"Are you collared?"
The girl didn't answer, partially because she was paying lots of attention to her boyfriend (or, as I assumed, her Dom - or possibly both, of course), but mostly because I said it very quietly, mostly to myself.
I was standing on Oxford Street handing out leaflets and talking to clients outside while enjoying the last of the summer sunshine through a slightly autumnal haze. Yesterday I passed my time by monologuing to myself, mooting the idea of an Erotic Independent Film Club (EIFC) and actually made a list of films, because I am that cool. Today, street life was slightly more entertaining and, crucially, I was doing this for less time.
The girl turned and walked away, upon which I noticed that what I had assumed to be a collar was probably just a fashion statement - wire mesh worn around her neck - but you never know. I was so concerned with amusing myself regarding this concept that I almost completely missed the second girl walking directly towards me. Accompanied by a couple of friends, she looked purposeful. Hot black girl with long curly hair and unreasonably large chest. Okay, I can cope with that.
I prepared to step aside. I've been doing this extra thing for work for the past couple of weeks and, since it's Oxford Street, I've spent most of my time sidestepping people like I'm a confused Knightmare contestant. This girl was no exception, I stepped to the right and...
...she stroked me on the left arm.
And I don't mean a brush, or even the brusque shove I get from Londoners who are too important to deviate an inch from their intended route. It was a full-on stroke, from my shoulder to my elbow, firm and smooth, with the palm of her hand. Without so much as a glance at her strokee, she continued on her way, eventually becoming swallowed by the throng in the distance towards Centre Point.
I stood there in shock, with no idea what just happened, not sure whether to feel violated or flattered. People coming by have taken pictures of me, hurled verbal abuse, claimed to be a poet named Zoltar, even taken a flyer every now and again... but actual physical contact is something I had just never expected - especially not a stroke! Especially not from someone I don't know! And especially someone who didn't even look at me!
And so I did the only thing that made sense in that situation.