Three months ago I met a man. He is a stand-up comedian and he is handsome in a wonky way, although he has a pudding basin haircut. He was living with his mother in a retirement cottage in a village in Wiltshire.
I hated the village. People would come by to eat fruitcake and talk about cows. And so, one night, after he made ironic love to me on a copy of My Wedding Magazine, I said, “Move in with me. Leave the retirement cottage, the rose garden and the stupid ducks.”
This was courageous, because I have never lived with anyone before. Sometimes a gay friend will stay over and we’ll watch Hugh Grant movies like The Lair Of The White Worm. Otherwise, my bed is empty.
He told his mother in the kitchen. “You don’t know what you are letting yourself in for,” she told me, but I forgot to compute it because I was sex-drugged, and dopamine does terrible things to the rational mind. I once pulled back his duvet and a fly flew out of it. This was in March. The fly had wintered in his bed. It thought the bed was the south of France.
I told my stepmother in the kitchen. “Don’t you mind that he is a practising Christian?” she asked. “No,” I said. “Everyone has something.”
So he came to my flat in London. It is essentially a kitchen with a four-poster bed in it: a single girl pad with a pile of dead chocolate éclair wrappers. My fridge is always empty, apart from an onion.
He brought a computer held together by dirt, an M&S suit, and a low-slung wan**r’s Vauxhall in which he does Leslie Phillips impersonations: “Ding, Dong…” He also brought a book called Christians Get Depressed Too and a pair of cuddly toys. One is called Teddy. If Teddy were a person he would be Peter Davidson, the most gormless Dr Who. The other is a blue elephant with one leg called Mekfast.
If I stare at Mekfast long enough, I become terribly afraid. He has the eyes of Dick Cheney and foam is oozing from what remains of his body.
Our first row was about Mekfast. He caught me trying to put him in the wash. “You are trying to drown Mekfast,” he said, as if I were Lana Turner in The Postman Always Rings Twice, and he was the grizzled cop that would see me hang. “It was only a cold wash,” I replied. Then I put Mekfast on the four-poster bed canopy, so I wouldn’t have to look at him. “Mekfast doesn’t like mezzanine living,” he said, and pouted.
"He says that not to have milk is a disgusting act of moral destitution that reeks of genocide"
Milk! Our second row was about milk. I rarely have milk. Sometimes I buy it, sometimes I don’t. He says that not to have milk is a disgusting act of moral destitution that reeks of genocide. So he buys big, four-pint bottles and points at them. “This,” he says, “is milk”. He also buys food. He goes to Asda late at night and buys bags of provisions, which he squeezes into cupboards designed for Hugh Grant films. He cooks things too. Last week I caught him boiling a ham.
Dirt! He looks at the hoover and the mop with the uncomprehending eyes of a child, even as I run around sweeping up piles of crumbs. He seems to produce crumbs by osmosis. Maybe he is a loaf of bread. This was our longest row. “Darling,” I said psychotically, “I am going to teach you to clean, because you think cleaning is some kind of spiritual experience that only girls get to have.” He looked like a Labrador that has been punched in the face. Then he sighed and cleaned the loo. It felt like an empty victory. He stood for hours in the middle of the room, because he was now too scared to sit down, in case I screamed about some tiny piece of dirt.
I have no idea if I can stick with the milk-buying loaf of bread, but I will try; apparently these feelings are normal. “What would I leave you for?” I ask, “Sky Plus?” “I’m not going anywhere,” he says, and closes his eyes, and snores in my face. I wake him up, because I am awful. He says I am not awful, but that’s because his last girlfriend owned a gun and I am only a squeaker. “What if I asked you to go?” I say. “I would initiate trench warfare,” he says. I paraphrase Jaws: “We’re going to need a bigger flat”. And he sleeps and I stare at Mekfast.