But when we get to her place,
she asks me if I want to break
into her duty free,
and I find that I do. So.
I speak quietly, slowly, thoughtfully, I express regret,
I say nice things about Laura,
I hint at a deep ocean of melancholy just below the surface.
But it's all bollocks, really, a cartoon sketch of a decent,
sensitive guy which does the trick
because I am in a position to invent my own reality
and because — I think —
Marie has already decided she likes me.
I have completely forgotten how to do the next bit,
even though I'm never sure
whether there's going to be a next bit.
I remember the juvenile stuff,
where you put your arm along the sofa
and lee it drop onto her shoulder,
or press your leg against hers;
I remember the mock-tough adult stuff
I used to try when I was in my mid-twenties,
where I looked someone in the eye
and asked if they wanted to stay the night.
But none of that seems appropriate anymore.
What do you do when you're old enough to know better?
In the end it's a clumsy collision
standing up in the middle of the living room.
I get up to go to the loo,
she says she'll show me,
we bump into each other,
I grab, we kiss,
and I'm back in the land of sexual neurosis.
Why is failure the first thing I think of
when I find myself in this sort of situation?
Why can't I just enjoy myself?
But if you have to ask the question,
then you know you're lost:
self-consciousness is a man's worst enemy.
Look at all the things that can go wrong for men.
There's the nothing-happening-at-all problem,
the too-much-happening-too-soon problem,
the dismal-droop-after-a-promising-beginning problem;
there's the size-doesn't-matter-except-in-my-case problem,
the failing-to-deliver-the-goods problem...
And what do women have to worry about?
A handful of cellulite? Join the club.
A spot of I-wonder-how-I-rank? Ditto.