Tattoos and testicles May 13, 2008Posted by BiB in Uncategorized.
The sun has now beat down on Berlin long enough – a week at least – for anyone but the most negative to forget that we live with one of the planet’s most intemperate climes. Far be it from me to put a dampener on things and heaven forbid that I should mention, just as we put the endless(-seeming) greyness out of mind for however long we are blessed with this perfection, that Berlin’s climate is, for want of a better word, shit.
The Wetteramt decided that we would dispense with spring this year. We went straight from the 250th consecutive day of gloom and a grey sky so low you scraped your head off it to cloudlessness, sunshine and temperatures of 25 degrees and above. Not surprisingly, the locals are all of a sudden awash with hormones and do almost nothing but leave their houses, flaunting their existences like they were nothing to be ashamed of.
I had a feeling at some now unpindownable point in the past that fashions were about to veer towards the smart. Perhaps I’d just seen a man with an office job or a foreigner in a shirt-collar, smart strides and polished shoes. And I thought men were about to plump for neat, sculpted haircuts. That women might revert to a just-short-of-high heel. That trousers would once again display an intimate familiarity with the iron. Who knows, even hats might reappear.
And that probably would all have happened if only the clothes- and hair-wearing months of misery and low metabolism had lasted just a smidgen longer. But now it’s all exposed flesh. No sleeves. Legs galore. And short haircuts.
Just as we were on the cusp, I went to the hairdressers-cum-sex-workers. While the haircutting harlot was giving me a cranial hand-job, I admired the exquisite locks of a man in front of me. I guessed he might be of mixed German and Turkish origin. The locks were thick and wavy and a delicious dark red. I stared at him whenever it was decent to, including when he left, donning a fedora as he did so.
“Isn’t hair a marvellous invention!” I said to all Berlin as I left the hairdressing brothel but all Berlin answered, “Not while the sun’s out,” and instantly proceeded to shave their heads as one. I am now the only person in Berlin capable of tousling.
And the things folk put on their heads! I gawped at a couple with lashings of tattoos and an ugly little dog with testicles which ran like a fat child. She hadn’t been able to have her head shaved yet so still sported her teddy-girl pony-tail and those tufts at the front. Her legs and arms were a riot of bruise-coloured foliage. Her gentleman friend was the same. But his shaved head had been given over to the tattoo-artist too. It was difficult to coordinate my gait to get close enough or for long enough to read the whole work. It had words and everything. And numbers. I thought they might represent the date the tattoo had been done, and surmised he could easily have done just as well with making a note in a pocket diary. How will he remember the date, after all, when his hair grows back come the end of the sunshine?
Just as I was arguing with myself whether I liked tattoos or not, I came to a road. Crossing the road, as anyone knows, takes three hours in Germany so I had plenty of time to mull over the options. I told myself to compromise after I’d already come to auto-blows and decided that one or two, especially if on a moulded male arm, do it for me almost as much as a broken limb. But a man on a bike – bald, tattooed – who could clearly hear my inner discussion went to stick his fingers in my eyes as he rode past. I didn’t know whether to put it down to hair-envy, sun-stroke, tattoo-poisoning or him not being able to find a way to express the fact that he found me dangerously irresistible. Even from the vantage point of a bike.
The Russian explained that sometimes a poke in the eye is just a poke in the eye.