I had a slight altercation with my step daughter the other evening.

I’d been out for a run and got caught in a thunderstorm, so when I arrived home, I resembled a drowned sheep.

Having triaged the impact of entering the house by either the front door, or through the French window from the terrace, I opted for the latter, and… unwittingly left in my wake… well, a few drops of water.

In my defence, it wasn’t an easy decision to make; the only way I could have entered the house without dripping water would have been to strip bollock naked on the threshold and make a dash (eight and a half metres) for the bathroom.  And as our neighbour opposite is a policeman, and every Polish town has its own prison, that was never going to happen.

Every Polish town has a prison – good to know

So, what did happen was that my step daughter gets out the mop and cleans up the “mess,” while shooting me filthies and muttering “gross” under her breath, in true womanly manner: not loud enough to register as a conversational gambit, but loud enough that I can’t fail to hear it.

I could have pretended not to hear it, but I didn’t. And it’s not because I don’t get on with her, but because sometimes the record simply needs to be set straight.

‘Let me tell you something, Maisie (not her real name),’ I said. By now I’d stopped dripping water and had had a shower. ‘There’s something you really should know about men, and I have a suspicion that you may already be partially aware of this: All. Men. Are. Gross. Yep… you heard me right. All of us. Every single one. Even your dad, your grandad… even Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt and the King of England, and its rapidy diminishing realm. We’re all gross, because we are born gross; grossness is in our DNA, and whether it’s nature or nurture that moves the needle on the “grossometer” I really can’t say. Of course, some men are grosser than others, and most men do not crave grossness. And some even recognise the facets which make them gross, and try to do something about it. Take me, for instance. I know I sometimes’ (always) ‘make gross noises when I use the toilet. And unfortunately suggesting that you turn up the telly only serves to announce the fact that I am about to make gross noises, and no amount of heckling in the Polish parliament is going to drown them out.’

No caption necessary, but you cannot teach an old dog to be less gross.

I pause for a moment to catch my breath, and she is staring at me at the manner that Robert Shaw stared at Jaws before he was eaten. I take it as a look of moribund fascination, and so I decide to rave on.

‘I made gross noises because I have something called irritable bowel syndrome, and I once tried to do something about it, because my partner at the time considered it to be a dumping matter. The consultant I was referred to was a Chinese gentleman with anger management issues, and this is what his medical advice was: “Illitable bowel syndlome! I no cure. I cure Illitable bowel syndlome, I win Nobel Prize! Tell girlfriend to buy eal plugs. Or change girlfriend.”’

Despite this being a case of Way Too Much Information, I’m on a roll, so I’m not stopping. Having spent the last five weeks living in Grodków, where no one can understand me and I can understand no one, I have learnt to seize an opportunity for conversation when one presents itself. Okay… I’ll admit, this is more monologue than conversation.

‘So, whether it’s sniffing, farting, scratching, not cleaning the toilet, or pulling out nasal hair – despite how well-groomed we may look on occasions – you don’t have to scratch too far under the surface to find grossness. And it’s not preventable. If it were left to me, there would be mechanism whereby little boys who don’t lift the toilet seat before taking a piss receive an electric shock. Naturally, that would apply to big boys as well, but it still wouldn’t stop them peeing all over the seat.

‘And before you ask, some women are gross as well. I’m not just talking about the fat, ugly ones whose bodies are plastered in ink. No sirree… I once went out – for more years than I care to remember – with a slim attractive woman… a woman who was “normal” for most of the time, for a northerner. But her unpredictable grossness was often disproportionally manifested in response to what everybody else would take as a compliment… extreme to the extent that I often wondered if she suffered from Tourette syndrome. She could clear a busy pub faster than Justin Bieber could clear an auditorium, if he were the warm up act for Megadeth, if someone told her that she looked nice this evening. So that’s grossness for you.’

It’s sometimes good to get things off your chest, but I’m conscious that I’m borderline close to going over the top, and sounding like an “old fart.” And all that would serve to do would be to announce a grossness of a vicissitude.

So, I shut up, and that’s when I notice that she’s still holding the mop.

‘I wasn’t referring to you, actually,’ she goes. ‘The dog had just been sick everywhere.’

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2 Responses to MEN: WE’RE ALL GROSS, AREN’T WE?

  1. Malcolm Fitter says:

    You old fart

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