Mr Litlove had his minor eye operation last week, and it all went off just fine. For the week or so before it took place, whenever he wanted sympathy, he’d put one hand over his eye and present a trembly bottom lip. This was effective enough in itself. When he did emerge from the eye clinic, the miracle that is laser surgery meant that he didn’t even have an eye patch. And yet….the drugs they had given him to enlarge his pupils were pretty potent and with his ears a little downturned from the general unpleasantness of hospitals, he looked exactly like Puss-in-Boots from Shrek.
For the rest of that day and most of the next, the only real side effect was the difficulty he had with bright light, not surprising with pupils the size of gobstoppers. But good news! He could still watch television.
I was a little…unnerved, however, to see him heading past me later that first afternoon with the DVD of the Sex in the City movie. As one of my friends once remarked, he is very keen on his alpha male stereotypes and not what you might call a bridge brain.
‘You’re going to watch Sex in the City?’ I asked.
‘Well you enjoyed it,’ he replied.
And I had to admit I thought: this should be interesting.
A little later, when I’d finished some work I was doing, I went through to see how he was getting on. He’d reached the part where Carrie Bradshaw gives a Christmas present to her assistant of a real Louis Vuitton handbag and she practically squeals the place down.
‘This is getting surreal,’ said Mr Litlove. (Ha! I thought) ‘That is the ugliest bag I’ve ever seen.’ (Not surprising; he has strong opinions about women’s clothing, for instance, he thinks Ugg boots are particularly aptly named.) ‘Look at it, it wouldn’t go with anything!’ (Okay, that was more metrosexual of him than I’d expected.)
I settled down to watch for a while, and tried to wipe tears away discreetly. But I really did have other things I should be doing. So I said I’d leave him to it.
‘We can’t be far off the end,’ he said.
‘There’s quite a bit more to go.’
He shook his head in disbelief. ‘It’s amazing how they can make such a long film in which nothing happens!’
Nothing happens? Carrie gets jilted at the alter, Miranda splits up with Steve and reconciles with him, Charlotte gets pregnant, Samantha does a whole host of Samantha-type things, there are fashion shows and holidays abroad and a lot of angsting over emotional intelligence-based life decisions, but, no, nothing happens. Several more hours passed before I saw him again.
‘So what did you think of the film?’
‘At the end?’ said Mr Litlove. ‘When Carrie and Big make up in that walk-in closet he’s supposed to have built for her?’
‘I just couldn’t understand how he’d got it out of the space. He must have bought the next door apartment, too, and knocked a wall down.’
On the whole it was much as I expected; he could have used subtitles. Well, life moved on and I thought no more about it, would have forgotten it entirely except that the next day, as I passed the television and Mr Litlove in front of it, a familiar face caught my eye. I looked again. Yes, it was Kirsten Stewart….in the snow…and wasn’t that boy supposed to be a werewolf?
‘Is that really one of the Twilight sequels you’re watching?’
Mr Litlove started guiltily. ‘I was just curious,’ he said.
For a little while I got quite excited about the potential storyline: man goes into hospital for routine eye operation, but emerges with a whole new gender perspective. You could sell it as The Snow Queen meets What Women Want. But after that there were no further cinematic surprises. Whenever I walked past the television, there were men shooting each other on it, or comedy panel shows.
Yesterday evening, Mr Litlove asked me if I had a topic for a blog post yet. Since I am ethically committed to warnings, I said, ‘Yes, you.’ He winced. ‘Now don’t be like that,’ I said. ‘Your loyal fans love hearing about your exploits, and I thought I’d tell them about the weekend of chick flicks.’
‘That just showed how low I was,’ Mr Litlove replied, gruffly.
And yet, I’m not entirely convinced. Mr Litlove was wearing his rowing gear, as he’s been competing all this week in the town ‘bumps’. Having caught up with the boat in front of them on the course and bumped, he was wearing the traditional branch of willow. But he hadn’t just stuffed it down the back of his shirt, he’d twisted it into a delightful laurel wreath, and being Mr Litlove, he’d managed to make the leaves particularly perky.
Maybe he’d learned a little something, after all.