It was my birthday last week and my new boyfriend came over with a very special gift.
“Happy birthday, babe” he said as he strolled in. The recently divorced 49 year-old father of two was six feet three inches tall with a distinctive tattoo of a burger on his forearm. He carried a gift bag which was larger than a toddler but smaller than a car, so naturally I was thrilled. I tore it open and froze. It was a harpoon.
“It’s for whaling!” he announced, all pleased with himself. Did this man know nothing about me? Sure, I enjoy the thrill of the hunt – when you’ve been hurt in the past, you toughen up. But if he’d paid any attention to my pillow talk, or taken a moment to investigate the contents of my car boot during our weekly Waitrose trip, he’d know I already have an arsenal of weapons for all those times I think I can see a whale.
It’s a lonely existence on the front line, but don’t feel sorry for me: I’m a strong woman who easily outmanoeuvres anything nature throws her way, just like Anne Frank. I tossed it away sobbing ‘you’re just like all the other men!’. He went on the defensive, saying I was an ungrateful brat and he was going to take it back to the shop. He added that my breasts looked like the berserk ginger eyes of a fifteen foot Viking which unblinkingly glared at him when he was trying to watch the Bake Off. What the hell was he getting at? This is exactly what I hate about poet types, they’re always so cryptic.
Anyway, his words bounced off me like bullets because I’ve been told this by countless men. And – sorry to disappoint you, boys – but every time you say it, you just make me stronger. Not many people realise, but I am almost catastrophically mentally damaged so any man I let into my life should count himself very lucky indeed.
He looked deeply into my big, sad brown eyes. “From the very first moment I saw you,” he said calmly, “I never felt such emotion.”
He took my hand and continued, “I’m walking on air, just to know…” then he trailed off.
“Just to know?” I prompted.
“You are there,” he said. We both burst into tears and entered a passionate embrace. He sees now that I’m an intelligent, good-natured and hardworking person – an asset to any team. He bit his lip and poured out his heart. “You’re so intelligent but also somehow so good-natured and hardworking.” He didn’t need to say the team part as we had reached a level of understanding most couples can only dream of.
“I knew then, he might be the one…” I murmured.
The phone rang. “My God!” he exclaimed as he hung up. “Your unsuccessful sister, Elaine, has been kidnapped by Zolo in Cartagena, Columbia.” I was gobsmacked! It looked like the inexpensive harpoon would come in handy after all. Why does he have to be so good?