18 OCTOBER 1991, Page 51

Low life

Stuck with a stick

Jeffrey Bernard

Ihave been sitting in the Groucho Club waiting for somebody that I could dictate this column to, since I still cannot use the typewriter. It is raining outside and, to my left, four advertising men are speaking rub- bish in a language I can hardly understand. The broken elbow aches, I have run out of ready cash and I am considering the des- perate measure of hurling myself in front of the next hooligan motor bike courier I see.

I did contemplate suicide by throwing myself off Waterloo Bridge earlier in the week when Deborah, the blonde bombshell behind reception in the Grouch°, told me to 'piss off; but then I realised that not only could I not get the leg-over, I couldn't even get the leg over the balustrade on Waterloo Bridge itself.

It was this business of Judge Clarence Thomas that has brought everything to a head. It is no longer possible to say any- thing to a woman without being accused of committing sexual harassment. The other morning, all I did was walk into the Grou- cho and greet Deborah and she said, 'Go away, you silver-tongued bastard'.

By the same token, a friend of mine was on a train the other day and found himself seated opposite an extremely attractive woman. Quite naturally, he looked at her as opposed to staring at the dog-ends on the floor. When the train arrived at the ter- minus, she stood up to get out of the car- riage and said to him, 'Can I have my Clothes back now?'

But there are, thank God, still a lot of women left in this world who not only enjoy the company of male chauvinist pigs, but who would also be deeply offended if they weren't offered the occasional drink,

lunch and dinner. I hate to think how much money I've spent in the past 30 years in Wheeler's — before it went down the drain — on Dover soles in my futile attempts to lay what I thought at the time was Miss Right. Unlike the likes of Anita Hill, I once lived with a woman who earned at last four times more than I did and yet she was extremely reluctant to pay the smallest of domestic bills. I suppose because I was only there, as a sort of home fixture, to sexually harass her.

But today I am not sexually harassing anybody, unfortunately, and The Spectator has driven the message home by kindly pre- senting me with a walking stick which makes me look like Methuselah. It was bad enough three or four years ago when young people began to call me Sir, but now this could be the end and perhaps the only harassment I am capable of is that of both- ering a barmaid for a drink.

Taki reviews the sumo tournament on p. 44. His 'High life' column resumes next week