“Finish your marriage as you started it. Take her away for a fortnight and tell her what you really think of her. Or say goodbye to the man of your life on the holiday of a lifetime. It is all possible with a Divorcemoon!”
I don’t often pay much attention to the press releases which flood into my office like the waters of the Severn, and float off my desk to the far corners of the room, but this one caught my eye. A Divorcemoon, eh? I read further.
“Marriages often end messily, inconclusively. Just as newly weds are sometimes lost for words, so there are things that newly divorced people wish they could have said to each other. Not always nice things, perhaps. But how much better to have got them off your chest than spend the next few years wishing you’d said them. Go on a Divorcemoon! – the natural end to a marriage!”
Intrigued, I rang the number given on the press release to find out more about this new service. Who should I find myself talking to but my old friend, PR man extraordinaire, Adrian Wardour-Street?
“There’s been an incredible amount of interest in this,” he said. “It’s been absolutely incredible. Or, to be strictly accurate, it’s going to be absolutely incredible. The flood of calls, the inquiries, it’s going to be hard to deal with. This is the idea of the century. It’s almost too big to handle. Or it will be too hard to handle. As it is, yours is the first inquiry we’ve had, and at the moment we’re desperate for publicity. So how can I help you?”
This is Adrian’s standard opening, and I never pay any attention to it. I just asked him what he thought a Divorcemoon would achieve.
“Oh, but it’s just the most sensational idea I’ve ever been involved with. It is the perfect ending to a marriage. A wedding starts with a wonderful day, a perfect vacation and lots of presents. At the moment, it ends with a sordid court scene and solicitors bills. That can’t be right. We think it should end the same way it begins – with a bang!”
But don’t people just want to get it over and done with?
“Well, for a start, I think it’s unreasonable to assume that because a marriage is ending it is therefore unsuccessful. Quite often the partners have raised children and had a nice life together, and now they feel like a new start. I don’t call that a failed marriage. I call that a fulfilled marriage. So why not give it a great send-off in its final days?”
Yes, but what about all the other marriages that end acrimoniously?
“Indeed. But the reason that most of them end acrimoniously is that they are full of unresolved arguments and unsaid insults. What we enable people to do in a Divorcemoon is say all those things they’ve been yearning to say for God knows how long. Just clear the air. “
But that might mean that the Divorcemoon is one long battle?
“No, no. One short battle. Bit like a thunderstorm, really. When you’re on a Divorcemoon you can shout at each other at meal-times in restaurants, just like you’ve always dreamt of doing. You can storm off to your room. You can flirt outrageously with other people, at last. You can go off to other people’s bedrooms and not come back till morning, for the first time in your life, without hurting the feelings of your partner. You can, frankly, have the most tremendous fun on a Divorcemoon. A Divorcemoon is like the last day of war, the day peace is declared. What did we do on VE Day? We danced in the street. We should do the same on the last day of a marriage!”
Hmm. And how does Adrian Wardour-Street intend to make money out of it?
“Well, the firm I represent, Happy Ending, realises that people getting divorced have absolutely no experience of the process so we step in and arrange it all for you. The hotel, the bookings, what to wear, how to do it – everything. And we take a commission, just like a normal travel agent. We all have a lot of experience – nobody can be hired by the firm unless they’ve been divorced at least once – so we’re always standing by to help you. Or to take sides in your dissolving marriage if you want us to.”
The Divorcemoon brochure is a little different from the usual ones. It show people shouting at each other, standing with arms folded back to back, throwing things, all in the most exotic, palm-fringed surroundings. Does romance ever, in fact, steal back into a relationship on a Divorcemoon?
“Alas, yes. Just occasionally you find the romantic setting affecting people and deciding them not to be divorced after all. Perhaps the marriage wasn’t ripe for ending. Perhaps it was an immature marriage - or, as we see it, a failed divorce. But we claim a success rate of about 96% for our Divorce Specials. So anything you can do to help plug us in the Independent…”
No problem, Adrian.
The Independent 1991