I THINK I have been made a pass at.
You can’t be sure when it’s been 30 years since anyone made a pass at you. I might be misreading the signs.
She smiled; and she was not sufficiently my junior for it to be the kind of smile you get when they take the bedpan away.
And she placed a hand on my thigh. There was a time when a woman’s hand deliberately and provocatively placed on my thigh would have caused more than my head to jump bolt upright, but not now.
We were at a friend’s barbecue. People we’d known for years. The kind of place you can feel comfortable. And safe.
There was also a time when I enjoyed the exotic company of unknown women. When my wife noticed I was missing at a party she’d go looking for any gathering of women. I’d be there somewhere.
I never did understand why the blokes want to mill round the barbecue with a stubby in one hand and the tongs in the other, talking about football and fishing. The women are more fun and their jokes are better.
But I’m talking about the days of another age; about a world in which sex was conducted almost entirely between sheets, not between the pages of magazines, and women were… well, more demure.
It’s a quantum leap to this age, where a complete stranger will place her hand on your thigh and say, “I hope we get a chance to know each other better,” through lowered lids.
Or maybe they were just shut, and she’d got the wrong person.
She wasn’t unattractive either, and we’d laughed at this and that. The hand brought me back to reality. I had forgotten what was supposed to happen next.
There are certain traditional steps in this kind of barbecue flirting; various gambits, like in the opening of a chess game. And I couldn’t remember what they were!
I was probably supposed to ask her name, or telephone number, but it’s been so long I wouldn’t have a clue. I don’t know if she saw the alarm on my face, but she never moved her hand.
She didn’t have to. My wife had been watching. She glided over like a Stealth bomber, crouched in front of my chair, and said loudly, shaping the words very clearly and slowly, “DO YOU WANT TO GO YET?”
The alarm on my face turned to bewilderment. “Of course not. We only just got here.”
“NO. I MEAN TO THE LAVATORY…”
The hand on my thigh started to pat. I looked across at this jezebel’s face and the smile had subtly altered to the kind of smile you get when they take the bedpan away.
She kept patting.
“Be careful,” said my wife, “his colostomy bag needs emptying.”