In Search of Perfection

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CC Image courtesy of Rev Stan on Flickr

‘I’m giving you a cheque,’ my grandmother says, folding the slip of paper, ‘but if there’s anything else you want…’

‘Like a wedding dress,’ my aunt puts in.

I laugh. I don’t know how long my relations have been suppressing the urge to quiz me about my love life but today, finally, they’d cracked.

‘Has your brother got a girlfriend?’ is how it starts – a complete non sequitur to what we’d previously been talking about.

‘No,’ I say, ‘not as far as I know.’

‘He needs a strong woman,’ my aunt says.

I laugh. ‘I doubt he thinks that!’ I take a sip of my drink. ‘What do you think I need?’

‘I don’t know,’ she says slowly, ‘but I suspect you’re looking for perfection.’

‘Why do you think that?!’

‘Well, you can’t even choose a draining rack!’

The draining rack had gone back, hence the cheque.

I laugh. ‘Mmm yeah. But it was too small! There were things wrong with it!’

My aunt doesn’t say anything. I take another sip.

‘So there’s no one…?’

This from my grandmother.

I think of my Saturday dateTall, charming, successful… looks a bit like Tom Hiddleston: I know better than to mention him after just one drink.

‘Hmm no,’ I say, ‘but I’m trying!’

‘Is there anyone at work?’

‘I have some wonderful colleagues, but they all have spouses or long-term girlfriends.’

My relations look almost as disappointed by this as I am, which is saying something.

CC Image courtesy of m-louis on Flickr

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Sweet Like Chocolate

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SIX MONTHS EARLIER…CC Image courtesy of niallkennedy on Flickr

‘They’re like paving slabs!’ I say.

We peer in at the display of tarts, cupcakes, and giant brownies.

Would it be weird if I said it matters which brownie you choose?

‘You have to choose the right one,’ he says.  ‘That one there, top left.’  He points.

I laugh.  ‘The corner?!  No!  You want a middle bit!’

‘You’re not serious?!’  He gives me a playful shove.

We argue all the way to the bakery opposite, where I’m buying a present for my mother.

‘One sec,’ I say, ‘I’m just gonna have a look in the window.’

‘Which one is it?’ he says.

I point.

‘“Vanilla, chocolate and pecan brownie”,’ he reads.  ‘Sounds good!’

‘Yep, except,’ I feign a disapproving look, ‘it’s not vanilla, it’s Valrhona.’

‘What’s that?’

‘A very expensive chocolate brand – one of the best.’

He looks sheepish.  ‘I should know that, being a Swiss national.’

Inside the shop, I ask to have a closer look at the brownies, before choosing a centre piece.  Swiss National makes tutting noises.  Laughing, I pay.

CC Image courtesy of EverJean on Flickr

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Cure For Love

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Don’t see him.  Don’t call or text, send a Facebook message, or email.  Don’t ‘like’ or comment on his status or photos.  Don’t so much as look at his photos.  Don’t listen to the song he sent you a link to, and if you do, don’t listen to the lyrics.  They don’t contain a secret message.

Don’t write a letter, or do what one of my dearest friends did and send him pistachios in the post.  Or cashews, or almonds, or any other kind of dried goods.  I know you probably hadn’t thought of doing it, but just in case.

Don’t do what I almost did and give him a birthday present… four months after the event, because you saw something you know he’d really like.

And don’t do what I probably will and give it to him for Christmas instead.

Read Wendy Cope’s brilliant poem ‘Two Cures for Love’ here.

CC Image courtesy of iriskh on Flickr

The One That I Want

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I’m writing a birthday list, otherwise known as re-wording ‘money’ in bullet point form.CC Image courtesy of tomylees on Flickr

Navy wool Ralph Lauren jumper, like the one in the blog…

Because that really helps people.

… size medium, round neck.

That evening, I’m chatting to a friend.

‘I need another man for the ball,’ I say.

‘I know a man!’ she says.

Don’t we all.

‘Oh,’ I say.  ‘Who?’

‘You might know him actually.  Harry – Harry Sinclair?’

‘Oh my God!’

Not literally.  Well…

We exchange ‘how we met’ stories.  I stop short of the landlady incident.

‘I wouldn’t get too… emotionally attached,’ she says.

I laugh.  ‘Don’t you worry, there’s no danger of that!’

I just want the jumper back.

CC Image courtesy of Steve Rhodes on Flickr