Last century I set out alone on an expedition of discovery, to the southern hemisphere. I set up camp in the UnHeard Of Islands, and began several years of research on the inhabitants.
Aware of the need to cast my net wide, I had to join social groups, and attend social events, most of them awful. After some years, I had several women friends I was attracted to, but I held back from trying anything physical. My Glasgow relationship had been a mistake from the start, yet the breakup after four years had been painful, and the last thing I wanted was to blunder into a new one just for sex, and then discover it was going nowhere and making both people unhappy. Besides, one of the symptoms of elephant man complex is paralysing shyness.
So anyway, I reached the point where I had four female UnHeard Of Islander friends.
One had a sumo physique and bullying personality, but was very broadminded and shared my taste in music. One night I agreed to let her massage me. After about 15 minutes, she realised I really meant massage and not something else, and she walked out in a huff, leaving me naked on the floor. I never saw her again.
One was a charming Alexander therapist, who would have been a good partner. But on our first meeting she said she "just wanted to be friends", so I respected that, even when I occasionally slept over at her place. After several years of this, she cracked and exploded.
One was petite, charming and sexy, but an angry alcoholic. On New Years Eve when I didn't do something right, or did something wrong (I never found out), she exploded with rage. Kev eventually teamed up with her, and she made his life a misery.
The fourth woman was a glamorous space cadet whom I liked but there was something I couldn't quite trust. Cap'n Kev later told me she had "taken several husbands to the cleaners".
Anyway, after several years of dogged socialising, one night I met someone I knew I wanted to pursue all the way, and so I did.
It was the best decision I ever made, and she became my cellmate.
The second-best decision I made was to apply for the job ad that the cellmate pointed out to me in the newspaper. That's the job I'm doing now at the McDonald Institute.
And the third good decision I made was to buy a house together, even though I didn't want to, at the cellmate's suggestion.
I would have missed out on all this, if I had got into something with one of the four other women. Or if I hadn't gone through the breakup in Glasgow, I wouldn't even have been able to move to the UnHeard Ofs. No pain no gain.