September 12, 2012

An American Columnist in London

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Sometime last year I convinced a friend of mine from back home to travel with me to London to visit a friend studying there over winter break. Ostensibly, the reason for going to London was to visit said London-going friend, but I knew in my heart of hearts that we were going because I had read online that the average bust size of a British woman was a 32D.

We decided to go right before New Year’s Eve, to catch the British festivities. After landing at Heathrow, we had to take the Tube into the city. As we sat down on the underground, I noticed the end station for this particular line was called Cockfosters. Clearly this city was going to be well suited to my goals.

The next few days leading up to New Year’s Eve were spent doing the normal touristy things: taking pictures with Big Ben as our own Big Ben, trying to break into Buckingham Palace, asking the waitresses for “Bangers and mash, hold the mash.”  (In case you were wondering, they will actually just bring you bangers.) All of this without a single glance from a British beauty.  Needless to say as the 31st rolled around, my sexual forecast was worse than the London weather.

So I decided to forget about some commonwealth copulation and just tell myself that England isn’t anything like Love Actually. We decided to go to the London Eye — the giant Ferris Wheel overlooking the Thames — to see the fireworks. We were pushing it close so there weren’t a lot a people on the subway. However, you only ever need one. I’d just seen a face. I can’t forget the time or place. I knew she was the girl for me and I had a sudden desire to let the whole world see we met.

I stand up to go over to her and then my friend decides to paint the subway floor better than any Impressionist master. I glance back up, a look of embarrassment, surprise, and “oh my god you’re still just as hot as you were thirty seconds ago” plastered on my face. She turns to her friends, mutters something indecipherable in Britishese and beckons us over.

“Rigby, Elly Rigby.”

“Does everyone in Britain introduce themselves that way?”

“Only if you have a … certain skill set.”

Part of me was really hoping she was a spy. The part of me that wasn’t thinking like an awestruck teenage guy was thinking, “Seduction. She means seduction. She is seducing you. Be seduced. Go. Go do it.”

As the subway stops and we rush outside, we hear people start to yell the final countdown. The countdown gets to the number two and she turns around and grabs my tie saying, “You know, I really got a thing for American guys.”

The sky explodes around us and a lecture from my language history class passes through my brain: The Normans left a great influence on the words of the Isles after they invaded. But, that’s definitely not the only impact they had on our tongues. The maddening crowd rushes around us, drunkenly falling on itself, but I don’t notice. It’s not until I hear someone yell out “jolly good!” that I break from my trance and realize that our respective friend groups had abandoned us.

“Let’s keep going that way,” she said forwardly.

We struggled against the crowd towards her flat. It was white, with black curtains, near the station we were at and so perfectly British. When get in, we flop on the bed and she curls up next to me. As I start to make my move, she jumps up and stands in front of me, slipping the straps of her dress off of her shoulders.

“It’s your turn to be the international man of mystery. Say something exotic.”

“You’re … uh … hella fly?”

The dress slips down a little.

“Not enough. Foreign.”

Something (else) turns on in me and a poem I had memorized for my Chinese literature class bursts forth, speaking of her majestic mountains, her deep valleys and her amber waves of grain. By the fifth stanza, I’m just staring at this now stark naked girl, mumbling the same line over and over again.

She give me a look, bends down, rummages around in her purse and takes out the slip of paper with my number that I had put in there earlier in the night. She pats my cheek, tells me I’ve been a good chap, but it was never meant to be, and puts the paper in my vest pocket. I’m lead to the door and with a final “Cheerio!” I wander back out into the night. Even though I thought we were having a good time, something between us must have clashed. I guess London won’t be calling anytime soon.

Jimothy Singh is a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences. He may be reached at jsingh@cornellsun.com. Quest for the Perfect Tale appears alternate Thursdays this semester.

Original Author: jimothy singh

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