Monday, 16 February 2009

My Bloody Valentine

I'm in a dark stuffy room full, primarily, of men.  Somewhere at the front there's a woman writhing and squealing like she's in pain.

'Are you hating this?' literary friend whispers in my ear as the man next to me, here alone, shifts uncomfortably in his seat.  Another single man in army fatigues sits in front of me but he is rivetted and hasn't moved as much as a hair since we sat down.  Not that I can be sure -  I've had my hands over my eyes, wincing for the last five minutes.  I just can't look.  I feel vaguely sick but manage to shake my head without dislodging my self-imposed blindfold.

'No, I say, but I had no idea it was going to be this bad'

A collective groan runs through the audience, and there are more piercing female gasps.  Literary friend slides down in her sead and grabs my arm.
And then finally through the chink between my fingers, Mickey Rourke staggers out of the ring with a row of staples up his back, blood streaming down his old lizard body, throws up and collapses in the changing room.  I sigh with relief.  He's had a bloody heart attack, thank God, no more fighting for at least an hour.
What a great thing to do on Valentine's day.  A stroke of genius on the part of literary friend to drag me off to see a film where the only V is for Violence.  It certainly knocks the Romance right out of the Hallmark Holiday sitting with a predominantly male audience watching two monster truck muscled men beat the crap out of each other on screen.

I also saw Vicky Cristina, Barcelona which was equally painful but for different reasons and, believe me, give me Mickey with his Goldie Hawn pout and Farah Fawcett hair in The Wrestler any day over Woody Allen's:
"He took her to lunch with his
friends who were poets and artists
and musicians".

Yes, I've noticed this myself in Barcelona - the way you're just tripping over artists and poets in all those cafes in amongst the Australian backpackers and the stag parties from Billericay.

In fact I packed quite a lot in over the past few days.   Nothing distracts from the end of a relationship like the potential for a new one, and as well as the three Cs - carbohydrates, chocolate and confessions (the last mostly mine, admittedly) with some women friends at my house, I had.dinner with a very nice lawyer and a set-up with my friend's Godfather.  Bizarrely, I also spent the actual V day with my ex-husband, who, even more bizarrely, sent me an elaborate bouquet.  I had a couple of missed calls that morning on my phone, itself an unusual event, and when I rang the number I got the answerphone for a flower shop in Holland Park.

'It must be about the bunch you sent me,' I told the ex over sushi and family gossip, and he nodded in agreement.  Then a few minutes later he said: 'But I didn't give them your number, I wanted it to be a surprise' (a surprise that your abandoning spouse sends you flowers after he's left you, it certainly was). 'Maybe they're from somebody else?' he suggested, looking at me very closely.

'Could be,' I shrugged, mentally ticking through the list: Romantic Disinterest - no chance (though the anenomes he brought last week have outlasted the romance and still look beautiful); Lawyer - much too soon; Italian, who was in London for the weekend and called on Saturday morning - don't be ridiculous.  I drew a blank and could only think that it was a wrong number but who doesn't like to think they have a secret admirer?  Until I was at least fifteen I was convinced that someone had a crush on me as a card arrived in the post each year with the obligatory question mark in lieu of a signature.  Only later did I realise the cards were from my dad.