"Does my bum look big in this?".
It's only a seven word question but it has the potential to bring about calamitous change in any relationship, if not the civilised world as we know it.
I'd suggest there would be few, if any, of the blokes reading this who have not encountered these chilling words before. Some of you may even still be paying for your reply.
I know I've written about it previously so I'm hoping you can forgive me some repetitiveness as I attempt to ensure the next male generation does not fall into a bottomless pit of payback.
I'll start by giving you the solution: A bowl of fruit.
Anyway. Here's how it all started.
An urgent trip to town meant Mrs P had to change quickly.
Now we've been in this situation before and I know my part. So while she hurried to get changed I found an apple in the fruit bowl and started chomping away.
She emerged as I was depositing another mouthful and uttered the fateful phrase.
"Does my bum look big in this?"
Ironically I have to say she looked pretty darn hot but experience over the years has told me to say nothing, better still have an excuse for not saying anything.
For example, my mouth is full of apple and I can't speak.
If you are struggling to stay with me let me explain.
If I delay any comment for even a millisecond I'm apparently saying her bum is, er, ample.
If I answer too quick there is the possibility I'll be accused of not properly thinking about it and if I say nothing at all and just stand there mulling over the options I am likely to find the bedding changed in the doghouse big time.
So, easiest to suggest I can't answer at all. As usually happens Mrs P was in a rush and went with the look anyway.
Naturally massive brownie points are on offer for a casually dropped in comment later in the evening: "You looked really nice when you went out today hun."
Guys, we should be doing that anyway shouldn't we, but I digress.
So anyway, Mrs P has gone and come back and the Boomerang Child and Builder Boy have come over and we're going out for a drink. Now its Builder Boy's turn to deal with the dreaded question.
Naturally, as a prospective son-in-law I have schooled him in the ancient art of answering the Big Bum question from my daughter.
I was therefore filled with pride as I watched him casually move towards the fruit bowl as she entered the room wearing a new outfit.
At this point I'm somewhat ashamed to say the Devil in me took over and as he reached for the last remaining piece of fruit I grabbed it ahead of him and started chomping.
His look of abject panic will remain in my mind forever.
I have to say it is hard to chomp and laugh at the same time.
■ Kevin Page is a teller of tall tales with a firm belief too much serious news gives you frown lines. Feel free to share stories to firstname.lastname@example.org