Sunday, July 5, 2009

Get yer tats out

A shard of sunlight narrowly falls short of my table situated just inside the café door. Outside the unrelenting sun has taken the bustle out of the market. Passers-by stick close to the slither of shade provided by the shop fronts. This is the kind of heat that us Brits usually only ever experience when it hits us smack in the face as we step off the plane on our holidays to the Med. We don’t often get weather like this. And almost never during Wimbledon. A gang of loose-limbed youths drift past, each topless, proudly displaying their tribal markings of acne and West Ham tats and as I follow their slow progress out of sight my mind turns to men’s nipples. At the recent wedding in Munich I had the pleasure of meeting a young lady who works in the marketing department of a company manufacturing breast pumps. Given that most people you meet at social functions nearly always have boring jobs, with breast pump girl I really felt I’d struck gold. Conversationally she was a keeper, so I attached myself to her very much like a breast pump to the breast. I previously had no idea breast pumps were so fascinating or indeed that I was so fascinated in breast pumps. During the course of our conversation I learnt that it is even possible to get milk from my nipples. Apparently tests have been done, and if a man uses a breast pump every day, over the course of a year he will start to produce milk. I don’t know if this is true or she’s cleverly trying to double her potential customer base, you know what these marketing types are like. More shirtless men catch my eye and I find myself staring at the spot on their stomachs where my bag is on mine. I wonder what reaction I would get if I stripped off my shirt? It seems people will tolerate the sight of endless heavily perspiring sunburnt beer bellies with fag ash and crisp crumbs caught up in chest hair and even the fish-skinned bag of bones druggies that litter the lower end of the market, but what about a colostomy bag on show? There’s a time and a place for semi-nudity and I’ve never been one to unnecessarily inflict my pallid torso on the general public. Once on a beach in India, on one of the rare occasions I took my top off, I caused near hysteria amongst the local children who delighted in pointing at me and saying I looked like an ‘egg’. Their observation being my skin was the same colour as eggshells, which apparently in India are white. Ha-bloody-ha. So never having been much of sun worshipper, it would seem perverse to want to start now that I have a danglesack of plop stuck to my belly. But it would be interesting to see how people would respond to a bare-chested man walking down Walthamstow Market with a colostomy bag on display. In my opinion it’s far less offensive than some of the tattoos you see.