"The Girls in their Summer Dresses" is a short story written by Irwin Shaw in 1939 that addresses a way some men behave and it is as fresh and relevant as when it was written 80 years ago. I wish I could write half as well but it served as the inspiration for this piece which had been half written for ages. Bridget's prompt is "Turns ons" - and it all came together because right now my response is simply "Girls In Their Summer Dresses"
For three days the city had grown warmer and that morning he rummaged through the wardrobe to find a linen jacket and a shirt that would have been overly bold for a man of his years most days but was acceptable when the sun shone this brightly. As he made his way to the Underground station, he couldn’t fail to notice the girls too had rummaged through their wardrobes and were wearing flimsy pieces of cotton that revealed long pale legs or last year's tops that were now just a little tight but very revealing.
The train was crowded and he tried hard not to stare at the legs and breasts on display. Some belonged to girls who were young enough to be his granddaughter and it would have been utterly inappropriate for him to give even a hint of appreciation. Others though were below faces of mature beauty, faces that betrayed the fact that they had witnessed some serious living. Here he felt he could allow his gaze linger just a little longer.
Once he would have looked for the prettiest young girl and smiled his special smile, the one that always seemed to elicit a smile in return. Sometimes that was all but once in a while it led to something more in the naive way it can when you are young. The older women brought back memories of a different time however. A time when it wasn’t the smile but the Saville Row suits and Rolex watches that made clear what sort of man he was and might lead the right woman to make the signs he was seeking. A shy smile and a slight opening of the legs and as she moved to the exit an accidental touching of hands and a backward glance.
And once in a while that glance would ascertain that he was indeed following. Those were the women who understood instinctively how it was going to be and were on their knees as soon as the door closed but others took longer to accept that while he would be gentle and generous to them, first they must submit to him. Now it was only women in their fifties who gave him those small signs indicating their availability and try as he might they simply did not arouse him and so he had learned to avoid eye contact with them.
These days he found it better to pay for his deviant pleasures. The women were beautiful and knew exactly what was expected but they were kind too and told him what they both knew were sweet lies about his looks and performance. He did, however, believe that at least they appreciated the effort he made – no wandering nasal hairs or foul breath for him.
His reverie was interrupted by a young woman with face of quite extraordinary prettiness who stood up and approached him.
“Sir, please take my seat”
This was thing he feared most. He knew his looks had faded yet he believed he was still “interesting” but seemingly this morning his appearance had evoked only pity. Nevertheless he was nothing if not a gentleman, or so he liked to believe, and he demurred but she responded by saying that she was getting off soon.
“Do please have the seat, Sir, it is so hot this morning my legs are sticking to the seat!"
Without thinking he glanced down at those legs which were as pretty as her face. He thanked her and took the seat feeling conflicted in the extreme - both humiliated and turned on. Now he was seated it was hard not to look at the girl and he noticed that her arms were lightly tattooed and it also appeared that there was a hint of a larger one just emerging below the hem of her flowered dress.
He had not registered the facial piercing either when she offered him her seat but it did nothing to lessen her attractiveness - indeed it hinted that there might be other, hidden, treats to be explored. He looked up again and was surprised to realise that she was smiling down at him and he couldn’t stop himself smiling back despite feeling so old. The train was now slowing down and she moved towards the exit and he looked away and in doing so missed her backward glance
As the train began to move again, he realised she was standing on the platform looking at him through the train window and as their eyes met, she shrugged and smiled again but this time rather sadly and then turned away.
He was puzzled by this and for several moments struggled to make sense of it. Then it came to him and his heart sank and he silently cursed his own stupidity. No one under 50 ever calls someone “Sir” these days unless they are preparing to submit…
An old man called Mike remembers sex in London before the internet, rants about the hypocrisy of today's society and shares some links to the best companions around today......