I have become accustomed to being stared at occasionally, by a certain type of man, and not in a flirty sexy kind of way either. It doesn't happen often but when it does, it is usually so blatant that it's quite disconcerting. I ask myself... is there something stuck on my face, has my mascara run, is my skirt tucked into my knickers? All those questions buzz around my head but it's safe to say, it's usually none of those things... Some males just find me odd looking.
Whenever I have travelled to Asia, be it Vietnam, Singapore or India, the locals seem quite fascinated. With the average man standing at a very petite 5'4", with dark skin, dark hair, dark eyes and small features, it's understandable that they find a blonde, blue eyed, 5"10' white woman, with large... well, everything, quite intriguing. They aren't shy about their interest either. They have stared, pointed and sometimes stroked me, as if I was some kind of zoo animal on display.
But at 8:30am, standing on a London train platform waiting for the next overcrowded tube to arrive, being gawped at for no apparent reason is just a bit odd. The man in question was a tiny middle-aged Indian man, standing about ten feet from me. He looked me up and down very slowly and as I caught his eye, giving him my best "don't mess with me, I'm not in the mood" look, he turned away. Seconds later he was doing it again, but this time he stopped at my feet and there he remained, with a contemplative stare. Oh God, maybe he had a foot fetish or something. I looked around for my nearest exit and when I turned back he had sidled up beside me and was muttering something like, "manchoo, manchoo". Oh blimey, an early morning nutter, just my luck. He then grinned at me, frowned and pointing at me said, "You man chew?" Uh oh, I did not like where this was going. He then pointed down his own body and said, "I man chew!", and laughed really loudly. Oh. My. God. "I man chew, I man chew", he repeated, incredibly pleased with himself. Well good for you, I thought, stepping quickly to my left, we both like men, yay, but what you do in private is your own affair.
I turned away from him and shook my newspaper sternly, but he was relentless. "I man chew but why you man chew?", he asked, frowning. Suddenly I heard the most glorious noise, accompanied by a gentle breeze... the tube was coming. Salvation, escape at last. I moved quickly down the platform to make sure I was not going to get on the same carriage as him, and all the while my Indian friend kept shouting and pointing at me, attracting quite a bit of attention. The last thing I heard him say, as the train blasted into the platform was, "You pretty girl, no understand why man chew!" Oh for goodness sake.
I got on the tube and let out a big sigh, putting my bag on the floor as I stifled a giggle. And that's when I realised what the whole platform fiasco had been about... what my lovely crazy Indian friend had meant by "man chew". I was wearing what he obviously considered "Man Shoes"... a rather masculine, but terribly fashionable, pair of brogues!