I have absolutely no desire whatsoever to be anybody’s muse. I have seen Factory Girl about the rise and fall of Edie Sedgwick and her relationship with Andy Warhol and I found it.. in one word.. horrendous. Really put me off him .and his work. But when the words “you inspire me Becki!” rang from this guy’s mouth I felt really quite…flattered. Ahhh really do I? Shucks.
I was walking home one evening and one of my neighbours was telling a story to his friends outside his house. I stopped and made a comment and we all got chatting. Everybody needs good neighbours. This is important. They all look super happy in the soap don’t they.
“You live round the corner – give me your number!” he said. He was about fifty.. my new neighbour. He’d been married four times and was still with his current partner. “What happened with your last wife?” I asked inquisitively…
“Oh god.. she got breast cancer.. and I’m afraid I just couldn’t handle it.. also. She’d suffered abuse.. she had issues”.
Oh god. Really? I contemplated my future on planet earth. I left the small party of people and walked to my place situated round the corner.
The next day I received a text. “Becki…. You inspire me!!! Come round for tea daaahllling”
Everybody needs good neighbours. Sing it loud folks. “Ok.” I replied.
So. I went round.
“So this is my wife…” he said introducing me to a tall slender woman standing in the kitchen.
“Hey..nice to meet you…” I smiled. Then he showed me a picture of him with David Cameron. ‘Nice’ I commented. I had a flashback to the letters I had written to Mr Cameron. ‘Bastard!’ I secretly thought.
“Come down here.. lets have a chat in the study.” I followed him down. We sat down. And he talked. A lot. Mainly at me. And the conversation went… in a strange direction.
“So I’m not really that protective over my wife. I mean I don’t get jealous – I don’t mind watching her sleep with other men – that kinda stuff doesn’t really bother me..” he said.
He was talking super fast. Blink and you might miss that comment. My brain stopped. ‘information you don’t want to know information you don’t want to know.. find an exit point find an exit point’ it was saying. But I have a stupid tendency to rationalise. Which is a really annoying trait I have.
‘He didn’t mean to say that, he was just talking, maybe he’s just a really open person, he seems pretty normal’ I was telling myself looking at him.
‘Is that a normal thing to say… These are things I don’t really want to hear a fifty year old man talk about though.. I mean my Grandad.. well he’s dead now.. but I’m sure he wouldn’t… ‘ I continued with myself.
The subject turned to alcohol. “Oh well I shouldn’t really drink.. I’m not really very good at it…” I said.
“Oh did you sleep with guys without condoms?”. He glanced at me.. and then returned to talking really fast.. “I mean I used to live in soho and I know these girls and they used to do that.. and….” WTF.. WHAT THE FUCK my brain shouted at me.
I was now staring at the computer screen in front of us. I couldn’t believe the intrusiveness of his question. And I had now gone in to escape mode. I felt frozen to my seat. ‘Was it rude to get up and leave? How could I get out of this place.. I’m sure that was a really inappropriate question.. don’t give a fuck what he thinks about leaving… is that a normal question to ask someone? You don’t have to listen to this shit.. GET OUT OF HERE GET OUT OF HERE. Leave Becki MAKE LIKE A TREE AND LEAAAVE...’ My brain was in panic mode.
“Erm.. I need to go actually I have things to do…” I mumbled at the man.
“Oh…” he looked at me.. “Thanks though… thanks for having me, thanks a lot…” I said. “Thank you, thank you…” I kept saying as I climbed the stairs. I was surprised at my inability to tell him that that was an inappropriate thing to question and that not even any of my closest friends would even THINK about saying something so.. so intrusive.
He keeps sending me texts…. ‘But he seemed nice?’ I try to rationalise to my friend.. ‘do you think that’s a weird thing to say to someone?’ I feel.. confused.
“DEFINITELY Becki I don’t like the sound of this man” my male friend Gareth retorts. A male perspective. Phew. I need that. I have no idea what goes on in men’s heads. He goes into cussing mode. “Becki. You know what your problem is..” he says.. “benefit of the doubt. You give people the benefit of the doubt before they deserve it.. I however am the other way round. Trust no one. Until they deserve to be trusted”.
I reflect on that. I reflect on the stigma attached to… so many things that keep us closed up. I reflect on whether he might have been just an open person. I reflect on my contempt for Andy Warhol’s art.
“Never be anyone’s muse” I think. “Wanker. Never bloody liked Andy Warhol anyway”.
“Be a good animal, true to your animal instincts…” D.H.Lawrence