Here & Now with S Sorrensen - Apr 22

Byron.
Saturday, 8.35pm:

The woman is not tall. In fact, she’s small, but she’s growing in stature with each foot stomp.

Under a velvet green skirt hemmed with black lace, her boot slams into the stage. And I mean slams. It’s loud. Very loud.

Women can be scary. They know something.

Her foot-stomping is louder than the music coming from the three-piece flamenco outfit behind her. It’s louder than the cacophony of a Byron restaurant in full Saturday night swing.

While the guitarist shuts his eyes and leans back into some fast finger action, and the singer, a middle-aged woman with a red flower in her hair, squeezes even more heartache from her Spanish tale of unrequited love, the dancer snaps open a fan and twists it in front of her in a sensual – no, sexual – way. With her other hand holding the hem of her skirt to her hip, she raises her knee in preparation of another stomp.

She stares at the red fan as it writhes in front of her. She’s not smiling. She’s almost grimacing as the music fuels a painful fire in her. Love hurts. Her man doesn’t understand. She yells something to herself, urging on her Latin self as she smashes her heel to the floor.

I jump.

Her eyes flash around the room. Briefly, they turn on me and burn deep into me.

Women know stuff. Wordless stuff. Heart stuff.

And mine is not the only heart seared. Those wild eyes leave a smoking trail as they arc across the room.

My girlfriend and I couldn’t find this restaurant at first. Understandable I guess seeing as it’s called The Chameleon. But I’m glad we did.

Earlier we’d swum at Main Beach where the autumnal waters still retain the summer heat despite the cooling airs. Then, it was dry the budgie smugglers and slip into jeans. Yes folks, the budgie smugglers. I freely admit I now love them. I have cast aside the shackles of fashion, dignity and even decency to revel in the freedom and practicality of budgie smuggling. (You can wear them under your jeans.)

My girlfriend on the other hand sees them differently. (Personally, I can’t see them at all. Too many Coopers over the years.) She has nightmares about us being somewhere classy (like the French Riviera) and I’m in my smugglers.

Women know what fuels passion.

So we went shopping. Which is Byron’s main gig. Byron is an open mall with sandy bits.

“Boy leg,” she said, making no sense to me. “Boy leg. You need swimmers with boy leg.”

Apparently boy leg togs are small, like smugglers, but have a bit of leg. (I could save on waxing.) They’re fashionable. And decent (ish).

So in a swimwear shop run by a pair of 15-year-old girls with chewing gum, we came across a pair of tiny swimmers with boy leg. But at $95, no way! I’ll try the Casino surf shop.

The singer hits an emotional high note that has her red lips quivering. The guitarist strums so quickly his hands are a blur. The drummer bloke is hitting something a lot. The Spanish tale is climaxing: the girl confronts the boy.

The dancer flicks her hair and spins away from her ignorant Latin lover with an exasperated stomp. As she shakes her head at the dumbness of men, I’m suddenly aware of the budgie smugglers under my jeans. Sand. Bloody sand.

I wriggle a bit in my seat, deftly, and without hands, rearranging the sand build-up and moving it somewhere more comfortable.

Now both the dancer and my girlfriend are shaking their heads.


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