Lectures and Art Galleries
November 15, 2011 § 52 Comments
From yesterday’s Times:-
When you are a plankton, you are told to go to lectures. Everyone seems to think this is a good idea, and there is nothing people like more than telling plankton their good ideas. Lectures and art galleries are deemed to be excellent places to meet “people”, by which of course they mean, potential husbands.
Last night I went to a lecture. It was by an intellectual of renown and the audience promised to be brimming with clever, cosmopolitan, right-on-thinking folk.
I arrived before my (married) girlfriend and had twenty minutes to scan the bar and the packed auditorium for husbands. I am not sure how I would have known one if I’d seen one, or indeed what the hell I was supposed to have done if I had? Introduce myself? Make a passing remark to a stranger in the supermarket about the rising price of a can of beans and they take you for a psycho. Had I done the lecture theatre equivalent – “Golly, how our speaker does rather fancy his grey ringlets! How do you do? The name’s Plankton” – there would have been a call for Security. So I held my tongue. As it was, the men were nearing their dotage or so young that I did not exist. I realised, to them, I was the human equivalent of polyfiller: present but so smoothed into the general flimflam of the crowd as to be whitewash.
I looked round desperately for a seat feeling self-conscious and like a prat, both wasted emotions because the men weren’t seeing me and if the wives thought my shoes looked shoddy, they weren’t volunteering it. I found two narrow seats at the back next to a possible plankton of not inconsiderable proportions. She was on her own, and had the air about her of someone properly, terminally alone. She had, as my mother would have put it, “let herself go”. Three bags hemmed her into her seat and she read the leaflet about the revered intellectual with more concentration than it had a right to wield. In front of me was a man in his thirties, by himself. I wondered for how long? Sure enough, within five minutes, a pretty slip with a sofa of red lipstick, white T-shirt and silly yellow dress with falling straps, smooched into the seat beside him and kissed him as though they were in an arbour.
Great lecture. Afterwards, my kind girlfriend and I ate take-away sushi and carrot cake in my car because she had to catch a train.
We have agreed that next time we go to a lecture, she won’t take the train, so we have more time together to look for a husband. Or perhaps we should consider an art gallery?