However little known the feelings or views of such a man may be :)
Seems like I've inadvertently stumbled into the dusty pages of a Regency novel where delightful soirees and civilized tea parties form the norm for the privileged few. In truth, it seems as if I've actually gotten myself trapped in the clutches of the notorious matchmaking mama ( or aunt as the case may be ). Not that I hold any expectations of ever possessing said good fortune but in these days of stubbornly unmarried ( and unmarriageable ) singles, perhaps there is a pressing need to lower the eligibility bar. A scarcity of landed lords and gentlemen wandering around these heathenish parts after all.
What have I gotten myself into again?
Being of a friendly sort, I easily welcomed a dear old colleague when she made an appearance at my workplace. Demanding, frustrating and prone to fretful crotchets, Schoolmarm Sally hasn't made herself all that popular at her previous workplace but I find her irresistibly endearing nonetheless.
Of course that's when the dictatorial Sally's venting one of her trenchant opinions on someone else. Like an irresistible force of nature, she pleases no one and finds nothing pleasing in return.
Except for her niece.
Yes, there is a catch here. Seems like her unprecedented visit to me wasn't without premeditated reason. Sally has in her possession - amongst other material objects she's collected with her rumoured vast wealth - a darling niece who has been left supposedly on the shelf whilst obediently tending to the altar of family duty.
At least that's what I gleaned from her facts.
The mention of her beloved niece's name left me immediately wary and as I checked out the closest exits, I could see exactly what Big Bicep Barry meant about being hounded by ambitious matchmaking mamas. Is it possible they assume I'm such a mutton-head that I can't find a mate on my own? As Sally started her loudly enthusiastic spiel on her paragon-like niece, I had a suspicious inkling that I could be the sole survivor on her rapidly shrinking eligible bachelor list - no doubt most of the other gentlemen have gotten themselves otherwise engaged, transferred to places unknown - or even worse expired from the shock of her audacious advances.
Obviously I'm made of sterner stuff. Or so I thought.
Paul : That's all very nice, Sally but I don't see what this all has to do with me.
Sally : The poor girl just needs to get about, see new people.
Paul : It's not the 1800s. Lots of ways to meet people nowadays. Speed-dating? I'm sure the internet is full of wonderful sites for people like her.
Sally : Internet? Perverts all of them! What about you? You could bring her around after all.
Paul : Bring her around?
That explosive interjection I made out of astonishment was obviously taken as ready assent - and I stared agog as she peremptorily pressed an embossed namecard into my hand. Took me only a second to note the name of the unfortunate ( and possibly oblivious ) career girl being peddled off by her pimp of an aunt.
Paul : Sally, I'm involved with someone.
Sally : Don't see no ring on your finger and you can certainly make new friends.
Paul : I'm dating a guy!
Sally : You just haven't met the right woman.
Paul : Yes, that may be so but I don't think...
Sally : Oh, look at the time! So sorry I have to rush and go. I've already given her your number by the way.
Paul : Hmmm.. I need to get an Engelbert Humperdinck ring.
Hmmm... what a clever, manipulative shrew - and the freak didn't even bat an eye over my attempts at coming out! - and yet I find myself quite in helpless awe of her Machiavellian machinations. Obviously my seeming decrepitude hasn't stopped the ambitions of the unholy matchmakers. My mother would certainly have liked her.
Nothing can work out obviously since I'm not in active search of a beard. :) But it's always good to meet new people.