Tuesday, April 14, 2009

One day, walking past an Adult Interest Retail Concern

Had an interesting lunch, complete with floorshow today. Not strippers. I was with a colleague and two business acquaintances for a lunch meeting. We sat outside on Greenmarket Square- a busy tourist market area with lots of outside restaurants in the centre of Cape Town. In the middle of lunch, there was a YEEEEEEEE noise, which in Cape Town means people are yelling to warn of a crime taking place. A teenaged street-kid sprinted past our table pursued by at least six security guards. Hundreds of luncheoning tourists got to watch the kid trip, and slide on his face. He stood up and looked ready to take the security guards on- in Cape Town, most of the security guards are former businessmen or professionals from other African countries who came here as refugees- they can’t get work, so they work as security guards for minimum, and I mean minimum wage (say $150-200 per month).

So the security guards are fast, but not violent, and it looked dangerous, until a cop appeared. She was vast, and clearly hadn’t broken into a run since cadet school. She walked up to the raging kid, berated him like an angry mother, scolding him and waving her finger. (In the old days, the cops would just beat the living crap out of a guy like that- but there were tourists, with cell-phone cameras, so one has to be cautious). The kid calmed completely, and she gently led him away to his pointless night in the cells.

I turned to my semi-tourist colleagues, and said ‘He does that every day at 13.30, just for the tourists’. He probably does- It is what tourists expect to see- the rampant crime. Maybe he is a professional actor. Who knows? It was all very unobtrusive and amusing*. Stupid crime. *Being flippant- The kid will, statistically, end up on heavy drugs, go to prison, get raped in prison, and die of AIDS-related illnesses. Statistically.

Later, walking to the station, I passed Adult World, the, er, shop where adults go to buy adult stuff. (My repressed nature has kept me from going in, so I have to go by the imagination a little). Normally, there is a mannequin wearing a feather duster in the window, but today, for the first time, there was a bouncer. Not some odd toy, but a doorman, a huge depressed looking guy- admittedly, he can’t have dreamed of THAT job, growing up, and it made me wonder, what could they possibly have going on in there that needs the services of the sad giant? I thought they just sold rubbishy German magazines, and scary DVDs? I am now even more convinced that I will never cross that threshold. Rereading that paragraph: It is a sex shop, ok? See? Too repressed to say the words sex shop. SEX SHOP SEX SHOP SEX SHOP. There. Out of my system.

It’s difficult to find silliness out of these things, and I don’t, really, but I am glad I don’t live in a dull place.

Apropos of nothing: I saw a grandfather hitting his four-year-old grandson this weekend with a belt. Really hard. I was too surprised to intervene. Surely this is way out of line? The kid was beaten for shouting while playing in his own garden. I know these people- they are not strangers.
I’m sick of violence. Sick that our society seems to approve of it. I wanted to make the old man feel really small using words, but instead, I pretended as though I hadn’t seen.
I wasn’t heroic today. Clark Kent went to the phonebooth, and all he did was dial his mobile server to check for messages. **Found the picture after I'd written this- you can steal almost anything from Google Images- does that endorsement exculpate me?


  1. You haven't missed a thing staying out of Adult World. I popped in to my local one day just to say I'd done it. Eish. Everything was dusty, kwaito music was blaring forth from the yellow and black walls (for the benefit of the dreadlocked dude behind the tills I presume), and some seriously dirty old men types were heading off behind curtains to one side. Perhaps the bouncer's there to keep the employees inside?

    Some days it's hard to be heroic...

  2. @Michelle: Well! You never can tell! It's always the quiet ones...
    The main reason I haven't gone inot one (apart from not being a saddo) is that many years ago, there was a story in the papers of a Gender Organisation taking pictures of men going into these places, and publishing them somewhere. It may have been an urbam legend, but I didn't want my furtive face appearing next to the glum bouncer's on some men are dogs site.

  3. That's a good enough reason! I doubt there's the equivalent site for women, so I'm perfectly safe. :-)

    OK, I admit I spent most of my time trying not to laugh too loudly or look too gobsmacked (there were shopping there for serious matters, after all) - and wondering what the perishable best-by date is on latex/rubber as the price tags looked rather faded.

  4. There's an Adult World in Claremont, on Main Road. Set in the wall, right next door, is a very discreet door with a tiny little brass plaque, that reads "Gentleman's Club". I've always wondered if they do discounts on referrals. Seedy, crummy joints. But worth a visit, if only once, just for the laughs.

  5. @ SMP:Ok, so I'm now discovering that sex shops are frequented by seedy old men and female bloggers. Go figure. Maaaaybe I do shop in Claremont, maybe I don't. I work in the centre of town, so it is a crappier version. If the little brass plaque read 'sicko scumbag perverts welocme', would that make it ok? One more recommendation, and I'll have to go! Just for laughs, and blog material.

  6. I want to say something to comfort you, this post had me there with you and seeing those things and well, I don't have any words at all. You had a pretty blue day...

  7. @Sam: I'm generally too optimistic to stay down- I prefer to look for the best in people, so I'm over it- but I won't ignore the activist in me. I will do what I can, if I can.

  8. @Michelle: Yup, you wouldn't want to pick too many things up in that place to check for 'best-before' dates... eeewww.
    And I meant urban, with an 'n'.

  9. Sorry, but the devil in me had me giggling at that last comment, but one of yours. "I'm generally too optimistic to stay down". In the context of the post, well .... nicely phrased is all I am saying :p

  10. PS the little brass plaques would never read sicko scumbag perverts welcome. I mean that would totally lower the tone of the whole thing. They prefer flashing signs on the roof. Aha ha ha. Er.
    Ok, ok, I'm going now.

  11. I must admit to also having bailed on making a stand against things I see happening...
    But being a mom to an ADHDer I have too often been on the short end of other people's judgements because they don't know the whole story, so I try to be careful and give them the benefit of the doubt.

  12. Ooh, and I love sex shops! Even when I was single I loved going in there and browsing through the stuff and scaring the women who go in small groups because of all the weirdos in there!

  13. @Angel: Yup- somedays it is easier to be a spectator, but it is crap being spectated.
    You love sex shops? eh? I would only go in with Neen, in theory, as I'd want to be able to have a laugh afterwards. Damn. I made a promise, and now I will have to keep to it (refer above).
    SMP: Any post with the words sex shop in it are destined for entendre. But you freudian slipped away very nicely.


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