Thursday, 7 June 2012

The Rake's Progress

So, the last time I updated you about The Rochester Question, the rogue and I were in discussions about scheduling a possible meeting.  The whole situation was rendered impossible by:
  • his marital status 
  • his rampant fertility.  Rochester knocks out petite-rogues like an errant alley cat.  (OK, there has only been one, recently, but that, in itself, is hugely significant).
  • his eternal flakiness.  Rochester is the Czar of Capriciousness.  The Emperor of Emotional Dermatitis; shedding broken promises and semi-sweet-nothings like mange-ridden lurcher sheds fur.
So, although we have had many poignant and touching conversations over the past 6 months.  We have not met.  Our conversations go very much like this:

Rochester:  Flower, I've been thinking.  We should go to the Lakes.  Aye.  I need to get away.  Will you meet me at Wastwater?  You'll love it, you know.  It's bleak, oppressive and utterly fucking desolate.  It suits us, I think.  What do you think? I'd like to see you.

Miss Underscore: (sighing)  I do LIKE the Lake District, Rochester, but I think I'd prefer somewhere a bit. . . .prettier, softer.   You know, somewhere with a gift shop where I could buy fudge in a Beatrix Potter tin.  Somewhere with National Trust tearooms that serve gingerbread plastered with inch-thick salted butter.  Somewhere with trees, gardens, flowers, not just rocks.

Rochester: Fuck off.  I am not going to twatting Grasmere.  (pause)  You're interested mind.  I can tell. Although, to be frank,   I'm not sure if it's me or the gingerbread that's doing it for you.

Miss Underscore: Oh Rochester, would you sport a scowl and a chunky knit sweater, like Ted Bundy? Would you wear your wellies at a jaunty angle?

Rochester: Don't you mean Ted Hughes?  

Miss Underscore: (harrumphing)  I know who I mean. 

Rochester: Well, will you come?

Miss Underscore: I have the PERFECT tweed jacket for the Lakes, you know.  It is a crime that the only bleakness it's been exposed to is the Key Stage 2 playground at the School of Hard Knocks.  It's very Women's Land Army.  Women's Land Army meets The Lady Vanishes.

Rochester: You'll come then?

Miss Underscore: (sighing) I can't come Rochester.  You know that.

Rochester: Why? Because I'm married?

Miss Underscore: Because you're married.  Of course.

And a later conversation. . .

Rochester: Don's* only cunting done it again.  He's won a 5-star weekend in Paris pet. It was the  HIGHLY COVETED 'Last of the Summer Wine Award', for services to the senior citizen community. SECOND YEAR RUNNING FLOWER. Yep.  I got a UPVC figurine of a salesman picking the pockets of a mobility-scooter driving, war veteran.  It's a metaphor apparently.  Bit deep for me.  Anyway, Paris, do you fancy it? Send us your passport number.   

Miss Underscore: Oh, Rochester.  Imagine, 'We'll always have Paris'.  That's more like it.  Better than 'we'll always have South Shields', which is what we have now.  I am not sure I can picture you in the land of the 'cheese eating surrender monkeys' though.  

Rochester:  I'm not sure I can picture you in a foreign country AT ALL flower.  I will warn you, I won't be the only salesman there.  There is a whole, hmmm, what's the word, a whole confederation of salesmen.  Aye, there's a day trip planned to the Louvre.  Competition to see which of us can knock up the fastest quote for double glazing that cunting pyramid. 

Miss Underscore:  A confederacy of dunces. You're not exactly selling this to me, Rochester.  I'd be a double glazing WAG.

Rochester:  Aye, I know. It would be a pretty grim experience.  We could just stay in the hotel.  It overlooks the Eiffel Tower you know.  It's a bit modernist for your taste mind.  You'd knock off a couple of stars for the lack of doillies, I can see it now.

Miss Underscore:  And how would you explain this all to Mrs Rochester? Have you thought about that? Hmm?

Rochester:  Fuck.  I hadn't.  Until now.

