Hey I still have that library book you lent me.  Amy got a message from Jan last week and they made a loose arrangement for a date at some point before she was to leave for Copenhagen on Thursday.  The book in question was How to think more about sex by Alain de Botton.  It wasn’t as salacious as the title might suggest but is more an observation that we didn’t think enough about sex despite society’s apparent obsession with it and a discourse on how thinking more about it in the right way could prove beneficial to us and ultimately to society.  What I remember about the book when I read it ages ago was agreeing with most of what the author had to say except for his view that pornography was an evil that required regulation and censorship.

Ok let’s make a date – if I don’t hear from you I’ll remind you on Monday.

In the end they met up late in the afternoon on Monday when it had already got dark.  She drove up to his along dark country lanes, remembering the first time she did this last year.  He lit the fire in the living room.  She had brought a bottle of rosé wine to share and they got talking about poetry – she recited a few lines from Hopkins’ Spring and Fall –

to a young child

Margaret, are you gríeving
Over Goldengrove unleaving?
Leaves like the things of man, you
With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
Ah! as the heart grows older
It will come to such sights colder
By and by, nor spare a sigh
Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;
And yet you wíll weep and know why.
Now no matter, child, the name:
Sorrow’s spríngs are the same.
Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
What heart heard of, ghost guessed:
It ís the blight man was born for,
It is Margaret you mourn for.

And he read her a few from a New Path to the Waterfall by Raymond Carver – it had been his byline on a dating website he said.   They had a simple meal together with another bottle – this time a Malbec he brought out of his wine chiller and later they  went down to the Sun to keep his friend Shaun company.  Shaun’s partner of ten years had recently walked out on him.  After too many drinks at the pub they eventually walked home without any incident.

The following morning over tea in bed Jan showed Amy how he had been spending his time – the women he’d met when in Macau, or one young woman in particular, who had begun sending him saucy pictures of herself.  He was also dating two other women who had no idea of each other or Amy for that matter.  It was no wonder that he felt constantly guilty and anxious – he too appeared to want to rationalise the number of lovers he had.

How often do you masturbate? Suddenly out of the blue he asked her.  She took a while to consider – it had been some time – oh, ten days or more?  I haven’t had any sex since last Monday and before that I hadn’t felt the need to …

The conversation continued with more personal exchanges and unsurprisingly led to some sex between them.  It was a pleasant and unexpected way to end their date and Amy drove home just after lunch.




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