For some reason best known to themselves my normal pedicurist and her temporary replacement have confided in me about their personal romances.
The permanent holder of this august position as my podiatrist is an Italian woman called Elana whom I have been seeing for some 5 years. When I first met her she lived with an Italian.
He could not find work commensurate with his ambitions and capabilities and went back to Italy. Elana thought this an alteration to their relationship not a cessation but she discovered on Facebook he was with another.
Interested in mystic yoga she went on a course in Bangalore where she fell in love with her teacher. It is quite clear that her hopes of this relationship are unrealistic and the time, money and emotional energies invested a waste.
I adopt a wholly hypocritical supportive stance when I hear that her amour will not even be in India for her visit, but in Vietnam, his family are arranging a wife and he has no interest to live and work in the UK.
As I write she is in India where I fear she will confront the reality not her aspirations.
In her absence I went to a local spa around the corner. On my second appointment the therapist, a Thai lady, confided in me she had a broken heart. Her story was a surprising one. She went to Barcelona with a friend. She was aware of someone squirting liquid on her back.
A fellow came over and said she had a stain on her back. In the confusion he pickpocketed her handbag. She went to the police who summoned a Rumanian as interpreter. She fell in love with him.
In the week he gave her her marching orders.
This seemed a different case to the first, a classic one of the male wanting to move on to fresh pastures and not to be tied down. I recited advice of the sister of Maria in West Side Story:
“A man like that wants one thing only
When he has it he’ll leave you lonely.”
She repeatedly said he was good man but he did not behave like one and they appear to have little in common. I decided to be more direct, saying she is better without him and the last thing to do is to traipse after him.
In both cases you might take the view that a bad relationship is better than none at all. I do not subscribe to this view.
There is a third story. On a Saturday I go to the big WH Smiths in the centre of town to buy the Investors Chronicle.
There I am served by a beautiful black girl with a lissom figure and strong facial features capped by a gleaming smile. Why has this woman not been discovered by a Hollywood Agent or a high end cosmetic company? I don’t know but I intend to find out. I hoped my collection of a financial journal, the Decanter wine magazine and the Literary Review might create the image of a rich and cultivated man but her only reaction was to inquire whether I wanted promo vouchers … and did I have a bag?