I Think She Wants an Excuse to Kill Me
She said, "How old do you think I look?"
I am sure she could see the confusion and fear in my eyes. My head began to spin. I clutched the bathroom counter for support.
I know very well, of course, that the number I gave in answer the very first time--because there are no second chances with a question like that--needed to be significantly less than her current age, but not too small, or my wife would think that I were merely humoring her. I also knew that I had less than 10 seconds to answer, or my wife would accuse me of fabricating an answer. (In the same way, when the wife says "Why do you love me?" then the husband had better rattle off a dozen excellent reasons within eight seconds or face full spousal wrath.)
So I said, tentatively, "30?" I looked at her for the signs of an eruption. Sweat beaded on my forehead and dripped into my coffee.
"So I look a lot younger than I am." There was no trace of irony, and she seemed genuinely pleased. I had dodged a bullet!
Then she asked, "What do you think of this outfit?"