0013.jpgBarbara Covett comments on the feeling of freakishness that the lonely engender in other lonely people in Zoë Heller’s Notes on a Scandal.

Lonely people are terrible snobs about one another, I’ve found. They’re afraid that consorting with their own kind will conpound their freakishness. The time that Jennifer and I went to Paris together, we saw an airline employee at Heathrow ask two very fat people in the check-in line where they were both off to. The fat people were not a couple as it happened, and the suggestion that they were panicked them. Leaping apart, they both shouted in unison, “We’re not together!”

I understood their horror… Even Jennifer and I were prey on occasion to a certain self-consciousness about the impression we made as a twosome… I always suspected that we were faintly comic; two screamingly unhusbanded ladies on a day out. A music hall act of spinsterhood.