Pyjamas that say “don’t touch”

LOVE, like sex, needs variety.

So I am shaving my head. To make me more loveable; not more sexy.

I know, it’s ridiculous; but you’ve got to try, haven’t you?

I suspected our relationship was in limbo when the pyjamas came out. Actually it wasn’t so much the pyjamas as the colour. Lime-green pyjamas (made of flannelette) are more of a warning than a fashion statement.

They say “don’t touch” in much the same way as a rattlesnake’s rattle, a skunk’s smell and a psychopath’s axe.

I’ve seen them before, these pyjamas. The last time was when I threatened to burn them. I ripped them away (not from off my wife; off the washing line) and my wife gasped and fainted, like Fay Wray in King Kong.

I thought she was overwhelmed by my masculine charisma (a change from my usual mature adult persona) but if she was it didn’t last long. They’re back.

Now what do I do? It’s easy to reinvent yourself when you’re young. You can be a stunt man, or a pirate or film director. You can swap secure-and-affectionate for passionate-and-dodgy.

Where once you read footy reports, you can read Macbeth; if you generally watch the Simpsons, you can get excited about the Science Show. They’ll look at you sideways amd take a quick sniff as they plant the mandatory peck on the cheek, to check if you’ve been kissing someone else, but at least they’ll notice you.

You can do these things when you’re 35. Even at 45. There’s enough uncertainty in most women to keep them on their toes.

But it doesn’t work when you’re 62. If my wife smells anything like perfume on me she assumes I have been dribbling a mango down my chin, or my daughter kissed me.

She does not narrow her eyes and want to know what I’ve Been Up To.

And I’m ashamed to say I’ve run out of ways of reinventing myself. I don’t think I can shave my head. At my age people would assume it had just fallen out. And whoever heard of a 62-year-old stunt man, or pirate?

I can’t do the thing with the books or the TV shows because I have already read Macbeth and I already watch the Science Show and my wife approves. I don’t think it works backwards. I don’t think she’s going to swap the lime-green flannelette pyjamas for a negligee as she sidles up to me and says: “Gosh… I didn’t know you watched the Simpsons!”

I didn’t notice the lime-green pyjamas at first. I generally nod off before she’s come to bed.

Then I noticed she was keeping her distance in bed. She wasn’t even cuddling up to me for warmth!

It’s what happens when they take you for granted. The price of love (and sex for that matter) is eternal vigilance. You have to find new ways of making them love you. Maybe I will shave my head. And take a university degree.

I’ll start going to night clubs. I could swap the station wagon for something sporty.

“You’d look ridiculous,” she said. “And neither would work because you always fall asleep at 9pm. And if you shave your head people will think your hair had fallen out.

“If I stay awake,” I bawled. “I’ll have to look at you in lime-green flannelette pyjamas.”

“What’s the problem with that?”

“It shows you don’t love me. You’ve started taking me for granted. You don’t even cuddle me any more. You’ve had the best years of my life and now you’ve thrown me on the scrap heap! What’s going on!”

“Just keeping you on your toes,” she said.