Stickman Readers' Submissions September 1st, 2009

The Brokenman Back Under Repair

It is alleged that Sukhumvit is one of the few communities in the world without a permanent village idiot. I believe this is because every year thousands of sex tourists arrive from the west and take turns in fulfilling the role. For six years I was amongst their number. For four of those years I was the archetypal sex monger availing myself of the pleasures of the salacious sois of Sukhumvit and Sin city on sea. In later years I did vary my P4P adventures in encounters with several respectable ladies. As noted in my previous submission I also did my spell as the village idiot. Most of you are acquainted with my tales but as each submission must stand alone, for the new reader I tender a reader’s digest version of my story so far.

The story so far

Much as I relished my biannual de-spunking expeditions to the Kingdom by November 2007 I had realised that at 52 the clock was ticking and I needed to make some decisions in my life. A lonely Christmas precipitated the resolution to marry one of my Thai ladies and bring her back to the UK to live. After careful deliberations out of four candidates I settled on Nat, an allegedly respectable Thai lady aged 33 I had met on my first trip and had retained a strong friendship with since November 2003.

At Easter 2008 we married in Bangkok and honeymooned in Chiang Mai. In September the spouse visa came through and I collected her at Heathrow airport for the start of our new life together in the UK. She charmed everyone she met and was made welcome by all my family and wide social circle of friends. I was besotted, she was wonderful and my heart would sing every time I looked at her. The first two months in the UK together were idyllic, maybe the happiest of my life.

It was not until the end of October she admitted to significant debts in Thailand, principally on credit cards, accrued in building an impressive house near Udon Thani for her Mother. In November she returned to Thailand with the intention of sorting them. I gave her the last of my savings to satisfy the most urgent obligations. Her departure was one of the saddest moments of my life and posed the big question would she return? All the money I had accrued in the past few years had all gone on getting married, the visa process, bringing her over, and setting up home with her. With the additional cost of helping her debt I had said goodbye to around £18k in less than 6 months. To compound matters I was made redundant at Christmas from a job I loved which completed the misery of another Christmas spent alone.

Fortunately I found a new job, unfortunately it was in the Cambridge area 100 miles from our home in the West Midlands but I was to start at the end of January. On the day I was scheduled to travel Nat returned from Thailand and arrived unexpectedly on my doorstep. She accompanied me to Cambridgeshire and I found a pub with clean comfortable rooms close to the foundry. Again Nat charmed everyone she met particularly the guys at the plant on the days I took her in. We even found a few Thai people for her to converse with. St Neots is a pleasant town on the river Ouse with a nice market square and a variety of pubs and restaurants. She was quite taken with the place and declared if things worked out with my new job she could happily settle there.

Her trip to Thailand had achieved little, she still had her substantial debts but now in addition she had the unrealistic desire to put her son through university in Bangkok. Her need to find a (substantial) source of income was clearly becoming urgent.

The third week she decided not to come to Cambridgeshire with me, choosing to stay at our flat in the Midlands till my return the weekend. It was on the Thursday when I phoned her that she dropped a bombshell on me. She had been perusing the internet and found a job in a Thai restaurant in West London. Apparently the owner came from Nong Khai and knew her father’s family. She then informed me she was leaving for London by coach on Friday morning to start work that weekend. I was alarmed at the news she was going away, that she was going so quickly and that it was done without any discussion.

She settled quickly sharing a room above the restaurant with two other Thai girls. With the long hours she was prepared to work she was making more money in London than she could back in Thailand or in the midlands. It was four weeks before I finally persuaded her to see me on her rare day off. She agreed to come after she had finished work at 9.00pm but needed to return before 9.00pm the following evening. I booked her on a coach from London and collected her at midnight from Cambridge coach station. I was so happy to see her and we spent a pleasant day together but my misgivings were beginning to grow. The drive back to Cambridge should have given the opportunity for a pleasant chat but talk of money predominated. When pressed how long she thought this situation was likely to continue, “Until I have paid my debts my love, maybe two or three years” was her response. When her coach departed to London my mind was in turmoil. I had the dreadful realisation that I could no longer afford my own wife. I had probably lost her.

There is never a situation so bad that can not be made infinitely worse by events beyond your control. The following week my boss came to see me informing me he intended closing the Cambridgeshire plant by the end of March. He promised to pay me up to Easter but he could not promise me further employment after I had closed the plant for him. He insisted I work my notice at his other foundry in Wiltshire showing them how to make the business he would transfer from the St Neots plant. I travelled to Wiltshire to work the final two weeks of my contract. It was not a pleasant experience.

