My Lover

Wendy Cope

For I will consider my lover, who shall remain nameless.
For at the age of 49 he can make the noise of five different kinds of lorry changing gear on a hill.
For he sometimes does this on the stairs at his place of work.
For he is embarrassed when people overhear him.
For he can also imitate at least three different kinds of train.
For these include the London tube train, the steam engine and the Southern Rail electric.
For he supports Tottenham Hotspur with joyful and unswerving devotion.
For he abhors Arsenal, whose supporters are uncivilised and rough.
For he explains that Spurs are magic, whereas Arsenal are defensive and boring.
For I knew nothing of this six months ago, nor did I want to.
For now it all enchants me.
For this he performs in ten degrees.
For first he presents himself as a nice, serious, liberated person.
For secondly he sits through many lunches, discussing life and love and never mentioning football.
For thirdly he is careful not to reveal how much he dislikes losing an argument.
For fourthly he talks about the women in his past, acknowledging that some of it must have been his fault.
For fifthly he is so obviously reasonable that you are inclined to doubt this.
For sixthly he invites himself round for a drink one evening.
For seventhly you consume two bottles of wine between you.
For eighthly he stays the night.
For ninthly you cannot wait to see him again.
For tenthly he does not get in touch for several days.
For having achieved his object he turns again to his other interests.
For he will not miss his evening class or his choir practice for a woman.
For he is out nearly all the time.
For you cannot even get him on the telephone.
For he is the kind of man who has been driving women round the bend for generations.
For, sad to say, this thought does not bring you to your senses.
For he is charming.
For he is good with animals and children.
For his voice is both reassuring and sexy.
For he drives an A-registration Vauxhall Astra estate.
For he goes at 80 miles per hour on the motorways.
For when I plead with him he says, ‘I’m not going any slower than this.’
For he is convinced he knows his way around better than anyone else on earth.
For he does not encourage suggestions from his passengers.
For, if he ever got lost, there would be hell to pay.
For he sometimes makes me sleep on the wrong side of my own bed.
For he cannot be bossed around.
For he has this grace, that he is happy to eat fish fingers or Chinese takeaway or to cook the supper himself.
For he knows about my cooking and is realistic.
For he makes me smooth cocoa with bubbles on the top.
For he drinks and smokes at least as much as I do.
For he is obsessed with sex.
For he would never say it is overrated.
For he grew up before the permissive society and remembers his adolescence.
For he does not insist it is healthy and natural, nor does he ask me what I would like him to do.
For he has a few ideas of his own.
For he has never been able to sleep much and talks with me late into the night.
For we wear each other out with our wakefulness.
For he makes me feel like a light-bulb that cannot switch itself off.
For he inspires poem after poem.
For he is clean and tidy but not too concerned with his appearance.
For he lets the barber cut his hair too short and goes round looking like a convict for a fortnight.
For when I ask if this necklace is all right he replies, ‘Yes, if no means looking at three others.’
For he was shocked when younger team-mates began using talcum powder in the changing-room.
For his old-fashioned masculinity is the cause of continual merriment on my part.
For this puzzles him.