I am an ex-pat in Cyprus. EU citizen, reasonable pension, all hair, teeth and other bits intact, relatively young, relatively fit. Clean, wholesome, etc. I am a target.
I have a couple of good friends here on ‘Fantasy Island’. ‘Fantasy Island’ as in ex-pats who have a fantasy about who they were, are now, or who they are going to be. ‘Fantasy’ as in you meet very few who were a corporal in the Pay Corps but many who were SAS (a tip here: if they were SAS they don’t tell you, and those who were don’t call it that) or MI5 (same tip applies) and so on the same same. I just stand with a quiet beer and listen, and it really doesn’t take long, believe me. The guy who produces a photo of him by ‘his’ helicopter but asks to borrow a little bit to settle his bar bill – is it really the same for ex-pats the world over?
My best friends here have nothing, they pretend to have nothing, they live pretty much day-to-day and if they can pay the rent and have enough for a couple of beers they are doing well. I salute them.
They hold the brick for me. This is not a figurative brick, nor an imaginary brick. It is a real brick, red clay, heavy, and if it connects with the side of your head you know about it. It is located just down by the bar counter at my local bar, ready to come into use as required. And it often is.
I am afflicted. Not by AIDS, STD, etc. (I know because I was tested) but by attraction to SEA girls. I am hopelessly afflicted by their smiles, their voices .. and well, you know. And here there are hundreds of them. Lonely, single (or single enough so it does not matter) with smiles, eyes … and well, you know.
Over a year ago, I spoke to a Flip friend (probably the local Flip Mafia godmother) and arranged for her to find a young lady to clean my apartment. All business, good rate. I can recall saying to my friends ‘Of all the Filipinas here, how did I end up with a fat and ugly one?’. But she wasn’t, and soon she moved in. My friends applied the brick but it did not work. Things went from ecstatic to good to OK to bad to worse and she was finally ejected.
Strange but true – on the day she left I had a number of calls and SMS messages. Broadly they were 50/50 between ‘you are a bastard and you must die’ and ‘hello handsome man now you are single perhaps you like to go out with me’.
When she left me, one of the problems was with the pig. ‘What pig?’ you may ask, as did I. As it turns out, she is from a very poor province in the Philippines (and she had a very hard life as a youngster, I feel sorry for her and have no wish to belittle her) and as soon as her parents heard that she had a ‘farang’ (or whatever PI term is for that) boyfriend they bought a pig to fatten up for the wedding feast. This was not, as you can imagine, sufficient to entrap me into matrimony so I declined.
Actually, I recall I made some comment like ‘never mind, with 9 brothers and sisters, at least it will come in handy for Christmas’.
(Later she told me it’s only eight now and the sister I sent a little bit of money to for medication – with suspicion – has died. Yes she really has, I saw the photos of the open-casket funeral, and I feel like a complete heel. I could have done more, and I should have. My bad karma.)
So my friends stand ready with the brick. But often it is too late – or perhaps they don’t hit me hard enough.
Now I have a Thai ‘girlfriend’ – or do I, who can say? Yes, she gets financial support from me but this time it will be different, or will it?
This afternoon, I will go to my local bar. It will be full of Filipinas. Some are beautiful and some are looking for an EU guy. Me, for the time being at least, I am faithful to my Thai friend who (to be honest) is streets ahead in the looks stakes. They know it, and so does she. The brick will be on standby.
PS: My previous Filipina girlfriend has just told me that she is to be married in a few weeks to another EU citizen. I am invited to the party as a special guest. She wants me to sing a couple of karaoke songs specially for her. I wonder – especially as my Thai ‘g/f’ is many miles away and really it is only she I think of …
Luckily, my friends have the brick to hand.
We clearly need a fair few more bricks in Thailand…