Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Andrea VIII – Role-play

Andrea gives me a huge and cheeky grin as I enter the room next time, hugging my folder to her bosom.
‘You quite fancy me, don’t you?’ she says.
And I’m suddenly very flustered and splutter a bit as I sit down. This isn’t playing fair. ‘Well, I um...’ I say.
‘Ok, let’s do a little role-play. Chat me up.’ and she sits there, looking sideways at me, pouting provocatively and puffing her breasts out.
‘I can’t do this’ I say, giggling nervously.
‘Of course you can darling. Look at me. Nothing’s going to happen. I won’t let it.’
I look at her. She looks candidly back, her rich red hair flowing around her face and over her pale, almost blue-white cleavage.
‘You’re enjoying this, aren’t you’ I say and she smiles evilly through her fringe.
‘Say you’re at a party,’ she says ‘and you spot me across the room. You think “Kworh!” or whatever and then what?’
‘And then nothing usually. Look, this is all a very long time ago.’
‘Think back’ she says, but I don’t need to. Since I’ve been here my whole life’s memories have been horribly fresh in my mind.
‘I wouldn’t have done anything.’
‘Why ever not?’ She pretends to be outraged. ‘Look at me for god’s sake. Check out my gorgeous hair, my luscious lips. Look at the size of my boobs for god's sake! You have to have me. Come and talk to me.’
‘It’s not as simple as that’ I say, laughing nervously.
‘Why not? Look, I’m alone. I’m over by the buffet, suggestively munching on the crudités. I’m just begging for someone to come over and say something for god’s sake. So say something. Anything.’
I look over at her for a time. I decide to turn the tables. ‘Did you actually do that? To meet men?’
‘What? Well, er... no... Of course not...’
Hah! Got her this time.
‘...sometimes, maybe. Not with the crudités. I don’t do celery.’
‘What did you think of the men you met that way?’ I say. ‘Not a very representative sampling method is it? I wonder how much this contributed to your “All men are wankers” hypothesis?’
‘I never said that’ she says, pretending to be aghast. ‘Not out loud anyway. Did I?’
‘I heard you, a few weeks ago, up on deck.’
‘Well, maybe I have a soft spot for wankers’ she says, slumping and grinning ruefully. We sit quietly for a bit. ‘I was a bit of a tart back then’ she admits. ‘But then that should have made it easier for you. I was up for it. Hello boys! Rrrr!’
‘I know, I know...’
‘So why not?’
I think about this. Several reasons jostle for position.
‘First, I’d have felt really self-conscious in front of a whole room full of onlookers. Plus, you wouldn't have been alone. You'd have had all your friends with you. Second, I know my mind would have gone completely blank and I’d have stood there like a squashed lemon. Thirdly...’ I have to think about how to explain this.
‘Well... frankly you’re fairly fabulous. I think I’d have had to assume it was a trick, or something...’ I tail off. It’s a pretty pathetic list, but it's all true. She looks at me, pondering.
‘Well, firstly, thank you’ she says quietly, bushing a little. I’m blushing too. ‘But did you actually ever seriously try to chat a girl up in your life?’
‘At school, quite a few times.’
‘Oh look, I was just such a nerd. It was embarrassing for all concerned.’
‘Who did you chat up?’
‘What? You want names?’
‘No, I mean, for example, were they the girls you really fancied, or just the girls you thought were less likely to say no?’
I nod, the memories coming back thick and fast. ‘Really fancied’ I say, somewhat wistfully.
‘So what made you give up?’
‘Well it was getting pretty humiliating by then. I think I knew deep down what they thought of me and what they’d say but I don’t think I realised until too late how ridiculous I looked, asking all the best looking girls in the class to go out with me. Nobody ever said anything. I just realised one day that everybody knew.’
‘Didn’t you ever talk to your friends about it?’
‘Not really. We didn’t really talk about stuff like that. Remember, they were even geekier than I was. And they seemed happy that way.’
‘Hmm... so when did all this begin? When do you remember first looking at the girls in that way?’
‘I don’t know really’ I say, but I do remember obsessing about Donna in Mr Philbert’s class. ‘I’d have been about nine’ I say at last.
‘Ok...’ she says as if suddenly realising something important. ‘So this all went on for quite some time.... I see. I don’t suppose you asked your dad for advice about it? No. Didn’t think so. What about your sisters? You had two older sisters, right?’
‘Amelia and Justine, yes. But no, not really. They were a lot older than me. They had a lot of other things to worry about, kids and stuff. I think I used to keep all this sex stuff fairly private. My dad was always hassling me to talk to girls at family dos. That was embarrassing in itself. I think he decided I was gay in the end. Mum would never have wanted to know.’
‘Did you talk to anybody about it? I thought young lads talked about nothing else. Don’t disappoint me on this.’
‘They do... I suppose... But it’s all for show.’
‘Oh, you know, ogling girls at the disco, making smutty comments, looking at fantasy art.’
She looks at me quizzically.
‘Sci-fi paperback covers? You must know what I’m on about. It’s all Swordsman and dragons and buxom girls with their negligees in tatters. You must know the kind of thing.’
She nods. ‘Actually I kinda liked all that stuff’ she says putting on a camp Bronx accent and squirming a little. I try to stay focussed. ‘My last boyfriend, Graham’ she adds, ‘he was a bit of a sci-fi geek - into some weird metal bands too. Of course he was a complete arse most of the time, but he had his moments.’
‘So, when were you in Africa?’ I ask, not entirely to change the subject. She goes quiet for a while.
‘Right up to the end, almost...’ she says sadly. ‘Look, I don’t want to talk about it right now. Do you mind?’
‘Not at all. Sorry’ I say and we sit and look at nothing for a while. I’ve noticed the sunlight getting stronger over the last few days and I want to ask what will happen next, after we get off the boat, but now is not the time. Our time is up for today and we get up to leave.
‘I am going to pursue this you know’ she says. ‘I have this theory that if you could just get laid when you’re about seventeen all the rest will slide into place... so to speak.’
I smile. I suspect it’s more complicated than that, but it’s got to be worth a try.

No comments:

Post a Comment

A life backwards

It's in the nature of blogs of course that you come across the latest postings first (or you find yourself in the middle.) Normally it doesn't matter but if you want to read my novel in order, the first installment is as you'd expect, the oldest posting.
Thanks for your patience.