker night and pretend to play cards while they eat pizza and drink beer and talk about women.
Anyways, they only started this club night thing a few weeks ago, and the way it works is, they meet every Tuesday night at somebody’s house to play cards, and because there’s four of them, that means each of them hosts once a month. Years ago, everybody’s mother and grandmother had club, and I guess now people are doin’ it again (or we just got old enough to start doin’ it too).
Now, needless to say, I planned to be as far away from the house as I could get on club night. The thought of four women sittin’ round the table cluckin’ like hens about everything from fabric softeners to menopause seemed like a terrible nightmare to me. But of course, I forgot it was club night and after I left over Tommy’s where a few of us were playin’ with his sump pump, I walked right into the middle of it.
There’s the four of them all around the table, all laughin’ their arses off at somethin’ that musta happened just before I walked in. I thought it would be ignorant to turn and bolt out the door again as fast as I could, so I said how yis doin, and asked what was so funny.
We’re just laughin’ at how stupid men are, Minnie says, and she walks over and puts her hands over my eyes.
Oh cripes, I said. (I knew I was done for.)
What colour’s my hair?
Now I’ll admit it really proved her point that men are kinda dumb, because even though Minnie had just walked right in front of me five seconds earlier, I couldn’t for the life of me say for sure what colour her hair was.
Well… I said, swallowin’ hard. I think it’s usually sort of brownish, but that might be just the dye or whatever. I guess by now the natural colour probably got a lot of grey in it?
Grey?! Minnie barked, and the women kind of snorted as they fell over themselves to stop laughin’.
Or, not grey! I said, tryin’ to take it back as fast as I could. No, dear, when you got it all done up and lookin’ lovely and everything, it’s brown! Like a beautiful, mousey brown!
Silence. For two full seconds I could hear the fridge hum.
MOUSEY, is it? Mousey and grey? Imagine! Minnie says, and goes back and sits down and picks up her cards.
I tried to tell her I never meant nothin’ by it, but by then the damage was done. I always find it amazin’ how just one word here or there can put your entire foot in your mouth for ya.
She barely spoke to me that night and whenever I’d try to bring it up again to apologize, she’d just tell me to drop it. I was officially in the dog house.
The next day Minnie comes home with a bag from the drug store. She was in one of them moods where she wasn’t sayin’ anything, but every door and drawer got shut with a firm enough slam that I knew she was still some wild at me. She took the bag from the drugstore upstairs and slammed the bathroom door.
A few minutes later she came with an old t-shirt on, a towel around her shoulders, and her hair sort of all lathered up and piled on top of her head. I snuck a peak at her, but wouldn’t dare say anything.
It’s gotta stay in for a half hour before I wash it out with a special shampoo, if you’re dyin’ to know, she said.
That’s when I figured out it was a home dye kit.
It’s blond, and I’m gonna look ten years younger, mister. (she said, like it was some kind of threat).
But Minnie, I said… (and honest to God I was tryin’ to sound like a sweetheart). What I meant was, I love your hair when it’s grey and mousey.
Well, that was it. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice and I guess I had it comin’.
So then I was in for two more days of silent treatment. But she looked so damn good with blond hair, finally I just grabbed her and planted a big kiss on her and said – Minnie, you make a helluva blond. You look so good I never would have said it was you.
And as soon as it came out, I knew she could take what I said either way. I was waitin’ for her to reach over and hit me with the broom, but she finally smiled and said – That’s the nicest thign you’ve said to me in a long time, you idiot.