I read something today which I decided was either the most middle-class sentence I’d ever read, or a savage indictment of my own life. It was in the Guardian magazine, on the Relationships page. Every week, they send a couple on a blind date, and both talk about their experience afterwards – first impressions, table manners, awkward moments – finishing with a mark out of 10.
The sentence in question was a response from the man (Richard) to the question: what did you talk about?
“A range of topics from Vietnamese restaurants, half marathons and favourite theatres to near-death experiences while bamboo rafting in Thailand.”
My immediate response was to roll my eyes. My second was to feel slightly depressed. God forbid that my amazing wife should ever leave me, but hypothetically, if I found myself in a similar situation, what would I have to talk about? The abject misery of supporting Man City for thirty years? How incredible the barn siege in Resident Evil 4 was? The complexities of costs drafting?
I started thinking that I needed to find myself new interests. Perhaps I should learn a new language? Maybe start going to the opera? Then I stopped myself.
Because I realised a similar thought process probably goes through the minds of all these singletons. Obviously when going on a date of any sort it helps to have something interesting to discuss. And maybe these people genuinely have experienced all these things, and actually like doing them all. Or maybe they’re a bit embarrassed to admit they really talked about beer and Big Brother.
Or maybe they read the Blind Date section in The Guardian magazine of a Saturday and feel similarly inadequate and unadventurous. So they either spend lots of money doing stuff to make themselves more interesting, or just make shit up so their lives sound super-exciting.
In short: I’m so glad I’m not single.