But I’m hopeless at this sort of thing. How on earth do you break the ice with a complete stranger who has don't even think about it written across her forehead? If I get started, I’m not too bad. Once the conversation is flowing I can ride the canoe, but how on earth do you get into the flow in the first place? I longed for her to drop a pen or a coin so I could pick it up for her, say something clever to get it going. But she was not the careless type; maybe she'd learnt from previous experience that carelessness attracts unwanted attention. I racked my brains, desperately trying to think of something to say. Maybe just a compliment would do, I love your hair, your glasses are great, I just love the way your top hugs your breasts - okay maybe not the last one, in fact, maybe not any of them. Were compliments sexist? Did they show that I was just seeing her as a sexual being? (I was, but she needn't know that, nor do you for that matter, so strike that.) Gosh, I really was bad at this.
“Sorry to bother you,” I said, with the most innocent look I could muster, “what's the collective noun for moles?’
She looked at me like I was the village idiot.