Readers of a nervous disposition are warned that the following text contains a description of three men (one currently unknown) a discarded jockstrap, and a bacon sandwich. However, to those readers who are emotionally stable and who have been actively trawling the internet in the hope of one day finally finding a blog post about three men (one now going commando), dodgy knicker elastic, and, a pork rasher – then please read excitedly on…
But first, indulge me for a moment. Let me draw your eyes up above the front door of The Spanish Onion Cafe. There hangs, appropriately, a Spanish onion. It’s made of hard plastic, about three times the size of a soccer ball and it’s swung contentedly there on a chain since 1974. Guido’s father still unhooks it periodically to lovingly rinse it with car shampoo. The reason I’m telling you about the onion is because there is now an indefatigable link to it and the amazing objects members of the public choose to discard on a London street.
In Bermondsey I’ve come to expect the unsolicited beer bottle, cigarette packet, rolled up copy of Metro Newspaper, or shoe even, into our window boxes. So please picture the cafe door swinging open this morning and a very excited pedestrian shouting loudly – “Has anyone lost a jockstrap?” It’s certainly not the sort of random question you want to be bothered considering whilst quietly enjoying a crispy bacon sandwich on rustic bread with a generous squirt of ketchup. It is, however, if you’ve ever lived in Bermondsey, the sort of question you should never be surprised you’re being asked.
A hush descended. Another customer dropped a knife on a plate. Someone politely coughed. The bald guy opposite me drinking a latte suspiciously felt his crotch. Our new waitress Brenda, showing an unhealthy sign of interest in jockstraps, went outside to investigate. Brenda has quickly made herself indispensable. Brenda doesn’t actually call herself Brenda, she insists we all call her Barbarella because she thinks this sounds more exotic. Which of course it does. However, although she wears tight faux leather clothing and stiletto boots that’s where any resemblance to Jane Fonda in outer space ends – but she can carry two espressos and a plate of hot soup simultaneously; so who am I to judge?
Once back inside Barbarella covertly leaned over my sandwich, which momentarily disappeared into her cleavage.
“Sweetheart, brace yourself,” she said surreptitiously out of the corner her mouth, “there’s a jockstrap hanging from your onion.”
I stopped chewing. The bald guy opposite felt his crotch again.
I fetched Guido out of the kitchen and onto the pavement and both of us looked up. The soggy jockstrap looked grey and limp like it had been on one too many fast spin cycles and the elastic had decided to give up all hope of future support.
“I wonder where that came from?” I said squinting.
Guido looked at me like I was an idiot.
“Well you’ll have to get up there and pull it down pronto,” said Guido, “I’m busy with three full English breakfasts and an egg Florentine to go.”
Honestly he’s always got an excuse.
Later, Barbarella suggested we post a sign in the cafe widow –
“LOST YOUR JOCKSTRAP? – EQUIRE WITHIN”
Apparently, she has a foolproof way of ensuring underwear is always re-united with its rightful owner. Like I said, she’s indispensable.