The young man was tall and good looking, with the tiniest of jet black ponytails, carefully dressed, just the right side of flamboyance, in a light leather jacket, black shirt and pale mesh jumper over black cycling shorts. He settled into his seat with quiet self possession, opened his bag and took out his make up. Ignoring everything around him, the movement of the train, the interested looks, the noise and disruption, he began to do his make up, comfortable in his own skin. He held out his mirror high in mid air with some style and surveyed his face with practiced skill. The young women already sitting in the seats around him whose cheerful chat had been made up of sentences punctuated by wide eyes, plenty of reassuring, affirmative nodding and the word like, were fascinated. Finally one of them spoke up.
“I don’t know how you can manage to do that on a train.”
He was too busy concentrating to answer straight away, lost in the world of his own face. They were right to be impressed. When he was finally happy with what he saw it looked as if he was wearing no make up at all, but had simply been blessed with excellent skin. He snapped shut his shiny black mirror, smiled and introduced himself, announcing his name, explaining where he lived- a very nice area- and asking them what they were up to and where they came from. His manners were impeccable. They were delighted by him and chatted about their plans for the day, the relative merits of supermarkets and his job in a gallery.
The elderly lady sitting opposite me, dressed in a carefully arranged pastel scarf and safe, comfy fleece and anorak, listened with a kind of bewildered amusement, darting shy glances at them. An exotic bower bird had constructed his bower in a table seat of carriage B of the TransPennine Express and performed a display right next to her. She would ring her friend up and tell her about it when she got home.