Wombats by nature are placid creatures, but I’m pretty steamed today. Over the new year weekend, I provided dinner for two women. One, the current passion interest, the other a friend who might be a future interest. New Year’s Eve I shopped and cooked at home for the PI. After arriving late, she downs an hour’s worth of cocktails and gives me an hour-long monologue. I then serve the four-course dinner, with wines, over two hours. Every request met, not a finger she lifted. At midnight we had dessert and celebratory drinks. Sounds OK doesn’t it? Well I figured it was acceptable, but when she left the next day not a word of thanks, not a reference to the effort, not a compliment for the thoughtfulness. In short, passion interest’s a pig.

Future interest was divorced earlier in the year after sixteen years of marriage. She’s forty, and lost the handbook decades ago. This was our first one-on-one outing so I applied Wombat Rules of Dating.

Number One: I pay. Encouraging her to talk I listened to hair-raising tales of the last years of her marriage. Caribbean affairs with local post-pubescents, dirty dancing in St Lucian Hotels and dalliances with lesbianism had my head spinning. But what really bugs me is the churlishness of not saying the magic words, ‘thanks for dinner’.

Future interest becomes never interest.

Ladies, we can take the moods, we can get through the tears. We can pay for the nights out and want to pay for the lingerie. But get with the program, get smart, and get some manners.