Not for the first time was I upbraided today by teenage chavs over the length of my hair. Yes, really: I ought to tell my grandad this one, as he loves jokes that remind him of what life was like when he was young. But, in Witney, circa Heartbeat 1950s as it still feels like sometimes, long hair marks you out as, er, a woman.
Hard to credit? And you have to wonder what was going through the mind of the sniggering Ben Sherman zitfest as he said (rather hesitantly as all twelve or thirteen stone of me barreled past at around twelve kilometres an hour) “Dude… looks like… a lady.”
Now, that song was sung by this chap:
I can confidently say, strikingly ugly as he is, Steve Tyler looks considerably more like a lady than I do. Especially in the video for Pink where, rubbery lips and all, he’d nonetheless stir the loins of the most ardent heterosexual.
So what exactly was going through the wee chav’s head when he said that? Are there people in Witney who can only get the BBC and the Home Service, and had he therefore heard the Aerosmith lyric from a cool mate in Botley, not knowing its true provenance? Does he not watch any programmes from the last, oh, thirty years, where long hair is the norm?
What’s the motivation for insulting and demeaning people in this, quite specific, manner? Is it in the same category as shouting at cyclists and whistling at pretty women; by which I mean, fear and a determination to wrestle back the control of common space that they’ve somehow taken from you? Is it that same sort of “how come oppressed people get special societies when we only get one, er, the default one?” that propels white, lower middle-class, trouble-making blockheads who can’t debate or lobby properly into Fatheads4Justice?
I’ve said this before, but I do wonder what sort of reaction David Cameron would get if he tried his Notting Hill antics among the people who elected him. Since thinking about it last I’ve decided that the cycling probably wouldn’t generate the same reaction as it does for the rest of us—to wit, “Get off the road”, “There’s a cycle path over there!” and “Beep bi-bi-bi-bi-bip beeeep!”—because “Fleet of Jags” Cameron will have his massive fume-belching entourage round him, a cage of cages to keep him safe from such those proles who put a cross by his name.
More likely, though, is that he’ll find no shortage of people interested in a line or two of coke. Not that I think for one minute that David Cameron has ever used the drug, whatever Dennis Skinner might have shouted across the Commons floor. Cocaine, as we all know, gives one overinflated feelings of self-importance, unhealthy and inappropriate self-assurance leading to grandiose and ill-thought out actions and reactions, and ruins one’s judgment when it comes to either formulating coherent plans or being able to decide between existing ones. David Cameron is clearly clean as a whistle.