- has brown eyes (although, Aunty Margaret insists brown eyes are the sign of a blackguard)
- is a good writer (who can wittily and fluidly write something more than ransom notes)
- funny (in a dry, self-depreciating way)
- is rather dour, but dignified.
- likes Nick Cave and Woody Allen
- is not a vegetarian
- does not watch Top Gear
Since then Miss Underscore has been communicating with a forensic psychologist (F.P.). That sounds promising, doesn't it? Limitless potential for fascinating debates about the criminal justice system, humanism, existentialism, nature vs nurture, CSI Miami, Rose West's pop-bottle spectacles. It could be fascinating. There are some concerning issues regarding F.P., he is a committed fisherman yet he is also a vegetarian. In emails he demonstrates a rather erratic approach to punctuation and infuriates with random capitalization. He is also rather stuffy, objecting to swearing (especially by 'ladies' or should that be 'Ladies') and is completely teetotal. Yes, you are indeed correct, Miss Underscore is sashaying out to meet another low-grade fruitcake.
In this scene Miss Underscore meets F.P. outside a wine bar in Hartlepool. Hartlepool did indeed have a wine bar, briefly, in 2009. It wasn't a success. Someone thoughtfully burnt it down. Our heroine is late and rather flustered. Outside the restaurant she spies her date. He is a tall, rather threadbare looking man. He sports a loose-flowing cheesecloth shirt, rust coloured corduroy trousers and has a leather cord knotted around his neck. His hair is 'styled' in a wispy mullet. He is 60% Blue Peter presenter circa 1976, 30% druid sex therapist and 10% Brotherhood of Man. Oh dear.
F.P.: Miss Underscore, hi!
Miss U: (apologetic) Oh, I am so sorry I'm late. I don't know this town and relied on directions from my Uncle Stan. He's 84. I should have known his route wasn't reliable when he mentioned the barrage balloon.
F.P.: Hey, never mind. Let's go in and sit down.
(Miss Underscore and F.P. are now seated in a rather unattractive, sterile and modern looking bar).
Miss U: Have you had a good day? I must say your job sounds terribly interesting.
F.P.: (laconically) Yeah, well. . . I don't like to talk about my job, as it happens.
Miss U: Oh.
F.P.: Sometimes it's hard to switch off, you know?
Miss U: Do you find yourself analysing everyone?
F.P.: No, no, of course not. Mind you, saying that, the last woman I met on mismatch.com was borderline psychotic and very much a narcissist.
(A sour-faced, gum-chewing waitress comes over.)
Waitress: (bored, barely awake) Drinks?
Miss U: Lemonade please.
F.P.: Orange juice.
Miss U: (whispering) Sulky cunt! (F.P. visibly winces at swearing) Oh, sorry, I forgot, you don't approve of swearing. What happened with psycho-nut-job-freak-girl then? (F.P. winces again at such a politically incorrect label being placed upon one who suffers with mental health issues) Oh, sorry. What happened?
F.P.: (uncomfortably) I'd rather not talk about it actually. It was quite . . . difficult.
Miss U: Of course, of course. I understand. Totally. (long pause, Miss Underscore starts to laugh). I'm sorry. I am just dying to know!
F.P.: (squirming) Oh . . . (pause sighs) OK. You asked. I hope you're not offended.
Miss U: Listen, I'm the one who keeps offending you. Seriously. (smugly) I don't think it is possible that you could offend me.
F.P.: Well, to be honest, it was all too soon after my marriage broke up. I emailed this woman on mismatch.com. We spoke on the phone that same night. She ended up driving over to see me. This was the same night.
Miss U: Where did she live?
Miss U: Glasgow! She immediately came down from Glasgow! Blimey. What was she like?
F.P. She was a 6 foot tall police officer. Quite scary. I knew as soon as I opened the door I'd made a big mistake.
Miss U: What happened?
F.P.: We got drunk. I know, I know, I don't drink. All I can say is that it was a difficult time. I was out of control. I passed out.
Miss U: That's it? (shrugging) Not very shocking.
F.P: Hmmm. But, when I came to I found myself completely naked, in the garden. I was illuminated by the security light.
Miss U: Oh dear.
F.P. Hmmm. I wasn't alone. The policewoman was there too. Also naked.
Miss U: Oh?
F.P.: Hmmmm. And I discovered myself performing oral sex on her.
Miss U: You discovered yourself doing this?
F.P.: It was an out of body experience, as it were. I was floating above the scene. I was observing.
Miss U: As were most of your neighbours, presumably.
F.P. (proudly) She was screaming her head off. (lasciviously) You know, I have never had any complaints in that department.
Miss U (briskly) I'm sure. (desperately trying to change subject) Have you been fishing today?
F.P.: The oddest thing was that I also noticed (from my out of body experience) that I had tied her to the Forestery Commission approved patio set with the garden hose. Incredible. Are you shocked?
(Miss Underscore is gallantly trying to maintain her serenity in the wake of F.P.'s progressive lunacy.)
Miss U: No, of course not. Although, it does seem a rather unorthodox first date. I am an old fashioned girl. You can't beat dinner and a movie, in my opinion. Do you release your fish back into the river, after you've caught them?
F.P.: (growing sleazier by the second) Hmmmm, imagine that Miss Underscore, being tethered by a rubber hose, outdoors, whilst a man goes down on you.
Miss U: I'd rather not, actually. My dad used to like fishing. Caught a lot of trout. Or maybe it was flounder. Or possibly pike. Could that be right?
F.P: (leering) Have you ever had an out of body experience, Miss Underscore?
(Miss Underscore noticing F.P. is now rather blatantly looking down her top, discreetly tries to adjust her clothing).
F.P.: I'm not looking at your breasts. No. They seem quite impressive, but actually, I'm not a breast man. Do you want to guess what turns me on?
Miss U: The Homebase garden furniture catalogue?
F.P. A nice leg.
Miss U: Just the one?
F.P. And high heels.
Miss U: (muttering) Dear God!
F.P.: You're very easy to talk to, you know, Miss Underscore. Although I realise I am going to have to share you with your dogs.
Miss U: (horrified) Let's leave my dogs out of this shall we!
F.P.: No, no, nothing like that. I wasn't suggesting anything . . . deviant.
Miss U: Look, I think I'd better be going. I've got school tomorrow.
F.P. I'll walk you to your car.
Miss U: No! Honestly, that's not necessary. I'm right outside.
F.P. : (firmly) I insist.
(Miss Underscore and the Forensic Psychologist walk outside. Miss Underscore is rather uneasy. She has a sneaky suspicion the sandal wearing degenerate has hidden some washing-line about his person, and she seems to recall she is parked next to a teak picnic bench.)
F.P.: Which one is your car?
Miss U: (pointing) That one.
F.P.: (laughing) Ha! Ford cars really are pieces of shit, aren't they?
Miss U: (coldly) Listen, thanks for the drink. Nice meeting you.
(In a moment of pure Benny Hill farce, the amorous psychologist, who mistakenly believes he is 'in with a chance', chases Miss Underscore around her 'piece of shit' car several times. Miss Underscore, thanks to her beloved M&S ballet pumps, is too fleet of foot, and out-maneuvers the delusional idiot. She gets in her car, locks the doors and speeds away.)
In the next installment of Parma Violet Tea, The Movie, the arrival of the fanny rat. Enter Rochester.