Discussing the week’s episodes, my husband said, “There’s a movie called Rancho Deluxe. A guy is watching this woman in a clearing in the woods. She’s dancing and swaying, absolutely beautiful. The guy, all misty-eyed, says ‘she’s just like Bambi.’ That’s what Peter is like around Tina”. Yes, women are as lovely as Bambi to Peter just like, in his eyes, the grass is always greener over where Bambi gambols.
On Wednesday, Peter definitely had the isn’t-she-lovely look as he watched Tina playing football with Simon. It seems like only yesterday when he looked all misty-eyed at Carla as she barked orders at her staff or downed a large glass of red. Despite him then being married to her friend Leanne, Carla had her sights set on him like the hunter who shot Bambi’s mother. I wrote about Carla’s penchant for wanting the unavailable man, the flat-out wrong man. I didn’t think at that time that she’d want Peter if he became available. But she has continued to, indeed told Michelle that she’s invested her all in him and their relationship.
Peter looks at women, my husband thinks, in the same way you might look at vehicles; different types for different purposes. Peter wants both the sportscar and the pick-up truck. But trying to combine the two in one, the ‘sport utility’ vehicle, doesn’t give the full driving experience or range of either. Peter wants the career woman and the maternal type, but doesn’t seem satisfied to have it in one package. Perhaps it’s no accident that Peter entered into bigamous marriages. He may be best suited to polygyny, the word used for multiple wives when such a marital pattern is not illegal.
So Carla is the sexy, stylish businessperson that he also seems himself as. Leanne is the loving (step)mother of his child, and he did revisit his attraction to her a while back before she married Nick. Now Tina is the free spirited and tender-hearted carer of his child. Simon likes her in a way he has never liked Carla. And Carla, even when she is being caring, cannot be as warm and spontaneous as Tina is.
It is possible that his interest in Tina is only due to the stress he feels about the bullying Simon has experienced at the hands of Grace and Faye. Peter’s mind is preoccupied with Simon’s wellbeing, as it should be. So wedding flowers and seating plans are way down his list of priorities. Carla quite correctly can argue that neither the wedding nor the factory will organize themselves; the deadlines are there and she is left to manage. Her calls on him for help make him think of other ways in which she has steamrollered over his life.
He does acknowledge to Tina the irony of it – feeling resentful, even bullied, for being given half a factory, having a lovely wedding planned and a fabulous honeymoon paid for. Is his self-deprecation just for Tina’s sake? Does he have reason to resent being beholden to Carla, to being emasculated by her doings for him? Or is he incapable of a long-term, self-sustaining relationship with just one woman? Is Carla equally incapable of that, but in sensing Peter’s backtracking, she needn’t deal with her own doubts? Is Hayley’s final creative project a wedding gown made for a jilted bride? Next week should give us the answer to that last question but not the others.