Four Men At Once
December 10, 2011 § 28 Comments
As I left, because I do this thing with my liquid eyeliner, one of my adorable children said I looked like Cleopatra which I remembered and it gave me a little fillip of confidence when a little while later my lovely hostess whispered to me that she had put a single man either side of me, so I had to be sure to love her forever. I will, I will, I promise, I said. But I was a bit confused when I sat down and the first two words spoken by the man on my right were, “My wife…” So there had obviously been some kind of glitch in the seating plan and in one fell swoop my chances were reduced by 50%.
The man on my left was tall, thin and struck me as rather sad as in blue rather than pathetic. A divorcee with two small children and a high-powered ex-wife to whom he had been married late-ish (aged about forty) and from whom he had separated after only a few years. He was a little shy and did not have a Sumptuous New Girlfriend as far as I could make out. He lacked a certain vivacity and there was friendliness between us but absolutely no spark.
The second single man was a parody of campness. He was wearing a suit but that was the only thing which set him apart from Dame Edna herself. If he is not gay, I am a duck-billed platypus. He came to talk to me and was full of funny, outlandish anecdotes and was a hothouse of wild enthusiasm and gesticulation. He was entertaining in a completely over the top sort of way. I liked him and felt I could have been in the Piano Bar in Brewer Street circa 1983 rather than the cold and godly venue where the dinner was taking place.
The third alone man came to sit next to me after the pudding prompted by the host of whom he is an old friend and long associate, testimony alone to the fact that he must be extremely nice. He was large and wearing a Christmas tree on his lapel and was a financial conflict negotiator. He told me he lived in a large Eastern European country, inasmuch as he really lived anywhere. He is a sort of roving one-man ACAS as far as I could make out. For the past twenty years he had been based everywhere from Chile to China and almost any other country one might care to mention in between. He said he never, ever wanted to stop moving. He had flown in from Moscow for the evening, was staying in a hotel here for the night, and was off to some far-flung spot I forget which this morning. He loved his way of life. I asked if there were any disadvantages. “It impacts on my personal life and relationships,” he said.
The fourth I didn’t see or even hear about. Perhaps he was the pianist, who was all of 19? Or perhaps he was in a consecrated corner consummating matters with his SNF?
I never did find out.