Wednesday 3 August 2011

On having a pretend wife

Last night I decided I was going to have a pretend Twitter wife. She could share my adventures, assist with my schemes and help inform my decisions whilst remaining completely hidden from view. Like Mrs. Columbo.

This was all going very well for several seconds, until I realised that as a very visual person, I was probably going to need at least a basic mental image of my pretend Twitter wife. People reading about her exploits in 140-character increments would surely start to get a mental picture of her, so the least I could do was to have one myself from the start of the project. After all, I owe her that much. After all, she is my pretend wife.

I decided that I can imagine myself with two different types of wife. One is a dreadful old harridan, like Flo Capp - all hair rollers, fag and rolling pin - who runs the rule over my every waking moment. The other is a woman who, when people saw me with her, would rail at the injustice of how such a plain, dumpy man could get such a beautiful wife. This wife is way out of my league, but finds me fascinating and charming enough that she puts up with my foibles with amused interest.

My initial thought - and this is probably very telling from the point of view of my still-fragile self esteem - is that I'd have an awful old fishwife of a wife. But that's when the trouble started. Because I had by this point also imagined the way-out-of-your-league wife and I was smitten. She was lovely. Kind, motherly, protective. Indulgent of my whimsy. I was in love.

Alas, I'd gone and married this bloody awful harridan. Even in my own imagination, I was Howard from Last of the Summer Wine. What could I do? I felt it was probably too early in my pretend marriage to have an affair, but at the same time here I was on Twitter. I could maybe have a little play? It's only a bit of harmless fun.

At this point - this is now probably only a couple or three minutes after my original decision to have a pretend Twitter wife - the whole thing was doing my head in. I was trapped in a loveless but demonstrably fake marriage and about to ask the actual Lauren Laverne if she would show me her pants. It was time to abort.

But like Mr. Bernstein in Citizen Kane - and the woman he saw alighting the ferry with the little white parasol for no more than a second - I still think about that brief glimpse of my pretend Twitter wife who was way, way, out of my league. I will always love her.

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