I'm getting dumped, all because of soap

By Paul Lester, July 22, 2010

So, I've been seeing a young lady for a few weeks. But before all you single females out there start wailing, believing you've lost your chance with London's most eligible nebbish, let me reassure you that this new relationship of mine may not last forever. In fact, it may not last till the end of next week.

How, you're wondering, is it possible that, in between the last column and this one, the romance has begun, blossomed and is already withering on the vine? Even Jordan and her cage fighter have managed better than that.

I'll tell you how - over-familiarity. That's right, in not much more time than it took for Saddam Hussein to annex Kuwait, familiarity has bred contempt. Anything might set us off. It's usually something trivial. Then again, most major wars break out over minor matters (Poland, Schmoland).

To be fair, our most recent bust-up was my fault. It was during the World Cup final. Not that it was over anything as manly as football - this is me we're talking about; someone who once had to have emergency cognitive behavioural therapy at school following an incident in the scrum during rugby. No, this was an argument about soap.

See, I'd popped to the lavatory during half-time and discovered that there was nothing left of the bar in her bathroom but a thin sliver, the sort of measly flake you see in student houses. Students, though, have an excuse, mainly that they're too busy inhaling hallucinogens or injecting marijuana - or whatever it is young people do these days - to bother with anything as inconsequential and mundane as the purchase of household goods.

But this woman is no student. In fact, she hasn't been a student since the last but one occasion that the Tories were in power. She knew I was coming over, and she should have stocked up on the essentials, especially because she knows that, when it comes to hygiene, I make Howard Hughes look like Howard Stern (it's widely recognised that the foul-mouthed American radio talk-show host isn't as clean as the famously fastidious billionaire).

So I stomped downstairs in high dudgeon and accused her of being inconsiderate for not having a sufficiently bulbous soap bar. She, in turn, accused me of being petty and threatened to do something unmentionable to me with a vuvuzela, and before you knew it, we were watching the second half of the match in tense silence. It was just like being married again, only without any money in the bank.

But hold on a minute: petty? That's a bit harsh. And besides, my soap rant was nothing compared to some of the stories I've heard when it comes to disputes over trivia. One acquaintance - well, he was more of a friend, really… all right, it was me - got dumped on the grounds of my trousers being tucked into my socks. I wouldn't mind, but they were nice trousers, even if the socks were a cotton-acrylic mix overly reliant on the synthetic. Another time I got chucked by a girl for having bad posture, which was a bit below the belt (actually, just above the shoulder). And one very significant former significant other gave as the reason for terminating what had been a long and fruitful affair the overly anxious manner in which I addressed air-hostesses on planes during turbulence. That, ladies and gentlemen, is petty.

On the other hand, me suggesting that it might be prudent to have in the home something with which to wash one's hands after performing one's ablutions isn't just common sense, it's sanitary.

OK, I'll admit, I probably am borderline OCD, and I do like to walk into a bathroom and see enough lotions and emollients to open a decent-sized chemist. But come on, there's no excuse for a bar of soap that resembles a particularly malnourished crisp.

When I explained all of this, in probably quite fulminating tones, to my girlfriend - who doubtless by the time you read this will be my ex-girlfriend - she said I was starting to remind her of Mel Gibson. What, a charismatic movie Adonis? I couldn't have been more flattered. Oh, that Mel Gibson. Not so flattering.

Last updated: 11:22am, July 22 2010