June 25, 2013 § 192 Comments
I wrote this below in about 1922 – well, actually, in March, for the Times, and due to space ishoos, they haven’t used it till now (well, yesterday). So if it seems a bit out of date… Hell, a post is a post is a post:-
As spring arrives at long bloody last – I’ve been hibernating – I am asking my friends to send me on any blind dates they can think of, and every one of them says they will rack their brains, and that is the last I hear of it.
They all know just one single man whom, invariably, they swear I wouldn’t want to touch with a barge pole. There are various categories of Barge Pole. Divorced men who are manifestly enjoying the benefits of their new-found freedom and sleeping with several different women a week is an obvious one. At a recent party, I saw a handsome example – an old friend called Mark whom I like but, even if he were interested in me, I wouldn’t touch with a… As he and I chatted and laughed, one of his many benefits – a rich plankton with two divorces behind her – sidled up to him, and slithered her arms all over him like a python. She gave me astonishingly hostile looks. It was a possessiveness which I knew to be misplaced. He had just been telling me about his sense of liberation and adventure, and how this particular woman and he had sex when they felt like it, but the arrangement was manifestly fluid. Well, on his part at least (there were others from Tottenham to Turkey). On hers, predictably, not so much.
A recent article in a serious American magazine placed available men into two categories, namely players and losers. Both of them, in my book, are disheartening BPs. While Mark is obviously a player, the all-too-commonplace loser is properly single, meaning distinctly non-committal and odd. Quite often these types are still in love with a woman – or girl – they loved thirty or forty years ago. They have had “relationships” – of sorts – since, but no woman has ever matched up to the mythical One. I went out, briefly, with a man in this category. He wasn’t ostensibly a “loser”. A romantic figure on a hillside who wrote poetry and smoked a lot of dope, he was good-looking and warm and sweet. But he always used to show me pictures of Lulu and talk about her to me with his glazed, beautiful, wistful, red Leb eyes, and I knew I needed to take note of the writing that had been on the wall from the outset. Gorgeous, but hopeless.
The funny thing is, even barge poles are quite thin on the ground at the moment.
But there are more female BPs than squeamish-inducing frogspawn in a pond. I am one of them. Old and spent and flabby and grabby and set in my ways. Another man’s discarded chattel with another man’s children.
Barge Pole. With heels on.