Tuesday, November 01, 2005

A funny thing.

Last night after I left work I was walking to Moorgate train station. I had my phone in my hand and I had been trying to call my friend to see how her day had gone, and had just spoken to my other friend to see whether she was getting the train back with me. Incidentally, she wasn't. Because she had managed to lock herself in her office and set off the burglar alarm.
I was walking, just walking along. I walked past this man. Average height, dark hair, quite good-looking, wearing a suit. I felt his eyes on me as I walked by, up and down, not a particularly nice feeling. I continued for a few steps before I heard a voice say
"Excuse me? Hello?"
I turned around and saw the man standing facing me, looking at me with a quizical expression on his face. As I looked at him he took a couple of paces towards me.
He spoke in a foreign accent, and softly, a little smile playing across his face.
"I know you. Yes? We've met before, I think."
"Er... no" I shook my head. "I don't think so. No, we haven't."
Another step towards me. "Yes. Yes, we have. In a bar. Where do you go out?"
I started to answer, but before I could say that, no we hadn't and I think I don't go to the same sorts of places as he did, I don't think, he stopped me.
"You have been out in the West End? Around Covent Garden? To pubs?"
"Well, yes, but everyone has..."
"Ah yes, you have, I remember you. We met. In a pub. I would never forget eyes like those."
Looking directly at my breasts, of course.
In my head I laughed the laugh of a woman who knows when she's being chatted up, but kind of doesn't mind because she's had a shit day and it's nice to be complimented, even if it is in a really, really cheesy way.
"So" he murmured, taking another step towards me, "what's your name?"
I responded to his questions, I flirted a bit. Because, well, you've got to admire the guts of the man. As it were. Not literally. Not like, "Why sir! What attractive intestines you have!". You know what I mean.
He asked me where I work, told me he was a banker, pausing for me to be impressed.
As anyone knows, the words "I am a banker" followed by a pause for impressed sounds from women is loosely translatable as "I am rich and if you sleep with me I will buy you stuff".
Anyway. I didn't sleep with him. Nor did I continue talking to him for very much longer. Nor did he buy me stuff. I should've at least hung in there for a key fob or an ice-cream, or something.

Paul called me a minute after to suggest a glass of wine and a catch-up, and when I recounted the tale to him, his reaction was to ask whether the man was English, and then when I replied that no, he wasn't, Paul said "Oh, well. There you go then.".

I had a little think, and I don't think I know ANY British men who would approach a girl on the street at six thirty on a Monday evening. I must admit I found it off-putting. I don't like being smoothed at, it disconcerts me. I like my men humble. Reverential. You know, kind of bashful.

No, I'm just joking.



Anonymous Paul said...

It's like the moment in Four Weddings where Hugh Grant says 'three weeks is about my question-popping moment'. I don't know if it's because we view chatting up random girls to be uncouth or, more likely, that the middle-class british male usually has all the confidence of a rabbit in headlights, but we're largely incapable of such behaviour.

2:01 pm

Blogger Doug said...

I could never do that either. Although many of my friends could randomly pick a woman out of a crowd and go and start a conversation with them.

2:40 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

French guys always do that. You cannot, as a girl, sit on a park bench and expect to be able to read a book. Various messieurs will station themselves beside you:

"Do you have a light?"
"No, sorry."
"Ah, un petit accent! From where..."

and off they go. It's somewhere halfways between flattering and exasperating.

3:04 pm

Blogger fb said...

I sit firmly in the Charlie Brown school...


All I need now is a zig-zag sweater...

4:14 pm

Blogger lady miss marquise said...

Hmmm... I do wish you Brits were more forthcoming. With Canadian it's all *Wow, I have the biggest crush on you!*
Which is sweet.
If you're 16.

Come on you Brits, say *Hello*. Ask us out. We won't bite.

4:26 pm

Anonymous Paul said...

But you see, you might bite, how can we tell? We'd rather just stand here and stare disconsolately at our shoes.


4:40 pm

Blogger Dancinfairy said...

Ah, I used to get totally freaked by stuff like that but now I call it 'Operation Flirt'. Mad perhaps but I look at these situations as ways to practice my flirting and I don't get so freaked anymore.

Wish British guys would have the guts to just say 'hi' sometimes though.

5:04 pm

Blogger Adrian said...

It's not necessarily a British thing, as I'm not British, but still find it very difficult to approach a girl in a bar let alone elsewhere.

It's partly about confidence, and partly about bravado (which certain nationalities do more easily than here, especially on the continent). But for the rest of us it's just really hard to approach a girl and start chatting. You can only get blown out so often you know.

All credit to the guy.

5:43 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

ahh,someone did this to me once but with the slightly less glam location of 'do you live in peckham?'

10:21 am

Blogger Tribloke said...

just listening to your Autumn Leaves as I write this. Nice to hear a voice that's a bit different tackle this. If you ever need a very rusty double bassist, give me a shout. . . .

Oh, and British men are far too shy to go up to a girl in the street, which is why we comment on blogs like yours instead ;)

1:46 pm

Anonymous number1hypocrite said...

I always win over my woman by flashing my "I'm embarassingly cute and insecure" smile.

Being humble and honest has always worked for me.

8:21 pm

Blogger miss goLondon said...

bril post! it stripped layers of gauze from my hazy dating world...i have been given a key fob from a Italian banker!embarrassed or proud....

i am so over the bashful british men crap. you are not hugh grant or colin firth. and lets be honest, shy and bashful is really laziness at a masquerade pub crawl. i long for the day when the women in london don't have to pull 98% of the dating weight. no pun.

10:09 am


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