Monday, 21 January 2008

Whose Love-Life Is It Anyway?

I have long suspected that I am not really a team player, especially when the team is 'doubles'. For example, when I've played doubles tennis the biggest effort has been restraining myself from belting my own partner, and when I was giving birth I screamed 'GET AWAY GET AWAY DON'T TOUCH ME' at The Australian (on both occasions - you'd think he'd have learnt the first time), and when I started to collaborate on a novel with my mother last November I deteriorated into such depression that I aged about a decade and had to invest in copious amounts of Ulay. Olay? Ulay. Whatever. And finally, a few years ago, when a university friend and I decided to write an article together about our chronically low opinion of a book called The Rules, we spent two whole days writing four whole paragraphs - arguing over every 'and' 'but' and 'comma' until we realised our friendship was at risk and ditched the idea.

So it came as quite a surprise to us both, I think (though we remain the best of friends and would do anything for each other etc etc), when we found ourselves collaborating again, only this time we were only signing her up to an internet dating site and that sounded easy enough and why on earth would that need to take up a lot of time or be complicated in any way? Right? You just sign up. Right? Put up a photo and tick a few boxes and wait for the dates to flood in. Right?

So very, very wrong. It took us about 45 minutes just to think of her username. And a further half hour to write a short introductory blurb: she insisted I write it and I insisted she didn't speak or look at me while I was doing so and then I winced at every criticism and found myself actually trying to persuade her to do it my way! Her love life / My way! I shudder at the thought of myself now but at the time I thought I was being helpful. I did!

Then we had to answer 167 multiple choice questions about the kind of person she is and the kind of person she is looking for. 'Do you think my dress sense is Classic or Contemporary?' she said. 'Classic,' I replied. 'But doesn't that make me sound as if I'm wearing twin-set and pearls?' 'No, definitely not. Tick Classic.' 'But Contemporary sounds younger.' 'Yeah, but that sounds like you wear those evening shorts with leggings and a buttercream yellow trapeze coat.' 'Does it? I don't think so.' 'Fine, tick Contemporary.' 'Really? Or Classic?' 'Contemporary.' 'Definitely.' 'Oh for the love of god yes, tick it!!'

And that's pretty much how it went all afternoon. 'Should I tick faithful? I think it makes me sound like a dog.' 'OK, tick trustworthy instead, it's pretty much the same thing.' 'But isn't trustworthy a bit dog-like, too?' 'OK, tick honest.' 'There's no honest.' 'How can there be no honest? This is ridiculous! OK, tick faithful - no one's going to think you're a dog.' 'Hm, maybe I'll just leave that one blank.'

Then we had half an hour in my kitchen while I tried to take her photo (nb. on a photography course at university I was told 'You will never be good at this. You have no eye.' Cheek. I have eye!) My friend said: 'You need to give me some sort of direction.' 'Err, ok, smile!' I replied. At this point I had sanded down her sense of humour to a brittle fragment, but we managed to pull it back and I ended up standing on my step-ladder and commanding her to pretend that my microwave was an attractive man who was telling her something very interesting about Tibet. *Snap!* She looked the perfect combination of fascinated and sexy. And it was only slightly out of focus. And poorly framed. But otherwise perfect!

The experience has taught me several things, not least that anyone who collaborates with me deserves some kind of endurance award. And also that I ought to be a lot nicer to my real doubles partner, a.k.a. The Australian, a.k.a. the man who actually thinks it's 'cute' when I shush him violently while in writing-mode.

Thanks, Mucker.

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writer girl said...

Aw you don't sound that bad at all. Still lovin' your blog. WG

Mum'sTheWord said...

You are too kind! I am keeping a close eye on your blog, too... you tease! :)

Anonymous said...

hmmm - you're right, it's lucky i love you ...