Wednesday, 11 April 2012

In Search Of Brownie Points


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.

Conclusion

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?”

20 comments:

Pandora Behr said...

The other thing you forgot about brownie points - what works for one woman, doesn't work for another.

Sounds like you better go find some more creme eggs...

The Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Pand,

Ha Ha - yes, I know that. I have two sisters who are incidentally both Leos, just like Mrs PM, and earning Brownie Points off them is a major conundrum.

I will take your advice and stock up on cream eggs.

Have I earned a Brownie Point?

;-)

Cheers

PM

The Elephant's Child said...

I'm with Pandora. However, if someone would clean the kitty litter tray(s) that would be worth many, many brownie points. As would dealing with the little darlings digestive upsets.
(Not big on creme eggs.)

The Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi EC,

Don't get me started on kitty trays. This is clearly a case of what works for one woman doesn't work for another, as Pand suggests.

I guess buying cream eggs for you would be a waste of time then.

:-)

Anji said...

I think you've got the theory sussed. You will never ever crack the code. - Only three Cream Eggs!

DelGal said...

I hate to break this to you, but the fact that you're discussing this sacred system on your blog may put you on a further downward spiral of brownie losing points if she happens to read this.

Jackie K said...

Ok here's the thing with brownie points. You lose some of what you earned for doing jobs, when you then tell her about the jobs you've done. Because she has been doing those jobs every other day, OR doing a thousand others and not really telling you about them. Because we women just don't earn brownie pints for doing that stuff. :(

Also - excellent post! Very funny.

drb said...

Oh Mr PM, I feel sorry for Mrs PM.
You just don't get the art of earning brownie points, do you?
Brownie points are awarded to arts of selflessness.
Example 1, if you bought the creme eggs and selflessly offered your share to her, you will earn more than 6 brownie points. The fact that you ate as many as eggs as her would not get you many brownie points.
Example 2, lobster is one of my favourite food and needless to say it is very expensive. For many years, Rob would not eat any lobster when we bought any and I would happily eat the whole thing by myself thinking that he does not care for lobster. Then one day, I asked him,"Hun, what is your favourite food?"
"Lobster."
I felt so ashamed and touched at the same time. I am still teary thinking about it. He earned tonnes of brownie points for that.

So, go and get Mrs PM creme eggs but do NOT eat any!

drb said...

Phonetically.
wo de boa bei,
(my precious),
ni jin tian how piao liang.
(you are very beautiful today).

Wo Ai Ni
(I love you).

The Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Anji,

I know! There is clearly a code. When I understand women I will understand Brownie Points - so there's NO CHANCE is there?

:-)

Cheers

PM

The Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Lynette,

I'm still in credit, so Mrs PM hasn't read it - YET.

BTW Is Mark in credit?

:0)

Cheers

PM

The Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Jackie,

I understand what you mean but if I don't tell her, how does she know that I've done them?

If I'm sitting watching the game and she comes in, thinking that's all I've been doing for the past three hours, I have to tell her about the jobs, don't I?

Brownie "Pints" - that sounds great!

:0)

Cheers

PM

The Plastic Mancunian said...

Thank you drb,

That makes sense; but I have to ask - how soon after Rob's admirable sacrifice, did he lose his Brownie Points?

;-)

Cheers

PM

The Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi drb,

Thanks for that fabulous translation.

I did try to speak a little Mandarin when in China - but ended up being laughed at most of the time - though when I got it right it was great.

:0)

Cheers

PM

drb said...

Oh Mr PM,
The lobster brownie points Rob earned will last him a life time.
:-)
That is not including the other brownie points I lost for forgetting his birthday for 3 days.

He is a perfect husband and I am a terrible wife.

The Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi drb,

I'm sure you're not a terrible wife. I reckon Rob will also disagree.

Why else would he let you enjoy lobster?

:0)

Cheers

PM

Kath said...

Ah, the Cadbury Creme egg. Much desired by we women folk, but so brief and ephemeral.

As are, therefore, the brownie points attached to it.

As for the scoring process behind the female brownie point system, it not only varies from person to person but is no less complicated than the system used on QI. :)

The Plastic Mancunian said...

Bonjour Kath,

Aw bugger!!! Just when I thought I was grasping the concept.

:0)

Cheers

PM

Mrs PM said...

Great comments from everyone else and Mrs PM totally agrees with major brownie points for cleaning kitty litter!! Other ways to maximize brownie points are of course taking the rubbish out, DIY jobs and changing light bulbs without being asked (or nagged!). Of course it goes both ways too so Mrs PM loses brownie points for
a) speaking in the morning
b) telling Mr PM what to cook
c) losing house keys yet again
d) getting us lost
Mrs PM gains brownie points for
a) cooking tea when it's Mr PM's turn
b) tolerating footy on the box
c) liking Mr PMs music (although this doesn't happen very often)
Anyway I look forward to Mr PM cashing in his brownie points ;-)

The Plastic Mancunian said...

Hello Mrs PM,

How are you today? Are you well?

Kitty litter? When the cats do THAT they are YOUR cats.

Can I include your CD's in the rubbish when I take it out?

Light bulbs? Of course I can.

As for you losing Brownie Points:

(1) When I'm grumpy in the morning I don't even talk to MYSELF.
(2) If you want to tell me what to cook - you should cook it yourself. That is law.
(3) & (4) Words fail me when this happens - for the umpteenth time.

As for gaining Brownie Points - I will write a post just for you, explaining in great detail how you can gain them.

:0)

Dave xxx