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Sunday, 7 March 2010

Should auld acquaintance be forgot?


I met up with the Avaitrix today. It has been a long time since we last  dined together. She was in high spirits with the prospect of a holiday to the Indian sub-continent to look forward to in the forthcoming weeks. I have only ever been on Indian soil whilst in transit to Thailand via Russia. I was almost overcome by the wall of heat that hit me as I stepped out of the aircraft and walked under the unforgiving midday sun of a Bombay summer. In the distance I could see a woman dressed in a light blue sari carrying a heavy burden on her head as she worked on a nearby construction site. Simply to walk in such an intemperate climate was exhausting, let alone toiling away at such demanding manual labour.

The Aviatrix is going to India with her ex-husband as she regards him as her favourite travel companion. She is currently dating a divorced man in his mid 40s. It seems a few years ago he married a much younger woman of 24 who had his child and then launched, according to him, an acrimonious divorce two years later. He feels aggrieved that his wife is allegedly trying to fleece him. I am always amazed when I hear men complain that women only want them for the size of their wallets. When we went along to a pub quiz last year, Cristo said the women he dated wanted to know how much he earned before they were prepared to take him seriously. I pointed out that I have dated some extremely wealthy men in my time and have always paid my way or at least also offered to go Dutch. Only a French financier waved aside my offer and insisted on paying for our first meal himself. Incidentally, he was also the sole man  in recent years to suggest a restaurant venue as the location for a first date.

Having earlier gate-crashed his birthday party in Mayfair at the behest of his best friend and mine(Reflections on brief encounters), when I later went on a date with the Household Name, he not only snaffled two of the three complimentary hors d’oeuvres without offering another one to me, he did the same for 2 of the 3 desserts and pocketed the loyalty card to boot. As this was AFTER he had produced a calculator to work out exactly how much I owed for the meal I was more than a little put out by such churlishness. To top it all he claimed that I  only agreed to go on the date because of his famous surname. In reality, when mutual friends set us up (and even his own sister begged me to go out with him) I was not aware of his background other than that he was a lawyer. Consequently, when he said his family was in chocolate, I fondly imagined that his father was a small-scale chocolatier and was on the point of asking whether he had to get up in the early hours, like a baker, to produce a fresh batch of chocolates each day.  Finally it dawned on me that his family had huge factories to churn out their confectionery. Being something of an inverse snob, I would never have dated him had I known this before I agreed to go out with him. As it was, I found him to be an insufferable bore. When I related this story to a relatively poor (by comparison) male friend he insisted on paying for my meal, tickled pink to think he could outspend and so effortlessly outclass a far wealthier man.

The Aviatrix had been helping her former husband move into his new flat. He was about to throw out a large poster for Casino Royale when she stopped him and said I might be interested in having it. It now adorns one of the doors in the hallway. I have admired Daniel Craig’s acting skills long before he appeared as James Bond. I even took Mandip along to see him perform the role of multiple clones in Caryl Churchill’s “A Number” at the Royal Court Theatre in 2002. Mandip said recently that she could not remember going which shows she is not so enamoured of his (ahem) talent as I am.  His image in the poster bears more than a passing resemblance to that of the Cad of Kensington Garden, whose equally glowering countenance still adorns my bedside table. He is one auld acquaintance who should be forgot  according to certain of my friends. If only it were so easy.

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