So you know the old one about the housewife waiting for the milkman in her negligee?
Well, it’s outdated; everyone knows that the noughties’ M.I.L.F buys her dairy from Waitrose. However, there is another kind of serviceman in great abundance on the streets of central London today.
Bob the Builder!
He shouts flattering obscenities at you in the street, loves your tea and pleasant demeanor (some people don’t even offer hobnobs) while at the same time improving the value of your property.
I’ve got two on the go.
Piotr is Polish, natch, and Nick is English. Not only that but he’s posh. Not posh like Harry Enfield doing a sketch but sort of foppish. He does lots of standing on one leg and hopping about, which can be quite sexy when you’re discussing emulsion coats.
Back to Piotr. He’s rosy-cheeked and well built but what’s really going on between us has to do with attitude. He GETS THE JOB DONE. He had his tape measure out on our first encounter quicker than I could say solid oak flooring. He told me what I wanted then left me with a DVD of kitchen porn my sister felt uncomfortable watching with me. He has coined the ultimate builder catchphrase,‘anything is possible’, and is brutally honest: ‘No, this is bad idea. It is looking horrible’.
Nick is masterful and maybe a bit naughty. He looks me up and down, which is kind of a shame because I’m normally wearing padded moon slippers from M & S. He’s got a 3 year-old and has just had a fresh one so he looks tired a lot, which I can identify with.
These are the foundations of our flirtation:
1. He’s seen me vulnerable (leaking roof, broken lights, damp-rot wall)
2. We have been alone in a bedroom together (looking at the collapsed ceiling in the flat upstairs)
3. We share a distrust of the feckless girl at the managing agents
4. He sorts everything out with the feckless girl at the managing agents
5. He knows I am completely at his builder’s-quotes mercy. I actually say things like ‘Do whatever it takes’ and ‘If that’s what it costs‘.
6. I have amusing names for paint and stuff. I told him I didn’t want dentist-waiting-room white on the walls but that I did want a dimmer switch in the hallway for the caught-escaping-from-prison lighting. He laughed both times.
7. I am nice to his men (see tea above). He’s nice to them too. Shared middle class guilt?
How is the flirting manifesting itself? Eye locks, mutual smiles, anticipated words. In some ways we are communicating via a young Cockney, a bald-headed Irishman and a middle-aged Geordie who thinks Bruno is called Boris.
What am I really saying when I ask Mick if he wants a sugar? Or George if he lives in the area? Then there’s the Dulux palette range pamphlet. When we discuss almond white, is marzipan all we’re thinking about? Does he feel the same way about jasmine? What about heaving petting?
And what was going on with the jute samples for the common parts? Did he actually say carpet burns?
At the end of the day, it’s the man who removes the air-conditioner unit from the kitchen, who can have me over the daydream kitchen table.
And if he promises to cart away the rubbish afterwards, Geth will want to watch.