Friday, 31 March 2017

Minor success in the battle against testosterone blindness

Testosterone blindness is a notion to which my wife introduced me decades ago.

That’s “introduced” in the widest possible, not to say euphemistic sense. You’ll understand what I mean when I tell you that testosterone blindness is the deplorable condition which prevents a man finding the sports bag that he has absent-mindedly, and inappropriately, left on the dining table.

A slightly modified variant prevents him seeing the pile of washing up that might usefully be done while his wife is out, to say nothing of the child who needs his nappy changing/his face washing/helping with his homework. It does not prevent the man in question finding the remote control that allows him to tune into the international rugby match taking place that afternoon.

It’s a sad affliction without, it would appear, hope of a permanent cure for those touched by it. That, however, doesn’t stop women trying to treat it, by forcefully expressed pointers towards the location of car keys, the floor that needs mopping or the child who needs taking out.

That form of treatment is like chemotherapy: it sometimes feels as bad as the disease it’s intended to cure and it leaves scars.

It was, therefore, a wonderful curative to have a little counter-experience today. Just before heading for Glasgow airport and a flight home, I received a message from my wife: “if you have time, please collect me some Occitane Lavender hand cream and a Refreshing Aromatic deodorant.”

I was at the airport early so time wasn’t a problem. I made for the Occitane corner in the Duty Free shop.

“May I help you?” said the pleasant woman who was standing by the shelves.

I explained my need.

“Ah, yes,” she said as she started examining all the shelves in the left-hand section of two dedicated to the products. She went through them all and then turned to the right-hand section, perusing them thoroughly from top to bottom. When she’d finished, she turned to the little island behind me which I hadn’t noticed before, and which had two sets of three shelves full of more Occitane products.

All to no avail. Neither of the products was on display.

“We don’t stock the entire range,” she explained apologetically, “I’m sorry.”

“Glasgow,” I began to think to myself, unjustly as it turned out. For my eye was caught by some tubes with purple labels.

“Hang on,” I said, “isn’t that lavender?”

I picked one up and examined it more closely.

“Oh, look,” I said, “it’s hand cream.”

“So it is,” she said, “now why should it have been there?” she went on, making me think of nothing so much as my frequently-voiced complaint, “Good Lord. I could have sworn I’d taken that upstairs/hadn’t left it there/had already put it in the car.”

“Now,” I went on, “I need a woman’s deodorant.” I thought perhaps I could find an acceptable alternative to “refreshing aromatic”.

I bent down to look at the little group of such deodorants, down near the floor. One caught my eye.

“Oh, look,” I said, “fraicheur aromatique. That sounds a bit like refreshing aromatic, doesn’t it?” Indeed, as I lifted the little bottle I saw that the English was printed underneath and confirmed my translation.

“Why, you’re right,” she said, in a near whisper. 

She sounded humble. As well she might.

Testosterone 1, Oestrogen nil
For we had just shared a moment that was exceptional, if not unique: a one-off triumph of testosterone vision over oestrogen blindness.

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