Readers' Submissions

A Question of Attitude?




There is often talk within the Stick Chronicles of older chaps not being given the time of day by Bright Young Things in the West, of young ladies sneering if a man of a certain age even dares look in their direction. I guess that’s true, most of the time, and that’s why so many seek the GFE in Bangkok and, to a lesser extent, in other Fields of Dreams around Asia.

But for every rule there are exceptions. Maybe it comes down to attitude, on both sides. I’ll tell you a story. I was back in the UK last summer, a place I have not lived in for 20 years but which I have visited at least once a year since. Certainly it’s changed, but so have most places in the last 20 years. Mostly not for the better, same as most places. It’s like we take one step forward and two steps back. Materially most are better off, but do we have the same quality of life, really?

One thing I had read a great deal about was the binge drinking culture that has developed in the UK. Why do people feel they have to get legless to feel they’ve had a good time, by the way? I guess I did it now and then as a student, but I grew out of it. Now it has extended to those of middle age. Maybe if I was a sociologist or psychologist I’d know why it has happened, I’d know the answer, or think I did.

Anyway, I was returning from a visit to a friend’s place late on a Saturday night. Diversion. He’s a throwback to the sixties, has long hair in a ponytail and runs a folk club. People, mostly locals and mostly those of modest achievement, come along and play two or three numbers. Some are quite good, but it’s definitely time-warp stuff, which is why I like it. Simple, decent people, no pretensions, getting together to share something they all like. Without even one, ever, getting legless. Sometimes there are guest artists, and once – and I don’t know how he arranged it – the ponytail, Dave, got Alexis Korner there. Now, this is a room above a pub in Southend-on-Sea, a commuter town in Essex an hour from London. And Alexis is a legend. He was (he’s now gone to the recording studio in the sky) a blues musician universally respected and admired by everyone in the business. He discovered and encouraged the Rolling Stones when they were just starting out. After the gig, he came along when some of us adjourned to someone’s house. There he was, sitting on the floor with the rest of us, smoking, drinking, talking, playing. My God. It was Wayne’s World and ‘I’m not worthy’ stuff. It was a bit like the scene in Notting Hill when Hugh Grant brings Julia Roberts round to his sister’s place and there she is, a superstar, sitting in the kitchen. Maybe he just longed for the simple things, too, the lack of bullshit atmosphere. Okay, end of diversion.

So there I was, on the last train back towards London, when a couple of stops along the line six girls got on and sat down close to me. Around 20 years old, I’d say, most of them. They were dressed up, as girls for a Saturday night out are, and in jovial mood. Okay, they were noisy, passing a bottle of white around between them. Now, there were two ways I could have reacted to the invasion of my space and quiet. I could have been grumpy, a miserable old fart, and scowled. Even moved away. Or I could have said yes when a couple of them asked me if I would take a photo of them. I did the latter.

That was the beginning of an interesting journey. Soon, I was good old Bazza, their official photographer, and included in their group. They were certainly up for a good time, although still in the very early stage of building up to what would no doubt later be the legless and spewing part of the night. One girl, the largest one, somehow managed to climb up onto the luggage rack, immodestly displaying parts of her that would better have remained hidden. Turned out they were friends from university, so it was a bit deflating when they asked me where I lived and when I told them Bangkok they started chanting ‘Bazza is a Chinaman’. Ignorance of the world obviously isn’t restricted to Thais!

Along the way we had to change trains, and they made sure I stayed in the group. They eventually had to leave the train before I did, to visit a nightclub in Romford, and here’s the thing. If I had wanted to join them I could have done so. Might have done too, except that when compared to Thai girls…well, you know. Only one was moderately attractive, decent busty substances and a pretty face, and even that image was shattered when one of the group lifted her dress up to her waist and I saw her chunky thighs. Who’d have guessed.

But the thing is, I could have had a good, fun evening with half a dozen girls who didn’t treat a nearly sixty year old with contempt, but made him one of their group. And who knows where that might have led after a few more bottles of vino. I could have lost my virginity to an Essex girl.

Stickman's thoughts:

It's all in the attitude. I have seen really good looking young guys, Western guys in their mid 20s, crash and burn with Thai women just as I have seen guys older than you do well with women. So much of it is in the attitude. Smile, project an attitude of fun and doors will open!