Would you tell a neighbour off for having noisy sex?

Given the current arduous political climate there is really nothing much to laugh over that is featured in the news (apart from John Crace in the Guardian). So it was with much delight that I read this article in The Evening Standard by Lucy Hunter Johnston about her ‘mousy’ looking neighbours who have been having ‘bow-chick-a-wow-wow’ sex every night.

The noise level is keeping her awake so much that poor Lucy is finding herself being ‘an unwilling extra in nightly re-enactments of Nymphomania:The Neighbour’s Cut’. What possible type of human created noise could reach such decibels? Lucy provides a descriptive evocation, ‘he barks, she yelps, she growls, he squeals’. It is at this point that I had to stop myself from giggling like some schoolgirl on a very crowded tube.

My self-restraint, however, was short lived when I reached the conclusion of the article. Lucy had decided that it was easier to write about her neighbour’s nocturnal pandemonium to be read by millions than to talk to them about piping down. The Britishness inherent in this that would much rather sweep things under the carpet or scoot off to make a cup of tea than TALK about IT was a brilliant punch line in itself.

But, afterwards, I thought about how culture is always a brilliant default position when one is lost about what to do.

Over three decades ago when I was a much younger self, my flatmates and I walked in on one of the others having ‘rompy pompy’. Being Asians we were absolutely shocked by it and walked straight out. In the culture no one is ever open about sexual matters. We sat in an adjoining room and subjected ourselves to their grunting which, thankfully, didn’t last long. We were seething and decided that only one thing would placate us.

The flatmate in question was someone we regarded as being a maverick to the culture. To prove the point further she came out in her dressing gown and apologized. We told her that in no way would we accept the apology unless she got us an Indian takeaway. Did we talk about her inconsiderate behaviour? No. The curry made it all better.

So if you can’t bring yourself to confront someone’s bad behaviour resort to writing about it, ask for food or make a cup of tea. If all else fails lift up the carpet instead.

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