‘Son, there’s only one thing to know about the art of love. That’s how to make her, or him, I ain’t gonna judge, think it was their idea.
You see, you want to go fishing for the weekend. How do you think you go about that? You think you turn to your partner and say ‘I wanna go fishing?’ Nope. Absolutely not. Say that to your mum and she’s gonna come up with fifty thousand reasons you’ve got to stay home. Favourite one I ever heard? ‘You can’t go fishing, you daft old coot, Norma’s husband’s brother is in town and we agreed three years ago that the next time he was in town we were all going to go out for dinner?
I knew nothing of the sort. But it just goes to show why you can’t be direct. You say, ‘Darling, what do we have planned this weekend?’ and she’ll tell you her plans. So, you tell her ‘It’ll be great for you to spend some time with the girls, get some cocktails, have a proper catch-up.’ See, at this point, she’s thinking that it would be fun, it would be great to have some time with the girls. But then… ‘What will you do? I thought we were all going to go out?’ This is the crux, the point of convergence. Fuck this up and kiss goodbye to those trout.
‘I don’t know, I figured I’d just cast about all weekend. Find something to do while I’m bobbing about.’ See what I did with that? Where I used fishing related terms in what seemed like a normal statement? She’s got cast and bobbing in her head and then…
‘Perhaps you and the guys could go fishing? Take the boat up to Lake McElderry?’ At which point you thank her profusely for the idea and ask her if she’s sure. Then, you’re sorted. You and the lads head up to the lake, get some trout, get some beers and have a whale of a time away from the women.
That’s the art of love.’
Peter paused for a while. ‘That’s fair enough but Dad…’
‘Yes Pal?’ His father replied, leaning back in his chair and raising the pipe to his lips.
‘That doesn’t tell me how to ask Charlene out.’
Dad paused, a whisper of smoke coiling from the bowl. ‘I may have got a little of track there… Where did I start?’
‘Well, your exact words – twenty minutes ago,’ Peter said the last part in a hushed voice. Dad had a tendency to take things as an affront, ‘Were “You should just walk up to her and say…” Then you started talking about you and Mum.’ Peter shrugged. ‘Maybe I should ask her…’
The panic rushed into Dad’s eyes as he thought of his wife giving relationship advice. He spluttered his way into a new story. ‘So, you walk up to her and you say…’
The Idiot in Tin Foil