Monday 14 January 2008

Itchy dog, touchy woman

14st 12lb despite 3.5 units of alcohol yesterday (what on earth am I doing right?); 1,481; Dogger.

I share a bed with a dog. No, really. People say “What about the smell?” but after a couple of years he got used to it. On the extremely rare occasions lately when another human being has been persuaded to share my bed (or, as he sees it, his bed) he has very considerately taken himself off and lain on the hearthrug with his paws over his eyes. Then hopped back up on the duvet the morning after, looking suitably sympathetic. Not at me.

The main differences between a dog and a woman, I find, are that the dog is more cuddly, less talkative and substantially less inhibited. For example, I’ve never known a woman get up, shake herself vigorously and then spend a good five minutes noisily scratching the back of her neck with her foot, as the dog did at 2.35 this morning. I never got back to sleep. It’s just as well I love him – and not in that way, either.

Despite being substantially less than half awake, I spent the morning at my desk analysing my income and expenditure during 2007. One figure exceeded the other by almost exactly £10,000. Unfortunately it was the wrong way round. Result: misery. Or I could just bridge the gap by selling some shares that would only go down anyway. How do I know this? Because I own them. That’s how my investments work. I can’t think how I came to miss out on Northern Rock.

Having rung my stockbroker, I spent some time pondering how to respond to the scorching e-mail I received on Friday from a lady I mentioned in passing last week; the one I allegedly converted to lesbyterianism. How dare I write about her? And, in any case, she has no recollection of me attempting to have what I believe is correctly known as penetrative sex with her. (Funnily enough, I’ve heard that one before. Sometimes when I’ve actually been doing it.) If it did happen, it must have been because she was drugged (though at least she is not accusing me of administering said drugs, which I suppose is something). The bottom line is that she will never speak to me again. Or e-mail me, she adds in an afterthought sent by, er, e-mail.

The funny thing is that only a few days ago she’d been e-mailing to say how much she enjoyed the (entirely true) story about my date with the lady in the wheelchair. Nearly all of this stuff is true, amazingly, because I’ve got no imagination. And given that I’ve been a Recluse on a hilltop in Northumberland for the last 20 years, I’m not exactly long on experience, either. It’s the absence of imagination and experience that have prevented me from forging a successful career as the new J.K. Macdonald Fraser or George Rowling. So every last drop of even half amusing actualité has to be carefully collected and recycled, like water in the Sahara.

Because I actually like her, I only toy momentarily with the idea of re-posting the disputed entry to include her name, photograph, address and phone number, and compose a balanced reply pointing out some of the above, plus the fact that she is entirely anonymous. So that the only way anyone will be able to connect the story with her will be if she goes around wearing a T-shirt inscribed: “Bloke in the North™ made me a full-time rug muncher. Send him the wool and he’ll make you one, too.”

After I’d sent it, I compared notes with a couple of friends who both offered the same helpful advice: “Why didn’t you just say: ‘What on earth makes you think I was writing about you?’”. Pithy, I grant, but on the other hand it implies that I’m a serial converter of women to Sapphism, and I don’t think my remaining, faltering spark of self-esteem could cope with a blow like that.

What’s really beginning to worry me is the thought that that her attitude to being mentioned here might be generally shared, so that no woman will ever go out with me again in case I write about her. This would completely undermine one of the two points of writing this stuff. So here’s an idea. If you’re an attractive woman and you would like to go out with me, I hereby faithfully promise that I won’t put a word about you in this blog until after our relationship has gone horribly wrong.

How’s that?

It will be like that short loop they put in phone-ins so that they can cut people off before they blurt out **** on the wireless. In my case, I reckon it will involve an average time delay of approximately 72 hours.

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