A man stopped us in Shaftsbury Avenue. To be more exact, he stopped my daughter. “I must tell you,” he said, “that you are most cute. I want to shake your hand. Where are you going?” He shook my hand too, not because I am cute but presumably due to my proximity to cuteness.
I wondered on his motives. My daughter is beautiful though she would deny it with some vehemence. Suffice it to say she is more beautiful than Cleopatra, which is perhaps not saying very much since Cleo had a very big nose. (Stop digging this hole and throw away the spade. Climb out now!)
So, beautiful then. The point is that this has happened several times to her, complete strangers accosting her in the street to tell her she’s beautiful, and using much the same words like a formula learnt.
My mind went into overdrive…which means it stumbled along at four and a half miles an hour. Who were these people? White Slavers? Smooth talking pimps? And why did they insist on shaking hands - bacterial infection? I rubbed mine vigorously down the side of my trousers and scraped it for good luck on a wall. Were they angels made flesh acknowledging another beautiful spirit, or demons with motives much darker, or missionaries for some obscure cult? A troupe of Hari Krishna snaked passed us, chanting what ever it is they chant, and I shuddered, imagining my daughter in orange robe and bald head.
Who are these people? Are they active in other cities across the world? And why don’t more of them accost me, telling me how beautiful I am? One of life’s many mysteries.