Last night the LSO showed me his new shirt. 'The buttons are all loose,' he said, holding it well away from me. 'And it's only been washed once.'
I once read somewhere that good wives always re-stitch the buttons when buying new shirts for their husbands. It might have been in the bound copies of 1940s Woman's Weeklies I have. Colin will be sewing his own back on. Why? Because I have a button phobia. Not a huge one these days. I used not to be able to touch buttons at all and always bought clothes without them. I didn't know where this phobia had come from until I visited a hypnotherapist and we delved into my past. I was in one of those deep relaxed states that I can often achieve when I'm supposed to be writing. He asked me about buttons and I saw my mother-in-law standing over me and my baby son. He was about five days old and we were leaving hospital. I was trying to dress him and, with my long fingernails, was having trouble with the teeny-tiny buttons on his matinee jacket. 'If you can't even dress him how do you think you're going to be able to look after him and keep him safe?' boomed the dreaded mother-in-law.
I didn't touch buttons after that but hadn't realised why until that scene was replayed in my mind. I was seventeen.
The hypnotherapist asked me to replace the child bride and teenage mother (he didn't actually use those words but I do all the time to explain why I have middle-aged kids) with me as I am now, then relive the scene. So I did and I can't print here what I told my mother-in-law to do.
Once out of my trance I was able to touch a button. I've recently bought a brilliant green Mac' with buttons and I can do it up and undo it with no problems. So what will happen if Colin's shirt buttons fall off. I'll remind him I still have a phobia about sewing.