Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Saturday, 26 July 2014
But she looked 14, Your Honour
The tourist season has reached its zenith here in Bath, and I only have to glance out of the window to see about five coach-loads of European adolescents walking up the street at any given time.
I suppose it must be something to do with how they structure the school holidays, but right now the predominant nationality of young tourist is Spanish. There are hardly any Americans this year, and this must be to do with the dollar being set at about $1.80 to £1. Their mums and dads really don't feel right about paying $7 for a small beer, even if it is stronger than Miller Lite and the bar is 250 years older than their local back home.
It was only after I got back from Spain with a 14 year-old girl that I learnt that the age of consent is 14 in that country, and I cannot decide whether or not I would have been comfortable knowing it at the time.
It set me thinking about the legal as opposed to moral dilemmas that might face the older man who has an eye for young ladies, coupled with a lack of scruples that govern most of our lives when it comes to self-imposed inhibitions about trying to actually acquire one as a playmate.
Two years is a long time in the life of an adolescent, and most of them like to hang on to as much of their childhood as is allowed to them these days, at the same time as not having to miss out on all those parties which their older brothers and sisters go to on the hot Summer nights. This is just one reason why adolescence is such a painful process. The transition between childhood and adulthood takes a lot longer than turning on a light, and can stretch - sporadically - over a period of many years.
But they hit the age of about 12, and suddenly find themselves the target of overt sexual imagery from all sorts of clothes and music-video vendors, then there is no getting off the roller-coaster that will eventually eject/reject them and make them invisible to the new generation of customers at the age of 50. That's where Saga takes over.
There is a new outlet of 'Primark' opened in Bath, and since the fanfare of the ribbon-cutting ceremony has died down, I see loads of girls and young women walking down the street with a Primark bag stuffed full of shoddy goods.
Primark is ideally suited to the youth of its core customers, mainly because it is so cheap. The reason it is cheap is because (I suspect) that the clothes are made by people in a distant land who are even younger than its customers, and work for less money than its customers get as weekly pocket-money to spend in Primark.
Primark have just been ordered to remove a mannikin from their windows which depicts a body that is either emaciated through anorexia, or has the natural bony rib-cage and concave stomach of an immediately post-pubescent girl. Either message contrasts sharply with the ever-growing population of obese children, made fat through cheap junk food.
In all the hundreds of Spanish kids walking around right now, I have not yet spotted one over-weight one - they are all just the size and shape they should be for their age.
I suppose they all eat good food in Spain, and have Zara rather than Primark. They also learn how to drink in moderation there as well, which is why you never see them rolling in the gutter either.