Recently, I got dumped by a woman I was crazy about. To cut a long sob story short, here I am 67 years old and facing the future alone. Gulp.
Dumped. I can’t believe it! ‘Dumped’ has to be the most brutal word in the lexicon of love. To me it evokes a black garbage bag full of steaming excrement, wherein your bleeding heart lies, still beating.
Anyway, I’m taking my date to the West End to an old-fashioned, dimly lit cocktail bar, the kind where wise-cracking metropolitan sophisticates once sipped martinis and smoked cigarettes to the sound of cool jazz.
What’s my dream date? It goes something like this. I’m sitting in an elegant and quiet hotel bar opposite the most beautiful, intelligent, sexy and funny woman in the world. I’m not my normal self, thank God. The mediocre Me, the one prone to self-pity and self-flagellation is gone. Tonight I am Cary Grant. I am George Clooney. I’m David Niven. Hell, I’m even David Bowie! By which I mean I am that incredibly charming, witty, clever and mysterious man every man longs to be – and rarely is.
Martini number three arrives and she puts her hand on top of mine, looks me in the eye and says, ‘You’re the funniest man I’ve ever met. And so smart and sexy too!’ Then she leans over the table and whispers in her husky voice: ‘Give it to me baby…your columns, your lit-crit, your film reviews, your three unpublished novels. I want to read everything you’ve ever written. You genius of a man, you!’ And so the evening ends with the two of us under the table and over the moon.
That was the romantic fantasy running through my head as I prepared for my first proper date since getting dumped. I stood naked before the bathroom mirror: unaccommodated man, more Lear than Clooney. They say that after a certain age you get the face you deserve. Do you also get the scrotum you deserve? It looks so…forlorn.
I hear that now days even heterosexual men shave their scrotums. But on the first date? Really? I finish my grooming and sign off with that little debonair smile and that raffish wink that older guys execute before bathroom mirrors. The one that says: hey buddy, relax you’ve still got it! And five minutes later they’re sobbing into a drink and wondering where did it all go wrong?
So why am I doing this dating thing, at my age? Simple. I want a wife. I’ve had two already and I can highly recommend them. The only thing is that nobody wants to get married anymore, especially women.
I often hear critics of marriage say: why get married? It’s just a piece of paper. OK, if it’s just a piece of paper then why not get married? What’s the big deal? Of course it’s not just a piece of paper. Marriage is for lovers and lunatics. It’s such an irrational, crazy thing to do how can you resist it?
I loved having a wife. Someone you can bring tea to in the morning and cuddle last thing at night. It’s not that I want someone to do things with; I want that special someone to do nothing with for the rest of my life.
My date is a blind date, arranged by a mutual friend who assures me we will ‘love each other’. You never appreciate how little your friends know you till they fix you up with a date. My date arrives and within two minutes I know this is a disaster. She brought her small neurotic dog along and told me her best gay friend was joining us later.
Let me make it clear: I have nothing against dogs or gays or dogs who are gay – just not when I’m out on a date. You have to get the date to like you and to do that you have to get the dog to like you and you have to get the gay best friend to like you as well. It’s three demanding dates in one!
The funny thing is I got on better with the gay friend and the dog than my date. But I don’t think they want to get married either.