December 20, 2011 § 24 Comments
This column from yesterday’s Times was held over from the week before:
I did so want to report back that the man at dinner who had been earmarked for me but who brought his new girlfriend, 29, was a horror. I had so wanted to console myself with the view that she was welcome to him. I wanted him to be boorish, fat, ugly, stupid, pompous and entirely up his own arse. Wouldn’t that have been gratifying? And then I could have driven home thinking, more fool her and I am better off on my own than with the likes of him.
Would that life was so neat but of course it never is. The man was utterly and completely delightful. He was funny and warm and friendly and handsome and, what is more, he is, well, proverbially at any rate, a rocket scientist. So clever was this man that he didn’t feel the need to lecture me about his subject and wear his cleverness on his sleeve like a cheerleader’s pompom. So clever was this man, that he had the wit to sink to my level and appear to be enjoying himself. So clever was this man, that he wanted to ask me questions and gave every impression of being genuinely keen to hear the answers. So clever was this man, that he made me feel clever and didn’t feel the remotest need to diminish me. He was modest and wise and altogether a complete dreamboat. Of course.
I thought, at least I could bitch about the girlfriend, how proprietorial she was and snooty and full of herself. But I was disappointed there too. She wasn’t physically perfect and all the more drop-dead sexy for that. She wore casual clothes and her face and hair weren’t primped to within an inch of their lives and her smiles were frequent and sincere. Oh, and she, too, was a rocket scientist.
I wanted to carp and sneer and feel supercilious but the pair of them were so disarmingly lovely, I couldn’t. I was put next to him and we chatted and laughed from the fish through to the cheese and the camomile tea. And instead of thinking lots of bitter thoughts about how life is so unfair and how had she got her claws into him before I had even had the chance to meet him for goodness sake, I thought, they are perfect for each other. I thought, thank God he wasn’t single because I might well have fallen for him – you easily could – and that wouldn’t have been good because I feel sure I wouldn’t have occurred to him in that way. And while I was able to amuse him, I hope, for the duration of one dinner, any longer and he might have discovered I am a fraud and know less than nothing about rocket science.