You’ve got something on your face

Today I spent several minutes talking to a man before realising I had a great deal of chocolate about my face. (I had just eaten a triple chocolate cookie, which I highly recommend, despite this unfortunate occupational hazard). As I brushed the chocolate off my face (away from a mirror, I still have no idea if it is all gone), I wondered why the man had not said anything.

Personally, I am always exceptionally keen to point out other people’s flaws- unless, of course, not pointing them out will be more amusing, as was the case last year in New York, where the poor waiter had to tell my Mother that she had a smear of tomato sauce across her cheek. ‘Why didn’t you tell me?’ She asked me and my little sister. We shook our heads sadly, wondering when our Mother would learn that we would never ever, under any circumstances whatsoever, do anything that made her life easier.

But usually, I am the first person to tell you that your skirt is see-through in certain lights, or that you’ve dropped something on your t-shirt, or that there’s something odd-looking between your teeth.

There are several reasons for this, but I mostly motivated by a terrible fear that you looking like an idiot will make me look like an idiot (other reasons include: pity, a terrible paucity of things to more interesting/ less offensive things to say, an inability to keep a non-porous filter between what things I am thinking and what things are coming out of my mouth, a vague, unformed sense of compassion). Naturally, my Mother (or any other family member) looking like an idiot can only serve to make me look better, this being an in-the-field example of natural selection. (I’m pretty sure that’s how natural selection works- whoever looks best in your family will survive, sacrificing the others).*

Which is why I was a little surprised that this man said absolutely nothing, and it was only when, slightly bored by what he was saying, I began to thoughtfully stroke my own face (for other, exceptionally useful tricks into seeming as though you are paying attention, please see my new website:, with a new section on ‘how to seem awake even when in bed sleeping’), that I realised that things were not as they seem. ‘Why didn’t you say anything?’ I asked, incredulously. ‘I thought that it was there on purpose,’ The man replied. Which has led me to believe that I have spent much more of my life walking about with things on my face than I previously realised, and that it is possible that some of the hideous ‘errors’ I have pointed out in my friends were actually there on purpose.

*Don’t be racist- it is highly possible my family is the cast of Battle Royale*

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