Feminists, and others totally devoid of a sense of humour, please move to another page.
'Try to look feminine' she shouted', '...and try to
look helpless, you useless, bald-headed, four-eyed weasel !'
in the supermarket the other day, pushing my trolley and grasping my
meagre shopping list in one hand. Then began the Herculean task
of avoiding being caught staring at the acres of exposed female flesh
that seemed to fill every aisle more completely than any butcher's
shop window at Christmas. Orange flesh, brown flesh, acne-covered flesh, fleshy folds overhanging low-cut jeans and mini-skirts, and, the anathema of the male, obese flesh exposed by ill-fitting clothes. Oh,
I forgot to mention my personal dislike, that seems to desecrate every
bit of exposed female flesh these days, the tattoos and the body piercing,
yuk and double yuk !
Being ‘over 60’ and single, I seem to be automatically branded a ‘dirty
old man, or a ‘filthy old pervert, which makes it extremely dangerous
to venture forth shopping on my own. After all, it's difficult to
avoid letting one's eyes fall upon a young lady bending over, exposing
her breasts or her ‘builders bum. Being caught can invite the aforementioned derogatory remarks. On the one occasion when this happened to me, I responded, ‘"Madam,
I may be 62, but I bath every day and, although I may be described as a
pervert, you may rest assured that I am not a practising one".
there I was pushing my trolley and searching for the Romain lettuce
(as one does), when I found myself in an impossible situation. Somehow, I had passed between pallets of vegetables that were being placed onto shelves, with no space for overtaking to my left or my right. Worse still, there was a fierce looking elderly lady in front of me with her trolley blocking mine. It was that dreaded moment from ‘The
good, the Bad. and the Ugly, where everything falls silent except the
musical ticking of the clock, slowing down to the point when everyone
is going to start shooting. I
looked again at the elderly lady, with her unblinking, coal-black eyes,
set in a calcified face of wrinkles and makeup.
way to a lady,” I
beg your pardon?” I
replied. I looked around me and saw that I was at the end of the narrow
part of the aisle whereas she was steadfastly blocking my exit.
should give way to a lady,” she reiterated, “and ."Where
are your manners?”
was indeed a ‘Mexican standoff’ in true Eli Wallach and
Lee Van Cleef style.
replied, haughtily, “anyone
can see that you are blocking my exit from the narrow part of the aisle,
and it is simply not reasonable of you to expect me to back all the
way, simply to allow you through, lady or not.”
Miraculously, she moved aside to let me pass, but not without comment.
“In my day, you'd have been horse-whipped for your ill-manners.”
Thanks to John McCririck, the usual anodyne Titchmarsh Show took on some life on the 20th September. Instead of the usual chummy-chat, we had a guest with opinions, a man who was willing to answer back to two women, Gloria Honeyford and Ingrid Tarrant, who were having a go at him from both sides. Answering back to women on PC TV? Wow!
The episode started with Ingrid Tarrant’s photographs showing her in a basque and fishnet stockings. Now, I ask you, a 52-year-old woman in that outfit! I know that women over 30 are in urgent need of their upholstery to hold everything up as it starts migrating south but it’s generally covered by other garments. I think McCririck was unimpressed by a sheep trying to dress up as lamb, to give the impression that she was “desirable” to any man.
McCririck was angered by Ingrid Tarrant’s attack on her ex-husband as he, of course, was not there to defend himself. Her revelations angered McCririck, who said: "You had a cheek to say that he smelt of vindaloo and fish and chips in bed, what's wrong with that? You're such a ghastly woman, you put a tracker on him."
Ingrid, 52, replied: "He lied, how ghastly is that?"
John said, "All I can say is poor old Chris Tarrant, look at what he had to work with if he was bad in bed." John had hit the nail well and truly on the head. He reinforced his point with: "You can't be any good in bed, that's why he strayed away." This exchange showed clearly that whereas Ingrid could dish it our, she was no good at taking it.
I had to put down the magazine I generally read while watching the Titchmarsh show, and give it my full attention. Even the usually smarmy Gloria Honeyford was less than her usual mellifluous self and resorted to name-calling. I detected a serious crack in her over-heavy makeup.
Then, just as things were getting really interesting and all three guests started to throw insults about, Titchmarsh started to panic and his customary painted-on smile faded somewhat as he proved his inability to control a lively discussion. He called time and told John to leave saying, "Go on, off you go." Alan would be better sticking to his trowel!
The show continued and I reached for my magazine again.
by Athos the indomitable
“Well, at least I’m not bald and wrinkled !” The sneer on my granddaughter’s face was enough to raise my blood pressure to Krakatowa level.
“I’ve told you to show some respect by not calling me names,” was my terse reply.
“You’re a gripper….. !” she repeated, defiantly,“… an old gripper, gripping onto life by your fingernails !”
The lava was at the top of the crater. “You should respect your elders, you cheeky little madam.” I had to remind myself that she was only eleven years of age, eleven going on twenty-one, the little cow.
“Gripper, gripper, gripper !” her younger sister taunted, poking her tongue out at me, making the palms of my hands itchy.
