Sunday, August 21, 2016

Dos Douches

The second douche was a shorter story, hence I'll tell it first. I was walking back to the Air BnB in Barcelona, somewhere near the Sagradea Familia part of town, and it was a hot swarthy night. Siesta is totally necessary in Spain because you can't function in the afternoon. Nor can you really sleep until quite late at night. I kind of like it.

But a passed a homeless dude, who had bedded down in a closed shop front. There was no interaction it was just a sighting, one that had me thinking about the relativity of it all - the psychological edge perspective gives you. Without even recalling the year(s?) I lived in a tent in a garage, now that I think about it, I was thinking that if you were a homeless resident of my hometown Melbourne and woke up tomorrow to discover you were now homeless in Barcelona, you would be all 'Yes!' Like winning the homeless lottery. The relative lottery of exposure being crossed off the list as something to prematurely end your life.

In about the time it took me to think this (minus the aside about my own garage living credentials) which was probably roughly the equivalent amount of time it took you to read it, I was 30 meters past the homeless guy and now a tourist couple drew my attention.

Which is unfair, because it was really only the guy who drew my attention. By being a douche. I turned around and spied him because he was making noises at the homeless guy. Noises like one might make when russeling sheep or trying to spook a potentially rabid rodent out of your yard. 'hey!' 'tssss!' 'woo!' shit like that. And his protruding neck made it clear he was trying to rouse the homeless person from their sleep.

Horrible and as uncompassionate (?) as I am, the thoughts came unbidden that this was too much, unnecessary crap. Barcelona is a city less plagued by homeless and surrounding issues than it is by tourists and surrounding issues. We were tourists and as a case in point, this street had one homeless person trying to sleep peacefully and 3 tourists, 33% of which were being noisy and disruptive.

The first douche, I am no longer confident is a longer story. It was also in Barcelona, but this time I had walked out on the jetty-type development, and because I had all the time in the world to kill, I decided to loop through the massive modern retail department development. For my fellow Melbournians think basically South-Bank. A spot that didn't even have the history of the Rambla.

Anyway, none of the shops looked interesting. At all, so I was really just cruising through. By the entrance of one shop, a kid that I'm going to assume was of subcontinental origin burst out of the doors and stopped dead right in front of me. His face was a quick read because he hadn't spotted me and stopped dead. He pretty clearly couldn't see me. He was looking for his mum whom he couldn't find. Memories of being in the same bind in Wendoree Village shopping center are salient enough to know that's a horrible feeling.

His panic set in pretty fast, I'm going to say he was about 8 years old, but I have nothing to base that on. So this kid was young but probably in possession of language abilities. The devastation hit his face and he started bawling. I stood still and watched him.

Here's the thing, there is a human being inside me that wants to rush forward and reassure and comfort a kid experiencing this much distress. There is also a firm break on such action that comes from being a single male in his 30s that is the closest I will ever come to empathising with those who are racially profiled. I just know in my heart of hearts, that I am not allowed to speak to or touch kids, at least not in my home turf. I live in the world of 'M' and mobs are just waiting to mob me should I prove myself a child murderer by showing kindness or affection towards a child that wasn't my own.

See this story is longer, I made the right call.

Having said the above, I'm not helpless in the face of a crying child. Nor victim to the bystander effect. I simply kept my eye on this kid to see whether this would resolve itself quickly, before I would step forward and try and establish if we spoke enough of a common language. I have found unattended children bawling in my supermarket back in Melbs and that was basically what I did, except the odds were much higher that the kid would speak english then, though strangely that crying child was also of subcontinental ethnicity. I don't want to paint subcontinental parents as particularly negligent though, hence it was strange. I've also while running Beach Rd assisted parents in chasing down their scooter equipped infants that have lost track of their parents. That kid was white as.

So while I'm appraising and darting my eyes around to see whether the mother was nearby and responding to the cries, while devising my plan of attack, the first douche entered. He emerged from the store behind the kid, who turned around crying, and this douche goes 'waaaaaaaaaaaaah!' and like mocks this kid. The kid, not picking up on the nuanced sarcasm of the douche, reached out to clutch at this guy's shirt and actually cried out 'mama!' (useful data for me, the kid and I would be able to understand 'mama') and the douche kicked out at the kid while attempting to dodge his outstretched hand.

