GORDON SANITAIRE by Gordon Urquhart (XXXII)

Without Women

My man’s name is Ralph and he has had premises in the legal quarter of the city ever since I was fitted for my first Norfolk jacket as a boy of fifteen. Ralph is a gentleman’s outfitter, the proud proprietor of Grimshaw & Grimshaw, and he has provided a refuge of sorts for men such as I, away from the womenfolk and their talk of baby bumps and love rats and secret trysts since time immemorial. Women do go on with a lot of nonsense, especially when they are talking to other women, and it seems to me that celebrity magazines and gossip magazines and women’s magazines in general are just like one great big long inane conversation about very little.

Ralph provides a home away from home, or perhaps that ought to be an office away from the office – he has even taken the odd phone message for me and allowed my mail to be delivered to his shop for later collection by an assistant. Ralph has my measurements on file, and so I go in twice a year and order new suits, eight for the cooler months and eight for the warmer months. It’s just a matter of choosing fabric. My man Ralph always drinks green tea and he always beats me at Chess. We drank green tea and played Chess. He was telling me the other day that my measurements have not changed since I was twenty-eight, which, I must confess, deeply impresses me. It also makes me feel very good about myself. Very good indeed. (I know that’s vain, but I can’t help it.)

(I wonder if Ralph is being kind somehow. His shop boy hands you a smoking jacket when you enter, a beautiful velvet thing with plush deep thick pile, and the boy takes away your suit coat. I wonder if they take measurements from your coat and observe how the smoking jacket sits on you and make their assessment about your size changing or not from that. I wonder.)

With sipping completed and Checkmate declared it was time for me to leave. I arranged for the bill to be sent to my secretary, shook Ralph by the hand, and began walking up the steps back to street level.

And that’s when I saw her. It was Dymphna. She calls herself Dizz now. In fact she has for some time. But it was my Dymphna. My only daughter, my sweetie, my little girl, still. Daddy’s girl, despite walking out on our lives and vowing never to return, despite the unhealthy interest in art when she was at school against her parents express wishes (art is a pastime not a profession), and despite becoming an advertising executive when she knew it would break her father’s heart.

She has run her own agency, Sassy Media, for over a decade now, and her parents are very proud of her. Nancy and I both ring Dymphna regularly and we ask her how she’s getting on, but we don’t see her often. She’s proud and she’s stubborn, a lot like her dad, and she’s become a very fine woman of business. Albeit in an industry populated by people who are either mad or illiterate or both. And they are all wankers, of course. Everybody knows that. It’s a shame she never went for the law. Nobody has a bad word to say about lawyers. She would have made a very fine lawyer.

Dymphna promised to come and see Nancy and I on the weekend. I hurried home to tell Nancy. It was the best news in ages.

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Published in: on September 17, 2012 at 8:34 pm  Leave a Comment  

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