Tuesday, January 02, 2007

The return of Sideshow Bob

Caveat: what follows is just a work of fiction - any likeness or similarity that characters may have to persons living or dead is coincidence.

About a year ago, I met Sideshow Bob for the first time. Smart, sassy, smouldering, svelte, and dancefloor moves exactly on the fine line between classy-but-raw flamenco and pole-dancer. Able to discuss the offside rule and as carnivorous as a T.Rex, a fierce debater and passionate Zionist, excellent private school and red-brick university upbringing, pleasantly RP English tones, this one simply had everything. Oh, but there's always a catch - she smoked. Having said that, like Poison and Peanut before her, she managed to make the burning stick of death look pretty damn sexy.

Sideshow Bob was so deliciously and naturally stunning that she even looked amazing when I ran into her on the street one day, when she had a head cold, and was just out of bed to fetch some supplies for hot soup. Her hair was tied up with a rough band, no make-up in sight, and she was swaddled in some rather Freedmansdad jogging gear.

In short, this was my fantasy woman. Unfortunately she was every other guy's fantasy woman too (and probably a few borderline bi ladies might have been persuaded over the edge).

We all went out to a very beefy grill dinner and then on to a club by the sea. The night progressed and inhibitions fell; after a couple of false starts, I made my move. Using my unusually cat-like grace (think of the lion from the Wizard of Oz) on the dancefloor, I amused her greatly with some partly-camp hand-jive along to the BeeGees, then got into high-speed foot-tapping mode on the more modern numbers.

Desperate to get my sweaty paws somewhere on her awesomely toned frame, I cheekily asked her for a slow dance, despite the music becoming progressively more thumping. She looked puzzled and said that if only there was some slow music, she would oblige. After much begging of the DJ, who said he would be sacked for playing a real smoochie, he agreed to line up a club track with a 30 second slow intro...

As the dancefloor fell to a hush, I grabbed her hand and led her proudly to the centre of the room. Grasping her snakelike hips, I swept her frame across the floor like Gauguin painting a languid Polynesian onto canvas, only slightly less nude. Whispering sweet nothings in her ear, I breathed in the musky aroma of smoke, grill, sea salt and a fabulous perfume I didn't quite catch the name of, and, heart pounding, asked her whether she would kick me in the privates if I kissed her there and then.

She grinned at me with that cream and jam scone of a mouth, and held me ever closer. "You are so sweet, and very charming" she said, as the music grew louder and faster. As we tangoed to the side, she reached up to me with such elegance, and planted a series of kisses on my cheeks and neck. It was clearly a kiss-off, although artfully done. And then she was gone, with the faintest trace of that musk eddying in her wake and clinging to my clothes.

The next day, when I got to the airport for the flight home, I smelt that odour on my jumper, and wondered what might have been. Unable to contain my curiosity, I called on the pretext of finding out what that perfume had been, so I could buy it at the duty-free. Once again, she was polite and delightful but said she had just started seeing someone and that was why she was not interested.

I had my assumptions as to who that might be, and could not quite fathom why this innocent, gorgeous creature would want to get entangled with a cad like him. But alas, I was at the airport, wearing my size 38 jeans, catching my economy-class flight back to my parents' house to try and get my business to survive another year. And he was on his way to one of his two properties in Israel, in his designer slim black Levi's, returning from a day managing a huge VC fund. No contest.

After gradually snapping out of my one-itis during the following weeks, I arrived back in Israel three months later feeling quite ambivalent about Sideshow Bob. This feeling was compounded by her avoidance of the Bauhaus Walking Tour, which I invited her to join me on, having remembered her interest in the local architecture. But when I ran into her at a club, still looking every inch the embodiment of corporeal perfection, the old thrill came back, the trace of that musky perfume somehow still fresh on my shoulder.

I steadied myself and resolved that nothing was on the cards in the mutual undressing department, but that she was a fascinating and intelligent girl who might be a friend, either in Israel or London - depending on where either of us might settle in the end.

Once again, she was delightfully effervescent in her greeting and small-talk, but the barriers were clearly up. After that night, I realised she must have men falling at her feet all the time, and retaining even just the most well-meaning ones as friends seemed not to be on her agenda. As time passed, I forgot about her, lost touch.

Then Facebook intervened, I poked her, and she poked me back (terminology not physiology). We swapped brief updates on life (my business now on solid footing and an escape from Pinner imminent, she returned from Israel to start her law course). And before I knew it, she was on my distribution list for kedgeree brunches, strolls on Hampstead Heath and Friday night dinners at Ruppin.

Still, she seemed unable to maintain anything other than a distant froideur. Why? I would consider that I had opened the "Friendzone" to her, and the response had been muted at best. Miffed, I put her firmly to the back of my mind - it wasn't like I would be seeing her on my current Israel trip, having proposed various social activities (safely in the company of Freedmansister and Bison) and had no response.

But of course as luck would have it, I ran into her at a rich man's private party. Thinking I needed to make it quite clear that my Friendzone was a good second best to her Erogenouszone, I bounced up (in my now size 36 jeans), made some small-talk, and introduced her to Freedmansister, who is terribly important in the world of the senior judiciary. I couldn't help noticing that the parfum du jour seemed to come from a box of Marlboros, and that the smile seemed just slightly more wan.

Still, Freedmansister, playing wing-woman with some panache, asked if she should make herself scarce so I could try my luck, but tiredness (or should I say ennui) had kicked in, and besides, she was already surrounded by men willing to chance their arm for her, as well as a thick swirl of grey smoke. So once again, I put it out of my mind and left, unlikely to see her again in the near future.

