I sometimes wonder whether men believe they are allotted a finite number of words – and, therefore, in this modern age, texts – before they die. Consequently, they don’t want to waste any. I have no idea what younger boyfriends are like these days, but older men barely utter a syllable (unless they are a politician; perhaps in Westminster there is a word amnesty), as they believe they are about to reach their quota.
Which makes it slightly tricky when you are conducting a long-distance ‘relationship’, when he (David) lives in South London and you live in the Yorkshire Dales.
He never phones me. He probably believes phone calls cost an extraordinary number of shillings per minute, as they did in the 70s. (I tell a lie. He did call me once, and I answered by saying, ‘Who is this?’)
But he also never texts. Even when I send him a dirty one. Viz, the following:
Me: ‘Where will you be at Christmas?’
Him: ‘With you, obvs. Who else would have us? X’
Me: ‘You might be with your ex*. I bet you still fantasise about her.’
Him: ‘No, only about you. And I can picture the moment.’
Him: ‘You were at your most relaxed. And sometimes it is what you say you like.’
So, I am thinking, hmm – when was I relaxed? Doesn’t sound like me at all. And what do I say I like? For him to stop moving around? For him to make me a peanut butter and little gem sandwich while I’m working?
So I type: ‘Not the best dirty text I’ve ever received.** C’mon! Be more specific.’
And do you know what he replied? ‘You are not getting me to go down that route.’ Useless!
None of the men I have been ‘involved’ with has ever bothered to say nice things to me, dirty or otherwise. I’ve never been spoiled. When my ex-husband ‘proposed’, all he said was, ‘I want to be tied to you, Chubby.’ Even after I’d spent a night at the Dorchester with Michael Hutchence (why was I not contacted for the new documentary? Why just Kylie? And Helena Whatshername?), all he’d said as I made my way out of his suite was, ‘Thank you for your support.’ As if I were some crazed fan. Which I suppose I was.
I think I am going to Be More Meghan. Believe that it is not enough to survive: that I should thrive, I deserve to be happy and adored. I admire women like her: they expect only the best for themselves. Even after giving birth they are able to get dressed and, miraculously, nothing is inside out or stained. And put on make-up. They believe life should be wonderful. They take me-ternity leave.
And so I text Him (David). ‘How is the ring buying going?’
Him: ‘What ring?’
Me: ‘The ring to replace the “token” you gave me in Paris.’
Him: ‘Ah. That ring. But do you really want one? You don’t seem to even like me. Last time I came to Yorkshire you told me off for burning a saucepan.’
It’s true. I did. But it is as though he cannot complete even the simplest task without being closely monitored. He was sent to buy popcorn to eat while watching Rocket Man. He returned with Butterkist in a packet, which a) contains butter, which I can’t eat as I am vegan, as he Knows Full Well; and b) needs a microwave, which I don’t own.
Anyway, I’ve just read a piece by a writer I know about her divorce. How she had to renovate her new house. How she took three months off work for self-care. How she goes to the gym, orders healthy food. How, having taken a few years off to have a child, she has now found her writing voice again. And I yelled at the newspaper: ‘Why not tell us why you broke up! Tell us what you got in the divorce! This relationship – writer, reader – is a two-way street!’
It makes me wild: the columnists who pretend to bare their souls, which leaves the rest of us feeling like failures as they seem to sail through life. They betray no one, which is fine, but then why bother writing in the first place? If even Meghan can say, ‘My life is s***’, why can’t they? What’s stopping them?
* Given he drove to France with her this summer.
** Who am I kidding? I’ve never received a dirty text.