The Practical Gentleman’s Guide to Urban Insolence, no.6

Posted on August 7th, 2009 No comments. The post is really that bad, huh?

How long has it been since I’ve had the pleasure of your company at The Guide? Far too long, my friend; far too long. Thank you for joining me!

Of course, the effrontery of The War would have been ample fodder for the practical gentleman, but as you may recall, I was required to relinquish my post for the War effort.

Happily, those days are now behind me and we may once again walk down the instructive path of the refined, practical gentleman together. So it is with great pleasure that I present today’s topic, the Sudden Stop.

Undoubtedly, we all find ourselves in one specific type of situation from time to time. Please allow me to illustrate.

Picture yourself walking up Yonge Street:

twinkle toes

The crowd ahead is occupying almost the entire sidewalk. The whole bulk, with you in tow, is moving … slowly … but moving. You’d like to pass, but with every cabby trying to mow you down the moment you set foot on the road, there’s no choice but to be patient. So you are.

*whistling an idle tune*

And then it speeds up! Great! You’re moving at a good clip, everybody’s hopping … now you’re moving!


Three or four people suddenly stop dead, all on queue – psychically linked somehow – right in front of you.

Have you been drinking a bit? Maybe you’ve been dipping into the baggie a little? Tired and cranky? All of the previous? Now that’s a full-on flesh on flesh pile-up with bits of you touching all the unsavoury bits of him and … oh my God, does he not shower?! *KHAK* (that’s onomatopoeia for gross)

Or perhaps you’re on the ball – Concentration McGee – and you can feel it in your bones; these people are all going to come to the realization that they’ve already passed Abercrombie and Fitch and, seemingly all sharing the same delayed brain, stop at the exact same moment. With your cat-like reflexes you — *ptang!* (bullet ricochet) —  stop on a dime. In fact, you’re so quick, you actually have time to mull over the possibility of bowling into them anyway, just for fun.

One must now ask that ever-present question: what’s the practical gentleman to do?

A great deal of literature deals with the subject of the Sudden Stop, but allow me to at least get the ball rolling:

The Sprung Gherkin

This simple effect is sure to be a crowd pleaser.

Simply make physical contact with the offending party as described in the primary collision scenario above. Though this will be unpleasant, the reward will be well worth it.

Now simply drop to the ground, holding your crotch tightly, grimacing in excruciating “pain”. Deliver the following dialogue: “Awwwrrr! I think the stitches fell out! Oh my God this feels like … awwwwrrr!” (It’s best to rehearse this ahead of time.)


You now have the option of hobbling your way through a parted crowd with understandable urgency, or accepting some cab money from the offending parties to shoot off to see your “doctor”.

The Burgled Trouser

Although this scenario may be put to good use by anyone if properly played, ladies will have an advantage over the gentlemen here, I’m afraid. Sorry fellas, we can’t win ‘em all.

As with the Gherkin effect, this will require you to make physical contact with the offending party. In this instance, however, care must be used to choose the male offending party. Preferably one with a girlfriend :)

As with the previous effect, place your hands over your crotch (ladies, you can be significantly more creative), leap back and yell, “Get your damn hand off me you sick [favourite expletive]!”

If the offending party tries to get a word in, remind him in detail of the full scrotal inspection he just gave you (again, ladies, go nuts).

I’m afraid this doesn’t accomplish much but it sure will make you feel good. And what if the girlfriend already suspected he was gay (or pervert)? Ahh. Didn’t your afternoon just get a little sunnier?

The Snafu’d Tourist

It’s good to be reminded that among pedestrian groups there will usually be some tourists. They couldn’t be more prominent: cameras, assorted Toronto paraphernalia, maps, sensible shoes:

i'll just let you caption this one

With them, be gentle, for they know not what they do. Try to avoid colliding, if possible. If you do bump into each other, it is incumbent on you to be courteous but practical.

Remind them that coming to a sudden stop in the middle of a busy sidewalk, even just to quickly check their map, is not only dangerous but illegal: “Oh man, you guys lucked out. Last week I stopped on the sidewalk for, like, half a second, and the cop was already writing me the ticket. Yeah! They ticket you for stopping. A hundred and twenty bucks, can you believe it? Man, City Hall. What a bunch of hosebags! Can’t believe that law even passed. But hey, listen, you seem like nice folks so I’ll let you in on a little secret.” Lean in close and whisper, “They can’t ticket you for standing in a parking lot.”

With a nod, wink, and a friendly “shoo-shoo”, wave them goodbye and wish them green lights the entire way.

Keep moving! That’s it!

Now you’ve done everyone a service. Doesn’t that feel wonderful?

I find it very rewarding to be able to share with you these practical examples of how to deal with modern urban insolence. It is gratifying to know that not all of the techniques at the practical gentleman’s disposal are rough, but it is equally comforting to know that they are nonetheless at hand. So to speak.

Thank you once again for your attention and most kind patronage. Until next time!

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