Sunday 3 February 2008

Thinking of turning professional

14st 10lb; 3.0 units of alcohol; 1,462; Malin.

My man flu returned with a vengeance today, and I couldn’t face anything much beyond lying on the sofa, reading volumes of collected cartoon strips. The fact that I also drank the best part of a bottle of wine with lunch was surely entirely coincidental. I only drank it in an attempt to cheer myself up because I felt so lousy.

About 40 years ago, when I had not long started secondary school, I remember my father returning from a walk with the dog to report a singularly unsettling experience. He’d been approaching a group of young lads kicking a football around, and one had said, “Hang on until this old fellow’s got past.” Dad had looked around for this approaching OAP, before realizing with a sinking feeling that they were referring to him. He would have been about the age that I am now. And, just lately, I’ve finally begun to appreciate exactly how he felt.

There was a picture in the paper the other day of a retired British couple standing in front of their dream Spanish villa, in which they had sunk all their savings. It is about to be demolished to make way for a long-planned railway line which had somehow failed to show up on their lawyer’s searches. And they’d bought the land from the local mayor, too, and used his best mate to handle all the legal work. How on earth could that have happened?

While I admit that expecting a bulldozer to trundle through your life savings must be quite an ageing experience, I was still a bit disheartened to note that this broken-down, ancient couple were almost exactly the same age as I am. There have been many other such incidents lately.

And so I came to watch Calendar Girls on the television this evening, thinking “these are now the sort of women to whom you can aspire as you embark on the search for your next girlfriend. And I do mean aspire, as these ones you are looking at are film stars. Whereas you’ll be casting your own net among motherly secretaries, veterinary assistants, till operators in the poorer sort of supermarket or DIY store, petrol pump attendants (yes, we still have them around here), dinner ladies and care home workers.”

I find myself beginning to understand the logic of the friend who enquired how much it had cost to take him for lunch at The Ivy a couple of weeks ago, as he was thinking that it might be quite a good place to take a woman he was hoping to entice into bed. When I told him, he replied that in that case it would probably be cheaper and simpler just to pay for a whore, rather than trying to persuade a non-professional to pretend to like him.

I wonder where one finds the red light district in Alnwick or Rothbury, and whether any of its denizens are any younger or more attractive than I am?

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