I, Charles Parsnip, am happily engaged to be married to one Agnes Shirley Bandage Petticoat Mildew - the love and light of my life. Last weekend, she walked out on me...
It was during a completely innocuous shopping trip to the local shopping centre. We had a lovely coffee, and walked arm in arm through the ranks of ill-dressed northern oiks to find something nice for dear Agnes to wear.
After an hour or so, Agnes proclaimed boredom with the whole sojourn and so we began to make our way back to the safety and comfort of the car. No cigarettes in the shopping centre these days: indeed, Agnes remarked that she was considering cutting down on the volume of tar she lines her lungs with which pleased me greatly. We were nicotine free for around an hour. As a smoker myself, I agreed with her decision that we needed to get out into the fresh air and suck some smoke into our lungs tout de suite.
So it was with some surprise that, as we walked past the huge "Sale" signs hoisted in shop windows, I noticed the red neon of the "Anne Summers" shop. Regular readers will note that this is a subject that Agnes associates with some embarrassment and, in an effort to reclaim some form of upper hand, after the Scrabble-annihilating episodes, I nudged her and nodded towards the almost-nude plastic models in the window, two of which were in the process of having sexy air stewardess outfits removed and replaced with latex policewomen.
"Look! Anne Summers...."
It was a strange force of nature that caused me to take her by the arm and guide her towards the doorway. Shop assistants dressed in black nodded and smiled as we walked in, and immediately, I began to look at the wares on display with a sense of wonder akin to a small child given £500 to spend in a sweet shop with no threat of dentists in sight.
Agnes and I have a very strong relationship. There is little we cannot discuss, or indeed have not discussed, so I was confident of her ability to strike down any "looks" with either her dagger-like stare, or razor sharp wit. Failing that, Agnes can deliver a rather painful and unerringly swift roshambo when it is required. As a consequence, I was not prepared for the reaction I received after five minutes of browsing.
I think it was the air stewardess uniform that did it. As I took it off the rack to examine the quality of the material, shaking my head somewhat at the plastic tray and authentic sick bag attached, I turned to Agnes and made a comment. An innocuous enough comment at the time, but I think it was one of those moments similar to when you shout at someone in a pub (in order to be heard over the noise) and the entire place falls silent.
"I think you'd look a bit daft in that don't you?" I said, as I held it up to Agnes' face for inspection. Heads turned, silence reigned supreme, and briefly, I wondered whether I had perhaps once again engaged my mouth before putting my brain into gear.
The response confirmed my fears. In a quiet tone, her gaze flickering from me to the gaudy uniform she uttered a few choice words... "I have to get out of here... I'm leaving".
And with those words, the lovely Agnes left me there feeling rather foolish and unsure of the best thing to do next.
When your loved one walks out of the sweet shop what do you do? Do you dutifully follow them in order to determine what was wrong, or do you look at the £500 in your hand and think "More for me!!". Unfortunately, I am not blessed with an oversized brain.
I moved past the gentleman towering at least a foot over my own six foot frame who was staggering around on crutches examining the various lubrication oils on offer. Every time he moved his crutch, he groaned (an ironic choice of words for a gent in a shop such as this) and idly, I wondered whether some form of sexual deviance had got him into this state. The obese woman examining a "Spank-Me" schoolgirl outfit smiled up at me as I regarded the nurse's outfit which was coincidentally identical to the very same outfit mentioned in this post by Agnes. I imagined the large lady, crammed into the size "10-12" (yeah right!) outfit, on her hands and knees receiving a spanking and the raw potato I'd had for breakfast began to inch its way up my throat. I swiftly moved on. Rounding the corner, a couple were perusing large plastic replicas of male genetilia. The young lady was holding one in each hand, carefully measuring the weight whilst her male companion looked on with a strange look that I could only describe as disdain. I struggled to stifle a snort as I moved past to the darker recesses of the shop.
As I debated the comedic value of purchasing a PVC police-woman's outfit, simply to see Agnes's reaction, I realised that I had now spent Too Long in, not only the bondage section, but the shop proper, and that it was time to leave.
Exiting the premises, I cast my gaze over the hordes of Manchester as they hurried about their business, and out of the corner of my eye caught a rather subversive-looking Agnes leaning casually against a shop window three stores down
Worriedly, I hastened over to her, expecting the same look of derision reserved for my lengthy browses in DIY stores (paint section) and Jessops. Instead, all I received was a tight smile and a slight pillar box red complexion. Grabbing my hand, she frog marched me through John Lewis and out to the safety of the car park, where she lit up with a speed that would make The Stig nod his head in satisfaction.
Agnes was blushing...