Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Canary Wharf Cops and Gigolos

As I wrote about in a previous post (Canary Wharf Ant Farm) I spend a lot of time in the Canary Wharf coffee shops. When I’m there I like looking at people and try to imagine their story, who are they, what do they do, why are they meeting here etc.
One day when I was going through my daily routine of, sparkling water -> Panini -> Coffee -> turn on the computer and do some programming, I realised that the guy at the table next to me was also sitting there yesterday, in the same seat. Over the next couple of days, weeks even, I started to see a pattern. He would arrive 4.30 - 5ish, sit with his back towards the café, he never bought any coffee but would bring his own coke (full fat) and newspaper, and then around 6 he would get up and leave.  He didn’t look like a banker, and he wasn’t reading a bankers newspaper. What was he doing? It was an intriguing puzzle. Then one day I saw him discretely nod to another guy sitting across the square at another café, looking similarly un-banker-ish. There were two of them! The other guy wasn’t always there, but when he was, it was the same thing; he would hang around, reading a paper until 6 pm, when they both got up and left, very discreetly, and not together.  6 pm, so they must be waiting for somebody to leave work, but whom?

Then it hit me, of course, they were gigolos, that’s why they were so discreet, that’s why they looked different, and why they didn’t buy coffee, because they didn’t know when they had to leave. Looking closer at them they were reasonably fit (I’m not an expert), but they certainly didn’t look like models, pretty average in fact, but then again the customers are of course not necessarily young and gorgeous either. However I couldn’t figure out who they were meeting with, I thought that there must be some kind of code, you know the girl with the red dress kinda thing, but usually when they left there actually wasn’t any obvious women around, the women that were there looked too attractive and successful to need or want the services of these guys. On closer inspection one of the two guys was a bit feminine, pink shirt and walked differently. It all added up now, they were, of course, gay gigolos. A few months before a colleague of my wife, fashion designers and gay, had told me about what he called his gold-digger friends who only dated gay bankers. And although I still couldn’t specifically work out who the customer was, I could always pick out a few realistic candidates from the crowd heading towards the escalators; I had solved the mystery and could finally get back to work.
Being a creature of habit I usually sit in the same seat, just like my gigolo friend always sat at his regular table. However there was a day when some horrible person had stolen my table, so I had to sit somewhere else. Because I was on the other side of the gigolo for the first time, I noticed something I had never seen before. The guy had an earpiece in. For a second I thought why does a gigolo need… ah… damn… they are cops.

Here I had been thinking I was observing the marvels of capitalism, that if you work hard, no matter how you look or what you are into, you can always get laid. I had worked these guys into the system as economic actors performing an essential, perhaps even critical, service. Now instead of all of that I had to resign myself to the fact that they were.. cops. While I had imagined these guys literally working their assess off every day, instead I could now realise that all those days and weeks,  they had been sitting there doing absolutely nothing, catching nobody. Is that really the best use of their time? I of course do not know what they were looking for, but unless it was Gaddafi’s hidden cash and gold then all likelihood is that we received a very meagre return on our tax dough. I any case, I do hope they got their man, no matter if they were cops or gigolos.


  1. I would like to see them.

  2. I was thinking of taking a pic with my phone, but they probably won't be pleased ;)