Friday, 29 September 2017

The MAMAA Returns

Right, so you all know by now that your average high frequency MAMAA (Middle Aged Man Always Around) is under the tragic misapprehension that I delight in their glittering company and, during their regretful absences, yearn for their swift return in order to hear more of their enthralling stories and wondrous escapades, right?

Given this sad state of affairs it logically follows that a long-term absentee MAMAA, returning after many months, is almost bleedin’ unbearable.

MAMAA Yorkshire Casanova, turned up yesterday (calm down, he’s really not worth your hopeful imagination).
No....... Photo: skeeze, Pixabay.

When I very first met him I thought he was alright. I mean, fair enough, it’s weird that a 70+ old geezer is hanging out in a ladies clothes and accessories shop (it wasn’t for the coffee and cake – he never drank or ate anything), but for all that, he seemed reasonably intelligent and fairly interesting.

Sadly, that didn’t last long.

All too soon it became disturbingly clear he viewed himself as part fascinating raconteur, part irresistible stud – when what he actually was, was part bore, part creep.

Yes. Photo: Pexels, Pixabay

He used to visit frequently, (far too frequently, given he lived miles away), and the sight of him proprietorially strolling into the shop meant I could kiss goodbye to the next hour or so of my life. Deep joy.

I would then be taken on a journey of fascinating (he wishes) anecdotes about his life as a (very) minor radio celebrity (Heellooo radio Scunthorpe! -Or something); his importance as a local councillor (he once told me a nail-biting, scintillating tale about street lighting); and his pre-eminence as a distinguished chiropodist (stories of other people’s feet – what’s not to love?).

He would then sidle around the corner of the counter and describe at great length (great, great length) his complicated love life.

Basically, he shagged around so much his wife kicked him out, kind of. Whilst trying to get his wife to forgive him he hooked up with an old girlfriend and wooed her with romantic (urgh) trips to the Italian Lakes and The Cotswolds. Then, in the midst of trying to get his wife to forgive him whilst still very much getting it on with his travel buddy, he met another woman and they’d sneak off to book fairs together (so much more classy than a dirty weekend in Blackpool). Apparently they bonded over a literary appreciation of Tolstoy or Camus or someone (I don’t really know. Neither do I care).

Then, on top of all that he began a fervent pursuit (well, as fervent as you can be in your seventies) of TBE (aka The Boss Erratic).

I know! Astounding!......... TBE! What was he thinking! Clearly all that, er, reading and sightseeing had drawn the blood and the sense right out of his head!

He would bring her gifts, and hang around cooing over her, declaring his undying love, (yuck). She, on the other hand, made it abundantly clear this was unacceptable.

I’m lying. 

She didn’t. She loved it. She said she didn’t,  but she did.

TBE, loving it. Original photo: Tama66, Pixabay

And now he was back. 

I saw him hanging around in the background as I was selling some shit to someone. He was smiling away to himself, clearly anticipating the unbridled joy with which I would greet this return of a favourite prodigal son. Then my customer left and there he stood; resplendent in his beige anorak, with a look that sang, “I’m baaack!! whilst metaphorically waving his jazz hands about.

          Me: “Er...How lovely to see you! How have you been?” 

(Who needs RADA? Just work in retail).


(Honestly? I dunno what he said; some guff about travelling and family and health and..... who cares?)

Anyway, after this glorious reunion there followed the inevitable, awkward, ‘I thought I’d seen the last of you, now I don’t know what to say,’ pause, which, I’m proud to say, I used to very good effect.....

          “Oh, do you know, you’re so lucky! (TBE) is over in the (New Favourite) shop today! If                                you pop over there now you just might catch her!”

And off he popped. Oh yes, my mind is like a steel trap; that’s him dealt with for a fair old while then.

Turns out, a ‘fair old while,’ was just twenty minutes long........

          “Just passing on my way back to the car and I had to come in and say cheerio.”

          ‘Sigh’ alright then: “Cheerio.”

But apparently that wasn’t enough. 

Oh no.

In his Casanova wisdom, he decided to break the ensuing awkward silence (yes, another one), by cocking his head to one side, opening his arms out wide, and burbling;

          “Ah, come here, give me a hug”


          “Come on, come here.”

But I can’t even remember your name! Why would I want to hug you when I can’t even remember your name?!

          “Come on.”

Oh dear god, is there any way out of this?

And then he stepped forward, flung his arms around me, and held on tight. An image of a python and a baby deer popped into my head. 

I started to count to ten. He let go after about five (which, in reluctant-hugee years is about twenty million), said goodbye and walked out of the shop.

I stood there astounded. I am still astounded. I feel like Bishop Brennan after Father Ted kicked him up the arse. 

I still don’t know if it really happened.

Did it really happen?

Maybe it was just a nightmare....

Oh hang on, no; I’ve just found a book token in my pocket. At least, I think it’s for books....

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