Bidisha is a writer, critic and broadcaster based in London. Obviously, she has no friends.

Vicious circle

Who would dare to tangle with the celebrated author, Felix Whitman? From his crest of firmly sprayed hair to his fiery eye, bashed corduroy jacket and pawn shop signet ring, everything about him screams greatness, if only to itself. He specializes in vignettes about city life, stained mattresses, the evocative odour of evaporated alcohol mixture with swilled-back spit at the neck of a gin bottle, etc., etc. Despite the stutter, the limp, the shaking and the leer of Felix, many women who're deeply committed in their servitude do still flock to be his cultural geishas.

One recent night Felix was on excellent form. The venue was a gallery famous for its terrible art and great parties, the event late-night "salon" billing itself, with a charming mixture of coyness and pretension, as a place for people to "debate, critique, theorize and socialize'. In short, it was hell with great haircuts. Why not be honest and call these "salons" singles bars, pick-up joints or meat markets? There's no shame in it – even literates need to get laid. Otherwise what would they write their next novel about?

A woman who works in publishing approached Felix just as he'd finished his performance and was on his way to join his band of chums and enablers. The woman said politely,

"Excuse me? Felix? Could I just ask..."

"Fuck off!" shouted Felix at the top of his voice, then drew back slowly with an expression of delight – the delight which comes from abusing a woman. Her reaction was one of stunned surprise, changing slowly to blinking puzzlement as she frowned and went silently elsewhere as the alpha baboons in Felix's group guffawed heartily in support, united in their hatred. Their helpmeets obediently did nothing.

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