in which the naked chimp is unmasked, his machines debugged, and his bugbears debunked

Friday, May 04, 2007

The Rebirth of Fool (Foolsies: a user’s guide)

“Beware,” I tell you, “he’s a foolsie.”
A foolsie is not an idiot. Foolsie is unto fool as ‘tricksies’ is unto Gollum, geddit? Foolsies can infiltrate friendship groups, spoil relationships, ruin lives and defile bed linen. If foolsies sound awful, well, that’s ‘cos they are – but you can stop a foolsie, if you know how to spot one. But how can you spot one? Basically, a foolsie is your typical male chauvinist pig, or at least, these remain his core values. The difference between a foolsie and a fool is in the veneer – like the superior shapeshifting ‘T-1000’ in Terminator 2, foolsies are clever enough to have developed elaborate ‘cloaking devices’, and can thus blend in. At the bar, in polite conversation, the foolsie always seems like ‘one of us’, no matter who that ‘us’ might be. He might wear Nudie downpipes, vintage Wayfarers (real vintage, not retro!), a Ksubi t-shirt and a ‘Make Poverty History’ bracelet. He might use ‘product’ and be able to tell you about his cleansing, toning and moisturising regime in lurid detail. He might be au fait with being recognised as outwardly metrosexual, or even pleasingly ‘just gay enough’. But make no mistake, none of these things are an expression of his being sensitive and in tune with himself and the needs of women. Beneath all the skin and jewellery, he’s the same asshole he always was. He might appear at home in his own skin, but that’s only ever because he wants a piece of yours (and not just any piece, either). This guy doesn’t just want a pound of flesh, or to pound the flesh – the punchline rolls in three years later, three years too late, when you realise that he set out with no intention but to fool you. Had you, didn’t he? That’s it, you see – everything, the whole elaborate routine – just to fool you. The joy of utter contempt. Not just to pull the wool over your eyes, but to deal you and your self-esteem the mental equivalent of a turkey slap. To the foolsie, the mindfuck is the sweetest of all sweets.

Foolsies are necessarily difficult to spot. Unlike vampires (and their nocturnal habits) or witches (with their wigs and spit), foolsies could be anyone. Hell, maybe your dad’s one… but never fear, in some cases there are telltale signs. Some foolsies emerge from a background they’re trying to define themselves against – meet his friends and family and you might see what I mean. Or when you say something ‘off the cuff’ and you glimpse deep, magmatic violence flashing across his eyes, cross-reference that against the Saturday you met his ‘mates’ and remember how they talked about other people to each other – when you weren’t supposed to be listening. Investigate. The way he laughs, really laughs (high-pitched devilish laughter) while watching the Footy Show. His garage, full of free weights, FHM, Jessica Simpson posters and a collection of bowie knives… But no – the most terrifying fact for any of you out on the town looking for love is that only the most careless foolsie will leave his toys lying around, or let you hear how his boys talk about you when you’re not there. And actually, a lot of foolsies are characterised by the fact that, well, there’s nothing exceptional or unusual about them. They’re just your average pig. They really are. You’ve just got to see through the stage props, people – ‘cos if there’s one thing a foolsie can’t operate without, it’s his ruse. See past the ‘stuff’ and you’ve spotted the dick. That’s all you’ve got to do. Remember, a pig who moisturises is no less a pig for having soft, supple skin.

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PC is an animal of the antipodes believed to be related to a gibbon.