The Easter weekend I returned alone to the flat in Wednesbury. It was our wedding anniversary but in the 365 days we have been married we have spent a total of 75 days together. Three months of having to travel some distance to work, living in digs and delays in my salary and expenses being paid had put me in debt again. I was physically and mentally exhausted. I catch my reflection in the mirror; I suddenly felt very old.

I had a strong feeling of déjà vu. I was back were I was six years ago when my English wife divorced me. I had nothing to show for six years rebuilding my life and six years emotional investment in my Thai wife. I felt a worthless piece of shit. For a week or so I was in a very dark place.

Consulting the tribe

As anyone who has sat amongst the ruins of his life contemplating the western equivalent of the Pattaya sky dive they will appreciate exhortations to “pull yourself together” are not particularly helpful. Not having the money or the appetite for expensive therapy I put my thoughts together in (an admittedly self indulgent) submission to the Stickman site, Broken man and the curse of mammon. I did as my pal Thai Gary so perceptively observed … I consulted my “Tribe” for advice.

The reaction from the Stickman community was nothing less than amazing. Within the next two weeks 17 submissions related to my story were posted by the luminaries in the Stickman fraternity namely Korski, BKKSW, Marc Holt, Lookpapa, Bangkok Barry, Frank Visakay, Farang Dave Thaigary, PC, Peter Pickles, Bangkok Bull, Charles, Jurgen, all excellent summations of my predicament, all eloquent, supportive and constructive.

Only two submissions were negative, the schadenfreude of Anonymous, delighting in my misery and Oldenschutz claiming I was delighting in my own misery. But even though I felt them unnecessarily vitriolic I could not argue with their conclusions.

As you can imagine I am no stranger to criticism. I did however consider the accusation I was lecturing a tad unfair. All I have ever done in my submissions is to share the accounts of my journey with friends.

I received 35 emails from Stickman readers offering me support and more importantly tendering constructive and well intentioned advice. There is an immense depth of goodwill in the Stickman fraternity. They lifted my spirits no end.

It was a few weeks before Nat came up to Wednesbury to see me. We spent a weekend in domestic bliss. It was my mother’s birthday and she welcomed Nat as the prodigal daughter. My boys came up to see her (probably in the hope she would feed them) and we went to a lively 40th birthday party. But by the time I deposited her on the coach back to London my fears were confirmed. I did not really figure in her plans; her debts were her top priority. I was beginning to appreciate the sheer magnitude of her problem, it was more than I could have addressed even if I was earning twice my previous (not insubstantial) level of salary.

However much I felt I had been used I also had to be realistic and if I insisted she live with me I would have to take responsibility for her debt. There is no doubt she is in a regal financial fix that will end in tears in a Thai court. I am clearly in no position to help.

I do not want to spend too much time in self analysis. I had already spent far too much time in the past month with my head up my own anal orifice but it was clear I had acted rashly in marrying. I did it in somewhat of a panic. I was lonely, my future looked bleak and I wanted someone to love me and share life with. It has not worked out as planned.

You can understand why I remain extremely envious of the many men I know who have successfully married a loving Thai lady.

Most of the advice I have received has been to get rid of her with all good speed. However Phil, who is my oldest Bangkok pal, advised caution and advocated I employ a little patience. Over the years Phil’s guidance and fatherly advice has been invaluable to me and he has never knowingly put me wrong. I wanted to preserve my friendship with Nat and retain some semblance of hope (and dignity), however forlorn. I also hoped she will manage to sell some of her assets in Thailand and return some of the money I gave her as she promised….perhaps an even more forlorn hope.

I have taken Phil’s counsel and told Nat that I would continue to let her earn some money and we would review the situation in a few months' time. There will come a time when I will send the letter to immigration that will get her shipped back to Thailand without ceremony, but not yet. I have no other relationship on the horizon. I see the chance of bringing another Thai wife over in the foreseeable future now very slim. I had the one shot and missed.

The following month her contact with me slowly reduced and she rarely answered my calls. I was particularly annoyed that I cannot get her to comprehend why I feel aggrieved at her living away from me and that she rarely contacts me. Her answer to my complaint is invariably a display of martyrdom and the comment “but I am working”. I had difficulty reconciling her attitude with the reality that I still held the means of her being in the UK by virtue of the terms of her spouse visa.

I was also acutely aware she was slowly draining my spirit and I recognised I needed to put all thoughts of her aside for the time being and get my own life together. I acknowledge this would undoubtedly involve a few steps back in order to move forward. My life has been a game of snakes and ladders of late. I have slipped down a series of snakes and almost off the board.

