My lunch partner in Copenhagen is American Rob. He’s a fascinating chap, now living in the Windsor area, and full of bonhomie today. We meet romantically on a street corner in a drizzling rain. Our jackets and umbrellas form puddles at the restaurant entrance – it’s a super eatery above the old telegraph station – as we settle down to a magical fish tapas…and business.
‘What about teaching English?’ suggests Rob. I’ve explained that rock ‘n’ roll trucking ought to have a shelf life, and that with me it’s been reached. Actually, it was reached in 1998 but it’s easier to bumble along than change careers. The industry has changed so much, you see; as I’ve said before, no one even snorts lines off flight cases backstage any more. It’s just not like it used to be. And, remember, I don’t actually like driving.
So, teaching might not be a bad idea. But where? Rob is thinking of a country in which I find the women attractive – simply to cushion the move. ‘Pretty but not black?’ asks Kirsten, bluntly. Christ, did she really just say that? Oh sorry, I forgot to introduce Kirsten. She is a Danish girl, one of Rob’s numerous old flames, and she’s struggling to get a word in edgeways. Four words, as it turns out, is to be her lot. She tops up my Chardonnay.
Now, let’s talk about attraction. If a white girl prefers black guys to white guys, nobody bats an eyelid. There is no problem; it’s not deemed rascist. Indeed, if a black guy fancies black girls, and not white, then that, too, is fine. So why is it deemed bad form for me to admit favouring the English Rose over an ebony beauty? It’s ridiculous. But Rob wants – excuse the pun – black and white answers.
‘So how far down the colour scale do you go?’ he enquires. Well, it’s hardly a question of going, Rob, old thing; it’s simply a matter of what I’m attracted to. (I mean, we may as well contemplate ginger people if this conversation gets any more absurd.) So if we don’t count that intoxicating dalliance in Mombasa with a masseuse… ‘Latte?’ he prompts. Heavens, this is controversial – if they invented an award for enfant terrible of the blogging medium, it could surely go to nobody else.
‘Salma Hayek,’ I mumble, desperately hoping other diners aren’t eavesdropping. ‘What about Arabs?’ he replies, tact abandoned entirely now. Crumbs, I’m uncomfortable. The onslaught continues, but Rob is only trying to establish geographical boundaries. The restaurant begins to close. Lunch is taking four hours.
Not too big, though
I exclude only one category in the end: spherical. After all, I’d hate people to think I have a roving eye. India is mentioned as a possibility – what goes on underneath a sari is pure mystique – but it’s those dashed arranged marriages that are such a nuisance. In the end, we decide Venezuela could be worth a shot. ‘The women are spectacular in Venezuela,’ says Rob, ‘a variety of hues and colourations you won’t have seen before.’ Rightho then, that’s settled. But perhaps I could squeeze in a long weekend in northern Finland first.
Soporific from wine, and feeling fruity from thoughts of complex undergarments, I visit the park. The sun has come out now. Alas, it is still too early in the year for topless secretaries. Blast! Just when I needed one most..