Random musings from the front line (well, more like the support trench, or perhaps the castle 10 miles away, supping Chateau Lafite with the General Staff) in the battle for curiosity, inertia, grammar and a Dachshund called Colin.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

The Quince Effect: A Beginner's Guide

'I'm Free, Mr Quince'There's an interesting phenomenon sweeping the South at the moment (and Nottingham, I hear) called ... the Quince Effect. This dastardly dating technique preys on the vulnerability of straight women when they're in their "handbag" comfort zone - the homosexual establishment. Effectively, a small group of well-dressed and well-groomed straight men enter a gay bar or club and spend half an hour rousing no suspicion as they sashay across the dance floor, stand camply at the bar and make exaggerated movements with their hands. To all onlookers, they appear as incongruous as John Inman in Old Compton St, and being an obviously 'closed' group of friends, attract no attention from predatory lads on the pull. But ladies ... beware.

Mrs Dale WintonYou see, these devious pseudomoxuals are taking their time to spot what they dismissively call "fag hags", dancing away with their non-threatening new best friend from the office, a slightly camp chap called Jeremy. In fact the only reason these fabulous girls are here at all is that they are delighted to find a venue in which they can relax, without the presure of fending off drunken wideboys in Umbro polo shirts. To use the banal, but descriptive, language of Science Fiction - their "shields are lowered". And so, these carefree ladies dance away shamelessly, with anyone they want, showing the world (and our boys) that they are single, straight and slightly drunk. Thus, the scene is set. After 30 minutes of furtive target reconnaisance, our group of sexuality quislings move onto the dance floor themselves, position themselves next to their intended victims and start to dance with each other, gradually widening their "boogie circle" to include the girls. Within minutes, at least one of the chaps has "dirty-danced" with a woman in a way that is frankly impossible in the local Chicago Rock Cafe before at least 1.30am.

What a nice gay man I've just met! And then, the killer move. After the dancing, the (to her, harmless) flirting and the inane semi-shouted conversation, the (again, to her, harmless) man asks in his campest whisper if he can buy his new dance partner a drink. She readily agrees, follows him to the bar and prepares herself for the usual catty denunciations of ex-boyfriends. He, having caught his prey, then gently, carefully and subtly reels her in. Comments such as "Oooh, he's nice", "Wow, look at the pecs on him!" and "This is the first night I've been out for months, you know" set the scene, and keep her convinced that she's drinking with someone who she could possibly set up with Jeremy from accounts. He even asks sensitive and caring questions such as "Oooh, are you in a relationship", and "it's SUCH a nice club, isn't it?".

And then, out of the blue, "Do you know, recently, I feel myself attracted to women for the first time in years, if ever. I'm so confused, and terrified, I don't know what to do..."

He's got her, hook line and feather-covered sinker. Before she realises what's happening, they're snogging (after all, everyone does in these sort of establishments) and within the hour, they're back at his suspiciously-untidy batchelor pad "exploring his masculine side". Using a condom.

That, my friends, is the Quince Effect.

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