IN the early years of our relationship, I once bought my wife a can of WD40 for her birthday.
I thought I was killing two birds with one stone. She’d been complaining about a squeaky door in her flat and I didn’t have a clue what to get her as a present.
I’m not saying she didn’t see the funny side, but some 13 years later I still walk with a limp.
It was a lesson learned.
And that wisdom I have tried to pass on to others who are naïve in the ways of a woman’s mind.
Take the case of a pal who ushered me into his garage one evening to see what he’d bought his girlfriend.
The garage? What could it be? A red sporty hatchback? A heart-shaped Jacuzzi? No, not quite – it was a dish-washing machine.
“She doesn’t have a clue,” he purred, rubbing his hands. “She’s going to love it. She hates doing the dishes.”
I put my arm round his shoulders and talked him through the potential pitfalls of saying “I love you” with a dishwasher.
He took some convincing. I think showing him my bruises, finally brought him to his senses.
He quickly rushed out to the jewellers and bought her a designer ring which he placed in the slot where the fabric softener goes. Who says romance is dead?
I’d like to think I bought his relationship another 18 months. Given the acrimonious nature of the divorce, I don’t think it’s a gesture he’s ever thanked me for.
These days, however, rather than seeing such acts as the folly of the uninitiated, I reckon they are worthy of praise.
Which is why I’m launching my Bloke of the Month award. And I’ve already found October’s recipient.
One of my colleagues, who wishes to remain anonymous, revealed to me this week how, with the dark winter nights closing in, she is increasingly concerned when putting the bins out.
There’s something unnerving about wandering out into the pitch black night in your dressing gown armed only with a wheelie bin.
It was a concern she shared with her husband.
As the man of the house, he understood her fears and acted.
On bin night the following week, he spotted his wife heading for the door and stopped her in her tracks.
He raised himself from his chair, rolled up his sleeves and, erm, produced a package from behind his back.
“Here,” he said, “You’ll be needing this.” And handed her a head torch!
For those who don’t know, a head torch is, well, a hat with a torch on it.
Who says the age of chivalry is dead?
While my colleague wishes to remain anonymous, the courtesy doesn’t extend to her husband.
And why should it? The man’s a hero.
Step forward BBC TV newsman Chris Stewart, Bloke of the Month for October.
l Does the man in your life have a skewed view of romance?
When you asked your husband for something shiny for your hand for Valentines Day, were you given a DeWALT DCF610N electric screwdriver with a set of tungsten drill bits?
If so, let me know, you may be married to November’s Bloke of the Month.
Send your entries to Bloke of the Month, c/o Richard Ord, Sunderland Echo, Pennywell, SR4 9ER.
All entries will be treated in absolutely no confidence whatsoever, so please include a photograph.
Alternatively, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or Tweet me on @DickyO.