Spending a day in the cold surrounded by flowers presents an entirely different view of men and their behaviour towards women. When studying for my art foundation at BIAD (Birmingham Institute of Art and Design), Bournville, I would work from 7pm - 4am as a cocktail waitress in a strip joint and get up for a full days classes 9am-5pm. The hours were long, however the money was better than that of a normal bar and helped keep a roof over my head (their is no support available for pre-degree courses). One of the downsides was having to wait until the strippers had cashed in there chips and sorted their wages before you could square up your till. The girls saw you as rivals even though you weren't taking your clothes off, you were just another potential obstacle in their hunger for reddies, anyway digress. The point I wanted to make was that working in a strip joint, even as a waitress opened yourself up to a seedy fantasy world, where men felt comfortable in objectifying and demoralising women for there own gratification, they were paying, it was their prerogative.
A florist stand acts as the anti-venom - presenting the other end of the spectrum - men who really love and respect the women in their lives. There was a middle aged man who came in to buy flowers for his wife as it was one of his children's birthdays, he has always done so and will continue to do so, we carefully worked together to chose something that was individual and personal to her, and he knew exactly what she liked*. A tall handsome black guy in his late 20s who wanted a hand tied bouquet to be delivered to his girlfriend of eight years, his face lit up when he spoke about her. A usually grumpy stall holder wanting to purchase a big bunch of flowers for his partner who had fallen down the stairs. A positive male role model is a great thing to experience, it provides you with someone tangible to believe in. It's good to readdress the balance on my perception towards men, are these guys few and far between? More on the florist to follow, another bonus is all the little odds and sods you get to bring home to make your room look pretty!
* The photograph above is my first ever hand tied bouquet and was for the gentleman in question.
(Above) some of the scraps that wind up at home...