I readily admit that I have a less than stellar nose. Like the AMC Gremlin of yore, its designers started off with a good idea, lost interest halfway through and tried to end it as quickly as possible.

It’s not nature’s fault, really. She did start out with a great idea. My childhood photos show a lovely, even classic Zerr nose. My fifth grade photo, however, shows a vastly different nose. Somewhere in 4th grade I caught a softball with my face instead of my glove. Unknown to me, I had broken my nose. I didn’t even know I had broken it until I was almost 30. I was trying to give a willing nurse CPR and while I was checking out her vitals, she casually mentioned the fact. Needless to say, it really killed the mood and here I was doing such a good job playing doctor.

My mother obviously never gave my swollen snot box a second thought. I was the last of four rambunctious boys. Blood and guts were the norm in my house. A broken something or other? Not even worth a Band Aid, let alone a trip downtown to see Dr. Pettibone (yes, that’s his real name).

Hey, that’s life. I don’t hold a grudge about it. I can still breathe, which is something I can’t say about my mother.

At least no one could accuse me of being a Pinnochio. How could they? I could tell lies all day long and my nose would never grow, not even one teeny-tiny bit. Lord knows I have tried over the years.

O.K, so that was a bit of a lie. While it’s true that I did indeed lie a lot when I was a kid, it never got me anywhere. The nose never got longer, but I sure got a sore rear end. I was a master at making up a tall tale to cover my tracks. Unfortunately, I couldn’t remember the damned story a week later when my mother slily prodded for a long lost detail.

And then God created truth serum. Well, wine. But in sufficient quantities, it is as good as any spy-strength sodium pentothol when it’s used on me.

Consumed in small quantities, I become far more interesting at cocktail parties since I am a bit shy in unfamiliar surroundings. In slightly larger quantities, however, I become an old “Truth Teller.”

In the early moments of a party, I will compliment you on your new dress or lovely tie. A few glasses of drunken grapes later and I’ll ask you in all honesty why you picked that unflattering cut for that two-sizes-too-small frock you wore to the same party last year. Or wonder aloud whether that Rorschach Test tied around your neck had been a gift from Helen Keller.

This can be both good and bad thing, of course. In the rare examples above, it has never proven to be a good thing as I begin to question – often with razor-sharp wit – why your world is not as neat and tidy as you make it out to be. This would explain why re-invites to parties are a rarity for me. The truth – at least my version of it – isn’t necessarily welcomed in select social circles, well, any circles.

That said, the right amount of wine can wash away all the hubris and guile I possess, turning me into an old Truth Teller who can wash away all the pain, guilt and uncertainty you possess along with all the veneers that protect my too-often broken heart and very fragile ego.

The tipping point for this is well known by now. In the name of science, I did quite a lot of research on this matter when I was younger. Somewhere around the end of glass three and beginning of glass four, all social pleasantries go out the window and the truth – welcomed or not – finally comes out.

I confirmed this fact once again last week. Kat and I were on our Friday date night. A glass and a half at dinner and pleasant conversations ensued at Olive Garden. Two glasses more afterwards and I let Kat know what I really thought of her. Both barrels. The unvarnished truth!

When you’re younger, you want to think that someone will love you for all the silly things you say in your wedding vows. But as the years go by, you find out that not everyone can make it through the “worse” part of “better or worse” or the “poorer” part of “for richer or poorer.”

This is what Kat found out as the third glass of wine took hold. The whole truth spilled out of the glass in front of me.

As we all know, I have run the gauntlet of love over the last few decades. I’ve had some famous flings, some near-fatal failures and yet I remain a hopeless romantic who still believes that someone will see the joy in my tortuous flaws and wimsy in my enduring uncertainties and self-doubt.

I just never thought it would truly happen and eventually I would have to settle for someone who would hopefully tolerate me on occasion, and perhaps be horny enough to have her way with me on special occasions, like when a total solar eclipse appears over Washington State on a sunny day.

Then, like magic, Kat came into my life.

There has never been another Kat. I don’t think there ever will be. For some inexplicable but delightful reason, she loves me for who I am. For better, for worse, richer, poorer, sickness, health, cranky or off the charts hilarious, she still love me.

As I spilled my guts to her, it reminded me of a very good friend of mine. His wife passed some years ago. He has gone on with his life, of course, even found companionship at times with others, but there is only his one love. He can never love another like he did her. She has his heart and his soul.

Thanks to some so-so Merlot, the no-holds-barred truth was laid out in all its scary glory that night. The heart laid bare. The ego checked. The gloves off. Kat finally knows how crazy in love I am with her.

Who knows what would have happened it if was a really good bottle of wine instead of the so-so Merlot? I can only assume that clothes would have gone flying to the floor, romance would have played its fickle hand, there would be lots of moaning and groaning, and then the cops would show up, largely because we were at the Lynnwood Elks and it was BINGO night.

In the Emerald City, wondering if 7:30 a.m. is too early for a glass of honesty,

  • Robb