July 10, 2012 § 134 Comments
From yesterday’s Times:-
In a novel, the story is always roughly linear in the sense that girl (plankton, even) meets boy (widower/divorcee/OAP/entrenched bachelor who suddenly becomes less trenched) and on the whole, following a few varying but familiar hitches, they end up together. In real life it is a whole lot bittier. I think about the dozen or so men I have met over the past years since my divorce, and the ensuing false starts and peterings out. Sometimes I have had more than one twinkle going simultaneously, but none of them ever quite emerges into anything significant. My experience is the stuff of real life, of course, and it adds up to a cluttered story but only ever an insubstantial one. So far not a novel.
In a novel, an inconsequential date, such as the one I had with Long Shot a few months ago, after which I didn’t hear another peep from him and so assumed I was morbidly hideous and properly dull, would have given rise to one of two outcomes. He would have been dismissed from the book as a no-hoper, never to be mentioned again, except perhaps as a cipher through whom I then conveniently met someone else who saw beyond the hideousness and dullness, and lo and behold. Or, we would have met again by glorious chance, misunderstandings would have been miraculously mopped up and the path of true love would have begun at long last to run smooth, or at least (if in a literary novel as opposed to a chick lit one) vaguely smoother before terminal disillusion set in.
As it was, this being reality plankton world, the date happened, months passed, I chose to forget about him. Then I saw him again, partly by chance, partly by a mutual friend’s design. And, wrong-footingly, LS was delightful and attentive and gave every appearance of not regarding me as something repellent. Indeed, unprompted, he said he hoped to see me again and even suggested when we might do so. To give some context: I had just heard that Telephone Number, for whom I have held a candle for a handful of years, has – oh, the inevitability of it – hooked up with a divorcee of substantial means, so that’s manifestly that; and I have a date pending with a handsome, entertaining, clever but nonetheless entirely unreliable prospect, namely the Philanderer. So, on the one hand, a disappointment and a reason to be bothered about LS again, and on the other hand a rogue-ish reason not to be.
Relief all round: I have chosen the Not Bothered attitude to LS and to stick with Plan A with the Philanderer. Even so, I can definitely acknowledge – Groundhog Day! – that LS has his charms.