People sometimes ask me how I managed to get such a beautiful woman as Chrissie to marry me. More often, they don't come out with the question, just like that, they hint at it in various subtle or not so subtle ways.
I admit it. I am ugly. At school they called me Piggy. My school pals were right, I can't deny it. Looking at myself in the televiewer with my eyes half closed I can see a bristly faced hog leering back. Nose, ears, piggy eyes, it's all there. Even the colour. But I am human and I have feelings too!
Chrissie says don't listen to what other people say. She loves the way I look. I am her Romeo.
Chrissie finds it really stressful having men after her all the time. It's no fun having conventional good looks. I told her that I would love her anyway, even if she was ugly like me. 'Oh, if only I were!' she replies, laughing.
One thing in my favour is that like Chrissie I have a good sense of humour and I've never suffered from shyness. You'll never find me hovering around the recreational drugs table at a party. I'll be in the middle of the dance floor showing my moves!
I owe Chrissie so much. When we first met, I had a boring, badly paid job at passport control for tourists returning from vacations in nearby star systems. The terminal flagged her holo-passport for some stupid reason. It was obviously computer error, so I let her through. She asked for my IP address and we hooked up.
It was Chrissie's suggestion that I join Ugly Mugs, the agency which deals with what are known in the ad business as 'character models'. Ever seen that skywriting ad for Lucy's Lingerie? You know, the one where that famous actress what's-her-name opens her blouse to reveal a magnificent lacy aluminium brassiere, while all around her men in transparent polycarbonate work suits are cowering in awe? I'm the second workman from the right, the one with his mouth wide open, looking as if I've just been speared by an electronic meat hook.
The Lucy ad was my first big break. The problem is there are lots of ugly people out there so competition is fierce. The first thing they ask you on a model audition is 'pull a face'. Then Chrissie had a brainwave. In the history section of our local electronic library she found me a book on gurning, which is an ancient art practiced in the 21st century and even before then. In those far off days, they used to run competitions on the internet to see who could do the most extreme gurn.
What a time. Thank god for censorship is all I can say.
However, there was one gurn in the book I just couldn't do. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't stretch my lower lip to cover my nose. I told Chrissie, 'Look at me. My nose is way too big and my mouth is too small!'
'Nonsense!' she said. 'You have to have your teeth pulled out to do that trick. Then your jaws will be closer together.'
I went straight off to the dentist to have my choppers removed.
In this business, you need an edge if you want to be noticed and get work. Chrissie likes me even more now with my lovely polished gums! I still can't quite do the nose trick but I'm working on the lip stretching exercises which Chrissie showed me.
One day, Chrissie remarks, 'Do you remember the time you told me that you were thinking of having plastic surgery to make your ears more lopsided?'
'I don't remember that.'
'Yes you do!', she says, with that lovely twinkle in her eyes.
'Oh yes, I remember! Of course I do!'
'Well, why not? I know a surgeon who could do it for you. It's a ten minute operation. There are a few other things you could get fixed too while we're about it. Then ad people will be falling over themselves to hire you.'
That was three months ago. And do you know what? Chrissie was absolutely right. The work has been pouring in. But something makes me uneasy. Every time we go out, I feel Chrissie's pain as people keep leering at her in that way. It's just not right that she should have to suffer, when I am having such a great time.
Anyway, we had our second wedding anniversary coming up so I decided to buy her a present.
I arranged for Chrissie to have the same plastic surgery that I had. I want it to be a surprise. What do you think? Great idea, or what? Then she can work for the Ugly Mugs agency too instead of sitting around being bored at home!
I can't wait for Chrissie to come out of the anaesthetic. She'll be so happy!
© Geoffrey Klempner 2012