One Tough Guy

Several weeks ago, I was having a quick cup of coffee at a quaint little Chinese coffee-shop, somewhere in a quaint little town called Bahau. Next to my table sat a threesome; presumably a husband, a wife and their teenage daughter. Since the marble-top tables were placed close to each other, I could not help but overhear odd snippets from their conversation.

“That’s one cool guy, sitting over there. He looks extremely fit, doesn’t he?” said the wife, referring to a hunk who sat by himself all the way across the coffee-shop floor from them. “He looks like he could be a commando” she continued.

“Hmmm, I wonder what he does for a living?” asked the daughter.

“Judging from the way he’s built, he probably is a commando” replied the father, obviously wanting to add some sort of contribution to the conversation.

“Yeah! But doesn’t he just look so delicious?!” remarked the daughter.

“That he does! But not too long ago, would you believe that people used to say things like that about me, too –” offered the father, half-jesting and half-reminiscing.

“But that was a lifetime ago, dear” the wife interjected, dismissing his claim to fame.

Undeterred, and still eager to add humour to the proceedings, the father quipped “– but I guess when people see me now, they just go β€˜Hey! Isn’t that one of the Teletubbies?'”, half expecting his family to at least laugh a little at his attempt at self-effacing humour.

Instead, he was rewarded with a stern “Don’t you know that to liken you to one of the Teletubbies would be a compliment?”

I had heard enough. Though there was a great big smile on the husband face, unless I had gone totally blind, there was no mistaking the disappointment in his eyes. I paid for my half-finished coffee and walked off.

Must the familiarity that comes with the years of marriage breed such callousness in a spouse? I should certainly hope not – notwithstanding that time has fashioned me to be as jaded and cynical as I am. Turning my ignition key, I glanced at the poor husband once again.

Suddenly he wasn’t so pathetic anymore. Recalling the brave smile on his face, I was humbled by the thought that he was indeed a tougher and more valorous man than I could ever hope to be. How could anyone take that kind of punishment and still go on? I could learn a thing or two from that man.

21 thoughts on “One Tough Guy

  1. [elviza]

    I suppose you are right. Familiarity does breed contempt (callousness?) in some folks. But I will concede that it is also responsible for causing love to bloom in others.

  2. Sir!

    You mean to tell me that I have to rot here in Avillion, reading your two-day-old post?

    And I thought you only heard snippets of the conversation?
    That was eavesdropping Sir!

  3. “You always take me for granted!” was the oft-repeated refrain thrown at me when I was younger.

    And I thought I was being trusting.

    After marriage, it’s the most common phrase that passes through the minds of husbands instead.

  4. That sounded pretty callous to me. The wife (and I am assuming the husband) probably thought it is all a joke but remarks like that can actually demoralise a person when said too often. There is a fine line between making a joke and the person on the receiving end knows one did not mean it and some callous remark is said on purpose so as to make a person feel unattractive.
    (This example may differ but I actually had someone tell me before that I was looking good in some photo but that guy added that it should not go to my head. huh? What kind of a compliment is that? He might as well not say anything. Some gentleman huh? Whether it goes to my head or not, it is my prerogative) πŸ™‚

    Anyway, back to you story … how would the woman like it if the husband said she is not as sweet and svelte as she was when they first met? sigh…

  5. [cipan]

    Hear! Hear! A courageous man speaks!

    [scout finch]

    Ah, the man may have been “pre-historic”, fat and not in the least bit attractive, but I doubt if he had lost his faculties.

  6. Dear Ms Hanff

    You may, at any time, slap my wrist for the said transgression of eavesdropping.

    Though I may be presently lacking in inspiration, I shall, nonetheless, attempt to pen a new entry soon. It is my hope that the new entry will keep you sufficiently entertained.

  7. [jt]

    Evidently, the wife in this story doesn’t particularly believe in treating her husband the way that she expects to be treated. Slightly sad, isn’t it?

  8. The flawless story-telling notwithstanding, as a curious self-proclaimed Nogoghi Boy, I need to ask, Apo ko buek kek Bahau tu jang?

    P.S. You’re getting pretty good at observing, and describing the scene, Mat. Attaboy!

  9. [madsalos]

    Den poi kek Bahau buek kojo lah, jang: Carik so suap nasik.

    Us two master wordsmiths got something going on? Surely, I know not what you mean, kind sir πŸ™‚

    And thanks for the vote of confidence, bro! I appreciate it

  10. maybe the husband to himself is like “yeah okay in a coffee-shop infront of eavesdropping strangers you like this lahh, but on the bed you know who’s the stud, who’s the daddy, who makes you scream and lose control and say whatever i make you say and do whatever i make you do, hoben jang hoben”. or so i think lah.

    anyway, mr. bangkai, thanks for the brilliantly written entries. please write moar.

  11. Madsalo, you are unwittingly implying what on your comment up there?

    I can’t stand it when he goes around using the word ‘altercation’ that’s all….

    Even though we never met, I am sure Mat Bangkai is a perfect gentleman (like yourself).

  12. [penyangak]

    Thank you for your kind words, sir.

    I don’t know, but if a woman speaks to me like that, I wouldn’t even think of going to bed with her, much less make her scream like an idiot and call me ‘big daddy!’ every alternate stroke.

    You’re a cool guy, Penyangak. Have I told you that?

  13. [elviza]

    I don’t think I have ever been called a gentleman before – by anybody! But I think its something I can easily get used to, though. Thanks!

    I would have ended that with a ‘Thank you, ma’am” but for the fact that you have asked me to address you only by your name.

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