How Does This Type Of Ancient Sexist Attitude Still Persist? (Alternative title: The Boss Of London Idiomas Language School)

21 Sep

‘Take her for example,’ he said, peering over the top of his cheap, mirrored aviator sunglasses, whilst nodding in the direction of a dark haired woman in her mid 30s as she casually strolled past our table, taking her dog for a walk. ‘Back when I was single, whenever I was feeling down or stressed like I am now, I would go out to a bar, pick up a woman like her and take her home to do dirty things to her,’ he smirked before continuing, ‘I don’t know her, I don’t care about her, she’s just another woman for me to let it all out over. I would disrespect the shit out of her and then once I’d shot my load she’d be kicked out the door. And to be honest, that’s all I can think about lately. I just want to forget my worries by fucking all these Spanish sluts. What’s the point of living in a place like this, where the women look so good, if I can’t use them to service my needs? I’m a man, they’re women, they know what they’re here for.’

I didn’t say anything but just looked at his face to try and work out if he was being ironic. He wasn’t.

‘The thing is, Em knows this is how I am and she knows that this is what I need to do, she understands. She knows what I was like. I was literally shagging little whores like that one over there every night of the week. The fact that I can’t do that now is just making me tenser.’

I subtly attempted to switch the direction of the conversation by asking after his wife. ‘How is Em today?’

‘She’s not too good. She won’t leave the side of the incubator; she’s with that baby morning and night. She doesn’t want to do anything else. I’ve told her there’s no point being there all the time, it’s not like there’s anything we can do, but she won’t listen. She just stays there at the hospital. I can’t be there myself. It’s depressing. The only good thing is that there’s a bar across the road, so I can be in there until I’m steaming, and they know where to find me if anything happens,’ he told me, before catching the eye of the waiter and ordering us each another pint.

‘No, not for me, thanks,’ I interrupted, putting my hand over the top of my glass.

‘Ah go on, I feel like an alcoholic every time I order more drinks for myself and no one else comes along with me.’

‘But mate, you are an alcoholic,’ I said, in a tone that could be interpreted as either serious or jokey, depending on how true the statement rang to the person hearing it.

‘I’m not an alcoholic. I just like to drink.’

Sadly, he was an alcoholic. And we both knew it.

It was 2pm on a weekday afternoon in June, the city of Elche in Spain, and we were sat outside the bar opposite the language school that he had just a week earlier employed me to work in as a teacher, London Idiomas. At almost any time of the day you could count on finding him sat at the same table, playing on his mobile phone, empty pint glasses building up around him. I had already learnt that when walking down this main street, close to my home, it was the sensible option to cut down an alley so as not to have to pass the place and get invited to join him for drinks and conversation. Well, not even conversation, but rather monologue.

‘Have you read The Game, by Neil Strauss?’

I hadn’t, but I did know of it. A famous book written in the 90s by an ugly man unfortunate enough to also be missing a personality, in which he told the story of how he learnt to become a master ‘pick-up artist’ and make every woman his sex toy.

‘Nope.’

‘Mate, you should! It changed my life. It taught me that all women are slags; you just have to scratch the surface to get to it. Treat them like the shit they are and they will want you. I don’t know why it works, but it does. After reading that book, I went from getting not much sex to getting it whenever I wanted it. If I were single now, I would walk up to that table over there,’ he nodded towards a table of two pasty-faced gothic girls, ‘and I would take both of them home for the afternoon.’

He said it so smugly that it made me realise he actually believed what he was saying; that there were women out there that not only wouldn’t be repulsed by him, but rather would be willing to go to bed with him. It was delusion of the highest order. The reason I hadn’t avoided the bar today was that I’d been feeling pity for him, knowing he was sat alone drowning his sorrows at a difficult time. I was now starting to wonder if I had been too kind in my judgement of the situation.

‘Look at this,’ he then said, reaching across the table to hand me his mobile phone.