In between holiday requests, Rochester has taken to sending me odd little films of himself.  Oh, how I would love to post one, but obviously I can't.  Oh God.  Not for any sordid reason.  They are not BEDROOM films. He is fully dressed in all of them.  My favourite film (set to a Neil Young soundtrack; I love Neil Young's mournful, beige whining, like a lovelorn, basset hound), the best film is a bleary-eyed, early-morning Rochester, shaving in his BMW fanny wagon.  In one hand he is brandishing a whirring Remmington shaver. From the other paw, a roll-up cigarette drops ash all over the krautmobile's CREAM leatherette upholstery.  THEN, with a TERRIFYING disregard for the Health and Safety at Work Act (1974), the rogue whips a bottle of Poundshop Paco Rabanne out of the 'walnut' dash and starts manically anointing himself with it, like a cripple at Lourdes.  It is quite thrilling: the naked flame, the cheap, flammable aftershave, the Remmington 5000, hanging like a buzzing sword of Damocles, over the UPVC playboy's head. Death of a Salesman; that is what that particular film should have been called.

Anyway, about a month ago, Rochester and I reached something of an understanding. We had a long, long talk one drizzly, Saturday afternoon.  Things were rather sweet and tender between us.  In Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor terms, we were (that afternoon, at least) more Cleopatra than Whose Afraid of Virginia Woolf?  I agreed we should meet up, at Spring half-term. 

But then, then, he went and did something dastardly.   He forgot my birthday.  FOR THE SECOND YEAR IN A ROW.  Not only did he forget my birthday, he left a frankly unrepentant voicemail message, complete with 'pithy' interjections from one of his window-selling sidekicks, to explain that he had just 'forgot'.  

So, the half-term meeting never materialised.  We did speak yesterday.  'Shall I get on a train North?'  he asked.  'I think I will, you know.'  He didn't.  Of course he didn't.

See, 6 months have passed and NOTHING has changed.   

Today's self portrait, with lurcher. 

* Rochester's double-glazing salesman alter-ego.


  1. Miss Underscore, you are a beauty. You are wasted on that fanny rat. Wasted.

  2. You look gorgeous, I love that dog, your post made me crave buttered gingerbread, and MargotLeadbetter is right--you are wasted on Rochester.

  3. Although I did find myself wondering *which* Neil Young track ...

    But gosh you wrote like an angel. Please tell me it's all a fiction, and not true. Please don't waste your talent & beauty. Pleeeeeeeeeeese.

    Well, keep writing, though!

  4. Aww, thank you for the sweet comments.

    Redbookish: It was After the Gold Rush. One of my favourites (although Rochester loathes Neil Young). And no, sadly, this is not a work of fiction.


  5. Crumbs, Miss U, you ARE looking ridiculously pretty despite having recently stepped on the same old rake. What has cheered you up so much, and where can I buy some?

  6. My God, I've missed this. I'd completely forgotten about the arse, and clicked on link to read your take on the pretty town in Kent. This was much more amusing. As long as you only use him shamelessly as a male muse. :D

  7. Nellig. The answer to your question is simple. You need a lurcher on your lap. May I suggest this little fella?

    Lahossner: Your muse line reminds me of a much loved Nick Cave song:

    I look at you, you look at me
    And baby we both know it,
    You weren't much of a muse
    But then, I weren't much of a poet.

  8. I came here via the Domino Effect. I see you are a wonderful writer, AND you have a lurcher, which are my top two Criteria for Good Blogging. Literary references and dastardly fanny rats are also a bonus. I'm sold.

  9. Miss Underscore, you look utterly gorgeous. Let Rochester pine on the bleak cliffs, you are the sunshine!

  10. Well, we all knew he was a b(d)astardly sort.

  11. We always said he was completely untrustworthy, you're better off without him pet.

    Nice to see the real you in the photos, but for some strsnge reason, I also miss the old graphic.

  12. Do not fear TSB, I shall probably return to the old graphic soon. I am paranoid that someone IN REAL LIFE recognises me.

  13. You are far too good looking for Rochester. Great smile, great lips, soft curly hair ... he is a blackguard! Do attempt to steer clear ... he is not worthy!

    Anne in Cambridge

  14. Jesus Cunting Christ. I can't believe you give that twat the time of day petal.

  15. You are far to clever and gorgeous to waste any amount of energy on such a slimy, cheating bastard. Did he dickmatize you? It's like hypnosis only far trickier to snap out of.

  16. Just when you find someone witty on the net they disappear. Damn!

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