Thursday, July 02, 2015


A few years ago, an aura-reader I talked to in a serious error of judgement said sadly: “I’m sorry, I don’t see it”. I’d asked her the inevitable question of “Will I be married? Will I be loved?”, fully expecting in reply the usual variation on “Que Sera Sera”. It was a bit startling to get a flat no.

On the other hand, I never had a picture in my head of a wedding, or a vision of who the future partner would be. Some introspection before I turned 40 revealed that I had nevertheless been certain of a home and family. And the reason my age bothered me was that I had no new picture of the future to replace the expired one I hadn’t even known about.

Until then I’d been perfectly happy being single, but I started to become conscious of it. Ten years without a date seemed abnormal; I didn’t fit into the social frameworks of my peer group. Wrapped up in secure coupledom, friends gave me ridiculous reasons for why I was single. But I’d had plenty of opportunity for observation, and knew it wasn't about what you looked like, your BMI, IQ or point of view. I’d seen all types hook up eventually. Except me, of course, so the lady was probably right.

Now they’ve started to tell me I should adopt a child, as if a child were a hobby, or a validation exercise. I smile and nod and read another book. Because it has always been more interesting to read a book. Looking back I see I must have been a terrible girlfriend. I’ve always worked better as a friend.

Now at forty two, I can finally accept myself with relief. I think too much. I take things too personally. I’m too anxious about doing the right thing. I store Allen keys and spare buttons. I read manuals, company newsletters, annual reports and the chairman’s speech. I get excited about the stuff I learn there. I’m kind rather than competitive, because I sense what people are feeling before they recognise it themselves. I’m loyal – never blindly so, but completely (and this is often uncomfortable for the recipient). Above all, I am always, fundamentally, the girl in glasses who will leave you without a backward glance for a book. There’s nothing wrong with that. It takes all kinds.

Sure, I stand a little left of centre, but I stand tall.

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