Readers' Submissions

The Brokenman Back In Blighty

  • Written by Phet
  • January 24th, 2008
  • 20 min read


Black Pagoda Patpong Bangkok


The appearance of TV commercials for the January sales signals the end of the season of ill will to all men known as Christmas. Knowing the New Year is imminent the euphoria of my latest vacation to Thailand in November finally fades. I can usually keep the feeling of elation going for a few weeks by writing up the report of my Brokenman field trip. But once it is complete and sent off to join the growing ranks of Stickman submissions my comfort blanket is removed. Writing these meandering musings is definitely cathartic so maybe it is time to pen another.

I hate the Christmas and New Year celebrations and its contrived bonhomie with a passion. The pubs are full of non drinkers and young bucks that after a sniff of the barmaid’s apron want to fight the world. If you are drunk anytime from Jan 1st to Dec 24 you are a pisshead, if you are similarly inebriated between Dec 24th and Jan 1 you are a festive reveller.

The strain of Auld Langs Syne generally has me reaching for the Prozac.

The whole festive season merely heralds the passing of another year with its incumbent paranoia about growing a year older. I am acutely aware of tempus fugit, the march of time. You realise at 52 the best years are behind you. You become acutely aware of your own mortality and begin to appreciate the most valuable commodity you have is time.

You begin to ponder the question; what would you do if you were told you had only six months to live?

If the question was posed to most Stickman readers I am confident spending time in certain salacious establishments in Suhkumvit or Pattaya would figure predominantly in the majority of responses.

You are probably all thinking the silly old bugger has gone all morbid or has been diagnosed with terminal haemorrhoids (a fitting end for such a pain in the ass?)

Now before you all rush for your keyboards to contribute to my obituary I assure you I am not about to shuffle off this mortal coil or pop my clogs. I am in the rudest of health and merely in the full blown throes of what Lookpapa correctly identified for me as the male menopause.

It is like listening to Leonard Cohen or reading Russian writers when I am in this mood; even psychiatrists avoid me in the street.

My two sons good naturedly admonish me that I already behave as if I have only six months to live and certainly only exist for my next Thailand trip. I can not deny this as I do not exhibit any indications of longer term planning or fiscal investment beyond a six month horizon.

I do not currently invest my money as I no longer have any faith in the British financial institutions. The once proud city of London is now manned by barrow boys of such dubious integrity a mask and hoop jersey has replaced the bowler hat and regimental tie as the uniform of the square mile.

The chinless inbreeds of the British ruling classes who own UK PLC are encouraged in their avarice by Obergruppenfuhrer Gordon Brown. From his becoming chancellor in 1997 he encouraged profligate spending to fund the illusion of economic growth and allowed banks to profit from the resultant debt. By reducing tax benefits to companies with final salary pension schemes, they became too expensive to run and were closed. Almost overnight the pension plans of thousands of workers were destroyed and a nation’s faith in frugal financial husbandry went with it. In addition the determination to tax the British people to death (and beyond) has created a cynical generation with a reckless attitude to debt.

The “Yuppies” have been replaced by the “Winged”” (Want it now go embrace debt) they realise if you don’t spend it HM Government will tax it.

I confess I also have an irresponsible attitude and spend all my money on;

  • Twice yearly visits to the kingdom of Thailand.
  • 14 pint Sunday drinking sessions with my sons and brother.
  • Warm lager and scabby meat pies watching West Bromwich Albion.
  • Gambling in its many forms.
  • Frequent visits to lap dancing clubs (if I win on my gambling).

But I have also been known to squander some of my money.

So what on earth has precipitated my melancholy? In a nutshell it was spending another festive season in England without the comfort of a female companion. The Christmas period is the worst time to be alone with no sign of a sexual encounter on the horizon.

It was suggested in submissions a couple of months ago by BKKSW and Caveman that the blokes who complain about western women are social misfits who have failed to keep pace with the changes in society. Our failures to attract western women are the result of our own inadequacies.

I am willing to accept that they may have a point.

I can not argue with the evidence. I have not had a date with an English woman for quite some time and I will concede that I certainly appear to have lost the requisite social skills necessary to deal with the new breed of liberated western woman.

My own brother has observed that whenever an English woman (albeit generally one who is not available) is in our company and she opens her mouth, my eyes glaze over and my whole demeanour reveals my lack of interest. My body language screams “go away you ill informed opinionated bitch”. Actions I will admit are not conducive to successful wooing.

It were not always so.

