October 17, 2011 § 33 Comments
I have been thinking that if I am not going on the internet to find a companion (well, not yet anyway; there have been a few friends who have urged me to, and one or two commentators who have begged it of me, but far more who have warned me against it if I can possibly avoid it), or into a pet shop, or onto a course, or on an effing walk up the Himalayas, and if I am already going to everything including my (all-female) bookclub (you never know, the hostess’s husband may be entertaining Mr Right in another room whom I might happen to bump into and…oh yeah, right), then I have to be pro-active in other ways. Especially as LS still hasn’t replied to his good friend BF, and Smidgen, though he has named today’s chosen venue, still hasn’t supplied me with any idea of the time I am meant to be joining him there, hey ho.
The way I have been and am being pro-active is to invite people to supper as often as I can. This is not ideal in many ways: it is exhausting doing it alone (I am not a bad cook and I never go in for poncey bollocks, but the whole thing of deciding what to have and pulling it off with cheerful abandon doesn’t come naturally); it is more expensive feeding eight people than one, obviously, even if it is simple fayre (which it always is chez me); without a partner, it’s hard to answer the doorbell and get drinks for people, stir the bolognaise and hustle the children (each at different times) to bed, all the while trying to make sure everyone is having a good time; there is something particularly poignant and bleak about washing up alone when everyone has left and the candles are in their dimming death throes and the silence of the night is all the more marked following the roars of exuberance. I don’t have the stomach for it all as often as I might like. It’s easier, cheaper and more fulfilling in a familial sense to cuddle up with the children and watch X-Factor, but that’s hardly the way forward in the finding-a-husband-and-fast sense.
I enjoy having really good friends round so much, but I am on a mission also to ask people whom I like but don’t know particularly well in order that I might broaden horizons and extend the already extensive social circle. I am not bragging when I say that. My existence – and work – depends on knowing a great many people. My whole life I have made it my business to make friends because family members are scattered and friends are – forgive the X Factor-type sentiment – what make the world go round, and help me, I hope, to learn about human nature (which is vital for any writer, even not very good ones, ho hum).
Anyway, fuck all good it has done me. The old muckers – who I have already plumbed for single men but who know none between them, or none according to them that are remotely feasible as candidates, for infinite numbers of reasons – ask me back time and again and that is what keeps me going. But the new friends who have even told me they’d like to introduce me to apparently newly single Johnny or Billy or Paul, haven’t done so yet. Not one of them. They are nice, good people, all of them, but of course, they are married and there is no sense of urgency. I know that since they mentioned Johnny and Billy and Paul, Johnny and Billy and Paul will each have acquired in an all-male instant a brace or two of new women. And any more – at least of the plankton variety – will be entirely surplus to requirements.
Of course, I will always go on chopping up onions and mixing them with olive oil and mincemeat and tomato puree and humour for my old mates for years to come, and have a good laugh over some indifferent plonk or regretful rat’s piss, but I do wonder about the pro-action suppers. Are they really worth the (dimming) candle?
I guess they are, for in themselves they are always quite merry. But. As a way of increasing the circle to include a new companion? Load of shite.