So, I’m ambling along Derby road, tripping over my ballet pumps and trying to plug a stray iPod earphone back into my ear when I hear something that makes me leap embarrassingly into the air, folders flying, red face burning and level of street cred plummeting to zero – the horn of the white van man.
Now, I don’t know which nineteenth-century white-wagon-driving fellow first invented the ‘let’s honk and shout at unsuspecting females in the street to show our appreciation of their notable beauty/very short skirt’ trend but he should have been stoned as punishment. The pounding, post-Isis morning head of an innocent student definitely does not welcome gross heckles spouted from middle-aged builders/carpenters/decorators-on-wheels.
The WVM can be identified by his trademark naked-mermaid tattoo on beefy arm resting on window ledge, pencil/fag behind ear, protruding beer gut and erm… His big white van. An irresistibly sexy image. What baffles me the most about this species is – what outcome do they expect from this hilarious action? A dreamy-eyed, lust-struck girl leaping into their laps via the passenger window, bursting open her blouse and yelling “Take me?!” Or perhaps the more subtle response, a cheeky wink and a phone number thrust into a dirty, chubby hand? I think not. The most the WVM can expect is a scowl, an angry retort such as “f*** off you f***king pervert!” (if you are my housemate) or a restraining order.
In an attempt to get inside the mentality of the WVM, I delved into their internet territory. Sky.com offered me an insight in their illuminating article, Embracing The Inner White Van Man, where men are advised that the “stunnahs” of the pavement “will deserve particular vocal merit, usually expressed with several beeps of the horn and praise lavished with typical cockney chortle.” Very insightful, but actually completely false, because in fact it is not just the “stunnahs” who receive this sought-after treatment – they do it to EVERYONE. So it’s not even as if amongst all of this annoyance and inconvenience, you can at least come to the conclusion that you are a gorgeous, hunk-attracting goddess, glittering like an ethereal beacon across the Lenton pavements. No, I quickly learnt not to indulge myself in feeling flattered as Mr WVM soon moved on from me and gave an even louder honk to the leather-skinned, bearded old bag lady a few paces in front of me. Great.
I know I may be over-generalising, and I’m sure there is an abundance of lovely, gentile, Classic FM-listening White Van Men who favour sweet serenades over crude accolade, but until I can complete a 25-minute walk to campus unbothered by a perve-on-wheels, I remain unconvinced.
Oh, and some advice to fellow WVM victims – carry eggs/tomatoes/a baseball bat with you at all times and get your own back.