Photograph Me Like One Of Your French Girls

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Every morning I walk past a pet shop selling dog tweed coats. A dog’s tuxedo in American urban speak is referring to something hip or cool, or incredibly pointless and over the top. Some dogs have better outfits than some people, including me, I don’t own a Barbour jackets while my neighbor’s spaniel must have at least couple. Those lucky pooches in their dashing tweeds relishing their dog days in Hampstead Heath… Let’s move on to people. In my research about everything in hope to come up with the next great middle-class guardian article, dog tweed jackets progressed into men tweed jackets. Being vaguely familiar with London’s elite crowd, I alway held a certain stigma against Chelsea boys and their country houses, as a writer (and a single woman), I must keep an open mind, so I gave boys a second chance. In my research, I discovered an entire catalogue of young, wealthy and successfull young men – in tweed.

I alway held a certain stigma against Chelsea boys and their country houses, as a writer (and a single woman), I must keep an open mind, so I gave boys a second chance.

The online magazine’s journal entry read ’12 Men’ (in tweed). Each of the entries tells a story of culture savvy young gentlemen wearing a garment made of elusive cloth as an alternative to the City dress code. According to the writer, City dress code is a sign of frankly declining standards within the narrow brief leading to consensual disarray, [while] the purveyors of art are allowed to express themselves within a greater, more exciting gamut’. The disarray of so called City decadent culture is no match to the mix of Japanese cotton and merino yarn used in the fine attire of those elusive creative types of high society. They are men in their late 20s, early 30s championing the field of art dealers, artists and entrepreneurs. I held on to my objectivity until I came across the profile post of a guy whom I went on a date with a couple of weeks ago, courtesy of an acquaintance who genuinely believed we were made for each other.

Suddenly I felt like a definition of disarray, as sophisticated as a table cloth from Primark.

Suddenly I felt like a definition of disarray, as sophisticated as a table cloth from Primark. There he was – the full technicolour Mr. Dashing Tweed and his full blown contempt. I skipped the article and went straight for the selfie 2.0 (a video) taken by himself exclusively about himself, exclusively for himself. Weirdly enough there was nothing weird about it. Years of professional training by the best photography mentor in Florence, Mr. Dashing Tweed was a textbook definition of affluence and cultural opulence only presumably appreciated by the best of us. Well traveled, well spoken, well dressed, well mannered – every working class women’s wet dream. Sentence after sentence of this mediocre written testament of personal success, evading few real life details, life story which would bore a tabloid reader to death. But I had my own story.

I learned that you can actually reveal your drunk side without having a single drink.

At the beginning of our first spontaneous ‘let’s-get-it-over-with’ date I learned that Mr. Dashing Tweed carried multiple shades of tweed. My investigative side was working hard to find any dirt on his picture perfect resume, but I hit the dead end. There was no way I could complete this blog post without sounding class envy. I didn’t envy, I was rather curious why this man was still single. To my relief, in the course of our 3 hour date in the pub, I learned that you can actually reveal your drunk side without having a single drink. He didn’t drink. In fact, he doesn’t drink, smoke or does drugs. He photographs precious stones and fine jewellery, restores vintage cars, and wait for this, is a self-proclaimed vagina whisperer. He had me at the vagina.

While I was getting to know him, one large glass of rose couldn’t get me drunk enough to piece this epic story together. Screw vintage cars and bling – the man makes women come as a hobby. I must have had hit some universal jackpot. This is how the conversation went:

*talking about some superficial relationships and commitment issues*

MDT: *out of nowhere* Have you had a guy making you come during sex?

Me *Mrs. Red Face* Yeah, like once or twice….WHY DO YOU ASK?

MTD *genuinely surprised* : Really?! How did it happen?

Me: *about to pass out but still intrigued by the subject*: Erm…. Oral…..I guess… ?!

Did I just say oral sex on the first date? Where is this going? Is he suggesting something? IS HE?!

MRD: I’ve been with girls who never came in their lives and they only ever came with me.

He wasn’t kidding, and I wasn’t hallucinating. Mr. Dashing Tweed actually has a list of referees to testify on his behalf. He makes women come, and all of it is due to his genuine interest in female anatomy and general biology, also his ability to listen and make women relaxed in his presence. I tried to shake his confidence by suggesting that these (proverbial) women could be lying, but again science strikes back – Mr. Dashing Tweed knows when women come. Now, I have to give credit to this guy, despite his over self confidence and expertise in his field, he already answered three of the sphinx’s riddles: he knows WHERE clitoris is, HOW it works, and WHEN woman comes. He is well ahead of most of my dates. Women would agree that men, generally, don’t approach the subject with the same level of forensic accuracy. It’s women who usually read tomes of books on how to please your man.

