Only a dream in Rio
He glided past me on the beach with an air of poise and precision. This Brazilian had muscles in places where I didn´t even have places. He was metaphorically kicking sand in my face, even if he didn´t realise it.
He was one of The Beautiful People I´d heard about. His torso looked like the Andes from altitude,covered in a milk chocolatey brown. He had a canyon down the front of his chest and dried up river beds springing from the sides. An appealing un-peeling brown-ness.Hehad a ball at his feet.
They call soccer The Beautiful Game, and Brazilians proceed to play it with a style far beyond the reaches of the Common Man.
The Beautiful People even invented their own style of sensitive-area-for-women haircuts, a coiffured exclamation mark in a world of bushes, forests and the odd mangrove swamp. When you can´t help but notice what a miniscule area those thongs cover, it was a Beautiful Idea, but a practical one too.
My first encounter with Rio de Janeiro came with a long time ago with a hit by Sergio Mendes and his Brazil ´66 - The Girl From Ipanema, which I later discovered was a beach the Beautiful People congregated. For a pre-pubescent youth, this song contained vital information.
For a start, as The Girl walked along -" Each time she passes, the boys she passes go - aaaaaahhh". These were boys, not men. We were in with a chance. Then the crushing blow - "But each time when she walks down the street, she looks straight ahead, not at me."
So, there were girls out there who were Unattainable to poor boys like me, and there was the probability of Rejection if we even tried. When you saw pictures of them cavorting on the beach in those skimpy swimsuits, the game was up. Brazilians Do It Better. Live With It. Thank God nobody told me at the time about they did with their genital hair. It would probably have pushed me over the edge.
There would have to be another tactic. My mate, Charlie, had a theory he`d probably picked up in some cheap magazine - Laugh Them Into Bed. Oh yeah - that one was going to work. Tell them a stupid joke whilst fumbling to get their bra off.
It occurred to me that it was the bra manufacturers who were having a laugh. They designed a device where the first clasp opened perfectly, but the second needed a crowbar to prize open, which is not a good implement to take on a first or second date. But the Beautiful People had probably aready sent their young males to Graduate School. They Mastered in Clasp Control, practising one-handed on mannequins whilst hang-gliding gracefully to the sea from the top of the Christ The Redeemer statue high over Rio.
It seems the Beautiful People are a continuing theme among tourists to this endearing city. On the cable car up to the Sugar Loaf mountain, a Yorkshire mother with a tattoo of a roaring lion on her left arm was trying to spell out her theory to her teenage son.
" I never go for looks - it´s personality that`s important in the end," she explained.
"Yeah, you´ll probably understand that by the time you`re about 22" his older sister helpfully chipped in.
The boy-to-man nodded. But he didn`t really get it. As another one of The Beautiful People passed by, I swear he let out an aaaaaah sigh.