If you buy her underwear…

I HAVE this mate. Nice bloke. Brain the size of a grape.

His marriage broke up. Nothing unexpected and not what this story is about. This story is about his new partner. She seems bright, but you have to wonder, seeing how he’s cerebrally challenged and she likes him. Loves him, even.

He feels the same about her. That’s why he bought her some special underwear. She was coyly impressed; impressively flattered.

Even I was impressed. I told him so.

“I don’t deserve the credit,” he said. “Louise chose them.”

Louise is not the new partner. Louise is a girl he works with.

I was stunned. “Are you seriously telling me,” I frothed, “that to the woman in your life you gave underwear — the most intimate item of clothing — chosen by Louise from work!”

“And Jennifer. Also from work. I wanted a second opinion.”

“You’re… you’re a Neanderthal.” I exploded. “Do you have any idea how she’s going to react when she finds out?”

“She won’t mind. She loves me. Look at this letter she wrote me…”

I closed my eyes. He didn’t even know that you don’t show your love letters to a third person. Otherwise they’re not love letters; they’re trophies.

He should be put down really. I could probably get the vet to do it. He is, after all, more animal than human.

Don’t people think about these things? Don’t they understand romance and intimacy, and the private nature of both? Is that why so many relationships are circling the toilet bowl in a downward spiral?

Anyway, he told her, the idiot. I was there. He thought it was very jolly. “Hey, guess what. Colin thought you’d be furious because a couple of girls from the office chose the underwear I gave you.”

He hasn’t seen her since.

It’s only been a couple of days, but what did he expect? He’s still working it out. I can tell because his eyes are crossed and his lips are moving.

Anyway, to help him out I wrote a few little tips, in case she comes back.

Top of the list, naturally, is that if you buy her underwear, do it alone. You are allowed to ask the advice of the shop assistant. That is bravery. And you are allowed to make a bad choice. That is Sweet but Dumb. They love that. And anyway, he is.

She is the most beautiful woman in the world, past and present, including Nicole Kidman, Penelope Cruz and Helen of Troy. If she’s the cynical type you can modify this to: “Well, you are to me.”

If she gives you underwear that you wouldn’t even use to polish the car, tell her it’s wonderful. Try to wear it only at home, in case you get hit by a bus and have to take your trousers off. Never take it back to the shop and change it for something you do like.

When she brings home any purchase that is truly awful and she says: “But what do you really think of it? You can be honest.” Lie. And make it good.

Never talk about past girlfriends or lovers. She probably realises you’ve had one/some but she won’t accept any motive for bringing them up except flagrant insensitivity on your part – and she’ll probably be right.

Think of six reasons why you love the woman you love and commit them to memory. When she asks “Do you love me?” the next question (after you’ve said yes) will be “Why?”

Saying you just do is a step down the road to divorce.

Also, if one of your reasons is “Because you’re good in bed,” it’s acceptable only in partnership with at least two others, one of which should probably be something like, “You have a good mind.”

Never fart in her presence, even if she does in yours.