Excuse the Cop Out
September 13, 2011 § 19 Comments
Tuesdays are going to be a bit of a cop out day regarding my blog because I am going to be posting my Monday Times column in the blog every Tuesday. With the exception of five days in August, I have been posting every day without fail, so I hope you won’t resent a post that is not original (ie. published the day before in the Times) just once a week. Each post takes quite a while to write, so it’ll give me a little breather to get on with all my other work, including a book I am working on. There will be the odd repetition but I hope all you loyal followers won’t mind. Here goes, yesterday’s first Times column regurgitated here:-
When I was married no one ever asked me about my sex life, the implication being that married sex is so pedestrian it is on a par with a pavement. Now that I am a plankton, I am asked about it on average twice a week. I am a woman in her forties and I am wondering why on earth it is so fascinating to all and sundry. Is it a vicarious thing?
At dinner the other night a merry married man, a good friend, plunged straight in there before the soup. We had just sat down and his opening gambit was, “So, has there been any interesting happenings over the summer? Any men?” I think he thought he was being sympathetic in some way, rather than intrusive, and because I know him to be a good and kind person, I gave him the benefit of the doubt.
But still I spluttered (as I say this was before the soup). Not because I am some pent-up prude or even really minded the imbalance (I know him well and though I ask questions for a living, I would NEVER ask him about his sex life). I am an open book in many ways, but even I have my limits. It was more because it was so blatant and so soon. And, as always, I was completely unprepared.
I mumbled some left-of-field nonsense about a man I had never met but whose prose made him very attractive. He waved that fanciful notion off, with some reason, and interrogated me for tales of men I had met, that had some grounding in reality. I laughed and told him I had simply been trying to put him off the scent.
“It’s far too early in the evening for me to be telling you true stories,” I said, even if I had any up my sleeve. I poured him a large drink to imply I might tell him things when he was drunk; hoping that by the time he was drunk, he would forget to ask again.
But he would not be put off.
“Come on, what’s been happening?”
“Oh, this and that,” I said airily trying to conceal my desperation at the turn the conversation was taking. (My desperation in general?)
“What I want to know is have there been any deals?” What he meant, obviously, was, have you been screwing anyone?
Whether I have or not is immaterial. I should have told him to fuck off and leave me alone. But he is a friend and not the prat I am making him sound, and I am too polite.
I simply laughed when what I wanted to do was to disintegrate.
I thought, I am normally quick, intelligent and sharp but right now I am helpless.
This is what it feels like to be at the coal-face of plankton humiliation.