I'm a slightly inebriated English lesbian, out in the midday
sun, chatting to a retired American advertising exec. He's a Don
Draper type who's a friend of my girlfriend's parents. The 'girls'
are inside, so he's bought me onto the deck of the beach bar to
have a little man-to-man chat with me about politics and
business. I'm now deeply regretting ordering the cointreau
float in my Cadillac Margarita.
When I'm with my girlfriend's family I'm often invited to shoot
the breeze with the men folk, while my girlfriend is left to sit
with the women. Curiously the situation is reversed when we're with
my family. I put it down to the older generation needing to assign
us traditional gender roles, and neither family wanting their own
daughter to be 'the man' -- even though 'the man' doesn't actually
At first I found man talk quite difficult, but over the years I've
become quite the master. You just have to remember to keep it curt
and impersonal, and if in doubt, repeat yourself. In truth you
don't actually need to say much, because it's more about the
"So," he says, "how's business?"
"Ah you know..." I reply, and add with a burdened sigh, "tough
times." (If I'd had a cigar I'd have raised it to my mouth with
dramatic effect at this point, but I don't).
The conversation has tailed off mid-sentence, because we're
momentarily distracted by two women wearing spray-on bikinis
struggling with an unruly umbrella.
A few moments pass in silence as we continue to watch them, until
he resumes, "Yep. It's tough alright."
We carry on staring, through sunglasses, as the women bend over
and dip into their bags with their bums in the air like ducks. One
of the women is wearing a super tight silver bikini bottom, and I'm
reminded of an old sofa cushion I once gaffer-taped to prevent the
stuffing falling out. Don shifts in his seat a little and lets out
a sigh. I'm guessing he's not recalling a gaffer-taped sofa
"So how's business?"
"Ah, you know...."
We stare back at the bikini babes and take another sip of
"I know," he sighs, "tough times."
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