Part 11: The Sopranos

When asked to recall the most memorable moment of their existence other (less remarkable) people might recollect their graduation, the birth of their baby child or the second their eyes did a love-lock with their future spouse across a crowded discotheque. For me, it was the time when my friend Tom told me that he thought of me as a cross between Adriana and Carmella out of The Sopranos. That was, hands down, the best day of my life. I’m not even joking. You try covertly attempting to perfect the look of a third-generation Italian-American gangsters moll when, in reality, you’re a sixth-generation German English girl from Woolwich, trying to hold down a job at a Russell Group University and write a doctoral thesis on obscure urban theatre practices. It’s not as easy as it sounds. And it involves giving up vegetarianism and spending astronomical amounts of British dollar on manicures and hairspray.

Of course, the one flaw in my plan to secretly morph into a Mafia wife is that there is no mobster husband or boyfriend to complete the image. I was a lot depressed about this for a little bit of time. But then I thought about it – by pouting into the bathroom mirror with a tapered red fingernail pressed to my chin – and decided that The Sopranos has created a devastating paradox and is thus a reason to be single. And then I sat at my computer and started typing these words for you to read.

I’ve got a suspicion that being married to a mobster in a proper real life wouldn’t be that fun. They might be like Tony and keep guns in the house and shag about with Russian women and prostitutes who are better looking than you. This would not be good for your sense of personal safety, or your self-esteem. Or (season five spoiler alert) they might be like Chrissy and have you shot to death in the woods for grassing them up to the FBI. This would not be good for your longevity.

At the same time, no man that you are going to meet will ever be better than Tony Soprano. Why bother seeking out a lover when HBO/David Chase have ruined any chance you ever had at happiness by creating the only man anyone would ever want to marry, and making him fictional? You’re only going to end up disappointed. You might as well forget about the whole finding-a-life partner thing and pursue other avenues of self actualisation.

I’m sure that not everyone will automatically share my ardour for Big Tone. However, that will be because they haven’t thought about it properly. Tony has everything a girl could possibly want in a man. He is the ultimate alpha male: strong and tough, but vulnerable; protective and loving; cruel to the point of psychopathy; rich, charismatic, away ‘on business’ for huge chunks of time (allowing you to GET THINGS DONE); he likes ice cream and old movies and he doesn’t talk much. Judging by the screams of delight from his swathes of extra-marital lovers he is also very accomplished at sex.

I thought I had come close to meeting my Tony at the end of last year when I picked up a shady, dangerous looking stranger with a twisted smile in a hot London nightclub. He was a little mean, drank neat whiskey and exhaled cigarette smoke through his nose as though daring lung cancer to fuck with him. He liked animals a slightly disturbing amount, had a friend who was a diamond dealer and, thrillingly, when I asked what his flatmate’s job was the flatmate replied, ‘I sell guns’ (legally, as it turned out, which was less thrilling, but still!). ‘I’ve done it’, I thought, ‘I have achieved the impossible. I’ve found a Tony Soprano who hasn’t yet succumbed to fat.’ And then he went and ruined the illusion by showing me an ‘elf yourself’ video of him and his flat mate depicted as cartoon elves singing ‘We Wish you a Merry Christmas.’ WTF? Tony Soprano would not have done this. He is too cool, and has a better sense of humour.

As any single lady would, I made the most of the situation by putting the incident inside one of the grey tubes of my brain matter where it wouldn’t interfere with the fantasy. But there was no going back.

For anyone reading these words who hasn’t yet seen the work of masterful genius that is The Sopranos I have this advice: SEE IT, IMMEDIATELY. Be prepared though – once you’ve got to know Tony you are going to have to be single for the rest of your life. Unless you are able to have a word with the Creator and get Him to liaise with David Chase about developing a real-life Tony prototype. Even if you do, I won’t be jealous. It’s like I said: the fantasy is certainly going to make you more contented than the real thing. This contradiction in terms is The Sopranos paradox. It’s a Catch-22. But don’t let’s worry about that. I’m off to indulge the illicit parts of my imagination by watching season four on DVD. I suggest you do the same. Happy days.

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