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Monday, 2 November 2009

The Food of Love.


This evening, wearing my floor length medieval-style dress, I bear more than a passing resemblance to the wife in Jan van Eyck’s painting: The Arnolfini Portrait at the National Portrait Gallery. Scholars claim that the woman is not pregnant, merely following the fashion of holding up the full skirts of her gown. I am not pregnant but merely following the fashion for dining with friends at home and now looking for all the world as if I am about to give birth to a wind egg having eaten rather too heartily. I made my friend prawn and cucumber salad served with a mint vinaigrette, baked biryani chicken followed by apple and blackberry stir-fry. She wolfed it all down and had second servings of the chicken. Like the mother-hen manqué that I am, I sent her home with a plaited loaf of Finnish sweet bread and some apricot cheesecake I baked yesterday.

My friend is to marry her handsome boyfriend. He is both far younger and far nicer than her last boyfriend. She told me her ex had contacted her again out of the blue, as he was wont to do whenever he felt his hold over her might have waned. With a tremendous sense of pleasure and relief, she told him he was surplus to requirement as she had found someone infinitely superior to him in every way. She is studying for a doctorate in Psychology and has a keen academic interest in human relationships, whilst admitting she has not always been able to translate the lessons from her studies into her own life. It all reminds me of the story a neighbour related recently.

Enjoying an unseasonably warm October evening, we sat in the garden discussing the most famous person we had ever encountered in real life. Cristo confessed he had once met a famous sex and relationship expert at a local wine-bar. They had hit it off and decided to meet again. They had a second date but never a third after she unexpectedly broke down in tears and bewailed the fact that all her relationships seemed destined to end in disaster. Cristo also felt uncomfortable because, according to him, she was forcing the pace with regard to sex. I was flummoxed. I recall a time in which men felt greatly put out if a woman would not put out on the first date. Now such men feel put out if a woman is eager to put out. I have just searched for the sex expert on line. It seems she knows everything there is to know about dating…… except how to have a successful relationship herself. Physician heal thyself indeed!

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