Before I married, with boyish good looks and a winsome charm I enjoyed great success with women. I did not marry until I was almost 30. In my 18 years of marriage although I was completely faithful to my wife I had social skills in abundance and I did have a reputation as a charmer. As director of a subsidiary of a major UK PLC I enjoyed an executive lifestyle and was a pillar of the community.

For a number of years I was also a driving force in the promotion of female engineers in our industry and enjoyed the society of the intelligent young ladies I mentored. I also found myself lionised by hordes of fragrant career women who applauded my feminist actions. This is quite ironic considering my present predicament?

Then you inexorably slip into the anesthetised domesticity of the treadmill, the hamster’s wheel of janitor to your property, houseboy to your wife and taxi driver to your children.

When my wife left me and I found myself back in the dating game I had an enormous shock. Like in Charles Handy’s metaphor of the Boiling frog I had not noticed the changes in society that had occurred.

I awoke like Rip Van Winkle into a world I barely recognised. Women had changed beyond recognition in 10 years; it was as if an alien force had invaded a whole generation of females. They had altered so dramatically it was like the invasion of the body snatchers.

I can acknowledge the premise that men have lost their major bargaining chip with regard to western women which is income disparity. I can readily accept that intelligent educated women who have high flying careers and earn a significant income can afford to be increasingly selective in their choice of men and applaud it.

The biggest shock came in my initial forays into pubs and clubs looking for unattached females. Rather than the intelligent cultured career women I was expecting I encountered a strange race of coarse, tattooed, foul mouthed uncouth creatures, smoking and binge drinking like Soviet submariners on shore leave.

My advances were met with sharp tongued and unnecessarily caustic putdowns. A smile was met with “In you dreams you old tosser”, a compliment with “Yeah so I am gorgeous, what’s it to you, piss off”.

This degree of graceless uncivilised behaviour is somewhat expected with the underclass of a society but I was finding this ill-mannered rudeness had spread to a more general section of the female population.

I am an old fashioned well-mannered gent. But traditional courtesy is difficult to perform in this environment. Doing a Walter Raleigh and putting your cloak over the puddle for a lady to walk across is not easy when she is already lying in the puddle dead drunk in her own vomit and smelling of urine.

Despite my tales about being a bit of a tosser, I am actually confident and competent in most aspects of my life except in my current dealings with British women.

I appreciate that at 52 I have certainly lost the bloom of youth but I still have a good head of hair and all my own teeth. I am well groomed, not overweight; I dress well and cut a decent figure. I am a moderately intelligent, well-educated professional man, respected in my community and enjoy a wide range of social and cultural interests. I posses a ready wit and believe I am more than capable of engaging intelligent females in interesting conversation, given the chance. I am an inveterate flirt who will chat on any occasion but currently I am desperately short of practice.

What is lacking is the opportunity to interface with available women.

Even to become friends.

I am enough of a pragmatist to realise seeking western women more than 15 years younger than me is akin to a dog chasing a car (what will he do with it when he catches it?).

My concern is the absence of ordinary women of 45 – 55 who should be available to a bloke of 52. You just do not see them. To quote the late Sam Cooke “If I could meet them I could get them but as yet I haven’t met them, that’s why I’m in the state I’m in.

Guys who have been away from the west for some time can not begin to appreciate just how much of a shift in the paradigm has actually occurred in recent times, particularly in the UK. I propose if it has been more than 5 years since you wooed a British woman in the UK, all of the things you thought you knew about western women are obsolete and ain’t worth a knob of goat shit.

The traditional venues for meeting women are in town centre pubs and clubs. Friday nights women now “go out with the girls” with the sole intention of getting totally legless, not to meet men. Even “real” men would struggle here.

Another setting could be libraries, shopping malls or even supermarkets. But if you smile at a woman in the UK in a public place she is more than likely to summon a constable for your arrest in the prevailing PC environment.

Then there is the ubiquitous internet. My three year dalliance with British Internet dating sites yielded a mere 4 replies and my litany of rejections has been documented ad nauseum in previous submissions.

The real issue with my predicament may well be my age

The response from the viewpoint of someone living in Asia is that 52 is not old, in fact it is quite young. If I were living in Thailand partaking daily of the fountain of youth I would certainly agree. Living in the youth fixated west there is a different perspective and a 52 year old man is considered antique.

