25 Jan

No Hands

“I am a man!”

Nearby co-workers turned their heads as I strolled into the office with great pride and triumph booming from my voice. They we are all obviously deeply curious and jealous about whatever achievement had caused me to display such manly pride.

“What is it this time?” One of them asked.

“I have just successfully figured out how to ride my bicycle with no hands.” I waved my hands as I relayed the story in case there was any doubt that I had hands.

“Congratulations,” my obviously envious Dutch co-worker replied, “You can now do the same thing that every five year old in this country can do.”

Not to be put down by this I grinded and quickly added, “And I have the language skills to match.”

20 Jan

I’d been on the treadmill for nearly 20 minutes and was in need of a shower. Re-joining a gym had made me very happy. Not only was I already feeling the benefits of daily exercise but it also had the extra benefit of addressing some of the ‘compliments’ recently given to me by my wife. They were nice compliments. Everyone loves compliments but when they are about your growing laundry folding or ironing skills you can’t help but feel the need to do something a little manly to re-address the balance.

I returned to the changing room and had a quick shower. I had just enough time to get dressed and cycle back to the office before I had to give a presentation. I quickly dried myself and got a fresh set of clothes out of my locker. I had almost finished getting dressed and was just about to put on my socks when suddenly…

I stopped mid movement. Something was wrong. I slowly lifted the sock I had been about to put on my foot and held it up to get a better look. I was extremely puzzled, frozen in position as my brain tried to process what it was seeing and come up with an explanation. At first glance it had looked like a normal sock; black and distinctly sock shaped. However, upon closer examination there was something very odd about the sock. It was a very long sock. Extremely long in fact and ever so slightly feminine looking.

Behind me I heard someone snigger.

Slowly the realization started to dawn on me. This sock was not a normal sock at all. In fact this sock didn’t even belong to me. This sock belonged to my wife. I was sitting in the middle of the men’s changing room at my local gym holding a pair of my wife’s sexy knee high socks.

I’d been helping my wife put away the laundry the night before. I must have mixed up the socks and then not even noticed when I grabbed a pair in the morning to change into after the gym. As I sat their holding a ladies foot under garment not only was my manliness suddenly in question but my sock organising skills too.

This situation presented me with a very difficult dilemma. It was not a dilemma about ‘if’ I should wear my wife’s sexy knee high socks (the socks I had be wearing were very smelly from my run) but ‘how’ I should wear my wife’s sexy knee high socks.

Should I wear them as they are intended to be warn and pull them up all the way past the knee? Should I attempt to fold them over neatly at the top and attempt make them a more regular length? Or should I simply bunched them up around my lower leg like 1980’s ankle warmer?

I chose for the latter thinking it would draw less attention. It didn’t. I heard another snigger. Somehow I don’t feel as manly at the gym any more.

16 Jan
What farmer doesn't know, he doesn't eat.
6 Jan

Banana Bar Amsterdam

I was very excited about having my first visitor in Holland. Since I had only been in the country for a short while myself I had not had much of a chance to do a lot of the more touristy things yet. Showing someone else around seemed like a great opportunity to do so. It was also great because the visitor was Neil, my best friend from College who was also very excited about visiting Holland.

Museums, art galleries, canal trips; There were so many cultural things that we could experience. Neil even suggested that we see a show which I thought was a brilliant idea. However, when I suggested that I knew where we could get our hands on a couple of discount tickets for a wonderful Dutch production of The Sound of Music… he seemed slightly disappointed. Neil had something else in mind.

And so one summer evening, after only three months of living in Holland, I found myself standing in front of a box office window asking a man who was wearing more fake gold then seemed advisable for two tickets to a show where the main cast had a much more ‘limited’ wardrobe.

As we entered the slightly seedy looking auditorium and took our seats on the edge of the centre aisle I continued to wonder how I had let myself be talked into this situation. Apparently it’s one of those things you, “have to do when visiting/living in Amsterdam.”

The first act we witnessed involved a young lady inviting various audience members up on to the stage to eat a banana. This in itself might sound quite innocent. In fact, it probably sounds very considerate of the young lady to take a personal interest in the audience’s daily vitamin A intake. Sort of like when they used to have milk breaks in British primary schools to insure that the children grew up with healthy bones. It was an invaluable service.

However, I had to question the way in which she chose to feed said banana to her group of male volunteers. It was very questionable from a nutritionist point of view. For starters she was lacking in any clothes and was ‘holding’ the banana in such a way that I believe any qualified gynaecologist would highlight as ‘medically ill advised’ despite any healthy properties the food item claimed to have. Most of the volunteer men on stage didn’t seem to mind though. I took it upon myself to feel embarrassed for them and sank deeper into my seat.

This was followed by several other acts I will never be able to remove from my brain no matter how hard I try and after a while it was time for the young ‘nutritionist’ to do her act once again.

She’d obviously not had much luck locating her clothes yet because she was still naked as she stepped off the stage, started to walk down the centre aisle and began her search for a new group of volunteers. It was just as I was starting to wonder which poor souls would be embarrassed on stage this time that she suddenly locked eyes with me. Oh no! Then she was not only looking at me but she was walking towards me too… and smiling. Oh no! Oh no! I tried to sink even lower into my seat hoping that I would suddenly become hidden from view but it didn’t work. She was still coming towards me. I started to panic. I didn’t want to go on stage and I didn’t think she would accept, “No thank you. I just ate,” as a good excuse. As if in slow motion I saw her hand reaching out towards mine (in a way that did not seem to give me much room for choice) as she stepped closer and closer.

I had no idea what to do. I was gripped with fear. I was nervous about talking to girls at the best of time. What the hell was I supposed to do when a naked one approached me with a suggestive fruit? My only hope was that Neil knew what to do. He always knew what to do in these kind of situations. Anyway, he got me into this bloody mess. It was really up to him to get me out of it. He should be the one being dragged up on stage. Not me.

A quick look at Neil told me he didn’t have a clue what to do either. The same look of fear was looking back at me as I looked into his eyes. More and more people were starting to look at us. Then suddenly, through our shared fear, it became clear what Neil and I had to do. There was only one thing we could do really. We ran like hell!

Unfortunately we couldn’t simply run out via the central aisle. That route of escape was already blocked to us by the naked woman holding the banana who was now standing right next to us. No. We were forced to run in the opposite direction, through the audience. We tripped and stumbled our way passed the other people sitting in our row as we scrambled over them with wild determination for escape. I can’t remember at what point we stopped running but I’m sure we were outside and across several canals before we did.

I don’t care how bloody important fruit is as part of a balanced diet.

1 Jan

Happy New Year from time zone GMT+1

Blog Highlights of 2011:
The Lie that Got Out Of Control
Do I Look Like A Pimp?
The Lost Bike
Unknown Delay
Stuart Smash
How To Identify A Dutch Circle Party