When Two Single Melancholics Have Afternoon Tea…

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January 6, 2013 by lucieromarin

…they discuss friends moving away or moving on, how social groups shift, dissolve and fade as one ages and remains single. They ponder the experience of becoming less and less visible to the men around them (assuming they were ever visible in the first place), and then…

She: They say it gets a lot harder as you get older.

I: Really?

She, nodding: Yep. Most of my friends have told me that, in their experience, it’s not impossible, but it hardly ever happens.

I: Oh, great. Thanks.

She: Sorry!

I: No, I believe it. I mean, if a guy is over forty and not married, either there’s been some tragedy in his life that’s prevented it, or there’s something wrong with him. It’s statistically most likely that there’s something wrong with him. I mean, think about it, the guys of my age group basically have something wrong with them.

She: Oh. Um. I wasn’t talking about finding a partner.

I: Huh?

She: I was just talking about making new friends.

I: ?!?!

She: It’s not impossible, but the older you get, the harder it is. People have told me that, you know, they try, but…nup.

I: Oh.

Pause.

I: Oh, great. Thanks.

She: Sorry.

I: Happy Epiphany!

**Update** Good heavens! I see – re-reading this post a day later – that I’ve made out that melancholics having afternoon tea is something dismal, when in fact it is rejuvenating. What often sounds like gloom or fear to outsiders is sometimes nothing more than the melancholic being alive to nuances of feeling that others either do not notice or do not respect. To be able to share those nuances without being cut down or dismissed is refreshing – like two artists comparing shades on a colour palette. Of course, this is not always obvious in a transcript.

This also makes me wonder how this conversation might have gone if the speakers were both sanguines. Stay tuned…

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