Medicine Head had a number 3 hit in 1973 with the single One and One is One. I was going through my ‘I- think-I-might-try-rock stage’ then (it didn’t last) , and as I was working, quite a bit of my spare money was spent on records.
I’d bought myself a record player a few years earlier out of my ‘wages’ helping Mum in the shop before I left school (see I am My Mother’s Other Daughter) . How it came about was that my friend had been given one for her 13th birthday, and I’d asked Dad if I could have one for mine. He told me of course, I could have anything I wanted…….. provided I saved for it (words I’ve never forgotten as they taught me the value of money and how to appreciate what I had) . It cost me the grand sum of seventeen pounds and ten shillings (£17.50) which in 1969 was a lot of money. I paid so much a week to the shop until it was paid for, then brought it home on the bus.
Not understanding anything about electricity apart from plugging things into the socket and switching on, I didn’t play my records that first night. Dad had a spare plug but he didn’t have a 3 amp fuse, so as I thought I’d damage it if it didn’t have one, I waited another day. These days plugs come as standard with all new electrical appliances, correctly fused of course.There’s that tangent I was talking about yesterday, as rock music, record players and the years mentioned are absolutely NOTHING to do with my post today.
Today, I am voicing my views on suddenly becoming single, and how people see women when they are no longer part of a couple.
My first marriage was a mistake. There was no-one else involved in the split, we were just 2 separate individuals who remained 2 individuals after they got married. It happens. So our One (person) and One (other person) did not equate to One couple (like the tie in?)
Friends (I thought) were suddenly too busy for conversation let alone meeting up for a drink, and I later discovered they saw me as a threat to their marriages, thus keeping themselves and their husbands away from my ‘now obviously desperate’ little clutches. This of course was hurtful, but to be expected I suppose. Odd numbers never work at dinner parties, they couldn’t invite one of us and not the other, so invited neither in the beginning, though divided loyalties soon became one sided and apart from one couple who remained neutral, I found myself very much alone.
There were several singles bars and clubs in the area, but it took a while for me to pluck up courage to actually go (about 6 months after my separation actually) . I’ve never believed in dating a co-worker, and as I had no outside interests anymore (ten pin bowling and darts were not a favourite past-time of husband) , I decided I’d had enough of licking my wounds, it was about time I got my ass into gear and got ‘out there’ to continue my life. It’s very daunting walking into a semi crowded room full of strangers, mainly men, who eye you up with varying degrees of interest and hostility. The latter was from the other women. All of them.I took a split vinyl seat at the bar and ordered a double…… orange juice and lemonade, which was actually served in a pint glass, very swish and feminine (not) . I got exceedingly hot under the collar (I mean lighting) , and felt like I had a neon sign attached to my head giving out all the wrong signals, and not somebody simply looking for company. I had no idea what I’d let myself in for. Within five minutes I was being propositioned, sloppily and without finesse I might add, and less than half an hour later, I was heading for the door and OUT as fast as my heels would carry me.I have a terrific friend (now in her 70s) , a self confessed ‘dab hand’ at the singles game. A divorced mother of 2, she was extremely supportive and knowing all the tricks, she came with me the following week. We had a lot of male company that first night, shared a lot of jokes, and discovered that most of the ‘single’ men weren’t (quelle surprise) . Many were just bored in their relationships wanting a sympathetic shoulder (or boob when their head intentionally slipped) and the number of times ‘My wife/girlfriend just doesn’t understand’ came up was amazing. Thanks to my friend, we had an entertaining evening without offending anybody, and I felt better than I had in a long time. The fact that we had about thirty invisible knives sticking in our backs was irrelevant.
Over several weeks, we did make male friends, and once we’d made it clear that we had no intention of being notches on bedposts or a phone number in a book of plenty, everyone knew where they stood, and we had some really good nights there. My Ex walked in one evening but I didn’t let it faze me (at least not outwardly) . I bought him a drink and asked him if he’d like to join us, which actually covered my embarrassment as my friend secretly applauded. He declined, took the same split vinyl seat I had on my first night, and disappeared less than fifteen minutes after he arrived. It was the only time I ever spoke to him after I left the marital home.I decided though that the singles scene was definitely not for me. I had enough of my own emotional baggage without taking on those of someone else, and moved away altogether to try something different.
The first night I met my Hubby many years later, I was surprised at his take on the singles scene. For a man, I would’ve thought it was much easier, but his experience suggested otherwise. Whilst McDonalds or a cafe seemed to be acceptable, he said he felt conspicuous walking into a restaurant alone, and when asking for a table for one, it was as if he’d asked for the moon. He described walking into any bar as The Thirty Nine Steps. Apparently, it didn’t matter how close the bar was to the door, it always seemed to take 39 steps to get there. He hadn’t liked the singles clubs any more than I had and felt that many of the women were only after free drinks and a meal. I confess that when the two of us got together, we both had a very jaded view on life, and the last thing we wanted was romance! That was almost 25 years ago
We bought our first house together in 1990. Imagine my surprise when I saw that my ex was living two roads away. Whilst it didn’t actually worry me (we’d been divorced almost ten years after all) , I had to stop my Hubby drawing attention to us in the local supermarket when he saw a man dressed in a pale powder blue three piece suit (good quality I might add) carrying a shopping basket in a fashion not truly becoming to his gender.
Yes, it was my Ex.