Advice for Lonely Hearts

Never date a doctor. 

Behind the winning smiles 

she’ll wonder if you’re blocked or 

suffering from piles. 

The meal may be romantic, 

the restaurant softly lit, 

the waiters far from frantic, 

the talk suffused with wit 

but soon a diagnosis 

will form. You’ll start to think 

that multiple sclerosis 

is imminent. The drink 

will make your heart beat faster. 

Her mode of calm detection 

could soon demand a plaster 

or wholesale disinfection. 

From Tavistock to Turin 

she’ll sum you up precisely 

and then suggest, “A urine 

sample would do nicely.” 

Or else she’ll witter gaily: 

“You don’t need a bonesetter. 

A couple of these daily –  

you’ll soon be feeling better.” 

From the threat of cancer 

to night-time indigestion 

she’ll always know the answer 

before you ask the question. 

Never date a doctor. 

Try, instead, a baker, 

botanist or proctor, 

priest or undertaker. 

from Academe (Seren 1988), © Paul Groves 1988, used by permission of the author

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