Are you shocked? Are you British? Are you American? All these things I wonder as I type the term ‘douche bag’.
It’s not a term I like. I’ve never used it. But Facebook keeps offering me a shopping bag boasting ‘Douche’ in big loud letters. So cute (ironic face). And it reminded me …
It’s London. I’m sharing a flat in Battersea with a curvy, chirpy blonde and her slinky feline friend.
Prince of Wales Mansions. How glamorous it sounds! An imposing block, opposite the park, a hop skip and jump from Old Father Thames. A double bedroom each, a kitchen to share, a dining table squeezed into what once was a hallway and – of course – a bathroom.
It’s what you might call ‘compact’. And it backs onto a car park. Correction, my room backs onto a car park. And the cat goes in and out through my window. And she eats grass.
Have you ever stood on cat sick in your bare feet in the middle of the night? She finds the exact spot en route from bedroom to bathroom where I’m most likely to step on it.
But back to the douche bag.
It hangs above the bath. I sit there one day, steaming away, wondering, ‘why does that hot water bottle have that long thing sticking out of it?’
It’s a sickly, flesh-like shade, pallid as pink custard that’s been left too long and going off. (Never had pink custard at school? Think yourself lucky).
I begin to work it out, but can’t quite believe it. So I ask Nicola. She thinks I’m a fragile, hot-house blossom of a girl. (If you’ve read my blogs you’ll realise this is not entirely true – a bit, but not very.)
Nicola has a rather lovely face, the poise of a dancer and the hair of a showgirl. My goodness, it turns out that’s exactly what she is! A Bluebell Girl! My flatmate struts her stuff on stages all over the world. I’m utterly flabbergasted. And rather impressed.
Her boyfriend’s a short-haired, sensible-looking policeman, as unlike Nicola as you could be. I don’t ask too much – he doesn’t tell too much. They’re kind to me when I’m unhappy, let me join them on Nicola’s bed to watch Nicola’s TV. Nice of them, but I don’t like to stay long.
And I don’t stay long in the flat. It’s a good address, but an inconvenient commute to my work in The Strand.
I move to – tah-dah – World’s End. So enjoy telling people that’s where I live.
Tex is in London too, his birthday in the offing. I organise a party at a place called Crazy Larry’s on the King’s Road.
Nicola arrives. Nicola arrives because I invited her. No sensible policeman with her. Hmmm.
Can she dance? Oh yes, she can-can (sorry).
Sexily swaying Nicola and her long, luscious legs. Dances. With Tex.
The green-eyed god rubs his hands in glee. I can’t help myself (and to be fair to me, those letters from London did come from a female and HE’S STILL SEEING HER).
So, Tex is sitting at a table on a kind of raised platform, having a joke with (aaargh) Nicola. I’m ignoring him with every fibre of my being. His chair tips back and he falls off. I look the other way.
He’s broken his finger.
I continue to ignore him.
I know. Ignoble. But we live to kiss another day.
I haven’t seen Nicola since. I hope the ice skates (size 6 and a half) fit her. I left them hanging on my door. I’m sure she’s as good a skater as she is a dancer – and they’re very nice white boots. Maybe sensible policeman’s a closet skater too. But he’s probably too busy, undercover in the vice squad. I think I prefer that version.
What’s that? Douche bag? Oh dear, look it up if you still don’t know.