I’ve had some odd encounters at urinals over the years. No, not like that! Well… Yes, like that, but not on this occasion.
I was stood at a pub urinal, getting on with the job in hand, so to speak, when an olive-skinned guy with a heavy dark beard came and stood next to me.
Even in gay venues the etiquette is that men don’t tend to engage in conversation while stood next to each other having a pee. It’s the same rule of awkward silence that applies to lifts, bus stops and the waiting room of an STD clinic. They are not the places for chitchat.
I quickly became aware that the bearded guy kept casting, not so subtle, glances in my direction. This certainly isn’t an uncommon occurrence in the lavatories of a gay bar, in fact it’s pretty much standard practice. The unwritten rule book of gay toilet etiquette seems to have deemed that talk is forbidden, but peeking, flirtation and downright lechery are perfectly acceptable or even to be encouraged.
Unexpectedly, my urinal companion dared to disregard convention and said, in a strong Middle Eastern accent, “I like your colour.”
“Your colour, I like.”
I thanked him, assuming he was referring to my hair, as I am ginger with flecks of grey. More ‘Salt and Paprika’ than ‘Salt and Pepper.’
“Yes,” he continued. “Very pink!”
He now had my full attention.
“Your face is very pink. I like very much.”
Being fair haired and light skinned, I do develop a flush in my cheeks after a few beers. It was undoubtedly one the least common compliments I have received, but it was so sincerely meant that I was happy to take it.
They say that opposites attract, so it makes sense that someone with his swarthy looks would be intrigued by my pink blush.
A Sicilian friend once told me about spending a summer holiday on the nude beaches of Italy, surrounded by his naked countrymen.
“It sounds like heaven,” I sighed.
“No, it was boring,” he replied. “They all looked like me!”
To each their own. For me it would be a beach full of exotic looking men, for him it was like looking into an infinity mirror.