I did not consider myself ancient until I got involved with British internet dating sites. To be fair I didn’t realise that at 5’7 I was so short until my involvement with the aforementioned sites. On one site where the majority of women were between 5’2” and 5’5”, EVERY profile specified a man at least 6’ tall. For quite some time I got such a complex about being vertically challenged I began auditioning for a part in the Pantomime Snow White and the seven dwarfs (and no, not as Snow White).

The age thing is a little more complex. With their new found economic independence British women in general are seeking men 5 – 10 years younger than themselves. On the dating sites girls younger than 40 specify a top limit of 35. Ladies from 40 to 50 specify a top limit of 45 but if they are half attractive they will reduce this by a couple years. A cursory perusal of any UK dating site will confirm this. It is quite chastening to realise that even a 55 year old women would consider me too old for her.

My initial contention was that eventually they would all be hugely disappointed. I still had the mindset that traditionally men had women 5 – 10 years younger than themselves because woman sought men 5 – 10 years older than them. A closer observation of the new social dynamic has caused me to reconsider this opinion.

English women are seeking younger men because they feel they can.

In addition to their economic independence, the influence of the media and popular culture has made many women recognise they do not need to endure older men to provide security. So they want young flesh. Their desire to acquire toy boys is no different to the yearning of many older men for young female flesh and quite understandable.

The demand by older women is undisputed but what about the supply; do younger men want older women? How widespread is the Mrs. Robinson effect?

I know a number of young men in their early 20 s who claim they are actively seeking older women in preference to girls of their own age. But before some of the 60 year old women get too excited I should qualify that their interpretation of an older woman requires closer examination. To most of them they define an older woman as a girl a couple of years older than them.

But there is no doubt that many young men in their late 20s and 30s are extremely disillusioned by the ladette culture of females of their own age group. A whole generation of women has grown up who have not had to fight for equal rights like the previous generations. This unearned equality has engendered feelings of entitlement that they can have everything they desire without any effort on their part. There is indolence displayed in eating junk food, consuming chocolates and imbibing copious amounts of alcohol but any subsequent increase in weight is blamed on their glands.

Many young men express a real anxiety about the large divorce settlements they see which is scaring them off marriage completely. There is also a perception that younger women don’t take marriage seriously enough, they seem more concerned about their wedding frock than the relationship with their future husband.

It is often stated that life imitates art and the effect of TV soap operas should not be underestimated. British soaps like Coronation Street, East Enders or Emerdale have very large female audiences. They are populated by strong vociferous women characters whilst the males are portrayed as wimps and weak willed buffoons. This stereotype is propagated through advertising, television and societal rules in general. Sadly, it is not only tolerated but accepted as routine.

There is currently a strange incongruity between the generations in the UK. Women in the 40 to 50 age group with a modicum of intelligence or education have retained their figures and femininity far better than their younger sisters. Or at least maintain that illusion by simply knowing how to dress with a style and grace that younger women have no idea how to emulate.

There are some wonderful female specimens in the 50 to 60 age group. Kim Catrall, Rene Russo, Jane Seymour are three in particular I have dedicated many an hour of solitary self abuse to. However with a few notable exceptions I strongly believe that the majority of unmarried English women above the age of 50 are simply not interested in the mess and unpleasantness of a relationship with a man.

Whether the reason is economic, menopausal or the new cultural dynamic I do not know. Many are living in the house and with the money they got in the divorce settlement from their previous husband. Many have had successful careers and are economically secure in their own right. Many had bad experiences with men they are reluctant to repeat. I know many who are just not interested in sex which they attribute to health and hormonal effects.

The pioneering feminists of the 1960s and 70s are now in their 60s and 70s. Although there are a few exceptions like Goldie Hawn and Lulu most women in this age group are of no interest to us. Most are like your Aunt Gladys, they have ailments and opinions are prone to martyrdom and smell of liniment and lavender water.

Today’s empowered young women undoubtedly owe a great debt to the trailblazing feminists of the 1960s and 1970s, but I suggest the independence gained also brought with it a burden of expectation that has made it so hard for the next generation. The daughters of this pioneering generation are now in their 30s and 40s. They were the first generation to be liberated from the shackles of housewifery, but also sold an unrealistic dream of being able to have it all. They received no preparation for the realities of juggling a career and a family.

Many now realise they were also sold a myth that women can spend their twenties relentlessly pursuing a career and their own agenda then suddenly switch tracks and try and find a life partner and dad for their kids. You can appreciate that beneath the veneer of assertive confidence they are a bundle of insecurities and I can feel some sympathy for their predicament.

