Hit and Miss

In which The Author sees a particularly lovely pair of legs

(Written in the Pickled Pepper, approx 8.30 pm, Saturday.)

Jade, one of the barbints in one of my locals, is through to the regional finals of the Miss Wales contest. As it’s a charity fundraiser, she and her fellow barbints Zoe and Melissa have decided to work their Saturday night shift in basques, hotpants, stockings and high heels to elicit donations. They’ve all gone peroxide blonde (the ‘Sarah Harding’ look in theory, but in reality quite different from each other). They’re different heights, they vary in shape, and Mel in particular has fantastic legs.
And (once again) Word Gets Around. Every Jack-the-lad, rugby club arsehole, steroid monster, sunbed freak and general twat-about-town is here. You can smell the testosterone at thirty paces.
To be completely impartial, I think Jade is the least attractive of the three. Not only do I not fancy her, but I find her almost devoid of personality. She seems to be the stereotypical Valleys bottle-blonde Barbie, with nothing to say for herself and merely content to let the beer lads drool over her.
Zoe is more mature, with a pleasant disposition and a decent education. Her mother is the landlady, so Zoe knows how to run a pub well.
Mel is naturally lovely, both in her appearance and her character. She’s just embarked on the four-year slog to become a nurse. (In fact, it was a chance conversation with Mel that pointed me towards the University of Glamorgan and my renewed academic study. She also applied late, and got accepted after a phone call. She advised me to call them up and ask about clearing places. I owe her a drink!)
I’ve always been fascinated by the way that youngsters conflate the terms ‘like’ and ‘fancy’ when it comes to the opposite sex.
‘Oh, you like K—,’ they say.
No. The two terms aren’t interchangeable. I might well fancy K—, but if she’s a complete bitch, there’s nothing to like. Conversely, I know plenty of girls whom I like, but don’t fancy. It’s a question of appearance versus personality. When it comes to Mel, I both like and fancy her – even though she dyes her hair blonde. If she went back to her natural colour, I think I’d have to make a play for her.
I was chatting to Maggie’s daughter Nicky earlier this evening. She told me that she used to think I was ‘weird’ – until we met on her birthday a month or so ago. It was a clear case of jumping to erroneous conclusions. Now, she’s decided I’m ‘a really nice guy.’
Have a look at my Facebook friends list. About half of them are female. A lot of them are married – women I’ve known for years, and who are now settled down with husbands and familes. Quite a few of them are lesbians (including one ex-girlfriend!) Anyone browsing my profile would reasonably conclude that I’m a real babe magnet.
But I’m not. I enjoy the company of women, and I think they enjoy mine – otherwise I wouldn’t have so many female friends, both on- and offline. Maybe the trick really is to ‘get in touch with one’s feminine side.’ And I don’t just mean wearing a skirt now and then, but to be sensitive, creative, caring, gentle, sympathetic and kind. Surely it’s better to demonstrate those characteristics than to be a Macho Man with a long list of convictions for violence and a handful of kids you’re not allowed to see.
I was stealing a window earlier when a guy said hello to me. We started chatting about this and that, and he introduced himself as one of the Darches – a large and well-known Aberdare family of hard men. He told me that his brother was a year below me in school. I vaguely remember him. Then he asked me why I wasn’t wearing a skirt. I just laughed and said that I’d have been well and truly upstaged in the legs department tonight. Then he said ‘I don’t care what you are, it’s nice to meet you.’ I told him I was straight – in spite of what he may have previously assumed – and he was genuinely surprised. Yet another erroneous conclusion based on the scantiest of evidence. I walked past the bar, cast a sneaky look at Mel’s amazing legs, and went back to my beer.
Paul P. told me earlier about something he’s read somewhere. He was vague on the details, but (in his memory) the article stated that a steroid boy is seventeen times more likely to rape a woman than a ‘normal’ man.
The steroid boys are all here tonight, strutting their stuff, groping Jade as she collects the empties, or hanging over the bar and drooling over Zoe and Mel. I’m pretty sure that if I offered to walk any of the barbints home at the end of the night, they’d accept. They know they’d be safe in my hands. Sometimes nice guys really do finish first.

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