I was on a crowded train heading back to London last weekend and a pretty young woman – a student by the look of her – sat next to me. We exchanged the silent smile and nod greeting and then I turned my attention back to the window and she rummaged in the rucksack and pulled out a book. I cast a sidelong glance to see her reading choice and was disappointed to find it was Fifty Shades Of Grey
Perhaps she is studying sociology or psychology, or English literature – I was trying to find an excuse for the back-story I was creating for her. Slim and lightly tanned with long dark hair swept back in a ponytail, nerd-framed reading glasses and a loose grey sweatshirt top off of one shoulder to reveal a pale pink bra strap – she was doing the library hottie to a tee.
But the reading choice was spoiling my fantasy. Why that dreadful frot boiler? If I’m honest, though, I have my own argument prepared for my defence if I’m ever caught reading EL James’ clit-lit tome and that is that the damn thing has sold over 125 million copies. While on the one hand, I’d rather pogo in a minefield than produce a script of such dubious quality, as a wanna-be author, I can’t help but have qualified admiration or, at the very least, envy, for James’ success in writing one of the fastest and biggest-selling books of all time.
I’ve no intention of contributing to the sales figures, though, but perhaps this was an opportunity to get a little taster of the bondage-lite prose, and I surreptitiously cast my eye over her shoulder.
Now my eyesight is not what it once was, and so I had to inch my way in a little closer to try and make out the type on the page and as I leaned in I became aware that I was occupying an increasingly perilous position. Here was a middle-aged man now looming over a pretty young girl and peering over her shoulder. I needed my reading glasses.
But it was not simply a question of whipping them out of my jacket pocket and plonking them on my nose. This manoeuvre called for cat-like stealth, so with silence and hardly a breath drawn, I backed away to a discrete distance and deployed my reading glasses. Then, with equal precision, I returned to my vantage point on her shoulder but at a distance a shade more subtle.
As I squinted at the page I became aware of a certain tensing in the curve of her neck, then she snapped around and fixed me with a hot stare; “Do you mind?” she glared, “my tits are not that small!”