I just got back from a trip to London and, cleaning out my handbag, I found something I’d scribbled down on a journey into town on crowded double-decker bus. The couple in the seat behind me were already deep into a loud and heated conversation when I got on board. Three stops later, it was still going strong. Being the only one on the bus without earbuds in or a smart phone to distract me, I found myself doing what journalists do and taking notes.
Her: “You wore your jeans and T-shirt and your velcro shoes because you’re five. You’re 31 and you’re wearing velcro shoes on MY birthday. I hate those shoes. You have never made an effort for me – ever.”
Him: “I wore a shirt–”
Her: “Yes you wore a shirt but that was for your grandmother’s funeral and you had your crappy shoes on that are awful that you’ve had since high school and you couldn’t bear to part.”
Him “And that black shirt –”
Her: “That you wore to your brother’s do. You’re only interested in it now because you’ve pissed me off. You just go on being your own selfish self all the time. I want us to go somewhere nice and you just wear the same pair of crappy trainers and the same pair of jeans. The number of times you get out of bed and put on the first thing that you grab which is all baggy and stained and if it’s not it’s because I spent all that time scrubbing the stains out. And those disgusting track pants. I can’t say I paid a great attention to what you wear. It just would be nice if you cared.”
When the bus reached its terminus at Aldwych, they were still arguing. I don’t know if they ever kissed and made up. A friend of mine told me, “The disintegration of a relationship always begins with clothing critiques,” so maybe not. Another friend told me that Charles Bukowski “got a lot of his material rolling around buses in LA …it’s a goldmine.” Can’t disagree with that!