"I NEED you to check out a dating website," is not the sort of thing you expect your wife to be telling you.
Which is why I toyed the sentence over this way and that in my head before replying. "You what?"
I mean I'd tried to make sense of it but clearly I'd misheard a word or two. Or this was Tracey's way of telling me she wanted to spice up our relationship.
"Can you go to a dating website," she said, using the phrase I was most sure was going to come out differently, "and have a look at the photos for me? Just check out a few and tell me what they're like."
It took me only half a second to frame my response.
"I'm gonna go with...no?"
Because I have a very acute survival instinct.
Finally, Tracey decided to pack some context around her request.
I confess, I didn't think it was possible what she was asking could turn out to be a positive thing but a bloke had driven past our car when we were parked at Bribie Island and seen the signage about Tracey being a photographer and phoned to ask if he could have some photos done.
He was about 60 and wanted to put himself out there.
Tracey isn't able to lift her camera at the moment but said she'd happily use his pocket camera and help out.
She said he sounded like a really sweet old man - at which point I reminded her he was only 10 years older than me. Tracey quickly moved the conversation on to the good bit.
"I said I didn't want any money but he wasn't happy with that. He's got a B&B and offered us a night, so I said yes and now your parents don't have to stay with us when they come down to visit."
"He really is a wonderful man," I agreed. "But why selfies? Call me cynical but shouldn't he just put up photos of his real estate? Surely that'd work."
After allowing me to chuckle at my own joke, Tracey again asked me to see what sort of photos people were using on dating websites. But I still refused.
"Why?" frowned Tracey.
I'm usually keen to help in any way I can, and Google searches are sort of my thing.
"Because you won't remember this in three months time when you notice I'm getting messages from women wanting to meet up for coffee and sex," I told her.
"I won't remember either, which means you're going to ask me who they are and why they want me so bad, and I'm going to say I have no idea and you're not going to believe me because that's what a guy who's looking for action on the side would say."
"Oh, Bruce, that's not going to happen," said Tracey softly, her head tilted in what I realised moments later could be described as mockingly.
"You don't think you'll start asking serious questions?" I asked, my eyebrows disappearing into my hairline. "I don't think you'd get any interest," she said.
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