No rest for the Wicke-d

It is exactly 22 years since I last went out on the trawl for a man. So, when I put the keys in the ignition on Saturday, there was a certain set to my shoulders, and I admit I’d sprayed on an extra whizt of scent. My destination? Wickes. My mission? To get a man to carry a bag of sharp sand and two tubs of grout for me.

If this sounds like footling laziness to you, then you’ve never tried to heft a bag of sharp sand around. I tell you, they are heavy. And grout? Please, don’t even attempt it. It says on the tub that it weighs 11.5 kg, but it might as well be 11.5 megatons. Even getting it off the shelf is a major enterprise, and it is pointless, since once it’s off the shelf, it’s truly impossible to hoick onto a trolley. Plus you don’t get any extra points for getting all sweaty and befuddled trying to do these things on your own. Really, this is what men are for.

So I was rather pleased, after only a few minutes in the store (and by the way, don’t go to Wickes unless you are having major decorating done at home, it is the most boring shop in the universe. There isn’t even a single cushion to be found. Could this be the reason it is full of men?), to have made the acquaintance of Riccardo, from Bologna. I loved the way he abandoned his own trolley to push mine around, and took me from till to carpark, putting everything very neatly in the boot, finishing off with a flourishing bow. Thank you so much, dear Riccardo.

It was only when I was seeking a human forklift truck that I realised something no doubt everybody else has always known. I look for a man every 22 years. Men, on the other hand, are always looking for women. I now see that various other odd encounters I’ve had recently – the guy in the Tescos queue who suddenly struck up a conversation about wine, the helpful chap in the garden centre – are not just random outbreaks of garrulousness, but perhaps responses to my ringless state. How interesting!

And the occasion 22 years ago? It was after my break-up with True Love, when I decided I’d better cheer up and get another boyfriend. But that’s another story!

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