Tuesday, 12 February 2008

Ooh la la.

Hubby, desperate to keep me from leaving him and rendering him wifeless and thus incapable of much, most of all going to work, took me out for dinner last week. It was a naval do and not ‘a deaux’ which, given our recent histrionics was probably a good thing. It meant we did not have to endure polite conversation with each other as we picked at our prawn cocktails. Instead and for the first time in many years, another man flirted with me. It took me back a bit. Suddenly I was no longer dear old Alice, mother of four who stays at home as her grandmother did in a pinny and slippers but just, Alice. Hubby, apart from squeezing my thigh from time to time, was in his element being surrounded by fellow naval personnel and, even though they spend the best part of the working day together, it did not stop them sharing tales of daring-do. You’d think that compared to a fighter pilot’s daring-do that their tales would be limited, alas not. You’d be surprised in fact how rough, tough and hard to bluff the logistics branch of Her Majesty’s Royal Navy are when armed with a clip board and magic markers.
As I sat there fiddling with the stem of my wine glass and wondering when my chips were going to come, one of these gentlemen sitting opposite me, charged my glass, “Je ne comprends pas que ce qu'elles sont énonciation faites-vous ?” he said.
“Excusez-moi?”, I replied in my best school girl French.
“I am so sorry. I sought, as you look Parisian, that you spoke French. I said, I don’t know what they’re saying do you?”
Years ago I might have fallen for the “You look Parisian”, line. These days I am just grateful but still, in spite of myself and the fact that I look about as Parisian as Jethro, I blushed.
“No”, I giggled, “I haven’t a clue”. He sipped his wine without taking his eyes off me.
“This eeze terrible wine n’est ce pas?” and before you could say Beaujolais Nouveau, he’d caught the attention of the waitress and another, far better bottle materialised and was poured into my fresh glass.
“Zere are not so many good restaurants in Plymouth are zere?”
“Um, not really. We have the Tanner brothers of course”, I stammered.
“Mais oui”, he said, nodding.
“And of course Rick Stein is only an hour away”.
“Reek Stein? I do not know of heem. Is ee a chef?”
“Yes, a famous one. He cooks fish”. I sounded ridiculous and stilted but it had been so long since another man had had a one on one conversation with me that I wasn’t quite sure what to say and also, given that he was French I was concerned that he wouldn’t understand what I was saying. At least I hadn’t compensated for this by just talking louder.
“Feesh? I love feesh. It is very difficult to buy here no?”
“Well not really. There is plenty available in the market in Plymouth”. What was I talking about? “But in Torpoint it is more difficult to purchase”. Dear God I sounded like a Linguaphone cassette tape. Be sexy Alice, be sexy.
“What is your favourite fish?”, I asked. At that moment, the waitress put a large bowl of moules marinieres in front of him.
“I sink zeeze are my favourite. Zey are very erotic, like ze genitalia of a woman”. I choked rather unbecomingly on my wine.
“See how they unfold like a...”
“Alright love?”, asked Hubby, suddenly remembering me, “Got your chips yet?”
In a manner of speaking I did, if ‘getting your chips’ could be considered as a French man talking dirty to you.
“Not yet”, I replied, just as the waitress returned with a huge plateful of steak frites.
“You ‘ave a very ‘ealthy appetite”. Drat, drat and double drat, why hadn’t I gone for the bloody salad instead. Far sexier to pick on a piece of rocket than cut through chunks of meat dripping in au poivre sauce.
“Well, I don’t get out much”, I replied rather feebly.
“An ‘ealthy appetite is very sexy on a woman. I like ze flesh of a larger woman. It is more yielding no?”
“No, I mean yes, uh or no”, I was all sixes and sevens. Brazen it out Alice I said to myself, brazen it out, “Well I don’t get any complaints”, I joked.
“Of course not”, he said, very seriously as though a fait accompli, “I couldn’t imageene you would”.
He went back to sucking each mussel out of its shell, never for a moment taking his eyes off me. I was breaking into a sweat and was terribly self conscious of filling my mouth with fried onion rings, peas, steak and bloody chips.
“Are you posted here for long?”, I asked, desperate to get off the disconcerting subject of pleasures of the flesh.
“Until ze summer, zen I return to France, excusez-moi”, he added, getting up from his chair and, using his napkin, wiped from my very impressive décolleté, a blob of pepper sauce.
“Oh gosh I’m so sorry. I didn’t realise” I mumbled, pulling at my ‘slip’. It had done what its name implied and had slipped far down my chest under my gaping bra revealing far more than was necessary.
“Jeeze Alice”, Hubby intervened for a second time, “You flashing your knockers again!”
I playfully slapped him but was dying with a mixture of shame and arousal.
“Your wife has been entertaining me”, said Jean-Claude. “I can believe it JC”, said Hubby, “She’s a star turn. A real hoot.” Not for the first time that evening did I feel a connection with Jethro*.

Jethro - a comedian whose persona is very burly, farmeresque Cornish, provincial idiot.


enidd said...

he didn't really say that about the genitalia, did he alice? you should have been eating a nice big sausage, so that you could reply in kind.

Mary Alice said...

Oh dear god...I am sitting in a puddle of pee, I am laughing so hard.

"I like ze flesh of a larger woman. It is more yielding no?”

gasp, snort blahahaaha.....

Alice Band said...

enidd - but that's what mussels like though ain't it? A chorizo would have come in handy though, you're right!

mindthegap said...

oh god you make me snort. Pity you didn't ask him for a feel of his mussels.

thefoodsnob said...

Wow, I'm surprised you noticed he was flirting with you, I had to be told by my friends last time!
Too bad hubby didn't notice too closely, maybe he would appreciate you even more!


Sally Lomax said...

I laughed and laughed. Brilliant post Alice.......

I would probably have knocked over my wine or something in confusion. i could feel your cold sweat!!

It's just me said...

Do ya know - I hope Hubby was at least slightly pi$$ed off.

Of course, its always possible that he just didn't notice...

Jo said...

Fantastic post! Brilliant! There is nothing that makes a woman feel better after a row with her hubby than another man's interest--especially one so fond of the moules marinieres, so to speak.

Way to go Alice! Don't ever forget you look Parisien!

Gordon's my Tonic said...

Alice, ma cherie je pense que tu es vraiment trop mechante...

Mopsa said...

Ooh la la! I visualise Errol Flynn with a fake French accent lovin' you up! Wonderful!

Alice Band said...

mindthegap - couldn't think of anything witty at the time.
Lisa - It wasn didfficult not to notice- Subtle he was not!
Sally - I think I did knock over wine, come to think of it.
It's just me - nope Hubby didn;t notice. He hasn't mentioned it then put it that way!
Jo - merci x
Gordon's my Tonic - as in Gordon Brown, prime minister?
Mopsa - and you know what they say about Errol Flynn..

Gordon's my Tonic said...

No you pillock, Gordons Gin!!!!

Gordon's my Tonic said...

come to think of it i'm the pillock, gramatically i think it should be gordons's my tonic!

Anyway, thought it better than the Wiltshire Uterus!

Alice Band said...

Gordon's my Tonic - I prefer Plymouth Gin. I'll take you to the distillery. It's bloody lush..

occasionalconfusion said...

Hello there, I've been reading your blog for a while but never commented, of course, now that i'm laughing so hard I had to ...lol