You may have read my previous post about Bob. Read it here if not before you continue – you already know him better than you might think.
I never realised he’s also a cross-dresser until last weekend, but here’s what happened.
A few weeks ago I was invited to attend a ball for the Hunger Project. This is a charity I love to support as their emphasis is on resolving the issue of chronic world hunger in our lifetimes, and they support the women in their local communities as a means to making this happen.
There were also some other wonderful women going there I wanted to meet – old friends, ones I’d always wanted to meet, and clients too.
So I paid for my ticket and looked forward to going out in London town for the evening.
Then the attacks in Paris took place.
I wish it didn’t, and I’m ashamed to say, but terrorism “works” on me.
It sparks my anxiety, my fear of getting trapped, my fear of being afraid.
When 9/11 happened, I was unable to travel anywhere for fear of not being able to get out, or in case there was another attack, and I had to leave my corporate job in London as I couldn’t get there any longer.
When the July bombings happened here in London, same thing – didn’t go out for months on public transport again.
I’d love to say, “Sod it, they’re not going to beat me,” and go out anyway, but in my world it looks real to me that I might be in very real danger, so why risk it?
So for the next six days, I thought to myself, “I’m not going on Saturday. I really don’t think it’s sensible to go to the city centre a week after this took place. After all, London has to be a target, right? And when better than a Saturday night? It’s not worth the risk. I’m not going. But that’s stupid, everyone else is going. But I would kick myself if I went and something happened. What about my kids? It’s really not worth the risk. And I’d probably just spend a load of money I don’t have bidding for things in the charity auction. And I’ll probably drink too much and feel rubbish the next day. I think I’ll just stay home on my sofa where it’s nice and warm and safe.”
All that coupled with feeling anxious and short-tempered all week, plus playing myself images of gunmen in restaurants in my head and oscillating between going and not going.
So I decided to put an end to the suffering.
“Sod it, I’m not going,” I declared – “Must be my wisdom and gut instinct telling me not to go.”
Then I got an email from a dear friend of mine in America.
She said, “My son came home from school where his friends were saying that their school was definitely going to be the next target for ISIS and he was terrified. But I showed him your article about Bob and he got it. And he showed it to some of his friends too and it made all the difference.”
She wrote to me to say, “You never know the ripple effect of the work that you do,” but what I suddenly saw when I read that note from her was that it was BOB!!
BOB had had me totally fooled the whole week.
He’d been dressed up as a woman in a smart business suit, combed his hair back and worn a pretty scarf to disguise his beard.
He’d looked totally credible to me when he turned up, so I’d invited him in for a cup of tea, sat down with him and listened to his sensible advice very carefully.
HE’D TOTALLY HAD ME FOOLED!!!!
When I got that text from my friend, I suddenly looked up and I saw him, sitting there sheepishly: he knew I’d got his number.
I noticed his can of Special Brew poking out of his pocket, his beard poking out from over his scarf and those big hairy legs under the skirt – HOW COULD I NOT HAVE SPOTTED HIM??!
He was so totally and utterly convincing.
Well, once his number was up he carried on mumbling into his beard in the corner while I went ahead and got dressed, got on the train and went into London town.
I drank too much, managed to bid an extortionate amount of money on a Masterchef experience (do they really know what’s coming???!) and had a bloody good time with my friends in the name of a good cause.
Here’s what I took from that:
Bob can look so convincing.
He looks like he’s making sense and gives you all the reasons why your insecure thinking isn’t insecure thinking but fact.
But after I saw him, you know what I realised?
He comes with a really horrible feeling.
My wisdom tells me things like, “Don’t go walk on the train tracks tonight.”
It’s really impersonal. There’s no fear and tension behind it. It seems like common sense. It’s a quiet knowing. It seems like, ‘Why would I?’
“Don’t go into London in case something awful happens,” is not wisdom.
That’s Bob, wearing a dress to try and fool you.
Where else does he do that? I looked around and saw that he does it all the time.
Fools me, then I see him (or not). Fools me again, then I see him (or not).
What’s good is I’m starting to feel the difference between Bob and not-Bob.
And not by putting my hand up his skirt.