I looked down to a photo of Em, naked, looking into the camera like a deer on ketamine, the most uncomfortable pose imaginable, her legs crossed to protect her modesty, her hands across her chest, and her pregnant belly housing twin girls.

‘Oh, that’s, um, a nice photo,’ I mumbled awkwardly whilst quickly handing the phone back. Why was I being shown this? Under no circumstances was this appropriate. I felt uneasy and sad. I had purposely smoked a spliff before walking to the bar, just to chill me out a bit and make this scenario a little bit more bearable, but now I was truly uncomfortable. Three days earlier Em had gone into labour a couple of months prematurely and had tragically lost one of the babies in childbirth, while the surviving child lay in an intensive condition in an incubator. It was a devastating time and I felt that despite his flaws, he needed a friend for company, somebody to be able to speak his mind to.

‘You don’t even know how tempted I am to just go out tonight to a prostitute. Em would understand. There’d be no feelings involved, so she wouldn’t have to be jealous, she would know that I just need to fuck someone filthy. I’d go to a girl that would let me do everything without complaint. Just disrespect the fuck out of her and then leave. Em knows that when I do that it doesn’t mean anything. Em has her ways of dealing with stress and I have mine. She likes to drink a bottle of wine sometimes and have a bath. That’s fine, I’m okay with that. My way of dealing with pressure is to go out and degrade some slut. She understands that.’

I nodded without word.

‘You must be getting a load of pussy, aren’t you? What I wouldn’t give to be free like you to go out and pick up women every night. And what I wouldn’t give to be as skinny as you, too!´ he exclaimed, patting me on the stomach. ‘Have you been getting much lately?’

‘To be honest, mate, I’m not really a puller. Too old for all that shit. I’d like to find a nice girl eventually and have a cool relationship, but I’m not the sort to go out on the pull, sleeping with a load of strangers. Only ends up making me feel empty,’ I told him, truthfully.

‘Wow, you’ve really got no game, have you? Man, I’m going to have to teach you game. And what do you mean too old? You’re 30! You’re the same age as me! A good-looking bloke like you, plus you’ve got the advantage of being English, they love the English here, I could teach you to use all of that. It’s so simple. Women are easy. You really should read that book, mate. It’ll turn your life around. Have you even slept with Sonia yet? Come on, she’s on the rebound, just broke up with her last boyfriend who has left her a mess. She’ll fuck anyone who gives her the slightest attention. Trust me.’

Sonia was the school’s receptionist. The conversation had now become farcical. I was being told by a fat alcoholic man, the most unpleasantly sexist and chauvinistic I’d ever come across, who had to wear sunglasses to hide the fact that not only did his eyes bulge out of his head like a pair of white onions but that they also watered constantly and made it appear that he were crying over some traumatic memory, whose skin poured oil from the blackheads that covered his forehead thanks to a diet that consisted solely of beer and peanuts and lacked water and vegetables, whose face looked like half of it had been surgically removed and replaced by a mirror held at an angle down the middle to reflect the image of the surviving side of face onto the empty space where the other half had once sat, and who visited prostitutes, that he could take me under his wing and show me how to meet women. I was done with this interaction. Turning up just at the right moment to save me, his dad pulled up a chair. We shook hands and said hello.

‘Hear, dad, what do you think of this? Hot, eh?’

He passed his father the mobile with the naked photo of his then-pregnant but now-grieving wife on. I watched his dad’s face as the same look of ‘What the fuck?’ came over it that had no doubt come over mine earlier.

‘Yea, son, that’s okay,’ his father said, hurriedly handing the phone back. ‘Are we getting the pints in?’

‘Not for me,’ I said, standing up, ‘I have to be somewhere. Give my best to Em, I hope she’s okay. Take it easy. Bye.’

As I walked away I felt a pang of shame for once again not having told him that I didn’t appreciate his preferred topic of conversation, and that I appreciated even less his views on women. But he was my boss, I was new in the job, I didn’t have a contract yet, and I had bills to pay.

561249-barneygumble

london-idiomas

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