Who Needs Friends When You Ain’t Got A Man?
January 16, 2012 § 86 Comments
In respect of friendship, I am fuck off spoilt and I know it.
This is one of my great big, billowy, bog-off blessings and, be under no illusions, I am busily busting my arse here with gratitude about it every day. The calibre of my friends – male and female – is very high, by which I mean they are intelligent, funny, generous, warm, supportive, loyal, vivacious, sharp and fantastic company. I suppose when you come across people like that, you would choose them to be your friends, wouldn’t you? But I recognise I have been inordinately lucky in as much as they haven’t told me to sling my hook and they do seem keen, too, on being mine.
But there is a problem. These friends have set the bar (or barre, as in stretching your leg up beyond your ear hole in ballet practice?) high. Because my male friends – all married – are so great, I would find it hard to accept hooking up with a gormless dullard. These men to whom I am close – in an entirely unthreatening-to-their-wives way, I may say – have set a standard for me in my mind of the kind of person with whom I like spending time, and who I like to suppose enjoy spending time with me. I think, if I could find a companion like that whom I could call my own, then how happy I (and I hope he) would be!
But it is not to be, obviously. So I am thinking, perhaps I shouldn’t have dismissed the man at the dinner a couple of days before Christmas. He was the one with the challenging stewed rhubarb complexion. Far be it for me to be so lookist. It wasn’t that which bothered me – well, I am being a little disingenuous; it did a bit – it was more that he told me at some length how incredibly stupid he was. As a come on, call me a snob, I have to admit it wasn’t up there.
The reason I am scratching this particular record is because I have just put the phone down from a gorgeous girlfriend. I told her 2012 wasn’t looking so great so far. She said it in one: “You’re feeling 2011 didn’t get you anywhere so how’s 2012 going to be any different?”
“So we’ve got to find something for you to do differently in 2012 that is going to mean you find someone,” she said. “But it’s not going to be joining a rambling group, is it?” (This friend knows me well). Certainly not. And nor is it going to be the internet until I get over the one too many stories I have heard in the past few weeks alone, of the men on dating sites wanting only sex or, if not, then who”commit” to someone, let her fall for him, but are all the while continuing to trawl the aisles of women online for something other, and who ruthlessly dump the try-outs left, right and centre as they quest for better and better. I still haven’t hardened my stomach or patience enough yet for that ordeal, though I know, I know, I know I must never say never.
Last night, another friend suggested thinking out of the box and said maybe I should join the London Library, get out of the house, go to work there one day a week. Lots of fascinating, erudite, varied members of a place that is just up my street. Could do. Certainly richer territory than some swanky dating agency with about 753,402 women on their books and 13 creepy men, as well as a fraction of the cost (though still no snip). My cousin, a distinguished ologist, told me last week I needed to go to conferences, as she just had, marvellous for meeting people. But, I said, I am alas no ologist myself, and can’t just pitch up at any old conference like some random weirdo. I’d have to have a reason to go there, and my line of work really rather precludes conferences, sadly. Not sure what any of us would go to a conference about? Perhaps, in the light of the Waterstone’s/Waterstones debate, I should organise one on the Slow Death of the Apostrophe and meet a whole tranche of Disgusteds of Tunbridge Wells. There again…
No, I fear that what I need to do is forget how wonderful my friends are and lower my standards when it comes to my romantic life.
But I keep thinking of these friends meeting Gormless Dullard and me seeing them next to each other and thinking, What the fuck am I doing?
I know! Perhaps I should ditch all my lovely, life-long friends and the barely new ones, and exchange them for a whole set of gormless duller than Dullards. Then GD – if ever I am lucky enough to meet one again – would seem, beside them, to have the brains of Montaigne, the wit of Oscar Wilde, and the looks of Benedict Cumberbatch/Dan Stephens/George Clooney/whomsoever it is that rings your bell* (*delete as applicable).
Now, there’s a thought.