Tuesday 22 April 2008

Looking for the answer in the wrong place

13st 10lb; just 1.0 unit of alcohol yesterday (a whisky nightcap and, yes, I did use a proper spirits measure rather than sloshing out half a tumbler full as I always used to); 1,382; in the wardrobe looking for Narnia, but only finding fluff.

“So what,” a reader enquires. A common enough reaction to this blog, I must regretfully concede. But he goes on, “So what happened with the Tall Cheshire Blonde [TCB] and that letter you were struggling to write to her last Thursday?”

Well, this is very hard, as the bishop said to the actress. Because it’s all become a bit sensitive and delicate, as the actress said afterwards when she realized that she could not walk. Really, it would be so much in my best interests to keep shtoom. But then we are dealing with me, widely famed as the most indiscreet man in England.

Of course, I could argue that there have been enough little hints dropped into this blog already for you to have been able to work it out for yourselves. But then I know from my Sitemeter thingie that quite a few of you work in the City of London, and presumably failed to spot that lending countless billions to American trailer trash with no visible means of support wouldn’t actually prove to be the safest blue chip investment of all time. So I suppose it would be a bit much to hope that you could grasp anything a touch more subtle.

So here’s what I’m going to do. I’m drawing the curtains (the neighbours will just assume I’m accessing porn again) and lowering my voice to a whisper; and I’d ask you to turn your screen brightness down to the minimum, and ensure that no-one is looking over your shoulder, before going any further.

Done that? OK.

Well, the fact is that I finished the letter. Only five pages to her seven, but then mine was typed, so it probably contained just as many words. Only then it all became of somewhat academic interest, because I happened to mention to the person who had e-mailed me about the TCB in the first place that I had actually become quite fond of her during our exchange of e-mails over the previous couple of weeks. Which is when she replied saying that we seemed to be living through a remake of the Emma Woodhouse / Mr Knightley scenario to which I alluded in an earlier entry. Now do you understand?

(If you’re not a great Jane Austen fan, perhaps you can relate to the 1995 film with the identical plot. Called, most appropriately, Clueless.)

Anyway, the upshot of that and certain further exchanges was that I received a text message from the TCB that practically melted my mobile phone, making it quite clear that I need not add her to my Christmas card list. I was much relieved that my mobile was on a kitchen work surface rather than in my trouser pocket when it came through.

I naturally deeply regret that I may have been the cause of some temporary disaffection among the single female community of Cheshire. But as a friend of mine helpfully pointed out, all will be well as soon as one of them actually meets me and finds out what I am really like. She will then be able to go and enjoy a good cry on the shoulder of the one who hasn’t met me, describing the luckiest escape since that bloke who worked at the top of the World Trade Center decided to have his first lie-in of the new century on 9/11.

The lady that I may get around to meeting one day will be described hereinafter as the Sho…, no, Less Tall Cheshire Brunette. Or LTCB for short (appropriately enough, in one way, though it does make her sound like she ought to be the regulatory body for lawn tennis and croquet).

There are a number of important lessons in all this, though the main one is obviously the unsurprising revelation that, for all mainstream flirting purposes, e-mail has an unbeatable edge on handwritten letters delivered (if you’re lucky) by Royal Mail. And the other is that the operation of Sod’s Law is absolutely immutable in every context. Four long years it’s taken me to come up with a book proposal that seemed to stand half a chance of being accepted by a publisher: Must Have Own Teeth (Ageing Misanthrope Seeks One Last Shag), the definitive guide to the pitfalls of serial over-50s dating. And what happens? I prove incapable even of going out on one date with a woman who has written to me out of the blue explaining why she would be absolutely perfect for me.

There is no hope for me at all. Unless the LTCB comes good, of course. You may watch this space, if you wish, but I would strongly counsel against holding your breath while you are doing so.

In the meantime, why on earth can’t they list just Whores under “W” in Yellow Pages, rather than under “M” for “Massage”?

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