It’s better than drinking alone

English: KitKat chunky. Français : Barre de Ki...

English: KitKat chunky. Français : Barre de KitKat. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

OK so starter for ten: The following lyric is from which song?

‘They’re sharing a drink they call loneliness / But it’s better than drinking alone…’

Answer at end of post. Scroll down there now if you can’t be arsed with a squiffy widow’s random ruminations on above quote.

In fact, my daughter, aged 5, selected this CD today out of a collection of thousands. (Mine amount to around twenty, the rest were His). We listened to it in the car and I was struck by the lyric, as I have been struck by many a song lyric since M died.

This tune involves barflies congregating around a piano, conjoined in mutual melancholia. It’s also a song about drinking, which has become as much a feature of my life as brushing my teeth and a morning brew.

The thing is – everyone is going through their own shit. I’ve lost my husband, I’m never going to see Him again. This has become my life and my eternal sorrow.

But I have come to recognise that my loss is relative to what everyone else is going through. People are fielding blows of their own. One friend has just found out her sister has cancer. Another’s boyfriend is on bail. Someone else is facing redundancy. My Dad visits my Grandpa in the care home every single day in bewilderment that the formidable character he knew and loved is now solely preoccupied by Kit-Kats.

We all invariably end up in the pub discussing and sharing our woes.

But it’s better than drinking alone, right?

An inbox full of Arnie

English: Walk-behind lawn mower

English: Walk-behind lawn mower (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ever since I made the mistake of signing up to an online dating agency (and swiftly un-signing up might I add), my email account has been deluged with photographs of ripple-chested, mahogany-coloured males, all branded with the legend, “These are real members!”

This claim is patently untrue.

Even if I were interested, which I’m not, how is it that when I was (momentarily) a member, my matches were all either aged seventeen with plooks or portly jokers with an interesting line in ties? There wasn’t a mahogany torso to be found. And believe me, I trawled the site looking for one.

This is the insidious nature of the Internet about which M warned me time and time again. Never subscribe to or look at anything unless you are prepared for it to come back and bite you on the arse. I subscribed in a fit of drink-fuelled loneliness, and now I can’t escape from it. Doomed forever to an inbox full of Arnie look-alikes.

The loneliness which prompted the whole damn thing persists though. I miss His company, His humour, the feeling of His body next to me in bed. I miss seeing His face, the sound of His voice. It goes beyond loneliness though; it is a kind of yearning which can’t be fixed by a date with a man with a rippled chest.

Even the lawn-mower-like roar of His snoring which caused so many grumpy nocturnal stomps to the spare room – I’d give an inbox full of Arnie to hear it again.

Blind-ah Date-ah!

English: portrait of Fanny Cradock

English: portrait of Fanny Cradock (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A couple of months ago I joined an online dating agency. For a week. It took me that long to go on a date and realise I absolutely wasn’t ready to be dating, online or otherwise.

The site I used is run by a left-leaning, well-known national newspaper – I figured I’d get a sensitive type who’d understand and respect my request for ‘friendship’ only.

The application procedure for these sites is brutal. Take the section entitled ‘Preferences’ for example. One bloke had written that his ideal soulmate would ‘go like a rocket and cook like Fanny Cradock’. (And he had the audacity to ‘like’ me. He clearly ain’t tasted my cooking!)

In my ‘profile’, I tried to sound as fun as possible – you know, ‘outgoing, bubbly, widow’. In my own ‘Preferences’, I resisted the temptation to write ‘Must be six foot tall, own hair and teeth an advantage’, and simply stated that I missed male companionship and longed for some manly craic over a glass of pop.

The big night came and I agreed to meet my sensitive, respectful date outside a pub. And sensitive and respectful he was too – he’d starched his shirt beautifully and polished his shoes. However, I realised immediately I saw him that this was not going to work. And it wasn’t his bald patch that put me off, honest. Even if Ewan McGregor had been waiting for me outside that pub I would have felt the same.

It just felt totally wrong, being out with another man. Insensitive and disrespectful gropes with a plumber, yes. But potential real-life ‘relationship’ with a sentient individual, no.

When you’ve loved and lost your soulmate, I guess you can’t imagine it ever feeling right.