In the space of the past 48 hours I have witnessed three distinctly different reactions to the warm weather. All of them were realised in the pursuit of the flesh, but I was interested to note how the power dynamic was actually quite similar in all three situations. (hint: if you’ve got something that a guy wants to “get involved with” – you have the power).
The first observation was made in my local gym. I was there at around 5pm, so a similar time to when the local colleges are kicking out I guess. It’s an earthy kind of place, with the young, lithe types sneaking looks at each other whilst huge-thighed men and women stomp away on treadmills and the rest of us world-weary folk just try and get by without anyone noticing how small the weights we’re lifting actually are. Anyhew, I was balancing on a bosu in the “floor space” – as you do – with a half dozen other people. When in walks your archetypal provocatrice in a low-cut (and wholly inappropriate) top, all giggles and hair and barely-contained boobs. I swear that everyone under the age of twenty-five stopped what they were doing. And boy, did she know it. Before long she was asking for “tips” from some of the guys, which obviously involved her lying on the floor and letting them loom over her, concentrating hard on not letting their panting tongues slip out of their mouths. And the banter, the banter! There was innuendo that Freddie Mercury would have been proud of all delivered with a coquettish smile not unreminiscent of what the Argonauts must have gazed upon before hurling themselves into the briny deep. But there was a sad edge as her confidence in her powers increased, she dumped the punier 19 year-olds in favour of sidling up to the larger, well-sculpted gentleman with the rock hard abs (occasionally flashed in the mirror). Sadly she had at this point overshot herself, for as anybody who as ever been to a gymnasium knows, there is no getting between the gym bunny narcissist and their own reflection.
The second encounter of the “mad March hare” kind came as I was caught short after a prolonged tube journey and on my way to the park. Now I know public conveniences have gotten a lot of stick in the past, but really if you’re a guy and all you need is to pass water then frankly it’s not that much of an ordeal. Now I don’t know about you, but the one thing that does cross my mind every time I use a public loo is. Is this a cottage? I have never been able to 100% formally confirm the existence of such a venue. Well that is, until now… I’ve always wondered how you could tell whether a toilet was – you know – just a toilet, but now I know that I’d never been in a functioning cottage until this week. The distinction appears to be that if you’re there for anything other than what they were designed for, you’ll stay unnaturally long and make way too much eye contact. Or you’ll hang out nonchalantly (!) at the entrance whilst pretending to check something on your phone. Please, you’re not fooling anyone, it’s a lovely sunny day and you’re standing in the shade surrounded by the odour of public toilets. You’re not here for the free wifi… It was all so furtive, people standing at the urinals for minutes and minutes on end. Then changing positions, moving down the wall! And drying their hands for the entire time it took me to go in, do my business, wash and dry my hands and leave. The thing that struck me the most about all the meaningful glances and subterfuge was quite how many guys there were just standing around in there. Waiting. It wasn’t until I left that I realised how much of the power I had held in that room, none of them were looking at each other. It was like being behind the looking glass.
It was when my journey ended and I sat down on a park bench when the third in my torrid triumvirate was completed. I was surrounded by pigeons feeding of stale foccacia or whatever else the Italian tourists were feeding them, when I noticed two individuals had become separated from the rest of the pack, one was following the other with quite some intent. It became obvious that the one in front was the lady pigeon and the one trailing was her erstwhile suitor. As he approached her he lifted his head to reveal the opalescent feathers beneath and strutted in a circle before running a bit closer and performing the whole ritual again. Now I’m no animal psychologist and certainly not adept at reading the body language of the Columba Palumbus, but she was clearly having none of it. Leading him on a merry and unflattering dance, she shook him off like a mere irritation, comfortable in the knowledge that she was in charge. At one point it looked as though he was getting somewhere as she turned her head to gaze upon the face of her potential mate. Would this be the point at which all his efforts would be rewarded? And would I finally work out where exactly the baby pigeons are…? Sadly not, at this point he was almost trampled to death by an over-zealous pair of runners obviously out on a run from work. The man was holding back, with an ungainly gait designed only to impress. The woman wasn’t wearing a sports bra. And it is thus that I shall leave you on this sexy circular story.