November 13, 2012 § 124 Comments
From yesterday’s Times:-
I’ve often tried to pinpoint where precisely it is in the body that nausea resides. Stomach? Throat? Still can’t be sure. So it is with the humiliation of being a plankton. The feeling is real, but I cannot for the life of me locate it, not really. Sometimes I think its source is Society; that people are looking at me and thinking, she’s a middle-aged woman-reject for whom microwave meals for one were invented. Sometimes, because of this, I have seriously considered inventing a colourful love life to exonerate myself from the humiliation of fitting so perfectly into type. But I am an inefficient liar and of course, on the whole, people aren’t really thinking I’m a loser. A few are I suppose, but probably no one I much care about. Most people are too busy considering where they themselves fit into the bigger picture, to be worrying about and writing off me.
Certainly, strangers and acquaintances don’t give a monkeys about my status, and kind friends, those with imagination anyway, feel sympathy and a desire to see me sorted. I didn’t used to think this, because humiliation felt so real – still does – but I have evolved of late and decided it is entirely a construct of my own perception.
A few weeks ago, I saw a friend for the first time since June. She didn’t know that I hadn’t been chain-smoking lovers over the summer, but she didn’t ask and clearly assumed not, because she took me aside and told me she had a wonderful widower for me. In the past, I would have felt eviscerated in the face not of her offer (I always appreciate a match-maker, even if so many talk about someone for me but never follow up their promise to effect an introduction), but in the face of her patronising assumption that no one had showed me, the loser, the slightest bit of attention in so long.
This time, though, I was able to rise above it. I just smiled and said how lovely of her but I thought, you silly, disingenuous person, you never will introduce us. And I don’t actually care, for what do you know of the vistas of opportunity I might be facing now that a twinkle of such an age as to possess no baggage has hoved into view? And since I decided to ignore the Good Advice of my wise old aunt who urged me not to sleep with him but instead to put myself in the way of more age-appropriate men – bit random, but worked for her – by becoming a magistrate for goodness sake?!
Times were when I would have cried, but today I’ve evolved I feel, you can only laugh.