As I have frequently admitted, I love Radio 4 comedy. One of my favourite comedians is Mark Thomas and he presents a show called “The Manifesto” where he travels around the country to get “policies” for a “People’s manifesto.” It great fun, topical and in some places hysterical.
One of the suggestions was for “relationship references” and I sent this to Emma, over at Dirty Little Whispers, last year for a giggle. Bravely, she then contacted her ex-partners for a “reference” and wrote it up on her site; it’s well worth a read!
So, with this backdrop, this is my fictional account of a young man, meeting a date for the first time.
I was terrified. How could I not be? What stupid idiot thought Relationship References were a good idea?
Her references were full of glowing praise of a caring businesswoman, entrepreneurial, popular with friends and a wicked minx inside the bedroom. Her ex-boyfriends, and one ex-fiancée, had barely uttered a bad word about her, complete with oodles of superlatives and reams of positive phrases. It was weird: why was she still single if she was so perfect, and the “way too focused on her projects” was the only negative comment, from last ex.
I didn’t stand a chance.
What did my references say? My last girlfriend had entered “more interested in football and himself than anything else” because I went to the FA Cup Final instead of her friend’s birthday celebrations. The one before that was most disparaging about my alcohol intake, and Annabelle had filed her report about me at the Ministry of Love the day I reversed into her drive and over her sunbathing kitten. She was the most unkind.
And what exactly did I do to her in the bedroom to require the use of “depraved” and “deviant” in my reference, and “perverted” only has one “t” in it, although spelling wasn’t her strength, as I believe I highlighted repeatedly in her report.
On the whole, I was far more positive with my ex-partners than they were with me. I stressed their good points rather than their deficiencies but I was made out to be evil, which made the offer of a date from Claire all the more unexpected.
She popped up on the on-line dating portal two hours previous, and the system verified us as an acceptable match; she was stunningly beautiful and had positive reports. She wanted to meet for lunch: was this a joke?
I didn’t understand her motives, but readily agreed, scanning her references for a third time: had I missed something? A few minutes after I closed the app on my phone, an open-topped classic car pulled up alongside the bus stop where we had agreed to meet.
“Hi,” the most beautiful lady I had ever seen called out to me, as she leant across the green roadster, smiling broadly as she gestured to the passenger door. “Claire,” she introduced herself.
“Is this a …”
“1964 Austin-Healey 3000 Mark 3 with the 150 bhp engine,” she interrupted.
“I’ve resprayed it Racing Green last week.” Her eyes lit up for a moment as she swept her long hair back and gestured again at the immaculate passenger side door. “The Green Man OK?”
“Sure,” I said, still a little stunned by her; she could have picked any guy, so why me? She barely waited until the door was closed when she accelerated away.
“It’s only got a top speed of 110mph but it can shift,” she said, taking the racing line at twice the speed limit. “Nought to sixty in around eight seconds. And my Jaguar is in pieces in my garage, and I think I need new bearings on the Frogeye.”
“This your hobby then?” I asked needlessly.
“This is my life,” she shouted back, struggling to make herself heard over the wind rushing over the car at 70mph. “The excitement, the thrill, the adrenaline. Can you feel that?”
I didn’t reply until the car swung into a country pub car park and the gravel ground underneath the wheels as she brought the fifty-year-old car to a halt. “It’s a nice car.”
“It’s an amazing motor,” the gorgeous woman enthused, and her eyes narrowed. “But I’m not looking for a boyfriend to fall in love with my cars. All eighteen of them. I want someone to have their own life and let me have mine.” I gulped. “My last boyfriend hated me spending most of my time at work, in the garage or with my friends. That’s why I picked you, you sounded perfect.”
“Oh … right,” I stammered.
“Yeah, be with someone, but not attached to them. I want company, but I want my own life.”
“Oh and someone to be naughty outside the bedroom,” she added with a guilty smile.
“I think I can manage that.”
“Your references promised me you could,” she teased as she opened her car door. “I want a drink, I know you like a pint or two.”
“Yes. And you don’t like cats, do you?” I asked, the memories of Annabelle’s squashed kitten still in my mind.
“Allergic to ’em,” she replied with a giggle.
I love Relationship References!