I need to throw a six to re-enter the game but I appear to have mislaid the dice.

Things can not get much worse, can they?

It was four weeks before I found a job. It was a temporary position at a plant producing cast wheels. It was hard, hot, physically demanding and thoroughly demoralizing work. Although I was engaged as a manager designate I was basically a fitter’s mate and labourer. In my career I have met more than my share of grasping greedy self serving egotists but the owner of this operation ranked up there amongst the worst. He only needed the stove pipe hat to complete the full behaviour of the Victorian mill owner and at 74 he was certainly the best case for compulsory euthanasia I have met.

I presented them with an impressive 20 page strategic audit of their operation and an outline business plan (which I prepared in my own time) in an attempt to curry favour. But it was to no avail.

I tore a tendon in my left arm which was probably through doffing and wringing my cap in the boss’s presence as much as the physical work. Although I desperately needed the money I must confess it was with some relief when I was laid off after 6 weeks.

Even the clinically unobservant could not fail to realise this current recession is of biblical proportions and technical or managerial jobs in UK manufacturing are non existent. The Foundry manager position in the Middle East I was hoping to be my salvation also failed to materialise. I had exhausted all my immediate contacts and had run out of options.

I had not completely lost my sense of humour. I spotted a story in my local newspaper about a supervisor at a local factory, who on his way home had fallen into the canal and drowned. The next day I rushed to the factory to apply for his job only to be told by the gateman I was too late; the chap who pushed him in the canal had the job already.

After losing 4 jobs in 7 months I had also exhausted my resources so I submitted to the inevitable and signed on the dole at the Jobcentre the next morning.

My descent was complete.

The only way is up?

Other than joining the flying club I was at a total loss what to do next. I do not remember much of the next few days.

I have two sons in their early 20’s and I enjoy a very close relationship with them both. They came to see me for a serious discussion. They were concerned not because of me losing my job(s); they had seen me recover many times before, but what troubled them this time I appeared to have lost my spirit and the will to fight..

More than anything this prompted me to extract my head from my posterior aperture and think what to do with the rest of my life or at least the next few months. I awoke the next morning resolved to begin my fight back.

I was reconciled that I may be out of work for some time so it was time to batten down the financial hatches. I activated the insurance policies I had to cover my loan and credit card debts and called in a small pension. With a weekly income of £64 jobseekers allowance I just hoped I could survive the next few months by a harsh regime of strict frugality. I would have to become accustomed to the taste of gruel.

One of the great antagonists of the Stickman fraternity was Cassanudra. He is now in UK and doing very well for himself. We have kept in contact over the past few years and he serves the role of conscience sitting on my shoulder, frequently admonishing me on the numerous occasions when he feels I have been a prize Pratt. I have never minded his often strident censures because I believe they are well intentioned. After receiving my customary reprimand in his last correspondence he gave me some very good contacts for my job search including an agency for jobs in S E Asia and some connections for jobs in the UK research community.

The Thai connection is quite impressive I have, on average applied for 2 or 3 jobs every week for technical and managerial posts in Thailand and SE Asia. Although nothing has transpired yet I remain optimistic.

The research connections demonstrated I did not have sufficient academic qualifications (minimum requirement Masters Degree or PhD) but it gave me ideas for teaching and I registered with the Government Teaching Development Agency. Unfortunately most of the managers made redundant in the business community had the same idea and all teacher training spaces were filled by the end of March.

Nevertheless education in some form or other is an avenue I am continuing to explore.

The job centre sent me on a workshop for newly unemployed professionals to help in understanding the current labour market. It gave some invaluable insights into employer recruitment and selection techniques. It explained about writing tailored CVs and contemporary interview techniques. I learnt that searching for work is a full time job and it helped me establish the regimes and routines of a serious job search

With the mechanics and daily disciplines of my job hunt in place, I decided to cease my self chastisement and start living again.

I had become somewhat of a recluse. Notwithstanding the necessity to conserve my money I did not want to keep repeating my excuses for Nat’s absence to friends I meet.

I have a group of professional friends who I have been pals with since we were boy choristers in a church choir 45 years ago. They persuaded me to go with them to a dance they had organised for a charity and held at a community centre. It was a 70’s theme night and everyone was dressed in gear from the era that style forgot. It turned out to be a fun evening; the crowd were all in their 40s and 50s and there were a number of rather attractive if somewhat overblown women in attendance. Most of them had taken the opportunity to dress minimally to show off their breasts; there were some magnificent specimens on display …if you like that sort of thing.

