More power to him, I thought, if he’s come to terms with that and he’s happy. There’s something about a man who’s comfortable in his own skin, not pushy or flashy but quietly confident, and engaging in a reserved and slightly understated kind of way. The Guest spent a lot of time listening, and only spoke when he had something interesting to add. At least, every time he spoke he added something interesting, which I accept is not necessarily the same thing. At dinner parties people often offer up the “greatest hits” versions of themselves.
You never know in the three or four hours after you first meet them whether you’ve heard absolutely every last thing about them that’s remotely interesting, and whether spending the next 40 years of your life with them might just be one long, boring, repetitive loop. It’s like when the novelty of the new car wears off, suddenly and unexpectedly, after just a few months, leaving you with that curiously empty feeling and the nagging sensation your money might have been put to better use doing something else.
Worse than being just dull, they could reveal themselves to be some sort of terrible misogynist or racist or religious fundamentalist, or that they exist in a perpetual state of arrested teenage development. One thing I will say for The Companion is that he’s come a long way, despite the preoccupation with gadgets and fireworks, the outright refusal to buy feminine products from the pharmacy and an ongoing refusal to engage with the motor vehicle as a work of art. Some of his best friends are idiots, but then who among us has a partner who doesn’t have a few dickhead mates?