So my mate John buys himself a campervan and advertises on a dating website for a woman to accompany him on a trip around Britain. Three women contact him. They provide their mobile phone numbers. He rings them one by one, likes the sound of them all and decides to meet each one in turn. The first is 52 years old, a little overweight but she is friendly, has a sparkle in her eye and is clearly adventurous — she makes it more than apparent, says she is broadminded and doesn’t mind sleeping rough. Doesn’t mind sleeping rough? Could be a hidden meaning there, a clue to bondage or a bit of slap and tickle, John thinks. I should point out right here that John hasn’t had sex for 10 years. He doesn’t even know whether he can get it up, physically or mentally. It’s been so long he lacks confidence. At 70 years old he considers himself over-the-top. Inside, though, he is still a young man, a seething cauldron of testosterone and desires. I can picture him now, a free spirit high on drugs and with a “fuck you” attitude. That’s John. Yes, he likes the woman but not enough. She is a little bit too large for his tastes. John likes them thin, shapely.
So John calls the next one on the list. She sounds giggly, nervous. They decide to meet somewhere public and choose a pub. The woman arrives in jeans and stilettos. Her dyed blonde hair is short. The jeans are tight. Her sweater is even tighter. It emphasises her ample breasts. They seem to say “grab me”. John can’t take his eyes off them. She is pretty but the prettiness is fake. It is decorated on her face in the form of lipstick and eye makeup. “Hi, nice to meet you.” She has an inane giggle which makes her sound ridiculous, mindless. “I’m Juliet,” she says cackling and tittering. Her smile is a pretend gesture, like she’s forcing her face into a friendly grimace. She ain’t gonna need hi heeled shoes in a camper van, Johnny thinks. How’s she gonna decorate herself on a cold morning in the middle of the Brecon Beacons? Nah! — and dismisses her out of hand. She is a doll, a manikin. I want a real person with a degree of spirituality.
The third woman has dinner with him at his home. Her name is Carol. She arrives early and offers to help cook the food. “You sit down,” she tells him, “and let me cook you a meal you will not forget. Now where’s the garlic?” John likes her from the word go. She’s the one, he thinks. Yes, she’s the one.
Soon they are great friends, almost inseparable. Travelling around Britain in the campervan, they could not be more at home. She even fellates him as they drive through the Forest of Dean. John can barely steer a straight line as her moving mouth slides up and down his penis. Turns out she loves the taste of semen, says it tingles on the tip of her tongue. “It’s like it fizzes,” she tells him. “It’s like it fizzes.” Johnny has never experienced anything like it. “Carol …” He keeps whispering her name. “Carol …” Stopping the van in a wooded parking bay, John climbs into the back, picks up his guitar and begins to sing: “Oh Carol, don’t you let him steal your heart away … I’m going to learn to love you if it takes me all night and day.” She loves to listen to John sing. One day he will tell her about a band he used to sing in. He thinks of his old friend Mick who broke his neck in a tragic motorbike accident, and knows that he would have loved doing something like this. Yes, he often thinks of his mate Mick, his passion, his songwriting, the camaraderie as they performed on stage. Looking back with fondness, he thinks about their first collaborative song writing experience. They were in their 20s. It was a laugh. “The bird with the blue beak”. Only they would know its true meaning. “Going to die with blood on my jeans when I’m done,” he would say. “Going to die with blood on my jeans when I’m done.”
Funny how a man and woman, strangers for many years, can suddenly find each other. Funny how you can look back on your life and remember certain events as if they happened yesterday. Funny how friendships endure over time. Yes it’s a funny old world (words of Maggie Thatcher as she was ousted from her premiership). It’s a funny old world when a good friend smashes his neck to splinters and here you are, healthy and happy and driving round the countryside with a wonderful, charismatic girl whose mouth moves so beautifully. Slippery, moving mouth. Gently sucking, drawing out all that hot, tingle, tongue fizziness. “Oh Carol … I am but a fool …” John can feel himself sliding. He is falling in love. He has found someone at last. “Darling I love you, though you treat me cruel. You hurt me, and you made me cry. But if you ever leave me, I will surely die.” Yes, Carol is the one. She has a personality and a psychological profile that fits John’s like a glove. And to think they met on a dating website. It just goes to show how funny life can be. It most certainly is a funny old world.