Comedic writer Sheila Brady discusses how to argue without saying a word.

My friends and I have been giving some thought to the thorny subject of arguments.

I have decided that there are times when couples, who have lived together long enough, can ditch the whole mud-slinging, name-calling scenario and conduct an argument without uttering a single word.  In fact, for some, such is the path so well trodden, a perfectly respectable argument is possible solely by exchanging familiar, well-established (albeit dirty!) looks.

sheila brady

When challenged I posed the following scenario…

A couple have been to a party together and the male has spent a little too long ‘entertaining’ and being entertained by the foxiest woman in the room.  As they prepare to leave, he, (flushed with bonhomie and a turbo-charged ego) flashes his long-suffering partner a winning smile.  A premonition of the upcoming car journey from hell flashes into his mind when he sees her, ‘I’m smiling but just wait til I get you home!‘ look.

AND  it gets worse when they get to the car …

  • his, ‘aren’t I a helpful husband/partner by opening the car door‘ smile, is met with …
  • her, ‘I’m continuing to smile through gritted teeth because our hosts are still watching‘ look
  • his, ‘I’d better wait to make sure you have your seat belt on’ concerned look, is trumped by…
  • her, ‘I’m over-concentrating on securing my belt to buy some time until the car pulls away’ look

BUT he’s now left the safety of numbers…

  • his, ‘dare I make eye contact‘ nervous glances are stopped in their tracks by…
  • her, ‘eyes fixed on the horizon, ‘sucking a lemon‘  face
  • his, ‘OK, now I’m nervous – better drive cautiously while fiddling with the radio‘ is matched by …
  • her, ‘occasional, pointed, ‘I’m very disappointed‘ silent head shaking

They reach the house where he realises he needs a clean shirt in the morning…

  • his attempt at a  ‘boys will be boys’ shrug is met both by a slammed bedroom door and …
  • her, ‘you’re on the sofa, lover boy!’  look of derision … and triumph!

I rest my case.

The Great British Date Off-2“He hadn’t really given her a second look … until someone else did…” Londoner Maggie Sullivan hadn’t exactly spent her teenage years beating off hordes of panting admirers with a stick. In fact, most of it was spent alone in her bedroom either working on her Spice Girls Union Jack dress or trying out her dead mother’s heated rollers. All that had changed in her final year at school. As the object of her all-consuming school girl crush, Steve, had remarked at the time; who would have thought losing a little puppy fat, discovering hair product and investing in a Wonderbra would make such a difference? More than ten years on, he still has ‘plans’ for Maggie … but not until he’s got one or two things out of his system. Only now Maggie has announced her intention to move to the country and he is not happy; especially since he’s noticed a ‘country toff’ rival ‘sniffing around’. He is more than delighted that Maggie’s move is turning out to be somewhat of a disaster. While she had been expecting village fetes, cricket teas and to be able to finally unleash her inner baker; in reality her cake-making efforts are being described as ‘lacklustre’, her godfather and boss is being referred to in very derogatory terms and somehow an extremely embarrassing photo has appeared in the local paper. An overheard conversation and a chance late-night encounter lead Maggie to conclude that widower and local ‘catch’, Will is responsible and there is a price to be paid, right? How can she know that her day (or rather, intimate evening) of reckoning will set in motion a roller-coaster ride of high points and humiliations that will put to the test some of her most long-standing relationships and lead her to question everything she thinks she knows about her capacity for love…


Dahling-Do-Tell-Cartoon-89aWeb

Sheila Brady is the creator of the “Dahling Do Tell!” wordplay cartoons at the Google #1 (usually!) Cartoon Humour (English spelling!) Blog, Commytooper. She says although The Great British Date Off is, on the face of it (and judging by its cover) a book which appears to be primarily aimed at the British market, it is also for anyone who likes their romances slathered in comedy but with more than a sprinkling of sexual tension.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *