We were sitting by the pool on Sunday, enjoying hors d'oeuvres before dinner. I was pouring more wine into my uncle's glass when he stretched out his legs, put his hands behind his head and said, "So, Mare. I know a guy."
Oh, sweet Jesus.
Now, I love my uncle very much, and I know that he loves me. I also know that he means well, and would like to see me happy and settled with some deserving fellow who can be called 'good people'. We connect on many levels, my uncle and I. Seeing me fall in love and get married is one of them.
However. However. My uncle has a lot of friends, and they have a lot of friends, and all of them are warm and wonderful people. But I doubt there is even one of them who can, for instance, zujj a sleeve or a make the right kind of joke about Pete Doherty or, for the love of God, tuck the gold chain away so that it doesn't offend the neighbours. It doesn't make them bad people; I'm absolutely certain they're all very lovely. But that doesn't excuse the fact that they wouldn't know a Sedaris if one fell on top of their mortadella sangwich.
"I know a guy."
"Mm hmm?" I filled my own glass, and listened. Every so often, my sweet uncle surprises me. And after all, it's not like I've been busy fending off a bunch of adorkable pop culture pundits all fighting to buy me frappucinos and smell my hair. Not this week, anyway.
"I know a guy," he said, for the third time, and took a mouthful of wine. I tried not to wince; it sounded like he was gearing up to sell the guy, but it couldn't be that bad, right? I mean, how bad could it be? I suppose, in the interest of full disclosure, I should mention that I dated a Nice Italian Boy for two and a half years, and I met this boy through my uncle. In the end, I nearly died from the boredom, of course, but I was young. We put up with more when we're young. Not that 33 is old, of course. But my tolerance for people who can read, and yet don’t, seems to have petered off a fair bit.
"Who's the guy?" I spit out, finally.
“He’s a nice guy! He’s about 42, 43.” That’s fair, I thought to myself. After all, I’m not 23 or, hell, even 28 anymore. “A real mamma’s boy,” he went on. “Charming,” I said, but let it slide. After all, I come from a tribe of mamma’s boys. “He’s a little short.” I closed my eyes, but let him continue. I’m not that tall myself, and besides, ballet flats are all the rage. “And he’s a bit stumpy.” Stumpy? “Like a barrel, you know?” I don’t, actually, but - “He’s a nice guy, a wonderful guy, great sense of humour!” Oh, God. “He may need a hip operation soon, but listen, he owns his own home, and he works hard for a living!”
“So, let me get this straight, Uncle. You want to set me up with a short, stumpy, mamma’s boy who is 10 years older than I am, and has a hip about to fall out?”
“Now, c’mon. When you say it like that, it sounds bad. And he’s not bad! He’s a nice guy! Very funny guy! Like me!”
So, then I asked, “Now, why hasn’t such a prize been snatched up and married to some nice woparella girl?”
“Oh,” my uncle shrugged. “You know, he was a wild one in his youth. He worked hard, and just didn’t think about getting married. And he was a wild one.” Interesting.
“Er… wild… how?”
“You know, wild. Young and stupid. With the gold chains everywhere.”
Honestly, it’s a good thing my family loves me. Can you imagine if they didn’t?
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