Diary of a Separation

Mario López-Goicoechea
3 min readMay 20, 2018

Saturday 31st March 2018

I went to a members’ screening of “Force Majeure” at the ICA today. I had missed the movie first time around. Although billed as a comedy there was enough drama in it to make it a metaphor for my current relationship woes.

Thomas’s display of cowardice in the face of an act of God could be likened to my lack of agency and urgency in my marriage. My subsequent denial and self-denial mirror Thomas’s slow (ever so painfully slow) realisation that he is not the model husband he believes he is. In addition he comes to the sad conclusion that “gaslighting” his wife will not improve their situation. On the contrary, his behaviour contributes to the partnership’s breakdown. Whilst the ending of the movie offers some kind of hope, the reality is that the back spine supporting the couple’s emotional, physical, mental and spiritual infrastructure has become an amorphous, unrecognisable mass, neither vertebrate, nor invertebrate; in fact it has become nothing at all.

Saturday 7th April 2018

I did my first official East London Radio show today. It was really good craic. The other co-presenters were lovely and engaging. My subject was the crisis that has been engulfing masculinity for a few years now. I refused to call it “toxic masculinity” as it is the fashion these days. To me that phrase is confrontational and argument-ending. Instead of trying to find headline-generating adjectives, it would be more useful to focus on what the mark of true masculinity is. Are we, men, a penis-shaped, walking collection of pre-conceived notions of maleness, or are we harder to define? I think the latter theory is worth exploring more.

After the show I went to Hackney Downs Vegan Market. I fancied something different and I’ve heard so much about HDVM that I had to give it a go. The food was glorious. Taste-wise, the difference between my plant-based burger and what would have been my usual meat one was negligible.

I hurried home from the market. The ride was effort-free on account of some very welcome tailwind.

D came over tonight and we had dinner in a Turkish restaurant nearby. Looking at her across the table as she briefed me on the week she’d just had, made me realise how lucky I was to have friends like her at this time of need. Ironically, it was the lines of a poem by James Joyce, Alone, that came into my head: The noon’s greygolden meshes make/All night a veil,
The shorelamps in the sleeping lake/Laburnum tendrils trail/The sly reeds/whisper to the night/A name — her name-/And all my soul is a delight/A swoon of shame.

Life is full of contradictions and funny turns. Sometimes your mind just reacts to them.