Many thanks go to PapaGus for his assistance in preparing this story for posting.
Have you ever wondered why they usually have mirrors behind bars? I have! It's something that's bugged me for many years now and I've been offered many different explanations as to why those damned mirrors are there. I've been told that they are there:-
To make the bar room itself look larger then it really is.
To make the actually stock behind the bar, look more extensive than it actually is.
So that the barkeepers can keep an eye on what the customers are doing behind his back. (Sorry "their back"; we're in an equal rights society and a politically correct world today.)
Just to spread the light about a bit more for when the barkeeper is mixing drinks back there.
So that the customers can see that they aren't getting short measured. Surprising how many and which people came up with that one.
So that a customer at the bar can see what's going on behind him.
Regretfully it was this last one that I at least know now, is feasible and works, because I noticed something happening behind me in a hotel bar one evening that led to drastic changes in my life.
I suppose it would be best if I go back to the beginning and explain why I was in the hotel bar that evening, in the first place.
Well to be perfectly honest with you, things hadn't been what you'd call completely right between Karen and me for about two months. Oh, up to a point, she was as loving a wife as she had been all the previous eight years of our marriage. Okay, sex had never been very high on Karen's list of favourite pastimes, but once she got going ... well, I wasn't going to complain. Our trouble ... no correction! My trouble had always been that after the first couple of years of marriage, Karen's libido had dropped off a bit. Jesus I was lucky if I could get her going two nights a week. Mind once Karen had become aroused there was no stopping her. Christ, maybe I didn't try too hard to get her going half the time because I'd be knackered in the office everyday.
Anyway that had been the state of play until about two months before that fateful Friday evening. I'm not exactly sure how or why it started, but I came home from work one evening and Karen was in a frightful mood. The trouble was that she wasn't in a bad mood with her work colleagues or their clients, as was Karen's usual want. She was definitely shit faced at me.
More than that, for some inexplicable reason Karen appeared to be really antsy with Larraine, my opposite number at our Edinburgh office. Okay, following a takeover, the company was going through a quite major reorganisation and changes to our systems, that meant Larraine and I had been working quite closely together for a good few of the previous six months. Yeah we were putting in very long hours when Larraine and I did get together and those long hours were probably what Karen was upset about; but they weren't Larraine's fault it was the fact that we had a lot to get through in a very short time.
I believe that Karen's main bug bear may have been centred around Larraine - because she had her children at home - never stayed over in London; she'd catch an early flight down to London and then we'd thrash things out all day until Larraine had to catch the last flight back. Often the two of us still working and discussing things in the taxi taking her to the airport.
Now, when I went up to Edinburgh, I could never see the sense in rushing about, so I tended to stay over for the night and fly back the following day. With hindsight it was probably, because of the fact that I stayed over and Larraine didn't, that everything started to go wrong.
Seeing things now - with hindsight - is easy, but at the time I must have missed all the clues. As I said I was busy and I'd known Larraine for years. What I had forgotten — or didn't take account of was that Karen had never met the Larraine, mainly because she never did stay over in London. I'll bet that you can all see where this is going, can't you? Well maybe I should have as well, but I assumed that my explanation would be enough for Karen; apparently it wasn't.
"Explanation of what you asked? Well I'll try to tell you, without being unkind to Larraine. Larraine on the telephone had the voice of an angel; I have to wonder how many clients had a picture a sweet ripe apple, just right for picking when they spoke to her on the telephone. Well to be perfectly honest they were all in for a bleeding great shock when they actually came face to face with Larraine. All six foot — in bare feet and she always wore heels — and - I'm guessing here - about twenty-eight to thirty stone of her, maybe even more; it's considered impolite to enquire about a ladies weight where I come from.
Look, Larraine had a great personality and she was marvellous at her job — even possibly better then I am — but the company had to buy two seats on the airplane before she could fly on it. Larraine was also crazy about her five-foot-four ten-stone husband Ron. So you see, if your mind was working in that direction, then you were barking up the wrong tree completely; there was definitely no question of any hanky panky going on between Larraine and myself.
I'd described Larraine to Karen on numerous occasions and even mentioned that I was worried about what all that extra weight was doing to the woman's health, and I had assumed that Karen had accepted my descriptions of her. How wrong I was!
But of course, I was completely unaware of that the day I came home from work and found Karen in a paddy. I have no idea how the argument went or what it was about; but I do recall that Karen, did not once, accuse me of doing anything that I shouldn't have been doing. Had she done so the penny might have dropped; but she didn't. All she companied about was all the late nights I had been putting in — especially when Larraine came down - and claiming that she hardly saw me anymore. Which was a complete over exaggeration, I believe.
Anyway the net result of this ding-dong was that Karen quite literally cut me off. Try as hard as I could, I just couldn't seem to get her aroused. In all other respects Karen was as loving as she'd ever been, it was just in the bed department that suddenly I was offside all the time. You know all the excuses you've probably heard them yourself, headache, hard day at work and wrong time of the month etcetera, etcetera.
Anyway I let things slide for a few weeks and then I took me some advice. Jesus man, well, I was missing it, even if Karen wasn't!
And well that's how come we'd finished up in that hotel that night, I approached Karen's sister with the vague hope that she might know what Karen's problem was. Well my theory was that the sisters' chat to each other for hours on the telephone all the time, surely Karen would have told Monica what her - or my - problem was.
"Sorry John, Karen hasn't said anything to me; have you tried asking her what she's up-tight about?"
"Monica, this is your sister we're talking about!" I'd replied.
"Oh she hasn't changed much, even with you then? Karen always has always been that way, even when we were young, "'You've upset me, and if you don't know how, then you should know!'" That always was Karen's way of looking at things when we were little."
"Yeah well, that part of her personality hasn't changed any over the years."
"Oops I'm sorry John, kind-a puts you between a rock and hard place doesn't it. If you come right out and ask her, then she's going to be even more pissed at you, because you don't recognise your transgression. Shit, I'd ask her myself, but if I did then she'd know that you'd asked me and we'd both be in the dog house for talking about her behind her back." Monica commiserated.
"Yeah rock and a hard place- you're right there. The bit I don't really understand is ... Well Karen's almost her normal self towards me in other ways. It's just in the bedroom that things have taken a real dive. Surely she's much too young for the change to set in?"
"Oh yeah, much too young, anyway I'm sure she'd have mentioned that to me. No, I guess that Karen is just a little pissed about all the hours you've been putting in the last year. Look you haven't slipped away for any of your romantic weekends on the continent for over a year now. Perhaps that's what her problem is: she needs a little romance brought back into your relationship.
Taking Monica's advice I'd secretly planned to take Karen to Paris for a few days. My bad luck was that I couldn't get a flight out on the Friday evening, looking back now, maybe I would have done better if I'd planned on taking the train instead. But then again, maybe I wouldn't. Anyway I thought I'd be clever and hide our intended destination from Karen until the very last minute.
What Karen thought about it when I told her that we were taking a break in one of the local hotels, god only knows; but she didn't actually say anything. With hindsight I suppose she might have thought that I was being a bit of a cheapskate. I thought it would be a nice surprise for her when I showed her the plane tickets on the Saturday morning over breakfast. You know, there'd be no dashing about with last minute things, before we rushed off to the airport; we were already packed and away from the house. Well, that had been my cunning plan!
So when we arrived in our hotel room, I virtually railroaded Karen straight in and out again. There was no way I wanted her to have time to unpack and I couldn't really explain why without blowing my master plan, to surprise her in the morning.
.... There is more of this story ...