Girl.

July 4, 2007

Ok. So who’s the girl, I hear you ask. Well, I can’t tell you that. I shouldn’t tell you all that much, actually, just in case. I know the internet’s a big place, but I should really keep specifics out of this.

So what’s so special about her?

She’s astoundingly intelligent. She’s more intelligent than I, which is the most crazy turn on I could possibly have imagined.

She’s independent. There’s no feeling that she’s waiting to fall into Mr. Right’s arms directly before rushing off to the chapel to get married, thereafter producing or rearing children. I’m so far from being an emotional crutch with her that to go out with her is a compliment.

She’s older than me. While not a requirement in itself, with age comes maturity and I am perhaps mature beyond my years. Either that or I appreciate maturity in others.

She’s physically beautiful. She has the most amazing eyes which I could — and do have your sick bag on standby — … I could just stare into those eyes forever. The little way the corner of her mouth curls up at one end when she’s thought of something clever. The gut laugh when we make the same joke. The colour of her hair, the way she walks, the fucking shoes she wears. I want to spend every single waking moment of my life with this woman.

Perfection.

Only problem? We live particularly far apart. I’m willing to test the water on that one though.

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Travel.

April 5, 2007

The underground in London is always an interesting place to be. I’m sitting amongst the weary London commuters. Specifically, I’m sitting next to a woman who appeared attractive until she started hacking up whatever junk her years of smoking have left in her lungs.

Londoners, being big city types, do not speak to one another. They do not make eye contact. They push their way out of the train rather than politely ask for space to get out. So it was with great pleasure that I watched a bunch of foreign schoolchildren arrive.

They sounded Italian. Perhaps they’re in England on a field trip of some sort. They gleefully count the number of stops to their destination; counting the stops was a novelty for me too, when London was new and unfamiliar, but no more. They squeal the number in their native language and in English. They loudly recite the posh announcements suggesting that commuters “mind the gap between the train and the platform.” They sit on each other’s laps, they fall over when the train stops and starts, and they bump and push the natives without meaning to. One poor London gent attempts to pretend that a 14 year old kid didn’t just fall into his lap crushing his book; she laughs, while he tries to find some ceiling to stare at. These kids have more character than everybody else on the train combined; I couldn’t help myself but laugh out loud at their antics. They reach their destination, echoing laughter fading as they stumble further away.

The smoker lady also leaves. I notice her greasy skin this time. It’s skin I’m sure she hates. Perhaps she should stop smoking, or perhaps she needs to apply less antiperspirant in the mornings.

A pretty brunette takes her place. Her hair is neat, and professional (inoffensive), as is her white jacket and black trousers. I toy with the idea of saying ‘hi,’ but decide against it for two reasons: first, the efficiency with which she unfolded her free paper suggested that she did not want to be disturbed; second, my Glaswegian accent would stick out like a sore thumb amongst these Londoners and their elongated vowels. How can anybody speak so slowly? I do not know.

The brunette gets off at the same stop as I do. She walks ahead of me, thus placing her three steps higher than me when ascending out of the underground — the eye-to-ass ratio was as perfect as the flesh her black work trousers was surely concealing. Mesmerised, I only realise I’ve followed her in the opposite direction from where I want to go when I see the ticket barriers.

I snap out of my fantasy land and make my way out the correct exit to head for dinner. I find a neat little Italian restaurant, staffed by actual Italians. Native Londoners seem tremendously impolite, and my waitress seemed genuinely surprised when I said “thank you” as I sat down at my table. Such a simple courtesy than so many people in this city seem to forget. I tip heavily, thus bucking the “stingy Scotsman” trend while I’m at it.

At the airport, I nip into W.H. Smith to satisfy a slight hankering for chocolate. I spot a Dairy Milk Double chocolate, and decide to go for it. At the checkout, the girls talk to each other:

  • Assistant 1: Have you tried this double chocolate?
  • Assistant 2: No, not yet…
  • Assistant 1: Neither have I. I’m really tempted, I’ll bet it’s really creamy… [to me:] that’s one pound eighty two pence please.

I pay for my purchase, and offer them both a square of my chocolate which they both accept after a little negotiation. Such a simple little gesture is, again, met with surprise. But it’s such a simple little gesture that puts a smile on three people’s faces, if you include mine. Is it so surprising to be nice to people these days?

The flight was uneventful, aside from my sniggering at the fellow next to me who returned from the toilet with a wet patch down his right leg (followed by attempts to cover it up for the remainder of the journey). I chat to the taxi driver as he drives me home about his night, his previous fare. He started at 5pm, and he’ll be working until 4 or 5am, as per his usual shift. Taxi driver, now that’s a job way harder than any academic position. He’s a nice gent, so he also gets tipped heavily.

Surprisingly, throughout this journey none of my Scottish money was refused, and I was only accused of being English once (followed by swift sincere apology upon my correction).

Home. Tired. Sleep.

Speeding.

March 29, 2007

Those crazy Danes appear to have a rather excellent way of getting people to slow down on the roads: Topless roadsigns tackle Danish speeding menace. Hooray!

Naked.

March 23, 2007

Here’s a topic likely to drive the wrong sort of traffic to my site. First thing’s first: this is not pornography. This is not voyeurism, as such. It is, however, about empowerment.

I spotted on Flickr a set entitled Support Topless Women. Now you see why I placed the disclaimer at the top of the post; no doubt this entry will attract attention either via Google or via the various appropriate tags.

The purpose of the set seems vague. Certainly the last photo in the set celebrates a woman’s right to be topless in public in one part of New York. Which brings up the question: why, in the enlightened 21st century, is it actually an offence in some places for a woman to walk around topless?

Let’s think about this.

Primary sexual characteristics are those parts that are required for natural procreation. The external genitalia, to use such a horrendously clinical term, are the bits that we can see and, erm, touch. I can understand people covering these parts, for reasons of hygiene, dignity, etc. The other guys on the street don’t need to be embarrassed when I gleefully swing past them, for example.

Secondary sexual organs are the bits that help define us. Things like facial hair, muscular definition and strength, general body shape, placement and volume of body hair, placement of body fat, etc. The things that make women women, and men men. These things are never as ubiquitously offensive as, say, a naked penis in the bakery section of the local grocery store. Some people may be offended by a muscular man, just as some may be offended by a naked breast, just as some may be offended by a hairy back.

So why exactly is a naked breast considered illegal by some, while a hairy back is not? I’d wager that more people would find a hairy back more offensive these days than a naked breast.

Of course, I can understand that the idea of exposing breasts on the street as casually as you would a Somerfield bag is a scary one, especially given the number of men around who barely manage to scrape together the requirements to join the human race. But that’s not my point.

Why is the naked breast, arguably a thing of beauty in the same way the rest of the human body is, such an offensive thing to some people?