A boyfriend’s for life, not just for Christmas. It’s no good me getting myself a nice cuddly man with whom I can wade through the snow, roast chestnuts and ice-skate in amusing bobble hats.
Because then I am going to be responsible for that boyfriend for a very long time. I should know. These creatures need feeding, they need coddling. They need endless amounts of fuss, and care, and attention. A boyfriend can’t be left in the house for longer than four hours at a time, or I will come home to find he’s been lying in the bath all day and has managed to use up £200 worth of hot water.
He can’t be trusted around food. The cupboards will have to be secured, or I will suddenly discover he has been secretly scoffing every edible thing in the house, including the tins of lobster bisque I was saving for a nuclear holocaust.
He can’t be trusted not to wreck the house by taking things apart in the interests of ‘fixing’ them. No matter how much I try to keep him shut in one room so he doesn’t make a mess, he will find a way to take the bath panel off to find the source of a damp smell and not put it back on …ever.
Above all, a boyfriend cannot be trusted not to start regurgitating all sorts of horrible things I had no idea he had swallowed and not digested, every time he goes on Facebook after I have broken up with him.
I know this, and yet I can’t help myself. It started last month when I was walking the spaniel on Tooting Common. I could feel Christmas in the air, drifting relentlessly towards me. The panic gripped my chest and the thought assaulted my brain: ‘Get a boyfriend! Quick!’
The only other time this happens is the summer holiday season. Then again, the cute couples and happy families planning their annual bout of closeness make confirmed singletons like me feel utterly bereft.
Essentially, I need a boyfriend for two weeks in July or August and two weeks in December. I’m flexible as to which two weeks, but I’d prefer the lead-up to Christmas inclusive of Christmas Day. By Boxing Day I’m over it. I’m happy to be unhappy again once the big dinner is over and I can get on a horse and go hunting.
But I would like some kind of hire arrangement to cover 10 December through 25. Surely some enterprising soul could come up with a reliable festive, special occasion and summer boyfriend hire service, like tuxedo or car rental?
Until then, I have to make my own chaotic arrangements. So there I was walking the spaniel on Tooting Common as the air started to crackle with the ominous vibration of yuletide loneliness, disappointment, let-down and despair, and I saw him.
The handsome Aussie with two spaniels who I have been saying hello to in passing for years.
Suddenly, seen through ‘end of November’ glasses, he looked not handsome, but really handsome. If I squint, I told myself, he looks like Keith Urban. No, he could be Keith Urban.
The next time I went dog-walking I put on a full face of make-up and brushed my hair. And when I bumped into the Aussie, I chatted him up the only way I know how. I whinged to him about a proposal to turn the disused cricket pavilion on the Common into a toilet block for drug users and rough sleepers, a social inclusion project pioneered by the rampant Corbynistas of Balham and Tooting.
The pavilion currently houses a budding artist who acts as a very effective caretaker in return for bed and board. Inside, the pavilion is full of exciting works of art in the making. The land around it is a beautiful open space the whole community enjoys. It all works perfectly, so of course the lefties want to ruin it.
The artist must be turfed out and the pavilion turned into toilet and washing facilities staffed by volunteers until midnight, for maximum antisocial behaviour value. To tick the environmental box, they plan to have beehives around the toilet block producing honey, which will be sold using honesty boxes.
The Tooting Honey Toilets are taking local Labour voters by storm with practically everyone I ask saying what a terrific idea it is.
So I told my rugged Keith Urban lookalike, and when I’d finished ranting I held my breath …and he burst out laughing and said, in a broad Aussie drawl, ‘Yeah? Well, they can make as much honey as they like but we’re still gonna be at war with the barbarians who are trying to destroy the world!’
Be still my beating heart. I might want to keep this one after Boxing Day.
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