“Chi” is pronounced Chee and “Ni” is pronounced Nee.
I left school at fifteen to become a hairdresser. I had watched a film called “Shampoo” in which Warren Beatty flitted between affairs with Julie Christie and Goldie Hawn; it seemed like a good profession. It was nothing like that and mainly consisted of sweeping the hair from the floor, folding towels and washing people’s hair at the basin and not getting water in their ears. No wonder it takes three years to become a junior stylist. When I tell people I used to be a hairdresser, or an apprentice hairdresser, they look at my hair as if that is an indication of my past; my hair is absent. People often make this fundamental mistake and look at the hairdressers hair as an indication of how good they are. In fact, and obviously, you should always look at the hairdresser with the worst haircut for it is he or she that does everyone else’s.
No, there was no Julie Christie or Goldie Hawn but I did fall in love with Angela. We both started on the same day and would sing show tunes in the laundry room whilst folding towels. Our particular favourite was “Do-Re-Mi” from the Sound of Music and sometimes “My Favourite Things”. I have always had a fondness for Julie Andrews; that wonderful blend of confidence, fun….and beautiful too. If you were to ask me my “type” I would cite Julie Andrews as an ideal. Perhaps it is not a coincidence that none of my girlfriends have been able to sing or make clothes out of curtains. I am a pretty nifty seamstress and would more than likely be the one making clothes out of curtains…I am stretching my memory to remember if I have. This pause is due to trying to convey that it was not beyond the realms of possibility.
In many ways I have almost given up on love, but know that if I do meet her she will sing. I say ‘her’ but do not rule out a ‘him’ or an inbetween. I feel myself heterosexual in nature but am not so arrogant to believe that confronted by love that sex would get in the way. I can tell you this, and that is that my wife had no bum, and for a man who had always gone for a more voluptuous body type it was a strange thing to behold. But I loved her bum, her bum most of all because it was her bum and could hold one buttock in my hand. I had never known this feeling before. If someone were to ask if I knew what love is I would be able to tell them “Yes!”. What I loved about her was that she could see straight through me and laugh at me the way I laugh at myself, or would once she pointed it out. Nothing made me smile more than when she said “Blah, blah, blah” after I had said something I thought was intelligent or when I made a plan she knew I would not keep. I have never known anyone so insightful of the human character and this from someone who had to wear a helmet in school for fear that she would knock her head. If I was to tell you a story about Ayano it would be this one. Ayano and I were in bed watching the Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony, it was an amazing spectacle but I could tell that something was bothering her. I looked at her quizzically and asked her “What?” to which she responded “Look at them! All of them! All look the same!”. Ayano is Japanese in case you forgot.
After this we devised a game called “Chi or Ni” in which I would point out an Asian face and she would say “Chi” or “Ni”. Any point that I needed to make was proved when once she answered “Chi! No, Ni!”. To know love is rare but to be loved in return is rarer still.