There was one particular woman in her late 40s who attracted a lot of attention, the kind usually only generated after the 6th pint. She was not particularly pretty and her breasts were average at best but if you asked all the men there that night the eternal question “would you?” the answer would have been affirmative and universal.

My one mate is a forensic scientist and was quite fascinated with her but his scientific mind was troubled because he couldn’t work out why he found her so attractive?

I enlightened him. She was the only woman in the room with a discernable waistline.

Needless to report I did not pull that evening but on returning to my empty flat I accepted I needed to shed the hair shirt, I was not the first chap to be made a fool of by a Thai girl and I will certainly not be the last. I had not caused the circumstances of the separation from my wife. I was to all intents and purpose a single bloke again.

I needed a little romance in my life.

Back to the internet and the left handed mouse?

For some time Western females have held little attraction for me. However my love affair with Thailand and its womanhood had understandably diminished so I decided to suspend my prejudice and once again try my hand with English women. The problem remained I had very little positive experience with them. I had not kissed an English woman for 6 years and had not enjoyed any serious intimacy with a western woman (other than my English wife) for over 20 years.

The first thing I resolved was I would not waste time and my limited cash trawling pubs and bars in search of love. I recall my initial forays into pubs and clubs looking for unattached females. Rather than the liberated cultured career women I was expecting to meet I encountered a strange race of coarse, tattooed, foul mouthed creatures, smoking, cursing and binge drinking like Soviet submariners on shore leave.

An alternative setting could be libraries, shopping malls or even supermarkets. I am an inveterate flirt and can always engineer an excuse to strike up a conversation with a woman. But in the prevailing PC environment in the UK, if you smile at a woman in a public place she is more than likely to summon a constable for your arrest. It was with an open mind I returned to ubiquitous internet and the dating sites.

A cursory inspection of the best known dating sites such as Dating direct, Match dot com etc reminded me why I had previously given up on them in despair. The feminist inspired sense of entitlement and self importance displayed in most of the female profiles beggared belief. The other overriding impression I get is that most English men and women hate each other.

In the past BKKSW has good naturedly teased me that blokes like me who complain about western women are social misfits that have failed to keep pace with the changes in society. Our failures to attract western women are the result of our own inadequacies and lack of social skills. He delivered this in his own inimitable tongue in cheek style but I can accept there is certainly some truth in his contention. There is no doubt however that western womanhood has changed beyond recognition in the past 10 years.

They have no idea what they actually want but they want it now irrespective that they probably would not want it when they actually get it.

I was recently enlightened by an English lady friend about the reality of English dating sites and the errors I had made in the past. I had mistakenly thought if one sent a series of fascinating correspondence you would slowly build up a relationship and the lady would finally agree to a date. I was completely wrong; women are considerably more predatory than that. Dating sites are “as it says on the tin” for dating and not encounter groups or a pen pal society.

Women make the decisions on the men they fancy solely on the physical attractiveness of the photos on his profile. They then send him a message of introduction. If they get a reply (irrespective of its literary merit) a date is suggested. Women have a perception of their own value on a scale of 1 to 10; if they have a discernable waistline irrespective of their facial features they consider they are automatically an 8. This determines the calibre of chap they will search for. For example if they discern themselves as an 8 they can seek guys they rate as 8 and up to 8 years younger than themselves. The grading is principally on their concept of the guy’s physical attractiveness although certain occupations or evidence of a substantial income will elevate a man with a rating of 4 up to an 8 with very little compunction.

Knowing this has saved me fruitless hours composing fascinating correspondence.

When perusing the profiles on these sites I found it did not take long for my interest in English women to wane and once again I started looking for Asian girls despite my recent experience. I have concluded my jasmine fever is incurable and I am just naturally attracted to Asian women.

There is an American dating site new to the UK called eHarmony which claims a fresh approach to dating based on pre-screening to match for compatibility and shared values. The sales pitch certainly created a great expectation. I spent 30 minutes completing the detailed questionnaire in eager anticipation that I would find a pretty educated Thai or Asian girl with a penchant for short ageing Englishmen. She would be scrupulously honest, with her own income (and preferably an orphan with no family to support) who lives just around the corner within walking distance of my apartment.

Instead they sent a reply “Sorry we can not find ANYONE compatible with you.”

I was devastated. With my self confidence in an already fragile condition they may as well have sent me a letter “Dear sad old tosser, have you considered employment as a Quasimodo look alike?” I have since found the thought of being refused by a dating site highly amusing. It certainly confirmed the opinion that one or two people have of me.

