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Bastian Dash

Peer Presumption

You know, there’s this really unassuming guy who must work near my building. We crisscross every day on the pavement and have done for ages; although not so much as an acknowledging nod has ever passed between us. Imagine my surprise then when he walked into a west end bar I happened to frequenting with Joe the other night and…


Okay, well before I tell you exactly what I saw, let me put this into further context.  He’s one of those guys you just sense is probably dead shy. How do I know? Well I’ve been there; kind of. I was never the total introvert.  I mean I could never have got into sales in the first place if I had been. But if you’re familiar what I like to I call the before, you’ll recall that once upon a time I wasn’t exactly forwards at coming forwards. I had to manufacture that bit. And you know his name.


Still, shyness can be cute for some. There are some guys that women swoon for who appear to give off similar vulnerability, so that no matter how retiring they might be they don’t struggle. Is he of that ilk? Well he’s never struck me as so. Something about the slightly hunched shoulders and bowed head has always made me think otherwise.  Not to mention he walks pretty fast too, almost as if he wants to disappear from view as quickly as possible.


He’s definitely younger than me. But not by much I reckon because there’s no trace of a trendy twenty-something haircut or that generation’s sartorial style. It’s more the ‘comfortable’ adjustment of one’s early thirties that’s on show, the ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ look – I mean if you are going to make certain changes, you’re probably going to do so just before you hit the new decade.

I was just in time.

Anyway there we have it. Mr ‘No Great Shake In The Grand Scheme Of Things’ no doubt (something I know all about) who’s probably awfully well liked because he’d never give anyone a reason not to. And hey there’s no shame in that is there (although I concede there have been times I’ve thought: there but for the grace of BD go I.)

But back to the bar; and that night.

So there I am chatting with Joe when, as I just said, in should stroll my pavement pal hand in hand with whom I have to say was an absolute stunner! She was older yes, I’m not going to pretend that wasn’t obvious, but this inconsequential fact served to just make her even more the stunner than the stuck on trophies scattered elsewhere across this crowded watering hole; it was certainly a moment that stopped a few conversations and turned a few appreciative heads – although in my case I had two reasons to stare.

The moment our glances met I swear he paled. I mean he’s pale anyway but this was a perceptibly ghost-like turn. A microsecond later his gaze flicked dead ahead and he moved past us with said glamorous partner in tow, and I swear he couldn’t have moved fast enough.

But what I didn’t get was why he was so embarrassed; or horrified even. What was such a big deal? If anything he should have rather pleased with himself. True the whole trophy thing is a bit tacky and demeaning but there was still no shame in walking into this bar with someone who justified every reason why many a younger man finds the older woman so irresistible.

I mean times have changed haven’t they. Nobody really bats that much of an eyelid any more regarding such combinations. I know some you might disagree with that, but it’s true. Sure not quite anything goes these days but there’s a hell of a lot more that does than doesn’t.


However, maybe his discomfort also stemmed from the fact that later, when I popped off to the loos, I chanced upon them again and although she was amorously sat on his lap in a shadier corner, smiling winningly during intimate chat, somehow it still had the look that she was probably the more ‘dominant’ figure in the partnership.

So was that his issue then in chancing upon me?

Did he infer this somehow spoke volumes about his masculinity? But if so, then if you think about it that also says he doesn’t really think much of the person he was with, does it? In other words, was he silently saying to me in that one brief exchange of glances, “Yeah I know, it’s all I can get and she wears the trousers anyway”? Well if that’s really what he was thinking then, as Delboy might insightfully remark, what a twenty-four carat plonker! I mean I know there’d have been guys in that bar queuing up to try their luck with his gorgeous companion (and hey on another night and in a bit more a BD mood, I might have been one of them). There was no shame, only admiration.

Oh and look before you all start complaining about how shallow this sounds (as I’m mainly referring to this woman’s physical appearance rather than anything else) let he or she who has not judged similarly on many an occasion cast the first admonishment! Besides I didn’t have anything else to go on, so in the great words of Roy Walker on Catchphrase, it was quite simply “Say what you see.”

Indeed the greater irony of what I was witnessing is that I had to reinvent myself online before I started having the adventures he’s obviously having. However this was no BD transformation I saw before me, he was being himself rather than having to follow a new formula to get what one couldn’t get before. Sure I’ve always such metamorphosis is merely confidence personified, and thus all I really needed was said confidence in the first place; but I still took something of a lateral route to find it, didn’t I?

Who then really is the darker horse?

I’m looking forward to our next pavement meeting…

By Bastian Dash


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