Get real, Lilian. No-one believes in this ‘platonic’ interest in Paul nonsense. Even Jennifer, never the sharpest nail in the manicure, has seen through your flannel. As will Paul at this rate.
Rather than be judgemental, however, I would like to offer Lilian a handy guide as to how the half-brothers compare.
Availability: Matt being banged up, Paul wins hands down. While Paul can happily contrive implausible-sounding work opportunities which bring him within a gnat’s crotchet of Felpersham, Matt’s obviously not at liberty to wine and dine Lilian. Even when Matt comes out, he’ll be on a curfew. Which is kind of mystifying, isn’t it? As Paul himself has pointed out, fraud’s not really the sort of crime that’s only committed outside the home during the hours of darkness. Anyway, the only thing tying Paul down right now is a couple of kids, but they don’t seem too irksome. Less irksome than an electronic tag, in fact. Score: Matt 0, Paul 9 (includes extra point for smart observation regarding ridiculous curfew storyline). Verdict: No contest. Sorry Matt.
Sexiness: There’s obviously a familial resemblance, but I guess Paul is younger. Not that that necessarily has anything to do with sexiness. He doesn’t yet have a bedroom nickname for Lilian in the ‘Pusscat’ mould, but he does have the immense advantage of the thrill of the unknown. And the way he says ‘Lilian’ is rather phwoar-some. Score: Matt 5, Paul 8. Verdict: The younger brother strikes back. It’s the oldest rivalry in history. It’s Cain and Abel, it’s Christopher and Peter Hitchins, it’s Will and Ed Grundy.
Family involvement: Matt famously can’t stand family life. Even when he grudgingly agreed to meet his birth mother, it was only at Lilian’s shrill insistence. Later, on hearing his mother was dead, he said, ‘Oh.’ He’s not much better with Lilian’s family, regarding Jennifer, Brian, Peggy et al as necessary irritants. Hmm. Good point. Paul, meanwhile, has clearly been the good son, doting on his cold-hearted mother and spawning some sprogs of his own. He even asks after the appalling James, which Matt has definitely never done. However, I haven’t forgotten how good Matt was when Jack was at his pre-Laurel’s worst. So it’s not a complete whitewash. Score: Matt 4, Paul 9. Verdict: Gotta say, my sympathies lie with Matt here.
Voice: Though their accents are similar, Matt’s definitely got more of a manly rasp going on, and his voice is unmistakable. Paul, meanwhile, is only a tone or two different from almost all the other men in TA. He possibly is being played by all the other men in TA, in fact. Lilian won’t be calling Paul ‘Tiger’. He hasn’t got that growl thing going on. Foxy, maybe. But not Tiger. Score: Matt 8, Paul 5. Verdict: Matt’s the only Tiger in town.
Romance: Paul’s not even wooing Lil (yet) and has already shown himself to be a cut above in the romance stakes. While Matt adheres to the Bill Sykes school of love-talk (‘I live wiv yer, don’ I?’), Paul is a smooth operator, never missing a chance to tell Lilian how she has brightened up his life. He likes suggesting little trysts, and if he hasn’t bunged her some flowers yet, it’s only a matter of time. Score: Matt 2, Paul 7. Verdict: Paul’s got an open field here, basically.
Staying power: Pusscat and Tiger have stuck it out through many of life’s trials (including an actual trial). His messy divorce, his overly keen interest in Annabel, his committing of fraud, his losing the plot over his court case, his near murder of her on the motorway, his bail jump to Costa Rica, his incarceration. Hmm. Looks a bit one-sided now I tally it up. Lilian’s definitely owed at least one small affair. Anyway, if they can make it through all that, they can make it through the rain. Whereas Paul is a Johnny-come-lately. Who knows what sort of sticking power he’s got? Score: Matt 10, Paul 2. Verdict: Paul’s un-tested.
Final scores on the door: Matt 29, Paul 40. Well, the numbers never lie. Lilian, you have my complete numerical permission to have a fling. But remember, underneath that gruff exterior, Matt needs you. And, as Nancy sang of Bill, shortly before he clubbed her to death, ‘As long as he needs me, I know where I must be.’ Which in your case is sitting in the Dower House, two G&T’s down, telling your electronically tagged boyfriend that you must just pop out for a few hours. Oh dear, what a shame he’s forcibly detained at home.
Posted by Qwerty (See all Archers posts here)