Rick Slider, whose boast to his mother was that he was always behaved honourably if there was no alternative, and that the only thing which made an act ‘appalling in the face of nature’ was its discovery by others, was travelling on the London underground when he ended up sitting next to some fat badly dressed guy of indeterminate middle age who appeared to be reading the dating column of a national newspaper.
Being the gentleman he was, Rick peered over his shoulder at the article where this poor man was seeking some relief from a life marked by “Bedsitter Blues” and a diet of baked beans eaten while watching TV shows about the ‘Festival of Silence ’ and other obscure documentaries.
“Stunningly sexy woman who loves exotic holidays, over-achievement and men who leave an irresponsible carbon footprint seeks “ripped” younger man for a life of hedonism and carefree excess. An appetite for unnecessary shopping would be an advantage” Slider looked up from the paper to the face of the man seated beside him; puffy, bean-fatted and lost, and wondered why he would waste his time reading such advertisements.
Suddenly the idea of a “Losers Dating Club” came to mind. Candidates must be in excess of forty-five and preferably with at least one marriage behind them not ending in anything noble like widowhood. Loss of hair and a chronic weight problem would be preferable and a reasonable degree of anxiety and job insecurity would be considered a distinct advantage.
The idea was callous, shallow and disturbingly prejudiced and thus had all the hallmarks of an enterprise bound for success in the new “Stuff you I’m having fun” urban world. Those unfocussed drifting folk, without clear agenda or ambition, who failed to get the attention of the gym-hardened, holiday-equipped modern ‘carbon-burner’ sent in their profiles.
Soon, our warm-hearted entrepreneur was toasting another commercial success on a Caribbean island with some soft lovely who had discovered true love in the shape of his credit card, while he indulged in obtaining a thorough biological inventory of her assets without regard to her welfare. The gods wished them well, and there were signs that the two of them could have found happiness together, if they either of them had known what that was.
Leaving them to their sun-burn and shallowness we will visit Limpet on Sea where Nathanial Soggett was swapping stories of his unfocused life with Sandra Fuller. Not forced to pretend they were more competent than they really were, or indicate a fulfilment they had never experienced, both parties relaxed and experienced one of those rare periods of enjoyment with a member of the opposite sex, unrelated to catering or the process of reproduction.
Date followed date and soon she was burning his dinner while he played his guitar without regard to talent or musicality. He crunched his way through her onion soup, (left too long on the cooker while she was looking for a photo she wanted to share ) and out of nowhere proposals were offered and accepted.
Yes, they really did live happily ever after in a pleasingly undistinguished dwelling far removed from the world of fashion or contemporary architecture. It just goes to show that even the most callous of people can bring happiness to others by accident, if not design