gall and gumption

Sunday, July 23, 2006

The Foreign Service

Here's a very detailed article about rent-a-dreads from the London Guardian/Observer. My mother wrote me about it. Oh, man, it would have been fun to sit at the breakfast table and watch her make her way through this story. In addition to the film that Gilliard mentioned, there is a play opening in the West End in London. But all the dialogue in this news story is the real thing straight off the beach. I will only add that it is one of the reasons why I don't even try to go to Negril when I go to the Caribbean.

Here is a choice bit:

'You are gorgeous,' Leroy tells one of them, whose attractiveness isn't immediately apparent. 'What part of heaven did you fall from?'

A policeman wanders past, observing but not intervening. Later he tells me it is usually the women who complain on the rare occasions that the force does apprehend hustlers.

She grins at her friend, clearly flattered but not completely fooled. 'Beautiful ladies, some of the men here will hassle you and rip you off,' he warns, appearing genuinely concerned for their wellbeing. 'You need someone to look after you. To show you around. Take you to the waterfalls, the Blue Mountains and the caves and the best parties.' He smiles coquettishly.

The two women look at each other like nervous schoolgirls and giggle. They say they think they are a bit too old for the men.

'No, you ageless,' Leroy continues, shaking his head. 'We are real men. In Jamaica, real men like the cat, not the kitten. And real men like real women. Mature and intelligent and beautiful women like you.'

To some people, their well-rehearsed chat-up lines might sound corny, a bit nauseating, somewhat transparent. But for plenty of women the words are just what they have been longing to hear. They agree to meet later that night at the reggae party on the beach.

When I ask Leroy what he does if he's not attracted to a woman, he responds matter of factly: 'Close my eyes and pretend it's Beyoncé.'

Yeah Mon. Fascinating. One of those pieces of journalism I wish I had written myself.


At 7:53 PM, Anonymous leslie said...

At the risk of sounding like a 3rd-grader (and if I do, there's good reason for that), the journalist just seems mean. Or am I missing the real point?

At 9:21 PM, Blogger Kia said...

No, you're not missing the point. As a piece of writing it's your basic journalistic hackery, so many things left out. And she's not very nice to the women, I must say. When I said I wished I had written it I didn't mean I wished I had written it as she had done: I meant I would have loved the assignment.

At 10:53 PM, Anonymous leslie said...

Oh. I was going to say that I wish you HAD written it. The writer reduced these humans who have basic human needs to these ridiculous figures.


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