Doomed Date Diaries
'This is the way it works,' I said, sipping my Napa Valley Cabernet Franc- fully expecting it to be like drinking week-old rainwater from the muddy hoof print of a lame horse- and not being the least bit disappointed. 'Breaking up is no fun for anyone. My job is to make it quick and clean- for both of you.'
'Okay,' she said.
'Make no mistake- this is business. I'm not your friend. I'm not a shoulder to cry on. If you ring me up in the middle of the night wanting to tell someone, anyone, how much you miss him, I won't answer the phone.'
'I understand.' she said.
'Saying you understand now is one thing,' I said. 'Meaning it after you've drunk two bottles of wine and cried your way through a box of tissues is quite another.'
Kelly didn't know whether to nod or shake her head. She grinned sheepishly instead.
The ground rules always sounded a bit harsh at first but they were essential for an orderly and successful separation. Kelly was a new client. I wanted to make sure she knew what she was getting herself into.
'If you choose to bypass the barriers I put in place and contact- er…(I paused momentarily to look up his name) Graham- directly I will not be held responsible. Is that clear?'
So far so good. Now the tricky stuff.
'If, at any point, you and Graham decide to get back together, I keep the deposit and please don't call me anytime in the future to dump him again.'
'I won't,' she said.
'However,' I added quickly. 'If you want to leave someone else, feel free to give me a call.'
'That's very reassuring,' she said, with only a hint of sarcasm.
Then came the bit I really hated- but it had to be done.
'If you decide to go ahead- I do also offer an after-care package of fine chocolates, a library of classic romance films on DVD and several luxury spa products.'
It made me feel cheap and commercial- preying on the aftermath of failed relationships- but if I didn't fulfil the need some crummy corner shop would. I'd even had a brochure printed.
In the end Kelly went with the Belgian truffles, seaweed face pack and Gregory Peck. Good choice.