Deborah Ross: 'Johnnie Boden emails me once every 5.4 days, even though I give him little encouragement'

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The Independent Online

If you ask me, having several suitors all vying for your love and attention may sound ideal, but it can be most trying. At present, quite a number of online retailers pursue me relentlessly, the most persistent being Johnnie Boden, king of that place called 'Bodenland' where the women are sassy, the men lean on fireplaces in country pubs and the kids all rockpool companionably instead of beating the shit out of each other for that net on the stick, as my own kids do. (Favourite hobby: "Beating the shit out of my sibling for the net on the stick.")

Johnnie, I have worked out, emails me every 5.4 days and, over the years, his messages have become more and more plaintive, even though I have given him very little encouragement. "Hi Deborah," he might write, "save all your kisses for Boden with 11 per cent off plus free delivery and returns." "Hi Johnnie," one of my replies might go, "I only visited you the once to buy a baby gift for someone because I couldn't be arsed to go to the shops. It was a one off and meant nothing. Ours will never be a full relationship. Your parents will never meet my parents. My children would never get along with your children, unless your children don't mind being beaten up for nets and then lashed to a rock, probably. It was a flirtation, Johnnie, that's all. And, yes, I used you when it was convenient, and I'm sorry about that, but now it's finished. Get over it." He writes again, even more intimately. "It's Johnnie ...I know you weren't expecting this email. In fact you probably had other things on your mind; your unwritten novel, say, or that last biscuit languishing in the tin. But while I have your attention I'd like to introduce you to the fabulous new Boden range..."

That was it, for me, and I did what I was hoping I wouldn't have to do, as it's such a brutal way to end things, but I ticked the 'unsubscribe' box. This took me to a page that basically asked: "Are you sure?" and then another page that said: "Our emails will never darken your inbox again." Poor Johnnie. I don't think he's taken it very well, but what can you do? And now I've got Ocado to deal with. And ASOS. See? See how trying it all is?