December 6, 2011 § 95 Comments
From yesterday’s Times:-
Several weeks ago a friend kindly asked me to dinner this coming weekend. She was very excited because she felt she had failed to introduce me to anyone – meaning any available man – since I had become a plankton, and she was at last in a position to do so.
A couple of years ago, like almost everyone I know, she said she only knew one spare man, “and you wouldn’t want him.”
In fact, I met him once at a party of hers. It was a buffet supper and she was right, I didn’t want him. By sheer chance I happened to sit next to him at one of the tables in the garden. He cannot be said to have been either handsome or appealing in any discernible way but nonetheless boasted about the amount of women after him. So many, in fact, he didn’t know how to choose. The heart bled. But he was still on his own. Odd, that. Perhaps just too dazzled by all that choice to make his crucial selection.
Anyway, my friend and her husband recently made friends with a new, very nice and brainy fellow who, tra la, was single. She decided to assemble a whole evening around bringing him and myself together. I was touched and pleased. So few people bother and, those who do, stand out as beacons. I had already booked the babysitter but a few days ago, I received an email saying disaster had struck.
My friend wrote that the man “has just asked if he can bring his new girlfriend. Aaagh! I am obviously delighted for him that he is happily and recently in love but this was not the game plan at all. We are on the case to find another fine gentleman, but I wanted to forewarn you about the last minute and totally galling surprise. Am leafing through my black book as I type. Yours in furious frustration…xx”
My darling friend, who is a paragon of loveliness, warmth and intelligence, had alas overlooked one of life’s basic truths. It is understandable, because no married person can fathom quite how quickly available men are invariably snapped up. The lead time between her kind invitation and the actual dinner was, at six weeks, just too long.
Had she met him on a Thursday, she should have invited him on Friday for supper on Saturday. Only then might all her generously and carefully-laid plans have been in with a chance.
Such is the lightening flash in which any decent man who doesn’t look and grunt like a warthog – and I am afraid, surprisingly often, even those who do – find a (usually younger) woman, that even a three-day turnaround between meeting him, and introducing him to the plankton friend, is sorely pushing it.