Martin Parker: Spare Man

I’m reliably sober and charming,
I’m single, well-mannered and free.
So when hostesses, planning a dinner,
need one more man they ask me.

I’ve spent hours being kind to the silent,
the tragic, the lonely, the plain,
the divorced, the deserted, the dreary
and those for whom men are a pain.

I’ve been groped by the recently widowed
and also — it’s par for the course —
I’ve been leered at by large ugly ducklings
with molars too big for a horse.

I’ve suffered while feminist poets
have bored me with slabs of their verse.
I’ve had syphilis spelled out in detail
by a graphic young STD nurse.

I’ve been sought as a suitor by sirens
who’ve had far more partners than wheels
on all Eddie Stobart’s big lorries,
or quacks in a duck, or hot meals.

But I never let on that I’m lonely;
though sometimes I know I can see,
as we swap our dull, meaningless small-talk,
a sad mirror image of me.

For, in truth, I’m as eager as they are
to achieve a relationship, please,
that will last just a little bit longer
than the time between starter and cheese.