I THOUGHT it would be a simple errand.
The son of a family friend is marrying his long-term partner in London next month, so I was despatched to get them a card.
It's a gay wedding, but so what? Why should that be difficult? These ceremonies have been taking place in England and Wales for nearly two months now, and the Scottish Parliament approved the relevant Bill in February (although the secondary legislation is yet to pass).
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However, it turned out to be harder than I had thought. I found precisely three candidates - two that had "Mr & Mr" on the front and one that said: "For The Grooms". But the first Mr and Mr one was inscribed: "Congratulations on your civil partnership", so that was no good. The second one was blank - a tad cheap, I thought.
That left the For The Grooms one, which I duly bought and took home to the Purchasing Manager, aka the wife. However, she does not like the sentiment inside - "So glad to share in your happiness today because you're great together". A bit lame, apparently.
So it is back to the drawing board -almost literally. I have decided I am going to design my own card. It is what computers are for. And while I am at it, I am going to plug a few other gaps in the market.
Many cards do not say what you really want them to. So give me a shout if you're in the market for a straight-talking one bearing the legend: "Congratulations on your divorce (I always thought she was a cow)". Or even: "At last. My God, what were you thinking of?"
I am also doing honest engagement cards: "Are you sure? Have you seen her gobby mother/his alcoholic father?" And I have one for the parents of the happy couple: "With sincere sympathy on the loss of your savings."
There are some occasions yet to be addressed. I am thinking of producing a "Congratulations on your paternity test" card. It will be on the shelf beside "Commiserations on your paternity test".
I have some others in the pipeline, following some market research, conducted around the office:
l For your hairdresser: "Just to let you know: I've now been on my holidays. No need to ask again."
l For the teenager in your life: "Congratulations on passing your driving test. Good luck with getting insurance."
l For the neighbours: "Thank you for finally cutting the hedge."
l For the reader: "Congratulations on getting to the end of this column. You deserve a medal."