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the sticky man

“Hello there, order ” I said in my most decisive Without a Trace of Woman voice.

“You’re an IMBECILE, approved ” said the sales attendant.  Or, he may as well have.  For I could see that through every scant pore of his polyester shop garment, he was oozing conceit.

I had something to buy.  He wouldn’t run it through the register.

I said, “I’d like to buy this male to female RCA lead.”

“You’re an IDIOT,” he said.  Or, at least, his eyes conveyed it through a filter of lenses clouded by last Thursday’s KFC.

“Are you sure?” he wanted to know.

I counted, as I vowed I would, to ten.

“Yes.  I’d be so grateful if I could buy this male to female RCA lead, thanks.”

“What are you going to do with THAT?” asked Smartarse McTool.

I could have offered many responses.  Most of which are unpublishable in a proper lady’s blog.  I didn’t. Instead I imagined the painful and inappropriate intrusion of an RCA into Smartarse McTool’s USB port.

The image didn’t help. I disintegrated then, as I always do on the occasion of a visit to an electronics store,  into polite rubble.

I should have snarled.  I should have flourished the lead like a confident porn star. I should have waved my cable, said “How you like me now, baby?” and made him suck it before leaving him 8.95.

I just wanted to go home and  get my dirty patch job done.

When Smartarse asked “What are you going to do with THAT?” I had to answer, didn’t I?  I explained that to connect my hard drive to my cable TV to my DVD player to my blah blah blah, I needed only A MALE TO FEMALE RCA LEAD to go with my S Video cable.

Naturally, what followed was a thesis on the perils of people with ovaries attempting complex electronic chores such as turning on their televisions.

After a grown up shopping life, I should be used to this.  I should know just to grab the fucking lead and run.  Actually, I should just shoplift the things.  No man would suspect a woman of theft in an electronics store.

But I will not learn my lesson.  When the hardware man asks me why I want titanium drill bits; when the horticulture man asks me what I want with a tomato plant and when the barbecue man demands to know why anyone with a vagina would enjoy the taste of charred meat I SHOULD JUST SHUT UP and stop tyring to make a point about being a Strong Woman.

Or, I should possibly say, “I don’t, tee hee, know.  I’m buying this for my fiancé.” That’d get me home quicker.
Just a few years ago, rehabilitation
I was a coat check girl in a club. And the work wasn’t bad. The DJ played 60s garage, remedy
the patrons weren’t on so much meth as to be consistently violent and I spent a lot of time talking with rockabilly people about their beautiful coats.

And, website like this
every now and then, unsteady young men would stop by my booth to flatter. Although girls in this belligerently straight bar never did. This was a shame as I enjoyed the flirtation immensely. It passed the time between coats.

But. There was one bloke whose attention I dreaded. I’d forgotten about him until last Sunday when I saw him in another Melbourne club.

His name was Brett. He was a divorcee. He had coarse lips abraded by time, misery and cointreau.  He often stopped by to tell me he found me unattractive.

One night, when the book I had brought along did not sustain my interest (thanks, Don DeLillo, you boring sod) I decided to count the occasions he said, “I’m not trying to pick you up.”

Seventeen.

This was the sort of active neglect I’d not seen since grade school.  Mildly ignited by cointreau, Brett waved the great wick of his indifference at me as though it was something very new and interesting. Like a shiny toy truck I wasn’t allowed to touch.

“Try to pick you up?  Nah.”

The peculiar thing was: I had never charged sticky, cointreau-smelling Brett with trying to pick me up. I’ve worked often enough in seedy places to know that conceit is never well received by drunks.

So, I listened to him, more or less without protest, and counted the minutes and the times he told me that I was unattractive.

Brett belched. Brett told me about his hideous custody battle.  Brett told me that, really, I could make a little more of myself if I got a tan and bigger tits.

He was pretty sure of himself, actually. He made it sound as though a global poll conducted by SMS had assessed my appearance and found it wanting in tan and tit.  Results were in. I was to be voted off Brett Island if I did not IMMEDIATELY find enormous jugs and a beauty therapist armed with a spray gun.

“I’m not trying to pick you up.  Nah,” he said. It sounded like a self-help mantra for the newly divorced.

I saw him the other night and he looked so sad. His coat was new but his lips were still rough and he retained the convulsive body language of an angry boy in a sandbox frightened to talk to girls.

I moved toward him. Not so close as to risk contact but close enough to hear what he was saying to a young woman in an Arcade Fire shirt.

“I’m not trying to pick you up.”

Nah.

16 Responses to “the sticky man”

  1. pussinboots says:

    Brill. I too mourn the lost art of face to face flirtation. Bretts are the fingernail of mollusc shell we have to suffer in order to be rewarded with cute chubby Scotsman brimming with cheek and expert cunniligus… ahem.

  2. helenrazer says:

    This Scot is used purely for the purpose of illustration, I take it?!

