Wednesday, 11 April 2012
The other week, I was shopping in the supermarket and spotted a load of Cadbury’s Cream Eggs. I know how much Mrs PM likes them, so I treated her (and me) to a box of six.
She was delighted and over the next few days we enjoyed a cream egg in the evening.
Last night, I was chatting to my kids and Mrs PM over a meal, when I made a joke about her. The kids laughed but Mrs PM glared.
“You’ve just lost loads of Brownie Points,” she warned.
“It doesn’t matter; I have loads of them,” I said triumphantly. “Those Cream Eggs I bought last week must have earned me thousands.”
“You mean the six Cream Eggs of which you stole three?” said Mrs PM. “That earned you three Brownie Points”.
“THREE?” I said incredulously. “THREE???? I won’t bother next time; THREE??? It’s hardly worth the effort.”
I realised then, as my lads sniggered, that I had lost the battle and approximately four and half million further Brownie Points.
And it has started me thinking – what exactly ARE Brownie Points? How do you acquire them? And once you have them, how do you make sure that you keep them?
What are Brownie Points?
I don’t actually know. All I do know is that they are a representation of my position in the scale of Mrs PM’s feelings, providing an indication of whether I am in her good books or her bad books. Here is a graph to represent how I see Brownie Points plotted against Pain:
The more Brownie Points you have, the less Pain you experience.
As you can tell, I cannot show the actual number of Brownie Points required to produce zero pain. And of course, I haven’t factored in Mrs PM.
For all I know the graph could look like this:
In fact, it probably does.
So how do you acquire these so-called Brownie Points?
Using my male mind, I have always assumed that if you do something good, your Brownie Point account automatically has a few thousand deposited into it. There is, however, a factor I have discovered that affects this. It is called the Female Factor. And what’s worse, it varies from female to female.
I stupidly assumed that because Mrs PM loves Cream Eggs that I would be in credit for days if not weeks. But I wasn’t – and all it took to annihilate the contents of my account were a few ill-chosen words that caused my lads to laugh at her in a restaurant full of people.
I have another example. A mate of mine spent the entire day laying laminate flooring in his house while she was at work. When she returned, he had finished and was taking a well-deserved rest with a beer and a sandwich, watching the football on TV.
Her first words weren’t “Wow – good job.”
They were: “Why haven’t you started dinner? And why haven’t you washed up? This house is a tip!”
If he had spent one hour, cleaning the kitchen, washing up and preparing dinner he would have acquired more Brownie Points than he did spending five hours laying down a floor.
That doesn’t make sense to me.
If I am watching football and Mrs PM returns home from shopping, if I leap up and make a cup of tea for her and then boast about loading the dishwasher, hoovering and feeding the cats, I gain more points than if I had driven to the Trafford Centre and bought something we needed.
Why? Because I completed three jobs with a fourth in progress rather than just the one job.
Does that make sense to any male readers?
It might make sense to female readers but it really doesn’t make sense to me at all.
Once you have performed lots of little tasks and amassed a fortune in Brownie Points, how do you keep them?
This is perhaps the trickiest question of all. I have learned a few tricks but I am no expert; I am a mere apprentice learning from past mistakes.
Here’s how you keep them:
Keep your account topped up with complements. Notice when she has had her hair cut and tell her that she looks fabulous. Do not go shopping with her, but when she returns showing off her new clothes, take interest and let her know how fabulous her choices are. Make her a cup of tea out of the blue. Be romantic.
But the most important thing is – ever underestimate the cost in Brownie Points for the bad things that you do.
And be aware that you will not know which things are good and which things are bad.
For example, a football match costs a lot more Brownie Points than you can imagine. If you have enough Brownie Points to pay for a night out with the lads, the cost goes up exponentially if:
You come home absolutely leathered.
You remark on a good looking woman you saw.
You wake her up.
You say you are going to come home at 10 o’clock and roll in at midnight.
You do not answer the phone or reply to any texts she has sent.
You hangover is so bad that you can’t do anything the next day.
Understanding Brownie Points is like learning to read and write Chinese; a skill that is difficult to master and demands as much attention as you are willing to give it.
In the end, the rewards are incredible but men ever reach the pinnacle and amass enough Brownie Points to achieve these rewards.
By the way, does anybody know Chinese for “You look lovely today, dearest?”