On my way into the supermarket today, I was stopped dead in my tracks by a near-naked fireman. Now I love a fireman as much as the next girl but something wasn’t quite right about this particular local superhero. He raised his hand high in the air and boomed hello to me across the arcade.
Assessing the folded-down yellow overalls and glossy naked chest – covered by no more than a set of shiny red suspenders – I eyed him warily. Ah ha… this was no fire fighter at all, but a cleverly constructed ruse. A chill ran through me. Stopping had been a big mistake.
“Wouldn’t you just love one of these sexy fireman calendars?” He asked flicking salaciously through the pages. Needless to say it was a tantalising glimpse of Mr January through to Mr December, all near naked with muscles bulging, brandishing the tools of their trade…. Oh my!
But there was something decidedly smarmy about this semi-nude faux fireman harking his wares – and in the space of five seconds I wanted to be as far away from him as possible. As I prepared to go forth with a cheery, have a nice day, the bare-chested bandit began to babble. Shifty-eyed, his focus darted left and right, clearly scouting out his next unsuspecting victim as he continued to speak – and by now he was seriously creeping me out.
Still I couldn’t move…
… No rope, no axe, I was being held captive by nothing more than my good, old-fashioned manners…
… and it was making me mad.
Silently seething – what was stopping me from just walking away? Darn those good manners, I thought. My conscience was clear. I give to charity, in addition to being inundated by an endless stream of raffle tickets, chocolate drives and bell ringing Santa’s. I didn’t need to buy an unwanted calendar from a sleezy faux-fireman. So when my oil-slicked tormentor finally drew breath I smiled through my ire to utter a surprisingly polite, ‘Sorry. Not today.”
Forced to ignore the fact that he was looking at me like I’d just smacked his puppy – making me feel like a total heel – I was seriously tempted to throw good manners to the wind and really let him have it. The cheek!
But good manners run deep and much to my regret I held it together to calmly walk away…
…. and it rankled me for the rest of the day.
There’s a limit – even on good manners – and next time I’ll be ready.
So beware all you smarmy faux-fireman.
Wrangle with this little blonde firecracker again and you’re gonna get seriously burned.