“Men are such PIGS!” my friend, Jenny, snorted. “If they knew what agony we had to put up with they’d give us their seats.”
Jenny was complaining about her day at work in high-heel shoes, an ordeal that only women – and possibly a few cross-dressers – can relate to. If that wasn’t bad enough, the poor woman had to endure a long trip home in a crowded bus with standing room only. Sadly, no-one offered a seat.
In the age of equality, I found this an interesting development. When I grew up – in the chivalrous sixties – it would have been unthinkable for a man to hog his seat, but times have changed. Killer heels are no longer a useful tool for winkling men out of their comfort zones, at least not on public transport. But Jenny was young and healthy, she wasn’t physically challenged and, as far as I knew, she wasn’t pregnant. Her shoe collection was the envy of her friends, but killer heels for the coal face? It didn’t make sense to me.
I wrestled with my inner female for enlightenment and an appropriate response, but she refused to co-operate. At this point, Jenny’s female friends would have rushed over with a consoling cuppa and a well padded shoulder to cry on, but I had something much better – a pair of well-loved Volleys.
Dunlop Volleys have come a long way since their introduction in the late 1930’s. The obligatory Wimbledon-whites have been replaced with a wide range of designer colours and they are now a trendy shoe with soul. They walk all over heels for comfort, they last longer between blow-outs, and the overpowering smell of rubber eventually fades. Volleys are great for sidewalk shuffles down the coffee strip and they’re even something of a fashion statement at the local yacht club. Volleys are also excellent for climbing ladders and high-pitched roofs as many tradies will attest. Of course, I couldn’t imagine Jenny romping around a high-pitched roof, but I could see her shuffling up and down the corporate corridors without the tell-tale clack-clacking of high heels.
Anyway, I was about to offer my favourite canvas clogs when I noticed her glaring. It was one of those steely-eyed looks that women do so well and I knew exactly what she was thinking:
“How would he know what I’m talking about? He’s a man!”
She was right of course, on both counts, and the offer was quickly shelved.
It was probably just as well because a man would have been skating on perilously thin ice, the one place where Volleys have very little traction.
The gender agenda is a curly topic for most blokes and I really didn’t want to go there. Besides, the ‘P’ in pigs was ejected with some vigour and I had to stay on my trotters. Sometimes, a man just has to listen.
A few weeks later I was wandering through the local flea market. It’s a great place for affordable produce and who knows what else. As it happens, the morning foray delivered more than the usual peas and cue’s.
With a bulging bag of vegies swinging from one arm and a big box of booty wedged under the other, I stopped at one last stall on the way out. It was crammed with man-shed things, but the vendor – a large and frumpy middle-aged woman – could only be described as someone with attitude. She studied me with deep suspicion as I examined her offerings, then she spotted the Rock Shocks (telescopic bicycle forks) poking out of my booty box.
“Whadda Rock Shocks?” she demanded.
“It’s a sort of cattle prod” I jokingly replied. “If the old man misbehaves you can poke him in the ribs with it.”
“We don’t need fancy prodders.” she declared. “We just feed ‘em up with fatty food and they die early!”
The scary thing about her response was not so much the suggestion, but the speed with which it was delivered. She didn’t need to think about punishing the old cheese for any misdemeanours, the thought of doing him in was already front-of-mind.
I studied the unsavoury woman with a sense of unease. She certainly appeared to be serious and there was no sign of a porky partner. Then some disturbing thoughts sullied my day: “Had she actually done the deed already? Could he be the poor little piggy who popped his trotters after eating too much roast beef? Was she actively engaged in a cleansing operation and emptying out the poor man’s sty? The prospect of dealing with a genuine femme-fatal was too confronting and I quickly moved on without opening my wallet. This little piggy had been to the market and it was time to wee wee wee all the way home.
She who rules the roost with an iron fist was waiting on the front deck when I returned. Her arms were folded – a sure sign of trouble.
“Where have you been? Your breakfast is cold!”
I proudly showed her my forks.
“More stuff!” said she in a huff. “This place is beginning to look like a pig sty……!”
I kicked off my canvas clogs and quickly handed over the greens in an attempt to head off another roasting.
“What’s cooking?” I asked. (Thinks: “Please let it be healthy…..”).
“Streaky rashers with fried bread. Oh, and when you get around to fixing the toilet you might get a chocolate frog…….”
My appetite suddenly withered like a long lost carrot.
“Err, I don’t feel hungry dear.” I replied sheepishly. “How about some nice fresh fruit?”
Men are uncomplicated creatures with modest life-span expectations, but most would prefer a decent romp around the paddock to a slow ride in a wooden box. As for this podgy little piggie, he just wants to stay on his trotters for a few more volleys……..
© David Fryer, 2011 (980 words)