Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A question of answers

A great part of a man’s life is spent trying to master the delicate art of answering women’s questions with a straight face so as not to invoke her wrath, laughter, derision,scorn or tears.

The "questions" can be as varied as cloud patterns on alternate days, so nobody has yet got around to writing a “wikihow” on the said topic. Many a gallant attempts have been made, I am told, to try to organize and classify the questions into recognizable formats for which stock answers could be made available. However, such attempts have merely multiplied manifold the nature , timbre, pitch and variety of the queries which might be asked of a man, in “questionable” times !

Take for instance, “ how does my haircut look “ ? An innocent query of the aforesaid variety begs a multitude of responses, depending on who you  are responding to, what time of the day( or night) the said query is posed, the surrounding environment, and countless other factors.

The toughest element of the aforesaid question, in my opinion, would be  to decipher if the said hair has been cut at all. I have been privy to an instance where the hair dresser ( you don’t call them barbers, by the way), was visited by my wife, desirous of a haircut, or at least, such was the stated intent. It took about 30 minutes to determine and agree between them the desired end look. The exercise was conducted with numerous references to some sort of “hair style Menu” , which looked quite  like an encyclopedia to me, sitting as I was ,far away ,at a respectable distance. After what seemed like ages of planning, the hair dresser and his customer seemed to converge on to a common point of view.

The hair dresser then decided to proceed to the execution phase of the said project. He gathered an impressive arsenal of tools – scissors and combs were the only ones I could recognize. They were all tucked away at numerous pockets of his rather impressive apron. And then the action started.

I had now warmed up to the idea that now  serious action was to unfold , and was all ears and eyes. But even before my eyes could adjust their focal lengths , the hairdresser seemed to indulge in an elaborate ritual after which a few, yes, just a few, strands of hair, were cut, following which the instruments were put away ceremoniously ! I seriously thought that this must be a precursor to more action packed wielding of the instruments I alluded to earlier. However, it so turned out that the deed  was indeed over !

I mean, all he did was to trim a wee little bit- I gathered even I could have done that ! My thoughts swirled about trying to understand the nuances of his profession where 3 minutes of actual cutting was preceded by 30 minutes of planning and negotiations. Amidst that swirling cloud of abstract theories  came the question “ How does my haircut look ?” .

“What haircut ?” I blurted out ?” I mean was that really  a haircut ?” Could you not have trusted me to do that myself ?

I soon realized that one should never respond to a lady’s question with a counter question. And never ,ever, with more than  one !