I encountered all three of these in the last week or so in three separate habitats, and, as a consequence, am feeling rather disenchanted with Homo Supposedly Sapiens.
Meanwhile, we hovered - girlishly - on the little veranda. He exited the fare with the crab more or less contained in a clumsy newspaper parcel. As he came by, he thrust the parcel at my face, roaring with laughter when I reeled back. He released the crab into the wild, we were obliged to thank him, and off he went in triumph.
"You're not ready for that," he announced gracelessly and turned on his heel.
I had two options at that point: retire to the Ladies and weep or find a kinder partner and try to recover a little self-esteem and confidence. I opted for the latter. T wheeled me round with patience and good humour, as he always does, and put the blame for the previous fiasco squarely on Tango Man. "A good strong leader should have coped," he said.
A skinny middle-aged man suddenly plunged through the door of the adjoining room and - contrary to clear signage, towel-less - threw himself down on one of the benches. Within a minute a young attendant was at the door to tell him he wasn't meant to be in there: it was a health and safety issue. Young Sweaty Man had already informed us it was a minor matter to do with the door and had bemoaned how long it was taking the council to fix it.
Sauna Man said he only wanted one sweat and then he'd come out. Attendant explained again that that side was closed, and asked him very nicely to come outside so they could talk. He argued. Finally, with a little show of exasperation, he did as asked. A minute later he was in our side, clambering over E without apology and planting himself - still towel-less - on the top bench.
"It would be a woman", he announced. "They're bloody fearless."
"You're not that scary, don't flatter yourself."
This was me. Unwise, I know, but I was riled by his air of entitlement and his smart-ass tone. I aimed for jocular but may have fallen a bit short.
"Hah, they can't help themselves," he added. Not to me, presumably, unless he failed to recognise my gender.
Sure enough, his real audience - Young Sweaty Man - responded with a guffaw.
Thus encouraged, Sauna Man came out with, "She only got away with it because she was good-looking."
And with an even heartier guffaw, the other agreed.
I flung myself from the bench with a cry of "Oh, for fuck's sake', grabbed my towel and left. E followed seconds later.
What prompted the bad behaviour in each case was a moment of perceived vulnerability that threatened the protagonist's notion of their own manliness.
Crab Man wasn't a whole lot keener on tackling our intruder than we were, so shoving it in my face allowed him to feel in control, invulerable, again.
Tango Man wasn't as good a dancer as he liked to believe so needed to treat me badly rather than risk losing face.
And Sauna Man, having been publicly bested by a woman, recovered face in the only way he knew how - by bonding fast with the other man present against all women. The backslapping was infuriating, and rendered the other three occupants of that confined space invisible and inconsequential.
Anyone got a better explanation?
A sestina on housing
2 weeks ago