In John Burdett’s latest novel Bangkok Haunts, the female 30 something career FBI agent, in bemoaning her absent sex life makes the statement “We inherited a message of hate (from our mothers) and simply elaborated on it”

The rules have clearly changed but no one understands them anymore.

The more astute young men perceive there are advantages with an older woman. Their financial independence has obvious attractions to a young man. He can focus his limited means on pleasing her rather than supporting her. The imperative of her biological time clock having passed removes the pressure to have children he has with younger women. Once you get past a wrinkle or two, a woman over 40 can be far sexier than her younger counterpart. A woman over 40 knows herself well enough to be assured in who she is, what she is, what she wants and from whom. You probably don't ever have to wonder where you stand with her as she will tell you in no uncertain terms.

I see evidence that the norm of women having a husband 5-10 years older is slowly being inverted and the incidence of women with partners 5-10 years younger is more widespread than is generally appreciated.

There is a fascinating aspect to this I have discovered in chatting to some of the younger chaps who have had relationships with ladies 10 years their senior. Contrary to our perceptions of English women I am informed that these ladies are not averse to pampering their man with little affections like finger nail clipping and putting paste on his toothbrush we associate exclusively as the domain of Asian girls. Whilst they would never countenance doing such things with their (since disposed of) husbands they quite happily perform them for their new toy boys. It appears the more intelligent women consider indulging in such affectionate gestures is an expression of their femininity, not a symbol of subservience.

So where does this leave me if I do not want to spend next Christmas alone.

I appreciate I have more chance of being struck by lightening than pulling a women younger than 40 unless someone teaches me the necessary elusive social skills I lack. With the majority of 50 year olds not faintly interested in men and the attractive ones already spoken for or ensconced with their adolescent admirers, my prospects are further limited.

A rather good idea appeared from an unexpected source. On a recent Schoocher thread BKKSW related a tale about a friend who every Saturday night would start asking girls to go out and would persevere until someone finally said yes. Although sometimes he'd have to ask 20 girls, he went out and had fun every Saturday night. I recognize the premise that most people concerned with rejection stay home. I will try this myself at the next opportunity.

I may fall lucky with a 40 – 50 year old if I can find an activity were I can tap into a seam of unattached females. I have already tried yoga classes, amateur dramatics and mixed choral societies. I have even invigilated for the examinations at the local university (the biggest exam cheats are not surprisingly students from the school of Law) but all to no avail.

I am mindful that for every stunning, smart, elegant lady of 40 plus, there are ninety nine uncultured strident specimens. I am acutely aware these coarse and graceless creatures feel they have the same rights and entitlements of their poised and gifted sisters and are not slow in expressing them.

A lovely well meaning West Indian lady suggested joining a church community may assist my quest. I was a regular church attendee in my youth and during my marriage. But my recent experience of singing with my male voice choir in most of the churches in the area leads me to conclude that the congregations comprise of bewildered geriatrics and misguided happy clappers.

I have not mentioned Asian girls. In a previous essay I discussed the vagaries of Thai girls who have lived in UK for some time. I have never established what it is they want but unfortunately I don’t seem to have it. The thought of repeating the anguish I have gone through with this branch of womanhood already has me reaching for the phone number of the Samaritans.

I could always spend next Christmas in Thailand. There are certainly a couple of girls I know in the rental sector who I would love to spend Christmas with. Unfortunately the cost of flights alone during this period is 3 to 4 times what I usually pay for my visits. Whilst I can afford it, to put this outlay into context it is an additional 120,000 baht. This would procure 40 girls in Suhkumvit or nearer 60 in Pattaya. I currently make two visits to the kingdom every year for less than it would cost me for a single sojourn at Christmas.

This still does not resolve my predicament.

So maybe it is time I stopped prevaricating and commit myself to a Thai bride and bring back with me to the UK. Desperate situations require drastic measures. I could fool myself that after 8 visits there are contenders in abundance but realistically I currently have 4 candidates who I really like, with whom I think it could work and who I may be able to persuade to take a chance with me.

Anna my engaging university lecturer from Ubon, Jenny my elegant health officer from Rayong, Annie my long legged market trader from Ayutthaya and my old friend Nat in Laem Chebang are the ones who may be amenable to my charms. It could be an interesting and enlightening exercise. It may end in tears but I can certainly envisage a submission from the venture at least.

Watch this space.

Stickman's thoughts:

Reading this, I can truly see why guys would turn their backs on Western women. If it is even half as bad as you say, it is awful!