Here’s a question. Is it the case that ugly people naturally become chavs, or is it that being a chav gradually twists you into looking like a sort of shaven ape-dog hybrid? If it’s the latter, I’m thinking maybe chavviness could be an as-yet-unidentified medical condition which might some day be cured. If it’s the former, then perhaps chavviness could be bred out of the gene pool. Don’t get me wrong, I’m absolutely anti-eugenics, except when it comes to chavs. If it’s none of these things, if I’m entirely wrong and the monstrous ugliness is just a coincidence, then can we at least put chavs to work driving pumps at the bottom of mineshafts or something? Just anywhere where I don’t have to look at, hear or smell them.
Actually, I’m being unfair in singling out chavs. Frankly there are a lot of subsets of humanity that I think we could do without. How about fourteen-year-olds with rich parents who think they actually contribute something to the world with their stupid haircuts and Facebook albums full of pictures of themselves? Or, say, pissed-up football supporters? Or anyone who self-identifies as a “lad”?
You see, I’m not exactly a people person. That’s not to say I’m unfriendly – when I’m at a party I’ll always make an effort with new people (I believe you can always find some common ground for discussion). If I’m in a bar and a stranger strikes up a conversation, I’ll happily exchange pleasantries, maybe crack a joke or two. This is basic etiquette. But at other times, I would quite like to be left alone. And this is where the problem arises.
See, I have the misfortune of looking both distinctive and approachable. This can have certain advantages, in that I can get served in a busy bar very quickly and if I don’t know anyone in a place, someone will usually come up and say hello. It also has certain disadvantages. Anyone who wants money, be they chugger, beggar or Scientologist, will instantly single me out in the crowd and make a beeline. Having decided that I’m likely to give them money, they then tend to get annoyed when I don’t. I’m half-expecting them to mug me and then in court claim that I was “asking for it”. Any pissed-up wanker will decide on sight that I am their new best friend. Any pimp or dealer will make the extra effort to push his wares on to me.
So you can see that it gets a little wearing after a while. I would like to walk through London once, just once, without being hassled. If I could just turn off the approachability for an hour or so, it would improve my life immensely. I’ve tried dressing differently, getting my hair cut differently, wearing an expression of barely-contained fury, nothing seems to work. The only things I can think of to make myself look less appealing that I haven’t tried yet are gnawing on a human femur and punching Stephen Fry in the face. The latter is out of the question, as assaulting Stephen Fry is classed as treason.
Another problem is that I look studious. I’ve often had people come up to me (because I’m so fucking approachable) and observe that I look like a professor. What this means is that any pissed-up jackass in the vicinity will think, “Ho, here’s fun! An academic! Let’s make sport with him! What larks!” on the basis that, as I am a professor, I am the sort of mild-mannered person who will not realise that someone is attempting a caper at my expense. This is incorrect. In fact, I am more likely to tell them to go [perform an action that is physically impossible and probably unhygienic to boot]. I’d love to say that I’m the sort of person who can dispatch them with an off-the-cuff witty remark, but I’m not. Especially not at the end of a long day, when my brain just wants to shut down. Still, quite often just explaining that you know what they’re trying to do is enough to stop it. Failing that, murder.
Speaking of brains shutting down, it’s probably obvious from this rambling prose that my own is dropping hints, so I’ll say goodbye. Just think of me next time you hear the words “cold-blooded, unpremeditated killing spree”.