Thursday, 3 April 2014

Dangerous Smiles

I wasn't broody, nothing like that, but who can resist smiling back at a beaming toddler in a pram cuddling a multi-coloured giraffe that was at least twice the size of him. The child responded to the smile too holding out the toy for me to inspect further. I smiled again and looked at the mother hoping to share a smile at the cuteness of the boy. But my smile was met by an accusing frown, as the mother quickly turned the pushchair around before going back to the message on her mobile phone. I noted that the old women the child was now facing were allowed to coo at the child but obviously the mother had a problem with me.
At the next tram stop two teens got on so nearly a couple but not quite. I watched them flirt with each other; laughing, joking, smiling like only 15 year-oldsoon-to-be couples could.
I was happy, the autumn sun shone warmly and apart from the frowning mother people seemed happy. 
But at the next tram stop my mood changed, an ugly looking man with a range of tattoos got on the tram and made a beeline for me.
‘Oi’ he said, if his appearance was unfriendly, his voice was worse. ‘What are you doing staring at my kid? You bloody pervert.’ He had me by the scruff of the neck, I could smell the tobacco on his breath and the smell of pub on his clothes.
‘Look’ he said playing to the crowd of onlookers. ‘This guy is some kind of child molester.’
This could go one of two ways I thought to myself. If the tram is full of Daily Mail reading, vigilante types, I’m a dead man, if it is full of right minded individuals, then they must surely know that it was just a smile. Since when was it against the law to smile at children? I could feel eyes on me from all directions, but couldn’t see them, so couldn’t read them, couldn’t sense the mood.
It was then I remembered what an old rugby coach had told me years before.
‘If you’re ever in a tight situation’ he said  ‘smile.’ So I did. I smiled right in my aggressor’s face, I smiled just liked I’d done at his little boy. He dropped me and dropped to the floor in agony, the same smile that had got me into trouble had got me out of it. How? Well I didn’t tell you the end of coach’s advice.

‘the smile confuses them for just long enough to kick them in the balls.’

1 comment:

  1. I would phone Clara (yesterday's) to steal the stupid evil thoughts of whoever dares to erase your smile.. indeed, I'd like to be Clara and steal you a kiss ;-)
    .. do you have her phone number so I can ask her some tricks?