A bit of skirt

Guess what? The Darkly Intriguing Man From The Gym has got a girlfriend. Surprise, surprise.

I finally pulled myself up by the bootstraps and confronted him (admittedly by email) and he confessed that he has indeed got a girlfriend. But they’re splitting up so he doesn’t feel he’s behaved badly… blablabla …

Whether this is the truth or a conveniently concocted fairytale is of no interest to me. Either way, he’s out of the window as far as romantic liaisons are concerned. And I’m back to square one.

Anyway, today my head’s full of other things: I’m in London for a business meeting, it’s rush hour on the tube and I’ve got my face smushed into the back of the world’s tallest man.

Someone’s briefcase is wedged firmly in my ribs and, behind me, a screaming sproglet administers repeated kicks to my calves as an expression of his or her disgust at London’s finest method of transport.

By the time we get to Leicester Square, I can take it no more, and I hop off. I’ve got time to kill and I’d rather walk back to Kings Cross than spend another minute defending my poor, battered body against the fearsome onslaught of rush-hour commuters.

On the street, there’s a light, misty rain and I enjoy the changing scenery: the tacky glitz of Shaftesbury Avenue; the genteel streets of Bloomsbury; and the little oases of calm in Russell Square and Cartwright Gardens. All too soon, I’m at Euston Road, with the gothic majesty of St Pancras towering above me.

St Pancras is one of my favourite buildings. Not so long ago, I read an article about its renovation and conversion into sumptuous five star lodgings, and ever since I’ve fancied taking afternoon tea there. (It’d have to be afternoon tea, as I surely couldn’t afford to stay.) They call it ‘the cathedral of railways’ and really, it’s no exaggeration.

I’m still pondering its fabulousness as I wander into Kings Cross.

It’s not too crowded now, and I find a seat without much difficulty. Sinking gratefully onto the chair, I’m more than happy to get my bag off my shoulders; my laptop makes it feel pretty heavy after a while. It seems quite warm in here after the chill air outside, so I stand to take my coat off.

As I unbutton my jacket, something white catches my eye. It’s the lining of my dress, which isn’t usually on view. But it’s making an appearance today, thanks to the friction created by the synthetic fabric of my dress and the synthetic lining of my trench coat, which have conspired to make my dress shimmy slowly upwards.

My hemline is now around my waist.

And I’m flashing my underskirts to all and sundry.

An old Jamaican guy opposite me raises his eyebrows, and stops sucking on his Cornish pasty just long enough to smirk, “That’s a great look you got there, girl!” before breaking into wheezy laughter.

Mortified – AGAIN – I pull my skirt down. As if flashing my knickers once in a month wasn’t enough.

I’m almost glad when a girl walks by and shoves a leaflet into my hand. At least it’s something I can make myself interested in while the redness fades from my cheeks. Until I look at it more closely…

“eHarmony Dating”, it reads. “Find the perfect match for you!”

I look at it in exasperation. There are no words. Really. No words at all…


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