This is not a post about how I saw two garbage people who walk this earth and aren't I a much better person. Once the kid turned around he spotted another woman in the store of middle-eastern ethnicity that he then approached and who tried to help him, within 30 seconds she managed to call out to some passing mall security and by that point there was nothing I could contribute, so I moved on, proving myself quite useless. I also haven't solved the problem of homelessness, and to be honest don't do much for the homeless. Ever.

No what this post is about are the ladies. Because both the first douche, and the second were walking with, what body language informed me and the context, their girlfriends.

This post is also, rest assured not a 'nice guy' wine. I'm not a nice guy, I'm quite superficial and I would have passed on both those women. No, this is a 'no guy' wine.

I'm going to pretend I am somehow reaching these ladies now, as if they had waited 6 weeks to google key words that fit the description of the events we mutually experienced and discovered this post somehow and say: is this not a red flag for you?

I can tell you, and have actually quite literally told people, that being rude to the help is a dealbreaker for me. When not telling people I have avoided the company of friends for years because they merely associated with people who were rude to cafe waitresses.

How can I be so intolerant of the faux pas of giving some frontline staff shit about something they can't control and aren't responsible for, and you can date a man that won't let an impoverished person sleep in peace or would mock and lash out at a child having (probably) the worst day of his short life?

I witnessed no admonitions. Nor even a 'shut up, you're drunk.' acknowledgement which would have been better than nothing. Common to both douches was that they were clearly tourists, like me.

Part of it, I get. I saw a lot of amazing wonderful places while I was away. Whenever I'm away, in fact. And I semi-regularly wish I was sharing it with someone. But not anyone.

I've thought a lot about this economist explanation of sexual politics, and how birth control was basically this disruptive technology that has caused the unintended consequence that sexual politics is now more in favor of men over women than ever before.

But basically, contraception has split the 'sex market' from the 'marriage market' by drastically reducing the risk of sex eventuating in children.

More than the politics and all that shit though, what I think about is the impact of divorcing the maternity/paternity evaluation out of our evaluation of sexual partners.

My conclusion was that even though it's not what I'm really looking for or primarily concerned about, 'would I put my child willingly in this persons arms?' is an extremely useful heuristic for assessing a potential partner. Particularly if you are vulnerable to White-Knight issues like I am.

Curiously, the Authors of the White Knight Syndrome said that when they were first pitching the book idea to colleagues, as 'people who feel a compulsive need to rescue others' one colleague responded 'so basically, women?'

I digress. Could you put your child, the person that even though you haven't met them yet, you will love more than anyone else in the world, into the arms of the second douche? Somebody who genuinely thinks that the homeless should get up and go... where? They are fucking homeless.

My feeling is, that says so much about a person, if someone I was dating dropped that bomb on me, I wouldn't be able to continue walking my frontal lobes would be so engaged in processing how to leave the relationship.

I mean, a homeless person is someone incredibly vulnerable, quite powerless (though not entirely) and their survival depends entirely on how the adults in their vicinity treat them. The main difference between babies and the homelessness in their standing in our society is not the cuteness factor so much as that someone is generally willing to take responsibility for the welfare of babies.

Whether you plan to have children or not ladies and gents, if you wouldn't trust your partner with a baby I would assert that you shouldn't trust them with yourself. While we may not consciously associate sex with babies (and marriage) anymore, we certainly subconsciously do. Reproduction still informs our sense of physical attraction, it also informs the way couples behave and treat eachother - with pet names, baby talk, play, feeding each other and sucking on your old ladies' titties. People who report that they 'don't want kids' still behave this way with their significant others.

So why the fuck are you dating a guy that laughs and mocks the distress of a child? You are really banking on double standards there for his parenting credentials.

You know what, it's time to rent out 'Under the Tuscan Sun' maybe even 'Eat Pray Love'. Not to suggest you would find Mr. Right if you just didn't pack a boyfriend to take with you, but to maybe think about travelling without one. Have a good holiday instead of being in an amazing city on the arm of somebody thoroughly unamazing. Use that moment of reflection in the Cathedral or gazing out onto the Mediterranean to contemplate how you'd recognize a man that lives up to the lyrics of Salt-N-Pepa's 'What a Man' (I don't. I'm trying. But I don't.)

Better than trying to make something shitty work. And fuck it, ask nicely at the desk if you can change your allocated seating if your holiday delivers such a clear sign that this guy is not a keeper. Don't wait for the uber ride home.

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