Sunday, September 19, 2004

Who do you love? A mwah too far

I’m not entirely sure when it happened, but at some point in the recent past, kissing emerged as an acceptable way to greet people in the UK. While they may have been at it for an age on the Continent, over here our natural reticence and emotional frigidity spared us from having to lock our lips onto some stranger’s clammy cheek at every social gathering. But not any more. Now we’re expected to snog any Tom, Dick or Harry we may encounter, regardless of how physically attractive we may or may not find them.

If I don’t know someone well enough to want to give them a hug when I see them, I certainly don’t want to be kissing them. And it’s not even like the whole thing is some beautiful experience from start to finish: the ritual is embarrassing, awkward and, in the very worst cases, sloppy.

First, there’s the problem of trying to establish who you’re actually expected to kiss. Those times when you’re surrounded by friends plus one or two people you barely know, or have only just met, and you find yourself either awkwardly proffering a cheek to mwah, or just standing back and providing an apologetic half wave and a grimace. That’s bad enough, but in a working environment it’s even worse. Are you obliged to kiss work colleagues when saying goodbye in the pub on Friday night? What about those you deal with from other companies?

What’s the matter with an amicable arm pat or handshake? It’s not that I’m incapable of showing affection. Far from it, I enjoy a good kiss and a cuddle with my favourite people. There’s nothing like a good grope among close friends to bring you all together. No, my issue is with kissing a person without first knowing his/her provenance. The person could have come from anywhere, for god’s sake. Who’s to say you won’t be kissing them one night only to see them on Crimewatch the next? And you can guarantee that the one time I decide to take the plunge and pucker up to bid farewell to the entire room, I’ll find myself lunging towards some emotionally retarded wet fish who’ll stiffen like a board and leave me feeling foolish and ashamed.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

More poo puns than are strictly necessary

I’ve developed a phobia of the ticket barriers on the tube. All it took was one temperamental Travelcard that left me in a Russian Roulette situation every day and I’m a quivering wreck. Too many times I walked into those unopening doors, smacking my hips, injuring my pride and, worst of all, upsetting the fragile balance of the daily commute.

Now, although all Travelcards since have been in rude health, I hesitate till the last minute and then rush through in stricken panic. Teeth a grimace and hands flapping, looking for all the world like Gromit’s Wallace. I know that everyone despises me and my hesitant ways. I despise me too. There’s nothing worse than a flapping commuter.

Lucky, then, that I no longer have to suffer the trials of the trains during rush hour. The constipated stations desperately trying to excrete their passengers packed in too tight. There’s still room in this metaphor for me to shoe horn in some bad puns about London’s citizens lacking the necessary moral fibre to effect a good clear out to its tubes, but poo has become too much of a faecal point of this post, and it’s perhaps best to keep the crap gags (in both senses of the word) down at the start.