October 4, 2011 § 15 Comments
Yesterday’s Times column:-
So, for years, you go in for all this spinning, whipping up the prospect of a man out of almost nothing, and you do not land a single date – and I mean not a single one – until, suddenly, in the space of a week you have three dates with three different men, some of them plates you have been spinning for weeks, others who have stepped in out of the blue, from nowhere.
It is going to sound almost indecent to list them. Three dates in three years, had they all come at intervals, would have been respectable, but the fact they have all come at once would seem as if I were a plankton in clover. But you must understand the context which has been, frankly, for too long now, Gobi blinking Desert. I’ve been waiting for the bus for an age and, typical, now they’ve all come at once. A week ago, it was a restaurant with an older man of means. Then a man who had been hoving in and out of view for months, suddenly asked me out for an illicit weekday afternoon cup of coffee, which we spun out in a cafe very agreeably for hours on end. A few nights ago, I went to an occasion and met a man I’d never met but had already fallen for over his elegant prose. He was everything I had cracked him up to be.
Each one of these three has his plus points, and the composite would make for the perfect man. Into the mix would be clever, literary, funny, business-savvy, conventional-yet-unconventional, lives nearby, lives far away, homes here and abroad, my age, older, and so on. But I don’t see myself as spoilt for choice. None of them is wholly suitable in himself, for a variety of reasons. And of course it is the least suitable and most complicated of the three whom I have singled out as the one for me. He is a bachelor not just with baggage, but with excess baggage. He has other women – doubtless each and every one of them younger, thinner, more attractive and talented than me – crossing continents to get a piece of him (history doesn’t relate whether or not they ever succeed, but the law of averages alas dicates…). He is inscrutable and elusive and a long shot. But as we sat in a crowded room, he shone the light on me, and as we talked and talked we discovered so much mutual ground – humour, friends, interests – so the rest of the room and further groupies besides, and all the complications, seemed to fall away for a lucky, lovely hour.
And ever since, the Plankton has become a fluster of utter foolishness, spinning and dreaming, when much would be solved if I were to fall for either one of the other two, neither a picnic, but each an infinitely safer bet than Long Shot, aka Excess Bloody Baggage.