It is June and I notice that summer is in full swing outside. I am not quite as engaged with it as one would hope, since I am experiencing a miniature economic crisis chez Gloria but I am not going to complain that the sun is shining.
I am staying on top of the to-do list, just about. It is massive. There is major domestic upheaval and it is a good job that my decluttering skills have become so advanced and that I think that keeping one’s belongings in plastic crates in the living room is normal. I am trying to get the business back on the road and have upcoming meetings and interviews as well as proposals to write. If even one proposal will turn into actual money then I will be all right for a few months. I am trying to stay calm and I am trying not to overload my diary with commitments, for fear of letting people down.
I work on the book. The proposal itself, excepting annotated table of contents and sample chapters, is expected to be about 3,500 or 4,000 words, not really very much when you consider that it is divided into about 8 sections.
I’ve just finished listening to the audio version of The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James. It is a magnificent book and I can’t think why I’ve never read any James before. It is late 19th century. A high-spirited young woman called Isabel Archer comes from America to stay with relatives in England. She turns down two good marriage proposals, one from an English Lord and one from a worthy and solid American suitor. Then her uncle dies and she unexpectedly inherits a fortune. Because she is headstrong and a bit insistent on having her own way, she then suddenly falls in love with and marries Gilbert Osmond, which turns out to be a regrettable decision, because he is petty and selfish and he only likes her in the same way that he likes furniture. It is, therefore, a classic 19th century novel, insofar as it deals with the problems of marriage and economic survival. Women generally had to secure the former to secure the latter. It certainly makes for dramatic fiction.
Here we are in 2015 and I have insisted on having my way, with the result that I am single, which I enjoy, and now my fortune is suddenly threatened. I am considering every possible option here. I could admit defeat and get married for the sake of achieving some financial security. It’s what somebody in the 19th century would do.
Just out of interest and for the sake of my imagination, I went to the website of an online dating service that I’ve personally never used because I know it to be conservative. When you are filling out your search request, where you specify what type of relationship you are looking for, the options include “I am very serious and I want to get married”. Just for science, I checked that option and then searched for men in London who are at least 40. Then I scanned the opening lines of their profiles and looked for key words referencing having a lot of money or a successful business.
I’m looking at one now. He is 45 and short, I guess neither of these things are his fault. He is a property developer and lists money and property as his main interests, okay, I could get down with that right about now, I have tax bills. He wants to get married. But then you look at the photos. He looks like a child. It’s not that he has a bad haircut or is out of shape, although both these things are true, it’s the desperate, child-like, needy expression he wears as he poses for the camera in a style that is intended to convey light-hearted fun. These people may have money but they are social and emotional paupers. They are charity cases. The government ought to do something for them.
I look at the guy’s photos again. He looks like a seven-year-old who’s excited because he has discovered the art of saving his pocket money and who desperately, urgently needs his mummy’s approval and recognition. Well done him. I imagine being married to him. My flesh crawls. Older, white, heterosexual men are by far the least attractive humans on the planet. Maybe I could become a lesbian. They’re usually quite broke, though. 1 Books point.