I answered the ad and they stuck an umbrella in my hands and said, “Hold it for anyone who asks, particularly women.”
They didn’t need to say it twice, I like women.
I like being close to the water. I like the smell of salt in the air and I like to eat so I needed a job.
To be honest, I was more used to handling an umbrella in the winter; rain falling down, that sort of thing.
Women don’t like to get too much sun which is wise in a country where the sun will peel the skin right off you in a very short space of time.
I was a bit hesitant at first but I soon got the hang of it. “Excuse me madam, would you like to be ‘umbrellaed’?” Mostly they looked at me a bit funny at first but usually they said yes.
My arms ached a bit, but I soon learned the ‘change hands’ technique, which worked fine unless it was windy, which it often was.
The other ‘umbrella fellas’ said that this was a good job for picking up women but so far I haven’t seen a lot of action. I did get a kiss over near the ice cream stand but it didn’t lead to anything.
She did hold my hand though, which was nice. Naturally I had to put the umbrella down; I didn’t want to poke her in the eye or anything.
She didn’t kiss me straight away. She needed convincing. I even had to change my jacket. Obviously she preferred me in brown, and having one hand casually in my pocket didn’t do any harm either.
Finally, as all Summers are want to do, this one ended, and so did my job. Fortunately there were a few very rich people who liked to stay by the ocean until winter set in and these people had heard about my umbrella wielding abilities and hired me on the spot. To be honest, it felt good to hold an umbrella and utilise it for its primary function; to stop beautiful women from getting wet.
As long as there was sand, sea and rich women, who didn’t want to get rained on, I was set.
I had risen rapidly through the ranks of umbrella carriers to rise to the top of my profession. If not fortune, fame was surely mine.
Who knows what the future will bring.
Maybe I’ll branch out and become a projectionist, to help fill in those long lonely winter nights.
Maybe I’ll take up being a travel companion. They say that Angel is beautiful in the Spring. I’ll need a new suit and a better hat if I’m going to pursue that line of work, and I might need to work out just a bit. The duties of a travel companion can be quite taxing, or so I’m told. But I’m also discreet, so there won’t be any telling.
But, I don’t want to get ahead of myself.
There are still a lot of women out there who are forced to carry their own umbrellas, and that’s just not right.
All illustrations bar the last two, are paintings by Jack Vettriano.