“It wasn’t there when I was here earlier, I’m telling you. See that guy (shop assistant standing on a ladder minding his own business packing shelves) is laughing, he hid it and then put it there after I left”. Ironman was trying to justify having come home empty-handed because “it wasn’t there” after he went to the shops to buy some coconut milk (since one of our kids was on a lactose free diet). He went to the shops to save me some time but could not – even after very specific directions (which aisle, shelf, side of the shop, next to which product etc) – find this specific type of coconut milk we were looking for.
He came home adamant that the shop didn’t have it. “It’s not there”. He was resolute. But I was equally unwavering that it was, and that I needed it, so I stopped dinner preparations, left all the food out on the kitchen bench, picked up my handbag, grabbed the car keys and said: “It’s ok, I’ll go and get it”. “I’ll come with you” he said, “so I can show you it’s not there”.
Here in Australia we have something that’s called “having a boy look”. I love Aussie sayings, they are so descriptive. “Having a boy look” is when a man is looking for something that is in plain sight but he can’t see it. My husband will sometimes stand in front of the pantry cupboard, staring at the contents looking for the coffee and then call me: “Where’s the coffee?” I’ll call back: “It’s in the cupboard”, to which he’ll reply: “No, it’s not”. Depending on what I’m doing at that point in time I’ll either reply: “It really is there. I know it doesn’t jump out at you to make itself visible but I promise it’s there”, or I’ll stop what I’m doing, go over and take the coffee from the shelf and hand it to him with a sigh.
On the hiding-coconut-milk-day we got in the car and drove to the shop. I walked in, purposely strode to the shelf where I knew this coconut milk was kept, not looking right or left, just straight ahead with my husband following, feeling quite sure of himself that I would soon be proven wrong. That we’ll get to the shelf and there will indeed be no coconut milk where I said it would be. We got there, and alas, there it was. I didn’t say a thing, just took it off the shelf, turned around and went to pay, trying my best not to laugh. There was a shop assistant standing on a ladder in the aisle, packing the top shelf and watching these two very determined characters bemusedly. Meanwhile my husband promptly formulated his defence: “It wasn’t there when I was here earlier, I’m telling you. See that guy (the shop assistant) is laughing, he hid it and then put it there after I left”. “No”, I said, “it was there all the time, you just had a boy look”, still trying not to laugh. “I asked him if there was any and he went and checked in the store room and said they didn’t have any, then after I left he quickly put it on the shelf, he was laughing at us.” A conspiracy theory had super swiftly been devised. I have to give my man that: he came up with that theory at breakneck speed. “Did you see how he was laughing at us”? “He was laughing because it’s funny”, I said. “Probably also because he had an equally bad boy look and couldn’t find it himself and was relieved because he’s not the one who went home and said there was none when in fact there was some”.
By now we were back in the car and I couldn’t contain my giggling any more. It was just too funny. All the way back home he was unshakeable: he’d been set up. We walked in the door at home, still laughing and both sticking to our guns but the balance of power in the house (also known as three teenagers) quickly delivered their verdict with smiley, shaking heads: the coconut milk had been there all along.
The boys in our house have a boy look quite often and since we all tease each other all the time us girls don’t pass by an opportunity to make light of it but my husband still sticks to his story about the coconut milk: it was hidden and put there after he’d left.