First I will apologise for the awful pun in the title, especially as I never use the term “booby” in my normal conversations. OK – here’s the story of what happened to me on the way home tonight.
I step off the train. It is night time and the station is mostly deserted. Dark. A few sad souls stand there waiting for a train that is obviously not the one from which I have just alighted. It is also chilly and I pull my jacket around me. Have I set the scene properly?
So I am walking down the platform and a woman ahead of me – facing me (and there is no one behind me) – suddenly lifts up her top displaying fully bared breasts. She ululates. No that not some unusual biological function. It’s a term I learnt from reading H P Lovecraft stories (all his Old Ones really love doing it) and it means (thank you Wikipedia) “a long, wavering, high-pitched vocal sound resembling a howl with a trilling quality”.
Now let’s face it, I am a man of the world with a certain appreciation of the beauty that is the human form. Indeed, I have ambitions of getting back into portrait painting next year and I even want to try figure painting. This said, I have yet to make a public call for volunteers to show me their wares and so the baring of bosomsÂ with accompanying vocalsÂ left me somewhat astonished.
Perhaps she was just being friendly. Kind of “Hello, here are my breasts. Please like me.”
Alternatively, maybe she thought I was a spunky hot man.
OK – several problems with that last hypothesis. Firstly, does anyone still use the word “spunky”? Secondly, let’s face it, I’m a fatÂ bloke in his 50s and the woman displayed no sign of visual impairment – not even glasses.
In all reality, she was probably just full of high-jinx and had a moment of spontaneous bad-decision making. It happens.
How to respond?
I guess I could have said something witty. Ummm… “Needed to get something off your chest, eh? LikeÂ your top!”
I could have, but my wits were rather flagging at that precise moment. Believe it or not, this just does not happen to me very often and I was mentally unprepared.
So I decided to keep steadily walking up the platform and past her, as if in a world of my own. Thankfully by the time I actually passed her her top was back down.
“Why thankfully?”, I hear some of the more hot-blooded males out there cry.
Honest answer – I felt uncomfortable.
But should I?
Surely a woman’s bare chest should no more affect me than a man’s. After all, given the circumstances it was neither erotic nor artistic.
Now that I am reassessing my emotional response, I realise that I actually felt a bit mocked by the situation. If she had just been sitting there quietlyÂ topless I might have thought “It’s a bit nippy for that.” (I bet I know what some of you are thinking!). And yes I would, because toplessness does not normally bother me (when I wasÂ a kidÂ mum used to walk around the house topless quite a bit in summer – mind you it was the 70s).
Anyway, when I got home and told Nicole (my wife) she just started giggling and then outrightÂ laughing.
Hmmmph, I say. Hmmmph!
Ok that’s my story of tonight’s bit of weirdness.
Thanks for reading and sorry that it addressed neither art nor writing or, for that matter, anything that this blog is about.
PS: the featured image for today’s story is a photo that I took a few years ago at one of my favourite places – the Norman Lindsay Gallery in Faulconbridge. The fountain is a work of artist Norman Lindsay (1879-1969).