Magazine article The Spectator

Low Life

Magazine article The Spectator

Low Life

Article excerpt

After Cow Girl abruptly terminated our relationship, there was a long radio silence between us, during which time I was fairly demoralised. I'd thought I was lovable. If anyone could be bothered to look hard enough, or dig deep enough, I'd always thought, they'd find gold. But Cow Girl had struck no pay dirt, knew with an old sixty-niner's instinct that it wasn't worth looking any further, and she had got out with an almost indecent haste.

The characters in Sex and the City had a handy mathematical formula for calculating how long it takes to recover from a broken relationship. Work out how long the relationship lasted, they said, then halve it. I'd known Cow Girl for five weeks, and for one of those weeks I was in India. So according to the Sex and the City formula, it should have taken two and a half weeks for the dull ache of rejection to subside - which turned out to be about right. But even after my recovery and moral rearmament, I was still puzzled by that instant dismissal. We were getting married, for one thing. I'd given notice at the registry office, fifteen hundred quid's worth of marital bed and mattress had our ticket on them at the warehouse, and two cases of Majestic's finest to help us christen them had been delivered.

Then Cow Girl broke the radio silence with an email. It was brief and to the point. Had I cancelled her subscription to The Spectator?

She hadn't received the last two issues. And how was I keeping, anyway?

Nothing to do with me, I said. Maybe the snow was making things difficult for the distributors' lorry drivers. As to how I was, I was now mainly confused, I said. Could she please explain what it was about me that had put her off me so rapidly? If I knew what it was, I said, maybe I could try and change in case someone else should come along.

'People don't change, Jeremy, ' was the short and chilling email response to that.

Cow Girl had criticised every aspect of me when we were together, even down to the design on my pants. I'd laughed it off at the time because her complaints were trivial ones, the product of a narrow mind. And a person with a narrow-ish mind was exactly what I was looking for, as mine had become too broad for its own good. …

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