  3. pussinboots says:

    Entirely. What else would I use such an orally blessed Scotsman for. *cough*

  4. Ethel Merman says:

    Brett sounds so desirable, it’s hard to believe he’s single. Still.

  5. Wolfie Rankin says:

    I have heard that I have a scotch background, although I’ve never worn a kilt… kind of fancied the idea. I’m of the opinion that men would be more comfortable in something like that. As I lean to the other side of the fence… my own side? I’m not in for whatever that c-word was *blush* I’m just an innocent virginal thing who knows nothing of that. My scotch genes protest. ;)

    Wolfie!

  6. David Johnston says:

    Thanks for a brilliant portrait of the sleazey types women have to put up with. That guy sounds lower than crude oil.

    If nobody’s told you lately how beautiful you are,Ms Razer, please accept the statement of fact from me. You are one of Earths treasures. Thanks for your brilliance and your wit.

    • helenrazer says:

      Well, my heavens, Mr Butler! Thank you!
      It must be said, of course, I suffer from unquestionably high self esteem. Brett really didn’t impact that at all.
      I should say: it’s hardly just women who have to deal with these sorts of things. In my years of working in bars, I’ve seen how cruelly ladies can treat gents who dare to approach. As a young man with whom I spoke recently in the course of research said, “It’s like those little miinxes think they own the club.”
      Anyhow. Why anyone goes out at all is completely beyond me. Stay in. Wait for the technological singularity and hope that a monumentally powerful labyrinth of artificial intelligence will create your perfect date.

  7. Gumby Roffo says:

    while I excel at the C— word I’ll have to borrow wolfie’s kilt (promise to get it dry-cleaned after) and one of those flat hats with the ginger hair stapled to it.

    Mind if I swap the cointreau for Baileys? as good champagne is hard to find out here.

  8. pussinboots says:

    Every man should be comfortable in a kilt and expert at cunnilingus. If you can’t say it Gumby you probably aren’t.

  9. helenrazer says:

    You do make a convincing point, Puss. However, the prowess of all visitors to this site is tested via a complex and highly secret method of IP detection. Therefore, Gumby, and all herein, are qualified practitioners of the, ahem, C Word.
    Except for Teh Gays. Teh Gays are permitted automatic entry.
    Boom Tish.

  10. Necron99 says:

    I must admit I’m not to great in person. I seem to do better in prose.

    I received a lot of prose flirting last year, mostly turned sour after people saw me in person… and my age. Oh well.

    That Brett sounds like a real sorry case. I’ve never thought you ugly Helen, but people’s looks rarely compare with their personality anyway. The attraction in looks often comes afterwards, in my opinion and experience. And as for someone’s physical attributes, I think it’s called ‘being bloody human’, geez!

    p.s. I’m not trying to pick you up. (I shouldn’t really laugh at my own jokes, possibly a sign of dementia)

  11. pussinboots says:

    I did mean to Except the Male Gheys. I’m intrigued as to how IP detection can ascertain the presence of this skill. You could make an excellent living selling that to female e-daters.

    I do so love a man in a kilt though. Alongside the hot tradie getups (greasy overalls folded down to reveal spanner-toned torso; faded blue singlet accentuating plumber or carpenter’s shoulders) it is one of the most lust-inducing outfits a man can wear. I fell victim to one within three nights of my first year at uni.

    Although if you’re not truly Scottish I imagine you’d come off pretty poxy.

  12. Necron99 says:

    That’s what I meant, Helen, although it came out a little weird. I was just making the point that if someone isn’t, their personality grows on you after you get to know them. That’s why we see ‘good-looking’ people with ‘ugly’ people. Or the fat-skinny match up. One can be good-looking but completely brainless or just plain offensive. you have heaps of the former and none of the latter.

    Cheers,

    Paolo

    p.s. As for offensive, well, it’s all a matter of perspective, isn’t it? Sometimes, it just can’t be helped.

  13. captainfez says:

    With the spray-tanning so high in his mind, maybe there’s some kind of as-yet-unsatisfied sexual issue the dude has with a certain film about midget chocolate-makers with a penchant for song?

    Except, with enormous racks.

    Hrm.

    In other news, I have a sporran you can borrow should the mood strike you.

  14. villager says:

    I, too, worked as a coat check girl, and it was possibly the most unrewarding of the many jobs I’ve had. Serve people beer, and they love you (or at least are drunkenly appreciative). Fail to produce their coat instantly from within the morass at 3am when the bar closes and everyone’s trying to get home at once, their ticket squashed somewhere into the sticky mess of the dancefloor, and you are the object of vilification.

    There was also a guy I saw frequently, who never failed to point out that my Swedish accent was crap (I was working in Sweden). Eventually, one night, he apologised, and said that he was generally just in a low mood because he never managed to pick up. My guess is that coat check girls bear the brunt of many men’s failures in this department.

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