Monday, March 02, 2009


This morning, as I walked up to the baker’s, I observed a scantily-clad young woman walking down the road. Co-incidentally, so, too, did a bunch of builders who were atop the scaffolding of an oldish building that’s being renovated. I kept silent. The builders, however, cried out in unison, “Whoah! Get 'em off, darling'! I'd give you one any time, luv!" And so on and so forth.

This set me thinking. If you go to a lecture at, say, the Royal Institution or the Linnean Society, and some female member of the audience turns up in an evening gown with revealing décolletage, generally speaking, the assembled lecturers and professors don’t instantly launch into a series of thrusting motions with their hips, accompanied by cries of "Show us your tits, girl! Come on! You know you want it!" (Neither, for that matter, do these same academics usually have their arses hanging out of their trousers, but that’s by the bye.)

Why should this be? I wondered. Some people would say that it's because builders, being Working Class, are inherently crude. But if so, why don't other groups of Working Class individuals react in the same way to the sight of half-dressed females? I've never, for instance, seen teams of dustbin men or asphalt operatives responding with jeers and catcalls to passing women, yet they're equally as dead-common as builders.

So is this sort of behaviour builder-specific? If it is, what’s the causative factor? That the builders are up high on their scaffolding, where the air is thinner? I think not, because if altitude alone were responsible for the phenomenon, then you might reasonably have expected, for example, Sir Edmund Hillary to have grasped his cock and waved it, suggestively, in the direction of the Nepalese women down below once he’d reached the summit of Everest.

So, instead, could it be the hard hats that the builders wear, constricting blood flow in the skull? Or the proximity of the metal scaffolding attracting harmful radiation? Or the combination?

The only way to reliably test these theses would be to take a group of extremely posh, respectable people, such as high-ranking academics, equip them with hard hats, and stick them up scaffolding for a week, while glamorous-looking women ran underneath. Unfortunately, it's unlikely that many university professors and quantum physicists would agree to this procedure. (Not for a whole week, anyway.) Better, then, to select some respectable brainy person who, even if he didn't like the idea, wouldn't be able to do much about it.

To this end, I believe Professor Stephen Hawking should be given a hard hat, abandoned at the top of a large construction project, and told to ponder the nature of black holes (or whatever it is he ponders these days). At some point, a tasty female dressed in a tightly fitting, wet tee-shirt should be persuaded to walk along beneath. If, upon seeing her, Hawking's synthesized voice suddenly switches from explaining the origins of Dark Matter to blurting out, "Hi there, gorgeous! You're gagging for it, I can tell! I've a got a good nine inches for you here!", then we’ll know that our researches are proceeding in the right direction.

In this way, one of the major scientific questions of our times could, at last, be answered.


Anonymous said...

Two points.Hawking.Great scientist but I wouldnt hire him as a bouncer.Secondly I think the "Phwaor,pump it up ye bitch ye" is a recent phenomenon.When my Dad was on the building sites (1954-55) there was a dearth of Paddys screaming sexist remarks and making phallocentric comments.It could be national.Perhaps the Irish don't wish to enagage in stereotypical behaviour?

Joe Slavko said...

Thinking about it, it's usually only the pure-bred English builders who screech such remarks. Perhaps the Irish are genuinely afraid that the women might take them up on their offers and, good Catholics that they are, don't wish to be tempted into sin.