I’m aware that the almost four years in which I blogged almost daily, was a long time ago. I know this because just trying to archive the thing for posterity resulted in a huge mash-up: not a good one. However I have managed to keep some archives. There were 44 comments on this one; unfortunately I didn’t manage to keep them, they were often better than the articles:))
SATURDAY, 29 SEPTEMBER 2007
Greater love hath no man than that which he reserves for his newspaper. Having cohabited with two different men for a total of 14 years, and experimented with a few more besides, Ms R has had plenty of time to note the sheer joy with which a man greets his daily journal. As a former student of politics, Ms R is herself partial to a news item. But her relationship with her newspaper is not a habitual or even necessary one. She knows the news will find her eventually. The same cannot be said for her partners and lovers. Give a man a newspaper and you give him the gift that keeps on giving. A man can extract the most extraordinary mileage out of one newspaper. On weekends it would often take until four o’clock in the afternoon before Ms R’s ex-husband could drag himself away. ”I’m feeling weary now.”
“Yes,” Ms R would say with enormous empathy, “that was rather a large sports section to begin with.”
He nods. “I need a nap.” Ms R meanwhile, has been to the gym, put two loads of washing on, gone to buy food, cooked a Cordon Bleu meal, read two chapters of a book and had a nap. Every man has his newspaper ritual. Ms R’s first live-in lover, a very stylish Art Director, used to leave his ad agency, telling the receptionist he had Very Important Things to Do and go off to a smart restaurant for lunch. There on a white tablecloth he would lay said newspaper, order an elegant lunch and have what was frankly one of the best moments of his day. Of course, a man’s ardour for his newspaper is never greater than when he can’t have it. Ms R has followed her ex-husband through parts of Asia and the Middle East searching for a newspaper. In cities unknown, he seemed to have an inbuilt radar for the only newspaper kiosk in town. At times, without access to an English language newspaper, he sought to improvise begging Ms R to read the French newspapers to him. ”What does that headline say?” ”It says ‘Fuck off and get a life’.” A few years ago, Ms R joined her friends at a house they’d rented in Italy, in a small village. A village without newspapers. The house had no television so it wasn’t long before the men started to get desperate. Blue sky, great food, gorgeous countryside: fuck it, they needed newsprint. At one point they found an old Independent from several weeks before and shared it out amongst themselves. It was a pathetic sight, until a trip to Assisi provided the religious experience they were seeking: suddenly one of the Deprived ran out of a shop shouting “I’ve got one, I’ve got one. And it’s yesterday’s!” That single newspaper occupied them all for the best part of a week. Any woman wanting to avoid arguments would do well to stay away from the newspaper. Frequently Ms R would make the mistake of putting the newspapers out TOO EARLY. Maybe it was the day after, maybe it was three days after but it was always TOO EARLY. ”Where is the newspaper?” current love object would ask. ”I put it out with the rubbish.” He would huff, shake his head and then go out to the bin to retrieve it. Once he had it safely in his arms, he would go as far away from Ms R as possible and would show his displeasure by not speaking to her for at least two hours. Ms R’s light mockery of the issue would be met with a stern face.
Should a man offer to share his newspaper with you, remember his offering is only symbolic: he doesn’t really expect you to take it. You know those dating ads where men say they’d like a woman to “share Sunday papers in bed?” They’re bullshit. Once he has his newspaper, what the fuck does he need you for? He’s actually thinking, “Out of bed bitch. I’ve given you what you want now leave me alone.” Although never cited, Ms R feels the newspaper issue is often the catalyst in divorce cases. Forget the other woman: deprive a man of his newspaper and you deprive him of the greatest love and understanding you can possibly give.