This column appeared in The Times on Monday 20th April:
SLIM PICKINGS FOR FATHEADS
Last week I went to deliver a package to a certain high-ranking public figure in Cape Town. It was all going really well till I got to the first security barrier.
CHIRPY SECURITY GUARD: So lady, when are you due?
ME: On the tenth of never! I’m not pregnant, I’m just fat.
CHIRPY SECURITY GUARD: Oh, well then you should go to the gym.
Then I strangled him with his own tie, eviscerated him with a ballpoint pen, karate chopped him in the face with a chair, and hung him up by his testicles (in my mind).
ME: Ummm, so you’ll make sure she gets my package then?
As I left the building in a black cloud, it crossed my mind that he didn’t say a word to any of the legitimately pregnant men who passed (with difficulty) through the narrow metal detector. I also realised I was actually wearing my favourite dress, damn it! Or rather, my ex-favourite dress.
It’s 2015 you wouldn’t think we’d have to spell this stuff out, but I guess we do. There are a few life hacks that will help one avoid having their head chopped off, one of which is to look both ways before you cross the road. Another is, unless you see the baby’s head crowning out of a woman’s vagina, don’t, just don’t ask her if she’s pregnant. And as an addendum, if you do happen to unfortunately insult her unintentionally, perhaps don’t keep up the good work and add insult to injury. A polite apology mumbled into your own double chin will do the job just fine. Preferably combined with having the floor open up and swallow you whole, but not everyone has the skills to arrange that on demand.
What if I was the president of Uruguay, or a visiting dignitary from Patagonia, and he’d asked? That would have been international relations down the toilet. Granted the president of Uruguay probably isn’t pitching up at the door with unbrushed hair and no security detail, but still, it could happen.
When I stomped into work and bleated my story to a couple of colleagues, (tell me honestly, does this dress make me look pregnant?) one guy asked if the security guard had frontal lobe damage. Another guy said maybe he’d been standing next to the metal detector for too long. And a third colleague told me she has a very fabulous friend, named Sizwe, who is a complete and utter charmer.
She once asked him how he came to be so charming, and he said he was raised by a single mother and a clutch of sisters. Who drilled it into him from a very early age that he should always be respectful and complimentary to women… even if they’re thin.
Sizwe is my kind of guy. It was a pleasant reminder that what’s thin to one is often too thin to another. I’m willing to bet Sizwe gets lucky a lot. I mean a lot-lot.
The truth is, I’ve actually lost quite a bit of weight over the last few years, see I do go to the gym, chopface! Which means I’m sadly no longer accosted by the odd stranger who used to regularly approach me and say, ‘You’re so nice and fat.’ And really mean it as a compliment.