Previously in this tale of romance and fanny-ratting we discovered that Tory burger baron Senor Boldon had dumped Miss Underscore, by text. The miscreant later went on to explain, (by email) that he had indeed met someone else. Someone who was more on his wavelength (i.e. would iron his shirts) and who wanted the same things as him (i.e. stir fry for supper every night).
Miss Underscore, although heartbroken, has recklessly decided to dip her ballet pump back in the rogue-infested waters of internet dating. In today's vignette we shall observe, with slack jawed HORROR, a date with a gratingly cheerful Yorkshireman. Imagine, if you will, a human person born of Keith Chegwin and the Duracell bunny. Factor in a Yorkshire accent so thick you could insulate a roof with it. Garnish with the words 'Katie Melua's number one fan' and you will begin to realise that Miss Underscore has chosen her next potential partner badly. Very badly indeed.
The setting for this date is the beautiful city of Durham. Our characters have agreed to meet outside the Cathedral (large erections being terribly handy in blind dates). Miss Underscore is apprehensively making her way through the narrow, cobbled streets. She is slightly early, so stops to browse in a bookshop. On leaving the shop she notices a balding, pot-bellied dandy bounding up the street ahead. The fool is sporting a brash, pin-striped jacket, highly polished ox-blood loafers, an open shirt and a silk cravat. Yes, you read that correctly, the twat is in a cravat. He resembles a gurning, ruddy-faced Tory MP on a pre-election walk about. Miss Underscore watches in horror as this portly little peacock briskly strides in and out of shoppers and sightseers, barking 'Excuse me!' and 'Coming through!' as he passes. Surely this is not her date? Dear God. It can't be.
Miss Underscore apprehensively makes her way to the Cathedral. Her heart sinks as she notices the Twat in the Cravat waiting for her. He beams as she approaches, hops from side to side and regards her with the beady eyes of a very self-satisfied, worm-hungry bird.
Twat in Cravat: (in a booming Yorkshire voice) Ahhh, Miss Underscore! (he grabs her extravagantly, and plants a most unwelcome kiss on her cheek). Hello! We meet at last. It's the tortoise and the hare, Miss Underscore. I know you said you'd met someone, but I had a feeling if I was patient we'd get to meet. Now, where shall we go first? What a lovely day it is!
Miss U: (feeling rather steamrollered) Well, would you mind if we popped into the cathedral? My Aunty Rose died at the weekend and I'd just like to light a candle for her. It will only take a moment, I promise.
Twat in Cravat: Oh dear! I am sorry to hear that. I am surprised you haven't cancelled.
Miss U: Ah, well, I knew you'd booked a train ticket and everything and it seemed a bit rude to cancel at the last minute. I was a bit too nervous to call you, to be honest.
(They enter the cathedral and are enveloped in its cool and candlelit solemnity.)
Miss U: (whispering reverentially) I adore this place. It reminds me of my Dad. He used to love coming here.
(They start to walk up the carpeted central aisle together. Twat is oblivious to the sombre and venerable setting and is still bounding and bouncing, the Andrex puppy let loose in a house of God.)
Twat in Cravat: (shrieking and gesticulating) Impressive? Yes, certainly. But I still can't help but feel that this is nothing compared to the majesty of York Minster. I do guided tours of York, you know. In my spare time. It is most satisfying. Do you know I once showed an African chieftain and his 14 wives around the Minster. I explained its historical, architectural and religious significance to them in great detail. They were weeping by the end of the tour. So moved I think.
(Miss Underscore is now searching through her purse, in front of the candles.)
Miss U: (embarrassed) Oh, I have no change at all. You need a donation of at least 20p for a candle. Have you any change?
Twat in Cravat: (looking through pockets) Let me see. Err. . . no, no, I just seem to have fifty pence pieces and pound coins. What a shame. Never mind, shall we go then? (Twat begins bounding up the aisle again. Miss Underscore has not moved. Twat is oblivious to the fact that he is now talking to himself). Did you know, I read on the train in The Guardian that Katie Melua is touring again. I must see if I can get us some tickets . . .I saw her last year and she . .
(If emotional subtitles were displayed here then Miss Underscore's would clearly read, in bold, underlined and italic script, font size 942,
'Dear God, is the buffoon so stingy that he won't part with 50p for my dead aunty's candle!'
Miss Underscore hovers by the candles, stunned at his meanness. Twat, realising he is now alone, turns and notices the look of barely contained scorn on Miss U's face. He relents.)
Twat in Cravat: (begrudgingly, stuttering ) I tell you what. Here, have 50p. They can keep the change eh? I know how to spoil a lady, don't I? What the hell! You can buy me a cup of tea and a cake later!
Miss U: Thank you. (Miss Underscore quietly lights and candle).
Later, our couple are walking along the riverbanks. The scene is one of Pre Raphaelite loveliness; a drowsy, blue-green river, sunlight glittering through glossy green leaves and banks filled with frothy white blossom.
Twat in Cravat: This is very pretty mind. (pause) However, I do think York is far superior. It can't be beaten in terms of its architecture. The city combines Medieval, Viking, Roman AND Norman buildings. Did you know that? The museums are CRAMMED with fascinating relics and artifacts. Did you know that the Minster houses one of Mary Magdalene's flip flops? Fascinating. I call it the Florence of Great Britain, ahhh, the tourists always lap that up! York's also got more of a refined, cafe culture than Durham. Not so many Greggs. Do you like York?
Miss U: Yes, York is lovely.
Twat in Cravat: What are your favourite places?
Miss U: Well, Betty's Tea Rooms of course. I adore the Yorkshire Turd Cart.
Twat in Cravat: Ha ha ha! You must mean our famous Yorkshire Curd Tart!
Miss U: (bored) I know what I mean.
Twat in Cravat: So, how about that tea and cake you promised me? I'll tell you the story of the most haunted building in York. It's a rather gory tale with its origins in The Wars of the Roses. Fascinating stuff.
Miss U: Err, actually, I am feeling a little upset. Thinking of Aunty Rose, you know how it is. I think I may go home.
Twat in Cravat: Ah well. Lovely to meet you. I'll be in touch.
(He holds out his hand, Miss Underscore shakes it. Suddenly, unexpectedly, Twat in Cravat seizes the moment and lunges madly at Miss Underscore, kissing her on the mouth. Miss Underscore's expression is one of abject repugnance and shock).
Later that day Miss Underscore is discussing her shambolic date with best friend Madam Noir. The discussion takes place over tea and scones.
Miss U: Dear God, he was unbearably BOUNCY. Yapping on all the time. Awful. (shaking her head) Cheerful.
Madam N: Cheerful AND penny pinching. Imagine life with him. . .
Miss U: (shudders) Eugh. Night after night, huddled by a one-bar electric fire, making scale models of York Minster with recycled copies of The Guardian and used matchsticks.
Madam Noir: Whilst Katie Melua whines on in the background . .
Miss U: . . .her tortured, heart-rending refrains about bicycles and sanitary towels. . .
(They pause to contemplate the tawdry horror of such a scene).
Madam Noir: Weekends spent showing bus tours of bespectacled, cagoule wearing pensioners round drafty medieval naves.
Miss U: Holy fuck! I'd end up garroting him with his cravat. Or slapping him with Mary Magdalene's flip flop. Never again, Madam Noir, never again will I succumb to interweb dating. Never!