So on saturday afternoon, I head off to the British Museum to catch the Grayson Perry exhibit. Unfortunately, the planets were out of alignment for me that day, and all tickets were sold out by the time I got there. Undeterred (and partly to piss off the pushy snob behind me who wanted the staff to magic a ticket out of thin air, just because she’d come all the way from Salisbury and didn’t think she should have to wait behind us proles to discuss the matter), I stayed in the queue and booked for the sunday.
As I’m walking away, a man approaches me to ask what I’ve been queueing for, and if I’m going to see something. I explain that I’m not seeing anything, as they’ve sold out, and, lo and behold, he produces two tickets from his pocket.
Now, because I’m a pessimist and automatically assume that anyone who approaches a stranger unsolicited is not to be trusted (particularly if they’re a male and the stranger happens to be a woman half their age), I figure that I’ve inadvertently stumbled into an ‘I’ll get you in, if you give me a hand-job in the disabled toilet’ situation. Preparing myself to send him off with a thick ear, I look down to see two tickets to the British Library. Which is quite patently a different place. Smiling politely, I tell him he’s got a bit confused, give him directions to Euston and walk away in a purposeful manner.
On my way out, I decide to have a mosey round the gift shop, see if they have any nice postcards to brighten up my hovel, that kind of thing, when I get a tap on the shoulder.
It is my confused friend, and he’s back for round two.
He starts to strike up a conversation: Am I looking at anything in particular, where am I from. I stand with my arms crossed, and fix him with a dubious look, waiting for the punch line. He introduces himself as George, and tells me he is Greek Cypriot, but lives in North London. He guesses that my name is Laura, or Rebecca, and that I’m a law student. I reply that most people call me Gem, and that I’ve never met a lawyer with a neon yellow handbag. Still waiting for the punch line…
Eventually he invades my personal space a bit more, and asks:
“So, are you going to come and have a coffee with me?”
“You seeing someone, then?”
“Yes (because, of course, if I was single I’d be slobbering all over his shoes by now).”
“Been together long?”
“About 2 and a half years. And her name is Kate.”
He pauses, cocks his head to one side, and then grins like a drunk. Here we go, I think.
“Oh, I see. But you’re beautiful.”
I don’t even bother to go into the reasons why he has just insulted me. “We are a rare beast.”
“Have you ever been with a man?”
“No. Have you?”
“Urgh, no. I couldn’t have a man touch me.”
“My point exactly.”
“Probably you’ve not met the right man. I mean, we can do everything a woman could. So, why don’t you come and have a coffee. We could be friends.”
“Because you don’t want to be my friend.”
“Why don’t you just take my number, and have a think about it?”
I relent because I’m pissed off, but can see no alternative escape without knocking the smile off this cocky git’s face. And clocking someone in the British Museum would probably be seen as uncouth.
“Fine. Give me your number, and then I’m going.”
“Do you want me to walk you?”
I walk away, when he whistles and says: “Wow, that’s a hot body. What’s that behind your ear?”
I explain the tattoo, which, for some unfathomable reason, he takes as encouragement, and asks: “Do you have any others? Maybe on your legs, down your back…”
“I’m going now.”
“Alright then, darling. You get in touch.”
And then he strokes my face.
Actually runs his hand down my jaw and rests it on my collarbone.
If I hadn’t been so surprised I’d have bitten him.
This needs to be added to the school curriculum for boys:
1. Lesbians don’t have sex with men, no matter how much you cajole them.
2. Lesbians can be attractive. This does not mean that they are just straight girls playing around to hook men.
3. Do not whistle at women. We are not a bloody labrador.
4. Do not assume you have the right to touch them. They will grant permission if you pass muster.
5. Forget it. There’s just too much to list.
Mama Fox insisted I write up this little tale. She finds my life amusing. She laughed for a good 3 minutes then said: “What is the matter with you? Why do you always attract such nutters?”