Monday, 8 June 2015

It Might Never Happen

“Cheer up love!” “Give us a smile!”

We’ve heard them all. We’ve also heard the moaning about it all, we’ve heard about the comebacks, so I’m not going to repeat it here. What I am going to do, is share a little continued experiment I’ve been doing and its results.

I tried smiling.

It was an effort. As you can probably guess (as it’s more than likely the same as your own) my face’s default pose is:

I tried walking around, lifting the corners of my mouth into what I hoped was a serene Mona Lisa smile and not a psychotic Jack Nicholson grin.

I treat it as just another way of protecting myself. Like how I try to keep my hands out of my pockets when I’m walking. (A tip I remember from self-defence classes, but in reality it’s mainly to protect my face should I fall over my feet).

Not only did it deter those fellas from interacting with me (maybe they were thinking, “Look at ‘er, she’s a fruitloop, wot she larfin’ at?” or “I won’t bother striking up conversation with a witty observation about my estimation of this lady’s demeanour with a view to engaging her in conversation that may lead to the boudoir, for she is already getting some action, by the looks of that beam”) but by pretending to be overjoyed at, say, walking to the supermarket to buy painkillers, I actually felt happier as a result.

Fake it til you make it.


Also I had a couple of small smiles back off cute guys. Win.

And most satisfying of all was making eye contact with other women on their way to their workplaces, maybe anxious at what their ambulatory commute would throw at them that day, and receiving a huge smile in return for my tentative small one. It was like a high five.

Or maybe they thought I was flirting, because after all this is Brighton and everyone’s gay innit.

So instead of sharing webcomics showing how harmful it can be when unsolicited comments are received, which are only ever seen generally by people which would never do such a thing, try protecting yourself by walking confidently and smiling?

Having said that, my favourite ever response I’ve heard to a “CHEER UP LOVE!” comment is the woman who replied by turning, lifting her middle fingers to her cheeks and raising the corners of her mouth that way. Actual hero.


Wednesday, 3 June 2015

The Party

Birthday party of the alternative 80s night at a central club in town. A club with signage bathing the entire street in an enticing (or threatening, depending on your state of inebriation) red glow. I was working the door. Which doesn’t mean being a bouncer, as most people hilariously assume. (Hilarious, given my slight 5’ 2” frame).

The actual bouncers ask the DJs if they’re ready for the doors to open. Stilettos, creepers and New Rocks are getting restless. Keen to enter their stomping ground. I can picture it from when I was a punter. Everyone slyly, shyly, checking each other out through the mist of cigarette smoke. In my anticipation of the rush, I’ve cut too many pieces of tape to stick numbers onto hangers later. The skeletal coat rail will soon become jacketed with velvet and leather. Hence my little table is sporting a petticoat of plastic frills. I brush their sticky insistent tendrils off my black and white striped dress.

Welcomes and well-wishes. Banners. Lacy new romantic party frocks. A sprinkling of polka dots. A forest of dark eyes in pale faces. A dash of glitter. A temple of love.

Taking their money, stamping their hands. The door-whore. Keeper of the guest list. Susser-outer of the chancers. Comrade of cloakroom organiser, catcher of any would-be slick and oily fee-dodgers.

Admiring people of all ages, shapes and sizes, celebrating; living in the eighties. I don’t remember the birth of the club, I was a late-comer. “There’s a club if you’d like to go”.

“How much to get in?” they always ask, despite the blutacked signs above my backcombed bouffant shouting the entrance fee.

Then: she’s in parties. Cupcakes washed down with cider and black. The cameras flash. An ocean of black swirling to Siouxsie or skanking to the Clash.

“Where are the toilets?”

“Can I take my drink outside?”

“How much to put my bag in?”

2am and I’m free to rest my weary limbs or make a deal with God and join in, dancing in their footsteps. To say hello, or wave goodbye. The projections blaze off the disco ball, sky all hung with jewels. The red wine slurs through my veins and I’m caught in a whirling hallucinatory throwback, becoming one of the girls on film, lipstick cherry all over the lens as I’m falling.

The lights go up. Ninety-nine red balloons go by.