As he stood in our doorway with the large bag of rare records that he had just bought from us, he reached out for my fingers, bent forward as he held my hand to his mouth and kissed it. “Lovely to have met you”, he said.
We said our goodbyes and closed the door, and as we watched him through the window getting into his car I turned to Mr SDS and said, “I don’t trust him.” It was the hand-kissing that did it.
I was right not to trust him. The (substantial) cheque he’d given us in exchange for our vinyl valuables bounced. (Yes, I know, we should have insisted on cash…) Numerous follow-up phone calls to both his home and his workplace number revealed the horrible truth that this particularly unsavoury individual had clearly never had any intention of paying. He had ripped off his work colleagues too, sold his flat and moved. Obviously keen to avoid answering the door to Joe Hardnutt from Beat The Living Daylights Debt Collection Agency he’d relocated to another continent and word had it that he was living in, of all places, Kansas. (One can only hope he tried pulling a similar stunt out there…)
If only he had kissed my hand before he wrote out that cheque, our misery at being duped could have been avoided, for it was that sycophantically sleazy, albeit subtle, gesture that gave away his dubious character. In my experience (to borrow from Samuel Johnson’s quote about patriotism) hand-kissing is the last refuge of a sleazebag. In every instance that I’ve had my mitt kissed by a stranger there has been something unsettling about it, and about them. Am I right? My lovely female readers, I’m sure, will know just what I mean and agree. And my lovely male readers, I’m certain, would never dream of doing such a thing.
Picture source unknown
(but with thanks to the friend who sent it to me!)