A conditional crisis: You know, back in the days when I was younger, more naïve and perhaps more

optimistic , I used to wake up thinking: ‘If I meet my perfect match today, I’ll know exactly what to do-I’ll either sweep them off their feet in the first few weeks of knowing each other or I’ll let myself be swept off MY feet by them, whatever…’ But as it happened, in fact, if I met a likely candidate in those days, always found out within a couple of weeks that there was some kind of unbridgeable incompatibility between us. Nowadays , if I meet someone who seems vaguely suitable, I get a kind of sinking feeling in my stomach right from the start because I now know how easily things can turn sour-I know that if I do take a chance, I’m putting myself at risk of further heartbreak, complications, recriminations.. and all that. ‘How different things would only be if I had that perfect partner right here by my side; if I had somehow managed to find them, I wouldn’t be here, lying on a mangy old carpet, staring at a mouldy old ceiling; Of course, you might say that if I was less of a perfectionist , I might well have found that special someone long ago…or you might, with some justification, point out that if I had taken more risks on that front, then I would have given myself more of a chance. Look, I can see your eyes starting to glaze over, so, if I’m boring you, just let me know and we’ll call it an evening… You know how it is: if I’ve had a bit too much to drink, I always get a bit maudlin like this.. Look, unless you’ve got a really cracking joke or something to tell me, why don’t we make a move. It’s late already as it is…

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