Thursday, 20 December 2012

Never Help Them With Their Homework

Well here is a sad story to balance out all our Christmas cheer. If you are not in the mood for a sad story, off you go. It illustrates one of my most controversial if most heartfelt bits of advice, which is that no chore done by a Single woman on behalf of a Single man her own age goes unpunished.

I have thrown in a lot of imaginative detail to make the old story come alive.

Once upon a time in a university far, far away, there was a lovely Catholic Society, which had all the ordinary characters a university Catholic Society tends to have. Among them was the super-smart intellectual girl I will call Julia, the razor-sharp guy who couldn't spell, whom I will call Cyril, and the really sweet girl who had very little confidence in her own considerable intellectual abilities and the facial expression of a stunned infant. We shall call her Gladys, after my grandma.

Everybody in the Catholic Society thought that Julia and Cyril were a couple, and an intellectual power couple at that, in part because they fought so much. That Cath Soc was generally so amiable that it was assumed that only couples fought. I think one of their major arguments was if you could be a Catholic and yet vote whatever-is-was. Watching Julia and Cyril bicker was rather like watching a tennis match, I am told, as the witticisms were smacked back and forth across the table in the cafeteria or the pub or wherever everyone was that evening.

Occasionally one or the other would get so mad, that they would storm out of the pub (Cyril) or into the ladies' (Julia), and their friends would have to calm whichever down. However, more often than not, one could see Julia and Cyril in the library a few hours later with their heads together as Julia corrected the spelling on the rough draft of Cyril's latest dyslexic essay. After graduation, it was widely assumed, wedding bells would chime.

What nobody in Cath Soc knew was that Cyril had long ago told Julia that he could marry a girl only from his ethnic background because of the nasty things that had happened to people of his ethnic background and the resultant drop in their population. And Julia, who was smart about school, but not about men, thought this was (A) noble and romantic and (B) subject to change in her own case, as there was such a spark between Cyril and her. When Cyril could get over the whole ethnic thing and admit that he loved her, they would probably stop fighting so much.

And what Julia did not know was that sweet and meek Gladys looked one heck of a lot like Cyril's ex-girlfriend back home. Nor did she know that Cyril, whose spelling she had so laboriously fixed for years, often popped around to Gladys's, to give her advice on her own essays and assure her that she was not going to flunk out of college and hand her tissues when she cried. Gladys, incidentally, was one of those very few girl who looks pretty when she cries. Her face didn't go red and her nose didn't grip. Her big blue eyes just welled up and the tears sparkled on her long black eyelashes.


One of the girls in the group, who knew that Julia and Cyril were not, in fact, a couple, but did not know that Julia thought they were an unofficial couple, so little did Julia know about men, remarked to Julia what a nice couple Cyril and Gladys would make.

This candid opinion rather startled Julia, who had never thought about it before. She admitted that Cyril did like Gladys a lot, in a big brotherly kind of way, but explained that it was really important to Cyril to marry someone in his ethnic group.

But then Julia stewed because, come to think of it, Cyril had asked her what she thought of Gladys, and she had said enthusiastically that Gladys was the sweetest girl she knew and that the men were all crazy not to go out with her, and it was after that that Cyril had started paying a lot more attention to Gladys.

So really in a way it was partly Julia's fault doing when after graduation Cyril and Gladys got married. And the woman who told me this story said that although after the Cath Soc Christmas party in which Cyril and Gladys announced their engagement Julia got drunk out of her mind, she behaved really well at the wedding.

Take it away, Judy:


Sarah said...

This story is awesome. Sadly, you could pretty much replace "Julia" with "Sarah" and the story would still be--more or less-- true.

Seraphic said...

Sorry to read that, Sarah, but I suspect it is a story that plays out again and again!

american (not) in deutschland said...

Thank God I have never been attracted to men who can't spell!