Okay, I might as well admit to it: I love reading Britain’s Daily Mail Online. I know it’s trash, and they’re absolutely the worst people in the world, but it’s like Train Smash Women (I’ll explain that term tomorrow): it’s foul and horrible, but you can’t help yourself.
Here’s a wonderful example (from the DM last Friday): Naked man is spotted teetering on a window-ledge of French apartment block ‘after woman’s partner arrives home’. Go ahead and look (you know you want to); I’ll wait.
I think one of the reasons that these ridiculous stories appeal to me so much is that so often, something very similar has happened to me. And the above story is one such example.
Back when I still lived in Johannesburg — from memory, this was in about 1980 — I lived close to an area called Hillbrow, which was Johannesburg’s equivalent of, say, what the Bronx is to Manhattan: a dizzying array of high-rise apartment buildings in what was at the time the most densely-populated area in the entire Southern Hemisphere (back then it even rivaled Hong Kong in terms of population per square mile). Where I lived was a similar, but not quite as densely populated area known as Braamfontein, which was walking distance (about three miles) from Hillbrow, and next door to Johannesburg’s enormous main train station. All this is to give you some kind of scale for the calamity which is to follow.
I was at some party or other in Hillbrow, and ended up flirting with this rather cute woman. She told me that she was engaged to some guy, but he was always away doing contract construction work and because of that she felt lonely and neglected. One thing led to another (booze, mostly), with the inevitable outcome that we ended up in bed at her apartment. (Nowadays, of course, Good Kim would never have taken advantage of her vulnerability, but in 1980, 25-year-old Evil Kim ruled the roost, so to speak.) Here’s what happened next:
We were in the middle of creating what the Bard calls “the beast with two backs” when suddenly we heard a key turn in the front door.
“Oh my God, it’s my husband!” she cried. “He’s only supposed to be back tomorrow night!”
“Husband? You said he was a boyfriend!” I protested idiotically.
“Never mind that! You have to get out of here!”
“How? This place is on the first floor !” [in U.S. terms, this would be the second floor]
“You’ll just have to jump, I don’t care,” she whispered furiously.
“Jump! I’ll fucking kill myself!”
“Well, he’s going to fucking kill you if he finds you here!” [I should point out here that the only thing that had saved me was that she’d chained the front door — apartment living to the rescue — and Hubby Dearest was yelling through the cracked-open door for her to come and let him in.]
Anyway, I pulled on my undies (with some difficulty, uh-huh) and put my shoes on, then ran to the bedroom door and let myself out onto the balcony. Fortunately, the ground was not that far below: if I climbed over the railing and lowered myself by my fingertips, it was only about eight or ten feet to the sidewalk.
So I did that, crashing to the ground in the midst of a busy street wearing only my bikini briefs and, I should also point out, black platform shoes (it was the 1980s, damn it, we all wore that crap), and twisted my ankle a little.
And man, the street was busy: it was about midnight on a Saturday night (did I already mention that Hillbrow was densely populated?) and people weren’t just chuckling at my plight, they were howling with laughter — let’s be honest, the situation didn’t need much exposition — and the laughter grew still louder when my erstwhile partner ran buck naked out onto the balcony and started tossing some of my clothes into the street. I say “some”: in fact, it was only my shirt and, ridiculously, a Paisley silk scarf (I said it was the 80s). Then she disappeared, never to be seen again (like my black velvet bell-bottom trousers… oh, shuddup); and I faced a long hobble home to my Braamfontein apartment in bikini underwear, a pink(!) shirt, Paisley scarf and platform-heeled shoes.
Of course, that’s not the end of the story: not only had my trousers disappeared, but also my apartment key nestled snugly in its pocket — and you should have seen the look on the face of the apartment block’s manager (a divorced woman of about fifty) when I knocked on her door at dawn the next day, nearly dead from exposure.
In summation: instead of in some woman’s warm bed, I had spent the night curled up on one of the loungers next to the pool.
To add insult to injury, the apartment manager added fifty bucks to my next month’s rent, “for losing your key” (the bloody old cow).
I actually think it was the pink shirt, bikini briefs, Paisley scarf and platform shoes.
So now that you’ve heard my tale, you’ll understand why I enjoyed the picture of the hapless naked guy shivering on the window ledge outside that Paris apartment. And why I enjoy reading the Daily Mail.
Tomorrow: Train Smash Women.