I had nothing but the noblest intentions. There was an article in the Island Reporter not too long ago that described how a Sanibel beauty salon was offering a free makeover to the most deserving woman on the island.
So I said to my wife: "Guess what, dear, there's this salon that's seeking nominations for makeover candidates from the community. All we need to do is submit a photo of you and write a brief essay on why you deserve a makeover."
Now, I ask you, didn't this innocent proposal suggest that I wanted to do something nice for my wife? That I wanted her to feel and look good? Good God, if I asked a male friend of mine if he would want a free hair styling from the same guy who does Brad Pitt or Mark Wahlberg I'm a hundred per cent certain that he'd say where do I sign.
Not my wife. She stopped what she was doing and gave me a look that would stop night time zombies, vampires, werewolves, Saw IV torturers and Chain Saw sadists dead in their tracks.
"What makes you think I need a makeover?" she asked in a voice that was soft but venomous. Uh, oh.
It must have been the twentieth time during that day that I was put on the defensive. It doesn't take much. All I need to do is ask my wife if she wants to go out for dinner and it's an automatic attack on her cooking abilities.
"I didn't say you needed a makeover," I said. "It's just that this beauty salon is offering a free makeover and other island businesses are supporting it by also offering a manicure, pedicure and discounts on clothing merchandise. It's just a contest that would save you a lot of money if you had to pay for it yourself."
"No," she insisted, "that's not what I hear you saying. What you're really saying is that I better get a new face and hair because I look like something the dog ate otherwise. I take good care of myself. How dare you insinuate that I don't measure up to your standards of beauty? What do you know about beauty anyway? The only area of beauty you're an expert on is the behinds of professional football players when they get tackled during the twenty hours a day you watch football on TV."
How did my good intentions get so totally misunderstood? "Honey, for heaven's sake, I was just reading the Island Reporter and came across this article about a free makeover. I thought you'd be interested. I'm in no way suggesting that you're not beautiful. Of course, you are."
The venom was now coursing through her throat and out into the airwaves. "I'm beautiful, am I? Since when do beautiful women need free makeovers? Would you like me to become a brunette and wear dark make up with heavy brownish lipstick? I guess my present look isn't good enough for you. You'd like me to look like a Haight-Ashbury hippie of the sixties, I suppose. Or an Angelina Jolie lookalike. Is that it?"
Island Reporter, what have you done to me? Is my candidate for a free makeover the only irate woman out there?
"Dear, I like your look just the way it is. I just thought you'd like to experiment a little and try for this free makeover. It could be fun to change your look a little bit. You just might like it," I pleaded.
I never saw it coming but heard the crash against the wall. She had thrown a bottle of ketchup at my head and just missed by a fraction of a hamburger.
"You want makeover?" she shouted. "How about washing your hair with ketchup? Then you and I can compete for the ugliest couple contest in Sanibel. And if they don't have that contest yet we can petition the City Council to create one.
"Makeover, eh? I'll give you a makeover all right. You'd look great with some fresh new scars down the side of your face. They'll call you Gentleman Jack the Ripper of Sanibel when I'm through with you."
First bottles of mayonnaise, relish, milk, red wine and dill pickles began to miss my head by inches. I must admit my bobbing and weaving were truly expert. When she saw that none of her weapons of Art's destruction had landed, she started chasing me with disposable razors.
After all these years of marriage I was used to my wife's outbursts. They last for ten minutes each and then she completely forgets what the fuss was about. In fact, after I ran from the house and hid under a turtle nest I waited for quiet. When I didn't hear any more bottles being thrown at walls I returned to the house.
My wife was sitting quietly reading a book. When she saw me she said "Gosh, dear, I got all caught up in this book. What were you saying a little while ago about some apple turnover?"