I can’t go out this weekend. Again. It’s the black eye, you see. And the rather deep scratches along both cheeks, plus a few other bits of damage in places not normally open to public view.

It’s my own fault of course. It always is. I suffer from a disease which I like to call inadvertent logorrhoea, but which really means nothing more than every time I open my mouth I put my foot in it.

Women, of course. It always is. The problem is that I like women. Well, nothing wrong with that. Women usually like me as well, and that’s also pretty normal. At least from my viewpoint. And that, I think, is where the trouble rises. My viewpoint. I’ve never been very good at considering anyone else’s viewpoint. And I like straight talking. It’s thought to be a virtue where I come from, but doesn’t always go down too well here. Believe me. I know.

You see, if I think a woman is luscious, I tell her. Straight talking. They like it. They may not want to go any further, but I’ve never found a woman yet who objected to being told things like that. The trouble is, if I think she is ugly, I tell her that as well. That is, not at the same time as I tell her she’s luscious. Should be obvious if you know what I mean. Not that she has to be ugly as such. Any little defect will do, and I can’t help commenting on the fact that she fails to measure up to an ideal of perfect beauty. Hence the scratches. Not these. Others. Some of them are ancient, almost like the black crunchy bits at the bottom of the frying pan that you swear down you’ll clean out sometime tomorrow, a swear you’ve been using for months.

Anyway, it’s getting a bit expensive on pain killers and antiseptic, not to mention the price of raw steak. It’s disgusting what the butcher charges for that nowadays. Something, I thought, had to be done. Or even better Had To Be Done. When a situation demands capital letters, it had better be something radical as well.

The answer came to me during one of my earlier periods of cutting myself off from mankind. I was reading a book. Well, you have to do something while waiting for Time, the great healer. The story was all about this bird called Helen of Troy. Great read. Lots of action. Plenty of fights and massive amounts of blood. Plus treachery and cunning. Liked it. Liked it a lot. Especially the bit about Helen. Mind, I did wonder about the length of time it took to rescue her. She must have been pretty well middle aged by then, and probably past it in the beauty stakes, but no matter. The interesting part, the part that really got me thinking was about how she had a face that could put the shipwrights on voluntary overtime, and I thought, “That’s it.” That was exactly what I was looking for.

Maybe you know the story. The point is, that if she was reckoned to be the last word in beauty, then all other women could be rated accordingly. What I’m trying to explain is that if Helen of Troy had a face that could launch a thousand ships, then her beauty rating was obviously one thousand millihelens. Precisely that. Nothing more, and certainly nothing less. That means, if you follow the argument, that a woman only half as lovely as the Maid of Troy, though it’s hard to see how she could get away with that claim after a ten year siege, would have a rating of five hundred millihelens. Able to launch five hundred ships, see?

Twenty five millihelens? Worth a small fishing fleet perhaps. One millihelen? Well, I’ve seen Thor Heyerdahl’s balsa wood raft, and with all due respect, pretty it is not.

I tried the system out last week, and it worked a treat. Until I saw this female in the bookshop coffee bar. Well, I was looking to see if I could pick up any more ideas. She was dressed in something that hurt the eyes, had long frizzy hair that definitely wasn’t styled, and wore Sensible Shoes. With thick stockings. Might have had half way decent legs, except it wasn’t possible to see under all that fabric. Horrible. A man shouldn’t have to face things like that straight after bacon and eggs and a couple of slices of fried bread.

I muttered something about having to extend the millihelen scale in a downward direction, and she threw a blooey. Well, it seems that apart from having superb hearing, she was studying classical literature at university and was more at home in Ancient Troy than I was, which admittedly isn’t such a hard thing to be, and understood perfectly the direction my mind was taking. It’s all the fault of allowing women to get an education, I say. It wasn’t meant to happen like this.

Anyway, as I said at the beginning, I can’t go out this weekend.

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