April, 2005 one easy step: We had an early dinner tonight at a little family-type restaurant nearby. The place has been there forever. It's one of those Greek diner-type places where you can get all sorts of really nice, cheap, daily specials.

As I was tucking into my salad, Marsha said to me out of the corner of her mouth, "Oh, wow...! If you want to see a real knockout, look to your right."

My wife's that real rarity, in my experience--an attractive woman who will actually go out of her way to point out other attractive women to me. I imagine this is done for one of two reasons: Either she's selflessly monitoring my visual health and is operating on the off-chance that I may suddenly go blind while we're out together, or she's banking on the notion that I might suddenly be seized with the uncontrollable desire to fling myself at some hottie-- thus instantly providing her with grounds for divorce, and the chance to grab half of my enormous estate...

Anyway, I manage to look up in time to see, from behind, this very shapely, auburn-haired gal with blue jeans, high-heeled boots and a very tight, form-fitting, almost see-through sort of a blouse (a winning combo any old time). As I crane my head for a better look, she wriggles her curvaceous self through the front door and stands outside, with her back to the window. Still a pleasant view....

"Hmmmm... very nice", I say, maintaining my thin veneer of civility. Translated into Guyspeak that's "YOW! WOO-HOO! HONK! HONK! AAOOOGAAAHHH!" followed by all sorts of cartoon-style wolf whistles, projectile drooling, and generic, hubba-hubba kinds of noises...  Just then the waitress comes to
the table to freshen our drinks, and our conversation moves on to our plans for the evening. We chat for a minute or two.

Suddenly we're hit with that vilely unpleasant odor that indicates someone has just finished smoking a cigarette; that gaggy, chemical-residue odor that we all used to drag around with us when we smoked-- and to which we were all quite oblivious. It's like running into a palpable wall of stench-- like stepping in week-old roadkill. It was like someone had surreptitiously lowered a large turd on a fishing line directly over our table. Marsha and I both make that "It's a terribly small elevator and someone has just loosed
an equally terrible fart in it" sort of face. I look around for the source of the odor...and, lo and behold!

Here's the shapely hottie, back again at her table (fully 3 tables away from us, mind you!) after having sucked down a butt in the span of about a minute and a half. All of a sudden she just wasn't that attractive any more. Part of my mind is wondering (like there's a chance in hell I'd score with her anyway...) "Good God! What a fabulous babe, and what a horrible smell. Could I really force myself past that stink to kiss her...?"

And suddenly, she turns her head... and I see... what can
only be described as the hellish result of the mating of Lee Marvin 

and, perhaps....oh, let's say.... Casey Stengel.

I make spluttering noises, and look Marsha in the eye while gesturing furtively in the direction of this nightmarishly featured vixen. Marsha, ever more the diplomat than I am, (and who hadn't seen her face yet either...) simply says, "Well... er... we all have our burdens to bear, don't we?"

So my vague, sexual reverie is now completely shot to hell, I don't think there's any possible way I can finish my salad, and I'm wondering "If this is your lot in life, why in God's name would you compound the horror of it all by smoking?" Smelly and ...craggy just aren't a good combination for a woman.

Especially if you look like Charles Bronson undergoing a sex change.

Sigh... So, shoot me. It was the most surreal thing I've witnessed in a long while.

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