I’m ignoring the Mystery Man whose last missive asked me what motorway junction I am off. Oh, I forgot to tell you his email before that one was, ‘I won’t be bringing Bolly [his joke name for me is Patsy] as I’ve stopped drinking and have to leave super early…’
You might have stopped drinking, but I haven’t!
I have for a few weeks been DMing (which is private messaging) on Twitter with a man I’ve never met, but who sounds nice. He has been telling me over and over how I deserve more when it comes to men. He calls me ‘beautiful’ and sends virtual kisses. Here is one text: ‘Why is it an attractive, intelligent and successful [!] lady wastes herself and her valuable time on unsuitable men? What is it about them that keeps making you try?’
And then he sent this: ‘I don’t think you’d be able to handle me. There is nothing I can’t do and nothing I need a lady to do. I live in a clean, warm, safe house. You need to move forward. You are a catch. I am sure people are lining up. Your column would transform if you were to meet me!’
I am not totally keen on someone using the word ‘lady’, unless it’s the name of a spaniel, but I chose to overlook this, and replied: ‘Intriguing. What wouldn’t I be able to handle?’
Him: ‘You would be cherished, looked after by a well-groomed man, housework done, cooked for, taken out, paid for, all the normal things!’
‘Are you single? If so, how on earth have you not been snapped up?’
‘I am married at the moment.’
Did you notice the ‘at the moment’? Someone out there is married to a man who is sending these sorts of texts. She might find them. She might be devastated.
I know what it feels like when you find those texts. The ones that say, ‘I think about you every day.’ Whereas the only missives you’re getting from your husband are, ‘We’ve run out of teabags and I forgot to pick up Squeaky’s special diet biscuits.’
Your stomach lurches when you find out about infidelity. You realise you’ve been trapped in a lie, unable to make your own decisions, the subject of ridicule. How many times did I walk in on my husband in his office at the top of ‘our’ house, his fat a*** on the Eames chair I bought him, for him to quickly change his screen to the one showing the novel he was supposed to be writing?
While I was working to support him, braving earthquakes in flipflops (I thought the border between Pakistan and Kashmir would be hot) and Hollywood stars, he was on a balcony with Daphne somewhere in India, taking pictures of her on the camera I bought him. The one he said was too heavy and had a too-wide strap.
I’d been suspicious he had met someone in India while finding himself (in a woman’s vagina, it turned out) as, out for dinner a couple of nights after he got back, he actually smirked when he said he had met a couple of American girls. A late-night scroll through his camera revealed frame after frame he’d taken of her, asleep in bed. That is what prompted me to hack into his emails, see his messages to her. ‘I will get to New York as soon as I can…’
I decide to tease my new penfriend a little. Smoke him out. ‘What did you do over Christmas?’ I type mischievously.
‘I was working but took the dogs for some lovely long walks.’ You see? There is no ‘we’. Or, ‘I bought her such and such.’ If that isn’t cheating, I don’t know what is.