Rhodri Marsden: Ideological and syntactical disaster – in a motorway services car park

Life on Marsden: The car was actively damaging the feminist cause just by being parked

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Regular visitors to Wales and the South-west will know that Leigh Delamere service station rarely yields up surprises. One's expectations are met, but rarely exceeded. Loitering near Fone Bitz will be some unfortunate souls who left their chargers at home and are coming to terms with the financial penalty for their forgetfulness. The optimistically named Lucky Coin will attract two unshaven men who then proceed to chuck quids into machines that only guarantee to return 70 per cent of their stake. People will consume mouth-burning pasties and balance cups of coffee on car roofs while children re-enact Passchendaele on the back seat.

On Sunday afternoon, this was as it always is. But into the grimly predictable melée drove a young man in a silver Subaru, pulling up in the space next to me and then swaggering off towards Costa. His vehicle was decorated with an array of stickers that were actively damaging the feminist cause in the Wiltshire area simply by being parked there, and I peered at them as if they were part of some museum exhibit entitled, "What Men Used to Think in 1973 Before Sanity Prevailed". The first read "Four Doors for More Whores". I furrowed my brow. Setting aside the fact that he was advertising himself as a potential kerb-crawling offender, the premise of the sticker was badly misconceived. Having four doors rather than two on your Subaru doesn't mean that more people can get inside, prostitutes or otherwise. The number is effectively limited by the number of seats and the capacity of the interior. I made a mental note to let him know.

Across the windscreen was emblazoned the phrase, "Disregard females, acquire currency", a supposedly witty reinterpretation of rapper Biggie Smalls' exhortation to "F*** bitches, get money". But owing to a mistranslation of the word "F***" (Biggie, bless his progressive thinking, meant "have sex with women"), this sticker didn't work either. The whole car was an ideological and syntactical disaster. He returned from Costa, his masculinity having been fortified by a cappuccino, got back in the car and screeched off. On the back window, in large letters, was the phrase "I LOVE VAG" – the irony being that the only person in possession of a vagina who's ever likely to get in the vehicle is his mother, armed with a spatula and with the express intention of scraping off those bloody stickers.


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