I rejoined Thai love links in the search for a UK based Thai female but quickly realised that most of the Thai females that are resident in the UK live in the London area, in fact anywhere but Birmingham and the West Midlands. That should tell me something about the absence of any attraction in living in the Midlands. I am beginning to sense that the area is becoming a third world rust belt.

A travel writer described Birmingham as Britain’s third largest city, a cultural wasteland populated entirely by degenerates with a hideous accent devoid of hope….and all the streets smell of urine.

He was quite wrong; Birmingham is Britain’s second largest city.

I remain ambivalent about Thai love links. The Thai girls who have lived in the UK for any time quickly adopt the worst characteristics of their western sisters and it is very rare to receive the courtesy of a reply from my notes to them. The Thai girls who reside in Thailand are initially enthusiastic about corresponding with a farang guy and will express undying love and devotion to you within the second communication. You rarely see a third, they get bored very quickly. It has been unkindly suggested that if you have not despatched the Western Union money transfer by their second note they move on to pastures new.

In a moment of boredom I contacted some of the Thai ladies who had been good friends but had lost contact with since my marriage. Joyce from Grimsby had married a chap named Smith and was living in Ayutthaya; Netty my pretty nursing assistant from Khon Kaen had married an Aussie. Anna my university lecturer from Ubon had met a Frenchman 5 years her junior. Sara my exotic beautician from Udon Thani had a string of suitors but claimed no one loved her. Paulette from Sriracha hadn’t yet found a bloke but tried to interest me in a business venture. Jenny my cultured health officer from Rayong had met a German guy and had gone to the Fatherland to spend a holiday with him. For some reason he dropped her saying he wanted to concentrate on his work. I think it is his loss as Jenny is lovely. Emily the beautiful Health officer from Roi Et refused to answer my missives neither would Pon the nurse who once kept me incarcerated in a Nana bedroom for three days for her carnal gratification.

As you can see I was somewhat at a loose end and in need of a little distraction. So I sat and penned another of the Researching Thai tottie tales of my alter ego Algernon Wright Basterde. It is a piece of errant nonsense that I may yet not submit but it kept me occupied for a time.

I recently received a number of emails from fellow Stickmanites (including Stick himself) genuinely concerned for my welfare and interested to hear how the story had developed in the 3 months since my last submission. I had the urge to write but had difficulty in resolving the Brokenman tale; I had no progress to report and nothing interesting to say.

However my pal Union Hill has often remarked that having nothing interesting to say has never stopped me in the past.

I had not realised my scribblings were so popular until my pal Fanta informed me I had a bit of a fan club in the Stickman fraternity (I am however assured that they have now had their medication restored to them). In truth I always felt my Brokenman stories were overly long and extremely self indulgent. I was genuinely astounded by the number of chaps who wrote to tell me they looked forward to hearing my rosy cheeked capers and actually enjoyed their long rambling nature. One wonderful chap told me he had printed off all the Brokenman episodes and kept them in a folder for reference.

That certainly lifted my spirits.

I just needed a bit of good luck or something mildly positive to happen so I could resolve this chapter in the Brokenman saga.

Then out of the blue I received a note from a Thai lady on one of the obscure networking sites I seem to be a member of. It was apparently in reply to one of the speculative missives I send if I see an Asian lady’s profile. It transpired she lived in the UK; in fact she lived within 5 miles of me. A further exchange of notes resulted in her suggesting we meet, so last night we had our first date in a nearby pub.

The date was an unexpected success, however this must be tempered with the knowledge that I consider it is an achievement if they don’t run away screaming when they first see me. She was comfortable with me and even politely laughed at my jokes.

At 50 she is the oldest Thai women I have dated but she looks at least 10 years younger. She is delightfully petite, 5 ft nothing and probably weighs 85 lb wringing wet. Long silky black hair with pale unblemished skin completes the picture.

Originally from Bangkok she has lived in the UK 10 years, divorced for 5 and has no children. Her father is an ex Royal Thai Air force pilot and her family back in Bangkok are well to do which is as good as her being an orphan. She has a job in a local residential care home that she enjoys and drives a Vauxhall Astra in decent nick. She is intelligent, witty and has a smile that has already captivated me. For some unknown reason she appeared to like me and wants to see me again. I accept my recent track record with Thai women leaves much to be desired and I know it is very early days, but I have a very good vibe about this lady. She has returned the smile to my face.

By a cruel twist of irony her name is Nat.

Stickman's thoughts:

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It's marvellous to get an update and great to hear that there is a little light at the end of the tunnel. There are lot of us rooting for you!

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