Thursday, 12 October 2017

Assault On a Warrior Queen On The Central Line

Casual molestation of young women has been so embedded in the expectation of men with a modicum of power and influence that it hardly deserves comment. Harvey Weinstein could currently be described as unlucky rather than unusual. I very nearly feel a smidgen of compassion for him, after all it’s not as if he deviates that much from what was certainly the norm a few decades ago. Furthermore I am finding it challenging to believe those of the breathlessly shocked bystanders in the film industry, wide-mouthed and wide-eyed who now claim not to have suspected for a moment his ongoing unseemly conduct! Where have they been since they reached the age of consent?
It’s always possible that Australasia has generally speaking been been free from the predatory males under discussion in which case local readers might consider me slightly deranged. However, women of my age hailing from the UK, like our Californian Sisters will be all too familiar with the syndrome. Commuters on rush hour trains will undoubtedly recall the horrors of travel in and around London where daily investigation of the female anatomy was rampant enough to be termed de rigueur. For instance on the 8.10 from Gravesend to Charing Cross several young men in city suits seemingly intent upon reading The Times had all but perfected the unpleasant art of frottage and had regularly exposed me to it before my seventeenth birthday.
Before totally modern women completely condemn we wimpish females of the nineteen fifties and sixties, I must explain that most of us did not actually welcome the attention. In fact the more courageous among us gave our assailants frosty stares from time to time and over cups of tea on station concourses we even furtively discussed the incidents among ourselves in low voices and with cautious glances left and right. We sometimes wondered if we were Asking For It.
Later, when objection to sexual harassment had become more acceptable and was even brazenly and openly debated on daytime TV shows, we learned that it had little to do with the mini-skirts we were wearing and more to do with the unbridled sense of entitlement inherent in the males themselves. Some of us vowed we would Do Something About It. Having been the recipient of unwanted sexual attention of one kind or another from the age of twelve you can possibly understand that I was a little more cautious than my traveling companions and I thought I would wait to see how the tactic panned out. By the time I was thirty, however, and becoming involved once more in regular London commuter travel I was Ready For Action. The next unfortunate male who perpetrated an assault upon me would be confronted with a Modern Day Emmeline Pankhurst.
He was a fortyish, a well-dressed fellow in polished shoes and a jaunty yellow tie. He sat down beside me on the Central line train even though it was a half empty carriage and whilst we traveled from Holland Park to Lancaster Gate he blatantly tried to investigate what might lie beneath my knee length blue serge skirt. But on this occasion I was Prepared. Was I not descended from strong Kentish Iceni Women? like Boudicca unleashing her fury upon the Roman Invaders, I turned on him in the humming silence of the Queensway Station thirty second stop boldly, spear in hand. Visualising my long red hair flowing about my queenly shoulders I took a deep breath and demanded in ringing tones if he would Mind Not Making a Complete Nuisance of Himself.
He half rose from his seat unhurriedly, a knowing smile on his face and replied in the equally loud and clear timbre of one definitely born within the sound of Bow Bells with: I’m sorry luv but I fort you was Easy – you looked Easy! Then he walked away.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Underestimating Women Scorned

My friend from Northern Ireland, Judith, was regaling me once again with the frightening details of her brutal reaction to the infidelity of the man she had been married to for thirty years, the ordinary run-of-the-mill husband in his sixties who did not realise that he all but took his life in his hands when he betrayed her two years previously. We were Skyping because Judith likes to Skype. It was the lying about it that hurt the most she finally decided when the dust had settled somewhat on the shattered remains of their union, the lies followed closely by the unspeakable insult of him actually introducing the girl to various among their friends and family. The fact that they were all too gutless to mention it to her. She said for the third time that the behaviour of everyone involved had been totally unforgivable.
To be completely fair to Judith she had not launched into the story of his treachery completely out of the blue. It was me who half brought up the topic by telling her how much I was enjoying watching the second season of Dr Foster which was foolish of course because even whilst I watched the heroine’s demise unfold in series one, it occurred to me how closely the tale mirrored that of Judith and Bruce. Judith was saying that of course there was no question of a baby in his case even if the Taiwanese girl wanted one because whether she knew it or not, Bruce had been what she now called Sterilised years before. She spat the words out then muttered that she wished he’d been fully Castrated to completely stop his little games.
Her voice unexpectedly softening she added that she was quite certain that he had never been a man who strayed previously, for one thing there was little opportunity because they were hardly ever parted night or day for years because of working together to make that business the success it turned out to be. She still blamed herself for buying him the ticket to Wembley Stadium that cost an arm and a leg. It was the boys’ night out that followed that really did for Bruce. And what’s more she knew that there were still a number of his friends and their wives who knew more than they were prepared to admit. She could only sympathize with Dr Foster. Judith knew only too well how it felt to harbour so much hurt and anger. Nevertheless it was all in the past now. She’d put it all behind her. That’s not to say she would ever be able to forgive him of course. It was not in her nature to do so but on the other hand there were women out there who would cheerfully slaughter an errant husband.
There was a silence and the screen elongated our faces as if we were in a Hall of Mirrors. Then she added that she might have even considered a homicide herself had she for one moment felt she would get away with it, after all he’d had heart trouble on and off for years and taking Viagra was not at all good for him. I laughed nervously. She asked me sharply if I thought she was joking. I laughed again.