It's a normal coach journey from London to Leeds or so I think. I'm armed with two film screeners to pass the time – one I requested and one that I think randomly arrived. Having looked at IMDB's film rating for “Pervert!” I'm not desperate to watch and review it but as I now have it anyway, I decide I may as well watch it (some clever marketing by Arrow Films there).
A few minutes into the film and I soon realise it's perhaps not the most suitable thing to be watching on a coach. I'd been expecting a smutty B movie horror but this is practically soft porn. I decide it's too late to go back now and as the film's only an hour twenty I may as well battle through. I'm aware throughout the film that the guy sitting next to me is also watching but unlike me, he has no sound so can only see an awful lot of boobs and sex.
The film's finished and I quickly eject and put the next screener in while my laptop battery has power. This is “Dancing At The Blue Iguana”, a film about the intertwining lives of six “exotic” dancers. As it has a pretty reasonable cast, I'm expecting an actual film with a plot that doesn't merely seek to titillate which thankfully rings true but there's again an unfortunate amount of boobage on show. I can't help but wonder what the guy next to me thinks of me and feel slightly embarrassed.
My battery dies twenty minutes before the end of the film and as I remove my headphones the guy next to me says, “It's difficult on here.” I presume he's talking about the tropical temperature, lack of working fans and the stench coming from the toilet. I agree with him but he again repeats “It's difficult on here” and then says “How can you keep watching all that?” At first I'm a little confused, thinking he means how can I watch something continually for so long but then it dawns on me – he means all the boobs. I laugh and explain I'm watching screeners, before asking him if he means the nudity. He says it's difficult watching and asks what I think of the boobs. I tell him they're merely boobs and he proceeds to tell me “There's so much liquid coming out of my penis”.
Shocked and unsure how to proceed, I desperately try not to snigger and pretend I didn't hear him and get out a newspaper – he's had a newspaper laid over him like a blanket for the last few hours and it's still there. He asks me if I watch lots of these type of films and I again try to explain that they are screeners and despite appearances, aren't straight-up porn. He asks if I've seen an Indian film with boobs and I try to steer the conversation away by talking about Bollywood but he suddenly asks if he can touch my boob. I tell him that's entirely inappropriate and look down at my paper but moments later he's again begging for a quick touch and telling me “they're so nice and white”. Clearly realising I'm not going to concede, he tries another tact and asks if I will show my boobs to him, actually expecting me to lift up my t-shirt and bra on a National Express coach and reveal my disappointing half eye-full.
As a coping mechanism I'm desperately counting down the minutes until my arrival. I know I have about 25 so should just try to sit out his grossly inappropriate remarks rather than trying to find another seat on this already exceedingly full coach. I keep feeling him getting nearer to me and feel him trying to graze the side of my right boob so firmly cross my arms. He's asking me what he should do when he gets home because he doesn't have a girlfriend and I'm tempted to tell him I know why he's single but instead say, “You're a guy, I'm sure you'll manage.” I feel his hand on my knee and quickly fling it away saying “no”.
The minutes are ticking and I'm having flashbacks to a similar incident that happened in Malaysia. I try to concentrate on my newspaper but can feel him watching me and through the welcomed but tense silence I wonder whether he's realised how inappropriate he has been but then he suddenly says “Half an hour left” as if he's merely been politely bantering with me for the last half hour. I'm relieved he's over-estimated the remaining journey time and quickly grab my stuff on arrival.
As he says “Perhaps see you around”, I hope I never do. I make eye-contact with the man-woman in the seat in front and wonder whether I've unknowingly entered a League of Gentleman episode. S/he must have heard some of our “conversation” but I can't tell whether his/her knowing look relates to the horrific coach conditions or the uncomfortable situation I have just been in.
Getting off the coach I'm relieved my travel buddy is going on to Bradford so safely contained. I can't help but inwardly smirk at how wrong I got it. I'd been worried he'd think I was some kind of pervert when in actuality he turned out to be a perfect example of one. If you ever want to put male passengers to the test, it would seem all you need to do is watch something racy. And to top it off, it turns out I actually absent-mindedly requested Pervert!