Wednesday 10 June 2009

God's way of keeping us together?

14st 9½lb, 1.5 units. I was lying in bed last night, looking at Mrs H as she composed herself for sleep, when it finally dawned on me that she really is quite remarkably beautiful.

True, I had just drunk a whisky at the time – one of my favourite Islay malts at that – but it was nothing compared to my usual level of nightly alcohol consumption. I could have driven a car perfectly legally, never mind a kingsize bed, so I think I can safely say that my perception was not distorted by any intake of mild-altering substances.

It has to be admitted that many people have made similarly flattering observations about Mrs H’s looks on first meeting her in my company, or on viewing our wedding photographs, but I always assumed that they were just being polite. Or, at least, contrasting her attractiveness with my own and coming to the indisputable conclusion that I am, as one correspondent put it today, “an amazingly lucky bloke”.

However, if you had asked me for an honest assessment when I first met the Less Tall Cheshire Brunette (as she was then known) in the Chester Grosvenor Hotel last year, I would have described her in more restrained terms than those I am using now. I know that one friend is in a position to point out that I texted him during that first meal, when the LTCB was taking a temporary break from the table, with the words “F*** me, she’s gorgeous!” What’s more, I was holding her pashmina hostage at the time, to try to ensure that she actually came back. So I was attracted, but more to her personality than her looks. As for those … now how can I put this without instigating divorce proceedings … I would have said that she was not unattractive. Most definitely not my physical type, but – objectively – not unattractive.

What overcame any reservations I may have been daft enough to have was the fact that she was and is the nicest and most understanding human being I have ever met, and also the funniest, even if the starting point for that perception was just the fact that she kept repeating my own jokes back to me. But as time has gone by I have come to appreciate that she really is extremely amusing in her own right, defined as being the only person I have yet met who fully shares a sense of humour as wide-ranging and twisted as my own.

And now, as an added bonus, there is this staggering beauty thing. Years ago I went to stay with someone who had married a lady who was generally considered to be pretty hot stuff, and had the hugely disconcerting experience of coming down to breakfast one morning and seeing her without her make-up on. I cannot deny it: I gawped. Indeed I goggled. In fact, it took me quite a while to work out who this very plain female actually was; only her accent finally gave it away. But Mrs H rarely wears make-up, and still looks increasingly good to me. Which leaves me wondering what it all means.

Am I overdue for a visit to my optician?

Have the scales belatedly fallen from my eyes, so that I am belatedly appreciating something that was obvious to everyone else all along?

Or has Mrs H actually BECOME more beautiful as she enters the final phase of her pregnancy? And, if so, is this a clever little trick of Nature to stop her partner clearing off as parturition approaches; which might, if God chose to step on the ugly pedal instead, seem really quite an attractive proposition.

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