Whilst some people have the sort of face that says ‘speak to me and I’ll actually eat your face’, I belong to the other group. We are cursed with an innate ability to attract random strangers and welcome their conversation. It appears that we are somehow inviting them with our faces even when we think they are resting at a sort of blank ‘I’m happy enough in my own head’ expression. This has been illustrated time and time again, mainly in enclosed spaces where there is no escape.
Most recently, I had to be escorted off a train by another stranger so that I could escape the new ‘best friend’ that I had been stuck next to for the last 40 minutes. You know the kind of person I’m talking about. They ask all the questions and you’re left trying to decide whether to run (not always an option), completely ignore them (they will have other ideas), or lie in response to everything they ask. When a random person, whom I know nothing about because I can’t get a word in edgeways, wants to enquire why I don’t have any children and where I work and what my philosophy for life is and what my sister’s middle name is and the name of the road I grew up on- I fall straight into the trap, like a wide-eyed Derren Brown victim: I can’t help but respond with the absolute truth (I believe this inability to lie comes with the face).
After managing to not give my address or phone number to the gummy, barely coherent little man who continually poked me throughout the entire journey whenever I attempted to feign deafness/sleep, and declining his invitation of fathering me some children (yes, genuinely), I found myself walking towards the ticket office with the man who had been sat behind me and had offered to escort me away from stranger 1. ‘Don’t worry’, he said to me from behind his shades, ‘I have 2 of my men on this platform who are watching us. You won’t have any trouble now’. I breathed a sigh of relief and told him truthful answers to all the questions he asked about me, before I realised this chap (hold on- ‘2 of my men??’ who is this man??! a drug baron? a top Politian? Royalty?? OR JUST ANOTHER DELUDED STRANGER??!!) now knew an awful lot about me, having heard all the answers from the previous inquisition too. I bid him farewell and ducked into the toilet where I could surely avoid further unwanted interrogation, only to have another woman strike up a conversation at the sink.
And I am not alone in this. My mum, who apparently has a somewhat similar face, is used to (but still not a fan of) being collared in supermarkets, car parks, on the street and at national trust properties. Many a time she has been pounced on and held in painfully one-sided conversation with desperate passers-by while we kiddiwinks ducked into the bushes to gaffaw. Dad has tried to teach her to be more brisk and forthright, especially when it comes to cold callers, but it’s no use: If you’ve got the face, you’re in constant stranger danger for life. Perhaps it’s just as well I haven’t let any willing strangers impregnate me (or anyone else for that matter); these face genes probably shouldn’t be continued any further…