Charity Muggers

September 28, 2012 12:06 pm

Today I saw a sight that got me thinking about what us Londoners hate most about London’s streets. I was walking past a street fundraiser, or charity mugger or chugger as they have become more commonly known, trying to avert his gaze, when I realised he had missed me.  It’s not that I hate them; it’s just that I normally get a fit of the giggles when they look at me and try to engage with me. I think of the first excuse I can, which has ranged from “my dog has just died” to the slightly more believable “I’m late for a meeting.”


Deep down, I have to admit there’s a part of me which craves the attention, as when a chugger blanks me, I feel cheated. Maybe it’s because I’m not the best looking guy in the world (my friends say I have a face for radio), so I like to feel in-demand. I know I’ll never be the hunky rugby player that all the girls fancy at parties, so when someone shows some interest, I have to lap it up, as I don’t know when it will happen again. Cynics would say I look like an easy target for the chuggers, but I prefer to think that I look like a generous, charitable guy who is easy to chat to.


The constant desire to talk to me does make me empathise with pretty girls who get chatted up by men wherever they go. It must be annoying when blokes keep coming up to them and trying it on with them, but at least they can use their looks to their advantage to get a few drinks out of it. Chuggers may take a liking to me, but not one of them has ever offered to buy me a cocktail. I suppose I can wait in hope.


Anyway, that’s enough about the pros and cons of being attractive, let’s get back to my lunchtime stroll down Victoria High Street. Why did the chugger miss me? Well, it turns out he had someone else to talk to. He saw a parking warden and started speaking to him. Now, in the unpopularity stakes on London’s streets, surely parking wardens are even more hated than chuggers? I quickly got over my rejection and walked on, but I did wonder what they were saying to each other. “Hey, can I have a moment of your time?”


“Not really mate, I’ve got parking tickets to hand out. I haven’t ruined anyone’s day yet.”


“Oh go on. We’ve got loads in common. You’re hated. I’m hated. Let’s be friends.”


I’ve never met a chugger or a parking warden at a dinner party or in a pub. Have you? I assume the reason for this is because they have no friends so don’t go out very often, they lie about their jobs when they meet people and pretend to be Accountants and Lawyers or they just hang out with each other, as they know that no-one else wants to be associated with them.


The one and only time I had a chat with a chugger was with a woman who happened to be rather attractive. I was a naïve teenager and it was merely a coincidence that she was breathtakingly gorgeous. People say you never forget your first time, and I can still remember it like it was yesterday. She went on a rant about some worthwhile charity that deeply affected me, but suffice to say, I couldn’t commit. Like most guys, I suppose I just wasn’t ready for a long-term commitment at that stage of my life.


For those of you that are interested, the cute chugger to whom I chatted to had a boyfriend. Never mind, there’s plenty more fish in the sea, and plenty more chuggers on the streets.

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