A love life off the rails and on the buses
In a refreshingly honest new column, Paul Lester works out how to navigate his life as a man whose wife suddenly left him
SORRY TO come over all Charles Dickens, but this for me is the best of times, the worst of times. No sooner have I achieved superstar status in the Jewish community following my appearance as a columnist in these pages — with, I’m presuming wildly and optimistically, hundreds of dates with hot Jewish ladies eager to cheer up this poor, miserable divorcee proceeding as a result — than I face a possible ban from driving. And so won’t be able to go on any of said dates.
What do you mean, use public transport? Have you ever suggested to a North London Jewish woman — the genus, remember, that invented the notion of “bling” some time after the Second World War — that you take the bus to the cinema or the restaurant? Neither have I and, frankly, I don’t intend to, because oddly I have an aversion to ritual castration.
My ex-wife is indirectly responsible for my impending driving ban. I was getting a lot of texts from family and friends congratulating me on my first Suddenly Single column, all with the same nervous enquiry at the end: “What does Selena think of it?”
And so I panicked and called her. On the mobile. Without a hands-free device. While driving down the M1. Past the Scratchwood Services, where the police seem to wait all day on the bridge for marauding Hebrews brandishing deadly Nokias. When Her Majesty’s finest signalled for me to pull over on the hard shoulder, I tried pleading and begging, then, emboldened by my new-found celebrity, decided to offer them my autograph, but they politely declined, giving me three points for my contravention of various Road Traffic Acts, with an extra flea in the ear for being cheeky. Three points, on top of the nine I already had for speeding? It’s not looking good for me, either as a driver or a serial dater.
Mind you, there’s always my neighbour, a divorcee herself with, like me, three children, who lives next door but one and so wouldn’t, unless I was feeling particularly lazy, require a vehicle for any romantic assignations. Did I mention that she’s drop-dead gorgeous? She’s drop-dead gorgeous. Plus, she’s Jewish. Well, not entirely Jewish — her dad’s a SeventhDay Adventist. Not in and of itself enough to guarantee a seat in shul on Yom Kippur, but it’s a start. And there’s always conversion if things get serious.
However, despite what might look like the perfect set-up on paper, there’s one tiny thing standing in the way of a torrid liaison between my neighbour and me — she’s not remotely interested. How do I know? Over a latenight cup of tea, I asked her out. Her response, amid much embarrassed coughing and spluttering, was something along the lines of: “Not even if it would help rescue the global money markets.” Which, being prone to low self-esteem, I took as a negative.
Oh, well. JDate here I come. As Dickens himself once said: “It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done.” So I’m going to buy a sixmonth Travelcard. Let’s just hope I can find a Jewish girl prepared to join me on the 142 from Bushey.