Les gens qui ne rient jamais ne sont pas des gens sérieux

Be who you are and say what you mean, those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

bike show number 2

I had my second experience of a motorbike show on Sunday (I KNOW! The Day of Rest...)

Marek went for the bikes. I went for the people. I just find people fascinating, and watching people in a situation I am not familiar with is even more enthralling. You see the unwritten rules people are sticking to, and the interactions between the different groups. Oh, and I went for Miss Poland 2005. I know, you're jealous now aren't you, she was there, but more on her later.

It was in a pretty standard indoor stadium and the bikes were laid out according to make; the hostesses and salesmen weaving in and out of the crowd handing out flyers and information. I was pretty disappointed not to see any of the girls in bikinis, but there were penty of short skirts and high heels about.

The girls were much more interesting to watch than the men actually. The men were just wandering round, comparing notes with their friends, sharing their wisdom with their sons, taking the odd flyer and looking up every so often to listen to the live band ('born to be wiiiiiiiild'). No, they were pretty dull. The women were fascinating though.

First there were the pro hostesses. The ones who you imagine sleep in full make-up and don't own anything that isn't skin-tight or shockingly short. They were the ones lounging about in suggestive positions on the bikes, loving every minute and tossing their hair at everyone who walked past. They were the kind of hostesses I was expecting and I had a kind of perverse admiration for them. They were doing such a great job of a terrible job (I did consider it, but came to the conclusion that this was neither the time nor the place for a one-woman feminist rally). They looked and acted the way they were supposed to. I was surprised to see only a handful of them.

The second group of hostesses were the ones who were obviously uncomfortable with their jobs. The ones you imagine who had taken it on for a bit of extra weekend cash. They were the ones pulling down the hems of their skirts, stifling yawns and handing flyers to people without even looking at them. They looked embarassed and I felt embarassed for them (maybe they would have joined my rally after all).

The last group were the girls who had decided to ignore the testosterone-fuelled environment and approach their work another way. They were the ones in jeans and shirts, caps and motorbike jackets. They were actually talking to potential customers; sharing information and joking with them, acting as workers rather than props. They looked like they were doing the best job and enjoying the day at the same time.

The thing is, everyone was there for the bikes (except me I guess, although even I was impressed by a couple of them). It must be demeaning to have to sit straddling a bike all day looking seductive, but it must be even more demeaning to be draped over the bike and have men totally ignore you and marvel over the bike itself. Poor things.

Although it was mostly men, there were families and couples there too. There was one little girl of about 2 whizzing about on a pink four-wheeler barbie electric bike, and another posing miserably next to her daddy's favourite bike for a picture (future hostess?) There were biker men in leather and chains, all long hair and tattoos; wives in tight jeans and boots baring their teeth at the girls trying to give their men flyers; and young men choosing between scooters.

Then there was Miss Poland 2005. When we came in I noticed a pretty, bored-looking girl of about 18, sitting on a bike. There was something a little different about her and as I looked back, I decided the huge sash and glittering crown had something to do with it. Later on, there was some kind of competition and a pitifully small crowd was gathered around her and a man with a microphone. We went past them on our way out and I had just enough time to see that she was standing next to a similarly attired; similarly blond; similarly vacantly smiling girl with sash and crown. There were two! This year's and last year's? under 18 and over 18? miss and vice-miss? real and substitute?

Marek wasn't too interested in my questions and I fear I shall never know. I suppose there are greater mysteries in life.

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