Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Why is life never simple?

Well, it’s been a bizarre couple of days. On Saturday I went for lunch at a good friend’s house (she’s in her 50’s but with a young head – one of the most positive and forward-facing people I know) and there were three other women there. Plus Scrappino. (Psychologists would have a field day. When he’s older and finds a girlfriend he’ll have the most finely-tuned feminine side known to man). Anyway, my middle-aged friend being the young-in-spirit person that she is, the other women at the table were all aged under 23. I felt middle-aged myself in their company. But it was lovely to meet them and chat about the things 20-something girls chat about. I resisted the urge to give them my wise, world-weary advice. Let them figure it out for themselves.

Lunch lasted until tea-time and we talked and laughed and cried in the way you can only manage in a female-only environment. Half way through the afternoon I had to pop out for quarter of an hour (well, if you must know, I’d made an appointment at the beautician at 4 o’clock – nothing special – just the eyebrows – because I’d been sure that we’d have finished eating by then. As it was, we’d not even cleared the plates for the main course). One of the girls said she’d walk down the road with me and so she and I left the house and went on our way.

Once we were out of earshot of my friend she asked me “So, erm, can I ask you a personal question?” (Note to self – the next time a perfect stranger asks you whether they can ask a personal question, say no). “Sure” I replied, “fire away”. Slight pause from my walking companion. “How do you find it, being a Jewish gay single-mother?” Slightly longer pause from me. Followed by a short intake of breath. And possibly a foot stumble. “Actually, I’m not gay”

Now, I can’t quite remember what I said next, but I think I may have followed it with something along the lines of “not that there’s anything wrong with being gay” or “some of by best friends are gay”. Both of which are true, but which smack of ‘methinks the lady doth protest’ and were almost certainly uttered because I was worried that my inquisitor might think that I answered too quickly and was therefore homophobic.

She was clearly very embarrassed and apologised and mumbled something about jumping to conclusions and hoping she’d not offended me and next time she’ll check her facts before she tries to ask a girl out. I assured her that I wasn’t in the slightest bit offended. But I was incredibly curious. And if she’d not been so mortified I’d have asked her why she’d thought I was gay. It’s not the first time this has happened. A colleague once asked me if I was gay a few years ago. But at the time I put that down to the fact that my hair was dyed red and cut within a half-inch of my scalp. A cross between Annie Lennox and Sinead O’Connor. It was an easy mistake to make. But now that I have long blonde hair and whitter on incessantly about finding a decent bloke the reasons for this assumption are more difficult to discern. I spent the whole evening mulling it over and trying to work out what gay-vibes I must be giving off.

The next day I went out with a chap I’d been on a couple of dates with. He’s the one I bored rigid with gasps of “It’s Captain Jack!!” a few nights back. We had a nice day – pub lunch, chat at the flat, you know the score. And by the evening I was feeling pretty confident that this might turn out to be something worth pursuing – rather than the usual shambolic fiasco that my dates tend to be. In fact, I was feeling so up-beat that I risked mentioning it to my family. (Generally speaking not a good idea because a) my mother rushes out to buy hats and b) as soon as I’ve ever mentioned a bloke in the past it has all gone pear-shaped within hours.)

I should have learnt from past mistakes. Sure enough, the following day, I got the phone call. I will spare you the details, but it was a variation on the “it’s not you it’s me” theme. Truth is, he was in a bad place and, in fairness to him, didn’t think it was right to drag someone through that with him. In fact, he was feeling so down that he’d had to take a day off work. (A new low for me – two and half dates and I make a man physically ill.)

So the gender that doesn’t do it for me is politely trying to ask me out and the gender that I’m after is vomiting at the mere thought. I’m stumped. And single. Again.


Blogger MC Aryeh said...

And very, very funny...how flattering to be fancied by both men and women...I am completely taken with the phrase "shambolic fiasco" - would make a great blog name...

12:02 pm  
Blogger Pragmatician said...

I once heard an answer to the question posed on the title of this post: Because otherwise life would be boring.

Between us, I'd have chosen boring rather never simple.

4:05 pm  
Blogger tafka PP said...

But at least you write about your dating/gay-dar traumas in a manner that makes us all laugh out loud. Good therapy, no?!

6:43 am  
Blogger R.x said...

mc - thank you for the compliments. you're right - shambolic fiasco would make a great blog name. it succinctly defines the last decade for me, pretty much

prag - i'm the other side of the coin. i'd choose 'never simple' over 'boring' any day. hence the shambolic fiasco, probably

parrot - definitely good therapy. and it does raise a laugh. so at least i have good material to write about. if i lived happily ever after my comedy writing career would be dead in the water before i've even started

1:21 pm  

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