This little horror is only six; what will she be like by the time she’s eleven, or 21 for that matter ? All I could think of was the poor unsuspecting sods that would meet them one day and be smitten by their sweet, deceptive smiles, and be dull enough to fall in love with them. Young girls like them should carry a health warning, I thought, to put the poor, unsuspecting young men on guard against getting lumbered with one of them.
“I’m going to marry Steven Gerrard,” the eleven year old declared.
“Yeah…..” her sister added, “….as soon as she murders his wife.”
I couldn’t believe my ears – so young yet already so mercenary. Typically female, I realised, but how in ones so young ?
I sulked in silence, allowing the lava level to sink back into the crater, whilst the two harpies devoured a packet of chocolate marshmallows, not offering any to anyone else, of course.
“Grandad ?” The syrupy voice woke me from my slumber. The eleven year old was standing before me, smiling sweetly, causing me to bristle defensively, like a mongoose before a King Cobra. I looked at her through narrowed eyes as she battered her blue eyes.
“Grandad….” she repeated.
Wait for it, I commanded myself, gripping the chair arms more tightly.
“Could I have fifty pounds towards the cost of a computer, please ?” My brain was searching for an appropriate answer.
“It is my birthday next week”, she added unnecessarily.
“I’ll talk it over with Nanny….and your father of course.”
“Is that a ‘yes’, then, Grandad ?” Her smile didn’t waver a millimetre.
“If your dad approves and Nanny agrees to share the cost.” Her face beamed with childish joy.
“Well, in that case, could I have seventy pounds, or perhaps ninety, please ?”
I slapped my forehead and sank back in the chair. “Children…” I gasped, “…children like fully fledged women alread… it must be bred into them !”
by Athos – the well-travelled man-at-arms
“Thank you ma’am” I stared into hardened eyes as the bag with my donuts was dropped onto the glass shelf in front of me, followed by my change.
A lady in the queue behind reached for my change. “Here let me help you,” her voice trembling, as though she knew this harridan behind the counter.
“Then I guess you’ve never heard of the U.S. of A…” I snapped, “….where Americans are polite to ladies, always addressing them as ‘ma’am’, ma’am ?”
“Oh dear,” the lady behind me sighed as she crept towards the doorway.
“We don’t have a Queen, but we do pretty well without one, and we like to treat all our ladies as if they were queens – ma’am….”
She sniffed the air haughtily. “I am British, with centuries of breeding and culture in my heritage.”
“Oh, you mean you’re descended from a long line of wenches and serving girls. Then – aren’t you all supposed to say ‘Thank you’ and curtsy, or have I got your lineage mixed up with the other type of ‘working girls’….hmmmm ?
I turned and walked out of the shop, my blood boiling.
“Dames” I muttered, “….they’re all the same – all ego and hairspray”.
“Women !” I snarled, pretending to spit in the gutter before I realised that the man who’d questioned me was hopelessly drunk. His face became a look of horror.
“Wuz married….…tree times…” he burbled as he walked away, “…only thing hat kills the pain.” He waved the bottle, protruding from the brown bag in his hand.
“I understand….” I called after him, “….I was just talking with your ex-wife.”
Suddenly I realised that I needed a drink – a big one !
“I don’t care if she can’t find the keys, that scooter must go outside immediately !”
“The Fire Officer has said that these scooters would block any escape route in the event of a fire !” I could feel the contents of my bowels liquefying as I came upon our ‘warden’ staring menacingly into the face of the son of one of our tenants.
“Anything I may do to help ?” I asked, stepping into the line of fire, with reckless abandon, once more.
Of course, I should have remembered that the ‘c’ word wasn’t in the female dictionary.
With that, she turned on her heel, marched into her office and slammed the door. I feared the worst – she was reaching for the telephone to summon reinforcements. Time for a tactical withdrawal, I decided, to head for the relative safety of my flat. I looked at my old and weary face in the hallway mirror, seeing the weathered, weary features, eroded away by years of female onslaughts, at the hands of three wives and a daughter who had inherited her mother’s knack of going straight for the scrotum whenever I dared to suggest an alternative opinion.
Sure enough, our warden had summoned the ultimate evil entity – at what price to her soul I could only imagine – The Harridan-in-Chief, line manager of all wardens, freshly returned to our shores after girding her loins on the island of Lesbos.
I pressed my ear to the door. “Get stuffed you stupid old bat !” came the gruff response from my neighbour below. Martin was not one to be trifled with as I knew to my cost after he caught me eying up his wife in her bikini one summer’s day.
I heaved a sigh of relief and turned to my computer where I began a message to one of my co-Board members at the Association’s HQ. “That’s it…”, I shouted, “Not only am I Chair of the tenants committee, I’m a ruddy Board member to boot.” Quickly I typed my plaintive plea to my colleague, ending with the request ‘….could you have a word with the Chief Harridan…. as I have to go out ?”
Minutes later the reply came. “I totally agree with you, we can’t have the tail wagging the dog, can we……” I smiled and read on….. “….so I’ve asked Joanne the Housing Manager, (female of course), to speak to Patricia and to tell her to back off.”