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It's 6AM and I'm making coffee.

'What do you think?' Says a voice behind me.

'Hmm?' I ask.

'How do I look?'

It's 6AM and the concept of good and evil is blurred, never mind aesthetics. Nevertheless I turn around and face my destiny. My wife is clothed in a red T-shirt style top, with peace and love type logos on it, with some black pin-stripe suit bottoms.

'Hmm.' I say, considering my response.

Her face falls.

'I'm not sure that the informal and formal goes well together.' I say, foolishly.

'You don't like the top do you?'

When she bought the top we had another, lengthy discussion about its merits, much like the one we were beginning now.

'You know my feelings on the top.' I say, firmly.

'You don't like it.'

I sigh, quietly. I feel that I need to restate my opinion on the red top after all, as it seems to be have been forgotten, or misunderstood.

'No, it's not that, it's not my favourite top in the world, but it isn't the worst either - it's just okay, not bad, just okay.'

'But I want to wear it!' She says.

'Well wear it then, it's not terrible, it looks okay.'

'Just okay?'


'Just okay?'

'Yes, okay, not brilliant, not awful. Okay.'

'But not brilliant?' She looks unhappy.

'Look, it's just work, does it really matter what you wear?'

'It matters to me.'

I sigh again, quietly.

'Look, if you have a scale from 0 to 100,' (I'm only just beginning this sentence, and already I have the feeling I've made a mistake), 'and zero is how you look on the worst day of your life, and one hundred is how you look on the best day of your life, and fifty is how you look on an average, normal day,' I pause to see how this is being taken, 'then this outfit is a fifty.'

'Just fifty!?' She looks outraged, 'I'm going to get changed.'

She obviously thinks that she should strive to look, on average, better than average.

'But fifty is normal, it's how you...' I begin but trail off.

After she leaves I continue thinking about the 'scale of looks' that I have just invented and decide that whilst the same scale exists for both men and women, for men it is measured only in quarters - 0 (terrible), 25 (poor but passable), 50 (okay), 75 (looking good), 100 (dinner jacket). Numbers in-between are meaningless -- there's no point in quizzing men about the fine details of the scale -- we always round up or down.

[Some time later]

'What do you think?' Says a voice behind me.

'Hmm?' I ask.

'How do I look?'


repeat ad infinitum