Monday, 29 January 2007


So, my brother's new girlfriend. She deserves a post to herself. Not to be tacked on to the end of a football report. *stares meaningfully at uppity brother's Nasheian comments*

We met in London and went to the National Portrait Gallery, the three of us. I hadn't ever been, somehow, and greatly enjoyed our brief amble about, it has some excellent stuff. Both she and I had thought that this was an activity selected by Brother as an ideal one for meeting and having a bit of a chat. Far from it: this had been selected by Brother as an ideal opportunity to go on pilgrimage to the (admittedly splendid) portrait of the great eighteenth century poet Alexander Pope:
(picture from the National Portrait Gallery website... isn't it great... the uncompromising profile, the audacity of the laurel wreath, the defiant outline of the hunchback, the haggard pallor, the opulent silk. For those who don't know, Pope suffered lifelong ill-health, including a form of tuberculosis which affects the spine, probably contracted from infected milk as a child, which severely stunted his growth and led to a hunchback. All of which perhaps helped to contribute to the virulence and bitterness of his satire.)

So Brother performed his religious oblations accordingly (Pope is, er, quite important to him) followed by minor devotions at the portraits of Swift and Donne. *sigh* We girls just laughed at him, obviously.

So, why is New Girl so intimidating to meet? Well it's all about the externals. I'll not name her here, obviously, but it's disconcerting when your little brother's new girlfriend has her own page on wikipedia. She's a 22 year old novelist and playwright with a publishing deal and lots of glowing reviews by serious fellow authors. TWENTY TWO!!! *feels like a failure* [joke, those of you who fret about my self-esteem].

Anyway she is also witty, dry, thoughtful, morally rigorous, challenging, entertaining and did I mention pretty hot? Our subsequent comments to Brother, incidentally, were identical: "Top eye make-up" said I, whilst she emailed to say "I like her eye make-up technique." Of course, on one level it doesn't matter that I think of her (or her eye make-up) provided she makes Brother happy and treats him well (and vice versa). But, selfishly, it would be pretty hard for me to handle if the woman my brother was with was someone I didn't like, or if I couldn't understand why he wanted to be with her. And he had been fretting a bit before the meeting, obviously. I was good and resisted the temptation to make threatening utterances for comedy value [if you hurt my little bro I shall track you down and fuck you up] since I wasn't sure if she mightn't take them seriously. hehe.

So she dashed off to some kind of feminist theory lecture [the sisters need me] and Brother and I went to Waterstones on Piccadilly to browse in the poetry section and then for a really good curry at Masala Zone, the Soho branch. Good times. God I miss decent curry when I'm over here. Oh yeah, and I guess I miss Brother too. Still, I can call him up whereas curry really doesn't work down the phone.


ginkers said...

Meeting a the girlfriend/boyfriend of a family member is always a tough one. You know you want to like them but even if you don't you know you will have to pretend that you do until they break up. Then you can let the floodgates open, but not too much in case they get back together...

de vertalerin said...

Oh, it's worse than that! They're always lovely, lovely people who you want in your family for ever and then your family member dumps them or something and you never see them again* and its just awful.

*that bit's not true

Martha Elaine Belden said...

wow. sounds like an intense (albeit rousing) first meeting.

so... did we like Brother's girlfriend? sounds like she's a fascinating piece of work, at the very least.

and yeah... i *feels like a failure* too

Spangly Princess said...

hehe Martha, compared to 22 year old published novelists I guess we're nearly all 'failures.' But she seems really lovely, and he's happy: which is what matters most to me.