Until the next day.

Walking through the craft market, I saw that familiar silhouette of Sideshow Bob, and heard her talking on the phone. She saw us and displayed that afternoon tea at the Ritz of a grin, and we fell into conversation. Once again, she was endearing and unfailingly polite, taking compliments well, but yet again she managed to evade the Friendzone by declining lunch with us on flimsy grounds.

As we took our leave, I realised what had been bothering me more and more each time since that first night when she was so tender in her rejection of me.

Firstly, it is always better for women to be utterly crushing of the men they turn down, as it ensures some finality there and then. Worse still is to tell fibs about the reason for the rejection. For a good example, Bashevis The Elder used the "I'm kind of seeing someone" trick, then went on to pull one of my friends - and this despite some of the most excellent chat-up lines in the extensive Freedmanslife repertoire (including a cheeky question on the policy towards dating shorter men than the long-limbed Bashevis). Sideshow Bob used so much physical and verbal sweetness that I felt exuberant in defeat. What I needed was that kick in the gonads.

Secondly, and this is the tricky part, I realised that Sideshow Bob is not what she first seems. Either the treacly surface does not hide anything other than more molasses, rather than the deep layers I was hoping and looking for, or it is a permanent defence mechanism that few, if any, are going to penetrate.

Bison was on hand to add to this analysis with his observations of her physical appearance. Her hair tied up and without make-up, she now looked rather exhausted. The teeth were definitely more Cornish butter than Chantilly cream, the skin pearly rather than radiant. We concluded that her smoking had probably risen from a casual handful a day to a pretty comprehensive habit, and this was taking its toll.

More than that, I got a sense of someone trapped in a bland and unfulfilling world they have chosen for themselves, rather like David Blaine staying in his glass box for an eternity. Here is a girl who comes from considerable wealth and success, with striking natural beauty, who is so desperate to show all and sundry that she is there on her own merit, not because of her looks or background. This makes her repress her inner idealist, her philosophical side, her artistic desires, her need to veg out occasionally, and prevents her from having friends who don't fit into the latest fashions and can't dance like Usher.

She seems to have taken to smoking as a method of comfort, much as I do with food (only my habit expands the waist line whilst hers decreases it). Her upbringing and urge to be classy mean she handles situations with that easy cuteness, but it hides a sadness that she cannot allow herself to just connect on a meaningful level, as it would detract from her (self-)image as the perfect It Girl, combining the right amount of brains and beauty to attract people without intimidating them. As we know, bland and planned is the way of the world today.

The law course and career allow her to demonstrate she can make it in the hard-nosed man's world on her own credentials - or so she believes. Simultaneously, she finds increasingly that she will need to accept that this is not all that people look at; her beauty and poise will win her favours and cases, and this just makes her try even harder to make it on her smarts alone, rather than use that Ally McBeal feminine guile.

Most peculiarly, I noticed she has developed an odd accent, part Mid-Atlantic and part-Israeli. Was this there before or is it recent, a construct that separates her from her peers and harks back to the meaningful and altruistic months spent in Israel, helping those less fortunate, beautiful and wealthy as she?

In any event, I am reminded by the Bison not to care too much - my interest in her would be diminished if she looked more Playdough than Playboy. I am bothered and willing to psycho-analyse, work out what must be wrong with her (inference: for not going out with me) because she is attractive, and I should be far more concerned about what goes on in my own head, that I can write a thousand words about this girl without considering how warped I am myself.

Ultimately, I still get a sense that there is another layer to her, waiting to be discovered. And for one reason or another, that "one-itis" thing means that I still get the nagging feeling that she would be good for me and vice versa. Certainly we could make a trade between a reduction in her smoking and a reduction in my eating, with appropriate communal physical exercise to complement a meeting of minds and emotions. But that isn't going to happen, because this is a work of fiction, and even if it were real, that's never how these things play out.

So this is where we come to a close. I will always be Krusty the Klown to Sideshow Bob, and Sideshow Bob will always end up imprisoned and unhappy.


Anonymous said...

you met a woman who's a teaser (thus not being CLEAR).
Luck have brought you together more than you have wished for.

Pretty normal so far, happens to all of us penis owners.

However, you managed to turn it into a full lengh story with twists and romantic descriptions, for that I can defently say its HER loss.

For a woman who does not want mr freedman! is not a woman who deserves to be FREED by a MAN.
(Yeah doesnt make sense, but still catchy)

Here's a short story that happened to me yesterday in UNI:
I started talking to an attractive (hot) woman (girl) she was very cute and inviting, things were going very well 'till someone passed by us and she yelled "Kif halek" at him, which was the end of our relationship.
The End.

Anonymous said...

Freeders, there comes a point in every man's life when he needs to accept that for relationships to start and ultimately sustain that teenage games have to stop.

Ultimately, if you like someone enough you have to make it painfully clear...and if that doesn't work then you need to assess whethere there is anything more than one-sided affection. Girls are definitely 101% capable of signalling their intent, it's their strength. Ours is being big and hairy, theirs is the mind game.

In this sense all I can say is you're better off without her. Anyone that can mess a top-geezer like you around doesn't deserve you. You will find the right one and when you do I guarantee she won't mess you around. It'll be mutual, you'll fall for her, she for you...12 months later you're booking a visit to the Chief Rabbi. Trust me - it happens to all of us at some point and it WILL to you.

Love the blog.