It was so quick that it was almost imperceptible, but I saw it; I saw the woman’s eyes flick to my groin and back to my face in a fraction of a millisecond…and it wasn’t a complimentary glance either. I knew exactly what had gone through her mind.
The sun at the Pinolere Craft Fair was beating down with September ferocity. People are talking about the end of summer, but if summer was based on hot, hot, hot temperatures as opposed to just hot ones, we’d have another two months left here on Tenerife. Andy and I had just completed our first circuit of the stalls at the fair and had conveniently ended up at the huge beer and food kiosk that keeps everyone fuelled and happy. Despite applying sun cream and sun block my nose was starting to resemble a clown’s so we squeezed into the shade, ordered a beer and some pinchos and started waxing lyrical about how beautiful it was, what great stalls there were and what a fab atmosphere Pinolere had.
“It’s lovely,” a woman standing beside us announced when she heard us speaking English.
She wasn’t English, she was from La Orotava, but clearly wanted to practice her grasp of English which pretty much amounted to answering ‘it’s lovely’ to everything. After a few moments we switched to Spanish and she told us all about herself and her son, what he did and what his girlfriend did, including how much they earned. Then she mentioned that she only had the one child. When I asked if that wasn’t unusual here she laughed and replied “one is more than enough.”
At that Andy told her we didn’t have any and that was when her eyes flicked to my groin and back. I knew her first thought was ‘he must be firing blanks’ or whatever the Spanish equivalent is.
A few years ago we were on a boat trip in Kenya that stopped at a small village where people still lived in thatched huts. We were met by the village chief who for some reason took to me and stuck to my side as we walked around. He told me all about the village, showed me leaves from a tree that tasted like opal fruits and told me all about himself and his family; naming all of his numerous children before asking me how many children I had. When I told him none he was shocked and I saw myself shrinking in his eyes. After that he deserted me and went to find a real man.
The Spanish woman recovered quickly.
“Ha, even better,” she laughed but the seed was planted so to speak.
At that point I’d being doing much of the talking, but as Andy took over and spoke to her about the fair and the weather she looked back at me.
“She speaks better Spanish than you,” she remarked.
“I know, she does everything better than me,” I replied.
“Really,” her eyes widened and she added. “Even in matters of love?”
I knew the no-kids comment had lodged in her brain. I was clearly almost a eunuch in her eyes…and how had we gone from ‘it’s a lovely fair’ to what I was like in bed anyway?
I made some suitably macho retort and then, grabbing Andy by the arm, spotted something we just had to buy at that moment at a stall on the other side of the fair. We ‘venga’d each other and left her to get back to exploring the fair.
We had a wonderful day at the Pinolere fair. Our haul of goodies amounted to a round of Benijos Cheese, a jar of honey, two pendants with Guanche designs, two bamboo whistles that made bird calls (for nephews), a book marker made from a banana trunk and a fan in a cotton case with a Guanche symbol on it. And all it cost was a handful of euros and a slur on my masculinity.
Oh, and as for the whole no kids deal just in case you’re wondering…lifestyle choice.