He already answered three of the sphinx’s riddles: he knows WHERE clitoris is, HOW it works, and WHEN woman comes.

Mr. Dashing Tweed agreed although he couldn’t take the subject of the intercourse to the existential discussion. It was still a dirty talk, but he made it sound as if he was offering the best cup of tea of my life. The more I think about it, the more he deserves to brag about it, like speaking a foreign language or play a musical instrument. As intrigued as I was at the time, I wasn’t entirely convinced I should jump the shark and straight into bed with a clit whisperer. Mr. Dashing Tweed had something else up his Barbour sleeve. Turns out he was also a nude photographer. Pause for reaction. All his fascination with Man Ray’esque play of light didn’t stop at fine bling, he also liked to play with female curves, in an arty way of course.

Damn right it is an art. The mystique of a female body baffled men for ages. Putting them in corsets, high heels, bras and pantyhose, only for a sole purpose – to undress them. Mr. Dashing Tweed skipping the middle man as in seduction and courting, offers, presumably, what every woman wants – to get naked in front of the camera. This must be a hard sell as lots of women get naked in front of a man without the promise of a nude Instagram picture. Taking clothes off for art is more daunting. Why is it so? No brainer, especially when some of the most famous women in the world are now cautionary revenge tales. As liberated as would like to think of myself, I had to draw the line. Finding the shot of your bare arse somewhere on the internet does not sound liberating to me.

The offer was there, and it stood out like a sore thumb pointing at my mundane existence that I have been experiencing lately. In fact, I was craving something or someone out of line to remind myself there is more to life than the daily commute to work,  good manners, and a pension plan. The more I thought about the proposal, the more unsure I was. No way any of this spelled relationship, but it may as well be something I could tell my grandchildren perhaps? Maybe not. I kept it to myself of course. The night carried on, and I was feeling the weight of his advances. The more he spoke about nude photography, the more I drank in vain hope he would write me off as a wasted gutter woman, but ironically, it only gave him more reason to drag me to his studio around the corner. 

The storm was forecasted that night, and I had to make my move before I heard another ground breaking revelation from Mr. Dashing Tweed. By the time I walked through the door, the storm was in full swing, somewhat ominous. I haven’t slept very well that night, mostly because I was having nightmares about this date. Mr. Dashing Tweed followed up with one more message asking if I want to come down and pose for him on Thursday. There wasn’t really a decision to be made but told him I had to think about it anyway. A couple of weeks went by until I heard from him again and we met on a random Tuesday. Although he wasn’t my cup of tea, I still felt I need to give him another shot to redeem himself.

I was already familiar with his inability of maintaining a casual conversation for too long, perhaps it was the nerves, perhaps he is just too eccentric, may be just an arsehole.

Over the course of 40 minutes of our conversation, Mr. Dashing Tweed didn’t hold his breath making a small talk. I was already familiar with his inability of maintaining a casual conversation for too long, perhaps it was the nerves, perhaps he is just too eccentric, may be just an arsehole. The suggestion of visiting his studio came up one more time, and I took up on it. Driven by sheer curiosity and imposed ignorance I followed him into his basement photography studio. I must admit there was a small sigh of relief on my part it didn’t resemble a torture chamber.

It was filled with photography paraphernalia, it smelled of incense and looked like he spent a lot of time in there doing whatever he was doing. However, the topic of nude photography didn’t come up until then. I realised that the clearer I made myself about the offer the less likely he will spend another 10minutes trying to persuade me. I announced that nude photography just wasn’t for me, providing my reasons without trying to get him to understand them. There was a distinct annoyance in his voice as he was suggesting I should be more adventurous and live a little. My eyes rolled to the back of my skull, but I didn’t feel the need to disagree. Although I should have said that owning a camera doesn’t make you Man Ray and owning a professional studio doesn’t make you a professional. Neither the refusing to bare my arse in front of him make me a prude.

Owning a camera doesn’t make you Man Ray and owning a professional studio doesn’t make you a professional.

There was also something else. There was a huge gap between us, not only in terms of background and social status but also in the perception of actual reality.  Mr. Dashing Tweed inhibited a parallel universe which he carefully crafted for himself. In his universe, the women were gorgeous and naked, where he was rich and famous, where his status would grant him a right to act like an imbecile without ever being accused of it. He didn’t try to seduce me, even the attempt to kiss me was devoid of any affection. How can somebody with so many resources be so unimaginative? It didn’t bother me at all. All I tried to understand was how my friend who set us up thought we were ‘made for each other.’

I got two lessons out of this. One – no amount of luxurious Japanese cotton blend tweeds can give you class, no amount of education give you common sense and certainly no amount of pleased vaginas will bring you love. The other was never allow your friends to fix you up.

 

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Photograph Me Like One Of Your French Girls

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