I awoke on the Sunday morning, momentarily forgetting about my forfeit. I had lost a bet with my wife on the subject of pain. My wife decided over the course of a week, I would discover the pain women put up with every day. The previous day's shopping trip came back to me as I rolled over to get five more minutes, only to get my thumb caught in some lacy contraption I had gone to sleep in.
As I lay there, sucking my thumb back into some kind of shape, I decided that clothes designers must be taught at university how to maximise the inconvenience of every item of female clothing. They must have at least one module in the course entitled "Sadomasochism", and that this is the most well attended module.
I lay as quietly as possible, dreading waking up. However, a faint whimper must have escaped because my wife realised I was awake and demanded sex. To be honest, I wasn't really in the mood. Still...
While I had been making the evening meal the night before, my wife had been busy in my wardrobe and drawer. I only have one drawer in the chest of drawers. My wife has six, and another smaller set beside the bed. She also annexed the top of the chest of drawers and three wardrobes. If Adolf Hitler had been a woman, by the time anybody had noticed anything amiss, Germany would have controlled most of Europe, but for a small drawer near Lisbon.
My wardrobe was empty of everything except the two dresses. My drawer contained underwear, but not my usual boxers and socks. I held up a G-string.
"Really?" I asked.
"Really," said my wife. "All day."
I have never realised it is possible to be sawn in half using a small length of cotton. It is also important, as a man, to arrange a G-String correctly, as I discovered a cheap method for performing a vasectomy on the NHS. Tights, or as they are known more correctly in America, hose, were designed primarily as a complex three dimensional puzzle to be completed each and every morning. My wife had decided that although suspenders would have taught me a whole new skill in bending my arms into positions that they are not supposed to go, they would have enabled me to visit the toilet while stood upright. Tights force one to sit.
Dressed, we had breakfast. Although I was quite hungry, my breakfast was a small bowl of cardboard that would have left a rabbit longingly looking at a steak, and renouncing vegetarianism. It is the first time I have been more hungry after eating than I was before I started.
My wife had arranged a spa day.
A man's idea of a spa day is a leisurely relaxing few hours involving scented oils and copious amounts of salad vegetables.
This of course, assumes that nobody has rung up the spa and explained to the women who run it exactly what was happening, and how I had claimed men tolerate pain better.
At least, I think this is what she must have done.
I drove to the spa. This introduced me to a whole new pain I have never before experienced. I chose the lower height heel as I could not envision the mechanics of pressing the peddles when the fulcrum is four inches higher than the peddle. However, these shoes had the unfortunate side effect of remoulding my feet into the shape of a carrot. Additionally, there was still the fulcrum problem, although it was only two inches. By the time we had arrived at the spa, my ankles ached so much they had palmed some of the pain off to my knees, hips and shoulders.
The women at the spa were very welcoming, if somewhat giggly. At least I was able to get out of the shoes. A relaxing foot massage and pedicure returned some semblance of flatness to my feet, and although I relented and allowed the toe-nail painting, I couldn't really see the point, given toe-nails are generally covered in shoe. There was a somewhat painful massage, although I did feel better afterwards. This was followed by a sauna, at which point my wife left me to run an errand.
This, it seemed, was the signal for the happy, relaxing day to end and the punishment to begin.
"You're pores are open," I was told as I was led to a room with a relaxing looking chair.
"I didn't realise I had pores," I replied.
"Oh yes," giggled the very attractive young woman.
Over the next hour, I learned to scream. I'd always thought that screaming was a skill best left in infancy. However, as every last scrap of hair was removed from my body, I rediscovered the ability. By the time my legs had been waxed, I was delirious. The pain is hard to describe. One strip is not too bad. You can stifle the scream. Twenty strips in and it left me a gibbering wreck. I now have a phobia about relaxing looking chairs.
I also never realised that having hair ripped out by the roots causes swelling. I knew that women claimed spa treatments left skin peach-smooth. I didn't realise that they also left skin peach shaped and peach coloured. Fortunately, there was a soothing balm that only stung like an acid bath for a few seconds before all the nerves in my skin died.
My wife returned to find me swathed head to foot in more food products.
"Peaches and cream," she said.
"Is it over?" I asked, after showering.
"Not by a long way," she said.
My next stop was the nail girl. Quite how she wielded equipment better suited to a woodwork shop than a beauty parlour, I'll never quite fathom, given the length of her nails. I am a nail biter, as I can never find nail clippers in our house. It's not a habit, it's necessity. This meant that she glued something called shellac to the ends of my hands. I hadn't expected this to hurt. However, it did, in a whole new way. As they dried, it felt like the tips of my fingers were having the skin pulled round into a bunch under the nail. My fingerprints hurt. How is that possible?
Make-up was next. At least it would give the pain time to subside in the rest of my body, I felt. And I did forget about some of the pain as my eyebrows were ripped out individually by a grinning woman who must have done the make up for Heath Ledger as the Joker in Batman. A chemical peel is not the same as a banana peel. It is also not the same root as the word 'appeal' unless 'ap' is put before a word to stand for 'a painful'. This was followed by more cream that felt cool. Finally. She did managed to jab me in the eyeball with a mascara stick. I had my eyes closed at the time, so quite how she managed this trick is beyond me, but I'm pretty sure it involved a nudge from my wife.
"Hydrating" lipstick must mean "suck all the moisture out of the face and into the lipstick". Those small silica sachets could be replaced by just one gram of lipstick.
Finally, it was time to go home, and my wife presented me with a wig.
"You don't have enough hair to cut," she told me.
So I drove home with somebody different looking at me in the rear-view mirror. Very disconcerting, and I almost crashed twice. I hobbled into my home, and had to make dinner again. I had not eaten since the misnomer that was breakfast, but apparently, I was on a diet, so dinner was a small piece of fish with a small pile of rice.
"If you break a nail," said my wife as I inhaled the food. "You'll have to start this week all over again."
This made me very careful. But then, a sudden inability to pick up anything smaller than a three-seater sofa also made me careful.
All of the carefully applied facial make-up had to be removed before sleeping. No wonder make-up companies are worth billions. They're on to a right winner.
At bed time, my wife again demanded sex. I really wasn't in the mood, and almost complained about having a headache, which was true, the wig hair band was very tight.
As I fell asleep, I thought I had got through the worst of it. Every pain nerve in my body, except for may be one right at the top of my nostril, had been twanged. It couldn't possibly get worse.
But physical pain was only the beginning.