I squeeze each violation out of him, until we reach, with a shudder, `She shoved her hand down my jeans'
Friday 21 March 1997
Honestly, why do I bother. That shop assistant was such a liar - it doesn't make me look anything like Audrey Hepburn.
Whatever. I'm awake and groggy, and wondering why Vinnie Jones is hogging my REM world - I'm an animal lover, but, please, really - and there's this loud hammering on the front door, which is obviously what's woken me before I could get to the part of the dream where Vinnie says he wants to be my jailhouse bitch (I love that part). And I moan, because this sort of knocking means either the Flying Squad or one of my old boyfriends. I'm praying it's the Flying Squad, and you would, too, if you knew my old boyfriends.
Anyway, I throw on a brushed cotton bathrobe - brushed cotton because, as the world is aware, chiffon wrinkles so easily - and stomp downstairs, tug on the chain lock, fling the door open.
And it's Mark. A friend friend. Mark is wearing full industrial leather on a hot Saturday afternoon, which must be a custom where he comes from. Mark is in a state. He barrels into the hallway, grabs my hand, slaps it on to his heaving chest, and asks me what I think. I give my honest opinion: "Great pecs, honey." And Mark, shaking, says, no, no, feel how fast my heart is beating. And I feel, and damned if it isn't thumping like a rabbit that's recently caught sight of Glenn Close. Mark says John, it was awful, and I make a concerned face, but, shallow person that I am, what I'm actually thinking is, drama, dirt, details.
So I say, darling, never mind what sordid thoughts my neighbours must be entertaining at this very second, tell mama what happened. And Mark stutteringly mentions this woman acquaintance, whom I won't shame by naming - Rebecca Campbell - and describes how she lured him to her place and ... pounced. Mark can barely speak, but I thoughtfully squeeze each violation out, until we reach, with a shudder, "She shoved her hand down my jeans."
By the time we get there, what can I tell you, I couldn't be more bored if I was discussing particle acceleration with DaleWinton. I want to head for bed. I want to get back to Vinnie and his rough hands and begging eyes.
"That's it? Rebecca copped a feel?"
Now, Mark stares at me like a mother who's just been told that Myra Hindley will be popping round to mind the kids. He blurts, "I was attacked." I mime gagging motions. Mark yelps, with soap operatic emphasis, "She grabbed my dick," and, excuse me, I have to point out the obvious, which is, Mark, her and millions of others. Your dick has more fingerprints than Scotland Yard. And Mark retorts you wouldn't be saying that if I was a lesbian and Rebecca was a straight bloke, and I gasp, Mark, I'm stunned, when did you stop being a lesbian? And while we're at it, when's the last time you polished those chaps?
See, when I don't have a ready reply, I always opt for glib. Try it. It works.
Mark seethes. He'd seethe more if I told him I suspected he was being a faggot misogynist, the sort you only have to slap violently to hear the term "fish", which I don't tell him, of course, because panic attacks and peppermint tea are not a good combination. Though I do ask, between strategically spaced yawns, how he'd feel if the person who thrust their digits down his 501s had been a boy, like that's never happened. And Mark gets huffy, says it's about "permission" either way, and the hand was attached to a woman, actually, and I reply, a hand is a hand is a hand, and have you heard the way you say "a woman"? It's exactly the way Lady Bracknell says "a handbag". And Mark snaps, I have no problem with women, and I say, you'd have to think about women to have a problem. Have you ever considered that a woman might one day make a pass? And Mark grunts, "No. Never. Why would I?" And I say, see, you live almost exclusively on Planet Man, and if women ever visit, it's Mars Attacks! Like now.
Mark mutters, what about sexual harassment, and I nod, sure, isn't that when thugs in leather grope straight guys for a giggle? Mr Male Prerogative has the grace to blush, except he has to add, ah, thanks for the tea but I was expecting sympathy. So I say "If you want sympathy you'll find it between shit and syphilis in the dictionary," and tell him to finish up, because there's this footballer waiting for me upstairs, and Vinnie, unlike present company, is gagging for itn
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