The story of the hankerchief.
Bear with me on this one. It's a story of the humble hankerchief. And the checklist.
The hankerchief - a square piece of cotton a gentleman keeps in one's pocket - and then snots all over and put back in one's pocket.
The checklist - the non negotiables you have on an unwritten checklist that allows you to pick a mate, a partner, a boyf, a lover, a friend. The unwritten checklist covers a number of different pointers - and differs from one person to another.
Not only does the said checklist differ from one person to another - it also changes as you get older.
Reaching my middle youth and finding myself single made me think about my checklist. It heralded the beginnings of a new checklist.
My checklist in my naive 20s was relatively simple.
Someone hot. Subconsciously I think I wanted to find a mate. Someone I could build a family with. Have beautiful children with.
I rocked that box. Tick. Big. Tick.
And then life changes and your outlook changes. Circumstances change and what was so important in your twenties - or even thirties - has a slightly different accent in your (ahem) forties (early forties I hasten to add).
Suddenly single and embracing a single life, with the aid of a bottle (or two) of fine wine (or whatever was on offer at Tesco) and good friends - the conversation turned to what one is searching for and what one should be searching for in a potential partner now - in the here and now - in the present moment.
Turns out the new checklist is quite different to that that there one in my twenties.
I'm not so interested in the breeding potential. I am interested in friendship.
I am interested in respect. And I am wanting someone who gets my back.
And still someone hot - preferably with the looks of say Bradley Cooper or even Damien Lewis.
I'm told I'm too fussy (from those good friends mentioned above).
I'm told I need to look beyond my need for someone who is 6ft or over (a girl needs to wear heels).
And then you meet someone. Someone who doesn't necessarily fit into the exact checklist - but all the same ticks a lot of boxes. And then you realise they have a hankie.
A hankie. They blow their nose into a hankie. They put said hankie back into their pocket. And then put it into a washing machine.
They even occasionally offer me a hankie. I managed to hide my silent gip at the thought.
In the halcyon days of a new romance the hankie means nothing. It's something that doesn't need to be on the checklist. It's a hankie - a piece of cotton that in the old days defined a gentleman.
It's fine. I can cope with a piece of cotton. Everything else is okay. (Except the height but again that's remarkably okay).
And then it ends.
And I realise the hankie is so not okay.
The hankie is wrong. And it wasn't just the hankie. Turns out the hankie wasn't big enough. There was a migration to a TEA TOWEL.
The day he blew his nose into a tea towel (thankfully his) marked the end of time.
And time to review the checklist. A little bit more attention to detail is required on the non negotiables. Some caveats needs to be added.
We've got to have fun. Be friends. We've got to laugh. A propensity to drink fine wine - especially on a winesday is essential.
Someone who respects me. Someone who has my back.
And right there at the top of the list.......someone who doesn't have a hankie.
I have a new checklist.
Or maybe. I simply throw the checklist away.
I just count my blessings for the fantabulous life I have. For the fact I have never and will never wash a hankie.
For the beautiful small things I have. (who also are not allowed hankies...or sleeves)
For the fab times we have.
For the real friends where we laugh until the tears drip down my cheeks.
For the family who are just always there.
The checklist is out of the window.
Today is about the here and now.
And no hankies. Definitely no hankies. They are wrong.*
*apologies to anyone that uses a hankie
** the above is a lie. Stop using them. They're wrong.