On the way home on the Underground, from a belated birthday night out with our friends, my fiancé Lucius and I encountered a gentleman named Derek. We got on the tube at Turnham Green, sat down with an almighty bag of chips, scoffed the lot and, upon seeing that we were only half way home, fell with our eyes shut and our arms around each other. Between stuffing slices of deep fried potato into our mouths, we kissed each other. I will further shock the reader that there may have even been the brief brush of tongues too. I understand that some people might not appreciate it when a couple kisses in public. I also understand that these are the sorts of people who sit with their anuses clenched so tight that they activate the Thames Flood Barrier.
It was then that Derek, who had been sitting opposite the whole time with his wife, decided to lose his shit. Derek was dressed in a navy blue jacket and trousers, with a white shirt topped off with a purple tie the pattern of which had been apparently inspired by the onset of a DMT trip. He held a paper bag from Caxton the stationers, which presumably contained business cards stating “I am a hateful bag of acid” engraved on them.
He delivered his sermon thusly:
“I’m fucking fed up of this! This is fucking disgusting … Conduct yourself in public without that fucking behaviour…. I’m fucking sick of it!”
As his wife buried her long-suffering face in her hands and mouthed the words “Shut up, Derek” in an embarrassed fashion, I smiled.
It’s fairly obvious that had we been a heterosexual couple, that he wouldn’t have yawned forth his vast chasm of a mouth, but I can’t prove that, so I will only pass comment on what he said. I have experienced more than my fair share of verbal abuse in public. This often ranges from a reaction to the way that I dress (Anime villain with a dash of Quentin Crisp) to the fact that I am obviously a flaming homosexual. Usually when this happens, I’m on my own, and I can choose between the “Girl, hold my kiseru” approach and “He’s built like a pile of tractor tyres, shit, call the police”. But this was different. Lucius and I recently got engaged and I’ve never before been so comfortable throwing my arms around someone in public and holding hands and kissing and laughing as I have now.
If we had jumped on the tube like Lord Flasheart, dropped our trousers and yelled “Hey, Derek! Hop you brought a straw! ‘Cause we’re about to put the COCK in CockFosters, baby!” then I could understand such an overtly hateful reaction. If, say, we had sauntered onto the carriage, swigging a bottle of Tequila, passed urine onto his knee and then collapsed into a game of chocolate-covered Twister on the floor, I would grant his behaviour as warranted. Alas, we only had a snog, ate some chips and cuddled.
There is a theory that violent, explosive and hateful behaviour towards other human beings with certain qualities indicates repressed personality traits which that individual has yet to fully accept within themselves. As such, it seeps out in a (mis)directed stream of obscenities aimed at others who have visibly accepted, even embraced, those aforementioned aspects of themselves which lay suppressed beneath a veneer of external and internal imposed restrictions.
In this case, since Lucius and I kissed each other, ate chips and then nodded off for a bit on each other’s shoulders, that Derek here was driven by some reptilian impulse motivated by his desire for either greasy food, a good nap or some love and affection, neither of which he was going to receive from his wife, who was at this point grimacing at Derek’s behaviour with a face like Nosferatu sitting on a hornets’ nest.
Lucius and I appreciate the wisdom of Sun Tzu and I feel an appropriate quote coming on (easy, Derek, we’re still dressed).
“The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.”
When I’m confronted with situations like this, it is sometimes my reaction to become aggressive and responsive. But this time, I just smiled and remained (externally) serene. Obviously, I was imagining what Derek’s scrotum would look like roasting on a barbecue, but that’s just where my mind wanders when confronted with the sheer stupidity of some people. Derek, you see, had already lost.
Everyone else on the tube managed not to have a rectal prolapse while two other human beings were affectionate with each other. But Derek was having none of it. Because poor Derek, despite his posh suit, expensive stationery and his lovely wife sitting next to him (as she probably had done of the last 30 years, the poor cow), Derek was a hateful man, who was on his way home to his hateful, bitter existence, to sit in his white Y-fronts, with a hazy internal monologue playing somewhere in the back of his mind about how much of a twisted sack of shit he is.
Which is why, Derek, when my fiancé and I got up to leave the carriage at our stop, I did not draw my foot back and hoof you in the knee, nor did I dispose of the last few soggy chips conveniently down your oesophagus. I simply said, Derek, that I wish you had half as much love for yourself as I do for my beloved. That’s why I grabbed Lucius, proceeded to give him the biggest, wettest snog right in front of you, before we strolled off home to cuddle up in bed and fall asleep, secure in the knowledge that we will never, ever grow into someone like you.