I admit it. Freely and in front of you. I make snap judgments about people often based on nothing more than what they are wearing and what they look like.
Let me give you a recent example. On our first day back at university, the literary editor for the Scotsman newspaper, aka The Browser, aka Stuart Kelly, aka our Reader-in-Residence, held a literary quiz that featured a wholly original scoring system and was graciously supplemented with wine and nibbles. I was sharing a sofa with two fellow students, one of whom I know is primarily interested in writing porn; I believe specifically screenplays. We have never discussed it but my understanding is that they want to produce scripts that challenge the current porn movie formula of fuck-plot-money-shot, and introduce dialogue slightly more arresting than ‘Hello. Are you the plumber? Ooh! You’ve brought your three friends. The sink is upstairs. Follow me.’ Perhaps Bronte does Monte if you will.
So there I am perched on the armrest of the sofa sipping wine from a plastic cup, unprepared for literary quizzes of any kind and the announcement – totally unrelated to any conversation going on in the room – from the second sofa inhabitant that they write gay erotica. It was a strange moment and I am still not sure if it was a confession, a boast or a random gesture of relationship building made to the room at large. They were drinking red wine with orange juice and I am sure there is a connection there.
My shock was compounded by the immediate twin realisations that a) I did not have a gay erotica writer in my collection of mental images (although I do now), and b) that the announcer couldn’t possibly write gay erotica because they looked so unsuited to such a pursuit. I am not sure if they are even gay which is a prerequisite in my view.
However, they do say that what goes around comes around. That as ye reap so ye sow. The following evening during drinks, the conversation got round to television. I am always at a loss at TV talk, mainly because I have never seen any show that is currently hip. I saw Friends for the first time in 2007 and remember being a bit disturbed that I had never seen an episode during its 10-year run. It’s not because I don’t like TV but I don’t have Sky plus or TiVo or any other recording device and the commitment of having to get myself in front of the TV every week at a specific time freaks me out. After I had admitted ignorance of every show up for discussion there was a friendly attempt to include me in the conversation by suggesting shows that I probably would have seen. I was mortified when one chap – who I was starting to quite like – suggested confidently ‘Emmerdale?’ I was speechless. Clearly, I look like his mental image of an Emmerdale viewer. What an utter bastard! Can you believe such short sightedness? Hurrumph!
The moral of this story? Judge not he that throweth the first stone at glass houses before walking a mile in another man’s shoes; always use a psuedonym when you write porn and never forget to lie about watching TV.