Tina hangs up her coat in the Rovers’ back hall, listening to Carla extol the virtues of Peter the romantic, Peter the sex god. A surprise overnight getaway to a posh hotel – what a guy! Who could ask for more? Well, Tina for one. The posh hotel was supposed to be hers. Peter wanted to make up for her always being second to Carla, so suggested a romantic night away. But Carla took the call from the hotel, and why would she assume the room hadn’t been booked for Peter and her?
Get used to it, Tina, this is what it’s like. You will come second to the wife and the wife’s assumptions of hotel bookings and the wife’s cooking of dinner. Sneaked kisses and conspiratorial glances are good, and they need to be because that’s the best you’re going to get. The thrill of maybe getting caught, maybe a look being seen by the wrong person. The risk is a large part of the romance of an affair.
This affair is being played awfully close to home; same street, shared local, shared friends. There are a lot of balls to juggle and Peter has them. He comes to the Rovers to explain to Tina what went wrong with their hotel plans, but Carla drops in. With Tina right there, he plays kissy-face with Carla as she tells Liz and anyone who cares to hear what a wonderful husband she has. If Carla had looked at Tina, she might have wondered about her expression. Maybe not all share her joy in her perfect marriage. Liz’s thoughts about Peter’s acts of love and devotion were reflected perfectly on her face. Peter caught it, did Carla? She didn’t seem to, but sometimes one can see something without it fully registering at the time. Later, a lot of things can add up and make sense.
What’s adding up for Tina is that she can’t play the long game. It’s too close at hand, and too demeaning not only to have to wait on the availability of one person but of two. Carla does not know it, but Tina must make her plans according to Carla’s needs and whims. And, with everyone being so near each other, Tina gets to hear the before and after of marital life for Carla and her husband, Tina’s lover.
For Peter, this threesome is a real test of his strategy, navigation and gambling skills. When bigamously married to Shelley and Lucy, his two households were in different parts of town. In his seduction of Carla while married to Leanne and of Leanne while engaged to Carla, there was a fourth party in the game. That made it more complex but also gave him breathing room. Both women had to take their fiancés/husbands into account so weren’t always free to see him. And when, as with Carla after Frank’s demise, there wasn’t another man, there was always the bottle, providing endless excuses for Peter to disappear without explanation. Now he’s called upon to give reasons, which his AA friends are unwittingly supplying, but he still is answerable and can’t just say ‘I was blotto.’ Now, it’s just him and Carla, married, and Tina, free agent and in love. Success depends solely on his skills. It’s a game of chance, and he likes those. He’s a bookie without a shop, a gambler without a racetrack.
Lloyd, I think, would choose Dusty’s version of The Look of Love, so here it is.