The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Monger
Harmless obsessions (part 2)
In my last submission a harmless obsession I talked about my experiences with the Thai love links dating site, an infatuation that I concluded was only a small component of a larger obsession with Thailand. Whether either compulsion is entirely harmless still remains to be seen.
However there is no doubt that a significant part of my obsession with the kingdom is my craving for writing submissions to the stickman site. I would suggest it borders on addiction. I have sought medical advice and received appropriate treatment but as soon as the medication fades you will invariably find me back at my keyboard.
To be truthful I write my periodic dissertations as a sort of metaphorical confessional. As an alternative to entering a confessional box in a church I pen a submission. Instead of receiving absolution from a priest I get advice and encouraging remarks in correspondence with some wonderful fellows in the Congregation of the Church of the latter day Mongers (aka the stickman community). In fact I invariably find the subsequent correspondence provides the muse for future submissions. I find writing (or mentally formulating) my tales keeps my mind active. Every social situation I find myself in becomes an opportunity for an anecdote.
In the past 9 years I have written 40 submissions. Each submission has elicited at least 10 items of correspondence and some of the more provocative missives have prompted considerably more. I can honestly report that in over 500 replies I have only received 2 that were negative and openly offensive. The rest have been highly positive giving me encouragement for my writing and offering suggestions and advice for whatever predicament I find myself in at the time. In a readership as large and diverse as the stickman community is, it is not surprising that the advice and guidance I receive is similarly diverse and occasionally contradictory but always well meant.
I often receive (well deserved) criticism for my self deprecating style and for my excessive openness about personal details. I am frequently counselled that a little prudence and discretion would be to my benefit and I can not but agree. But whatever admonishments I do receive I am acutely aware that they are well intentioned and delivered with my best interests in mind. I have made no secret of the number of correspondents I now consider genuine friends.
I have also been censured for habitually rehashing old submissions. Whilst I prefer to consider this as recycling (as a display of my green credentials) I can not deny the occasional transgression and I do express remorse your honour. I am guilty as charged and ask for 39 other offences to be taken into consideration. In fact because I will doubtless reoffend I suggest I be taken outside to receive a sound thrashing with a wet leek (preferably administered by that toothsome young lady stenographer currently taking notes).
It is not only my friends who take issue with my ramblings; I am the subject of a fatwa from the paramilitary wing of a local feminist coven for my mildly misogynist observations.
The British Institute of Fat Wenches have also informed me that they are going to rearrange my features ….well they will do as soon as East Enders is over and they finish the multipack bag of crisps and box of chocolates they are devouring.
I am already the recipient of several threats from the Morris dancer’s federation for referring to them as mincing Nancy boys or something similar in a submission some time ago.
I would not be surprised to wake up one morning with a severed hobby-horse head on my pillow.
The golden fanny syndrome
I perfectly understand my penchant for Asian womanhood has not been conducive to my health and state of mind and it certainly has not been good for my wallet. A couple of pals have suggested next time I feel the urge to get involved with a Thai woman I should secure my testicles in a number 8 carpenters vice whilst my life savings are burnt before my eyes. It was suggested that whilst it may be painful it would save me a lot of time.
I acknowledge Thai women are not for the faint of heart and my jasmine fever remains a burden but the alternatives hold little attraction. I have expended thousands of words on my despondency regarding the evolution of western womanhood particularly their strident attitudes, irrational sense of entitlement and delusion that their vaginal orifice is gold plated.
I understand all women want something from you, whether it is a western woman wanting you to put up shelves and redecorate her bathroom or a Thai woman expecting you fund the national debt of an entire Issan province. If it is a choice between a soft brown skinned sweet voiced daughter of the Issan or Olive from “Off the Buses” I suggest the former has the slight edge.
It was suggested by LP, my kindly old uncle, that my jasmine fever could be cured by the love of a good western woman and cited the example of his aged cousin who used dating sites and was fighting them off with a shitty stick. In truth I have not pulled an English woman in “open play” for years and my experiences with UK dating sites have been equally unsuccessful. I wheeled out my customary defensive mantras about the contrary behaviour of English womanhood repeating my contention that women my age are looking for men 10 years younger and even if only 5 ‘ themselves all specify a man at least 6’ tall as a minimum requirement.
In typical LP style he forwarded me details of a UK dating site he had seen that included professional educated women seeking men 45 to 55. I gave the site a quick peruse and, fair play, found him to be correct. It contained the profiles of some quite cultured and elegant English ladies without the nonsense inherent in other UK dating sites. The old bugger had successfully called my bluff.
This particular site necessitated a friend write a testimony so I got Kevin my solicitor pal to perjure himself and write a short tribute to my manifold virtues. He did a fine job and I could hardly recognise myself from his glowing reference. I completed my profile and sent a good photo of myself to complete my registration with the site.
The next day I received a note from the site informing me that they had rejected my photograph as they felt it inappropriate. I accept the photo was a few years old and I was surprised they did not mention the school cap and short trousers (only joking). The next photo I submitted was rejected for being “too grainy”. Undeterred I submitted another recent photo I considered flattering. This was also rejected; the reason tendered was that it did not show my features clearly. I was now at a loss, all my other photos showed my features TOO clearly. I am beginning to resemble Roy Hodgson the ex Liverpool and current Albion manager. If I did expose these photos the moderators on the site would very quickly throw a blanket over them to avoid scaring the horses.
I will eventually acquiesce and submit a suitable photo and activate my membership of this site if only to avoid further admonishment from LP and Kevin. I do see its potential but I currently feel slightly aggrieved. When I see the airbrushed and soft focus photos of the women on the site I reflect that similar restrictions are not applied to female members. I deduce the administration of the site is firmly under feminine control and dual standards apply.
This is an (albeit minor) example of the strange unfair duality that exists in the west. In Thailand dual pricing for Thais and foreigners is the norm. In the west there is duality of aspiration and expectation between the sexes. In the west we have a society of instant gratification. The religion of consumerism leads everyone to strive to be the best and have commensurate expectations. Yet in terms of sexual relations a definite dichotomy exists. A feminist dominated media perpetuates the L’Oreal because you’re worth mantra to women. You can have it all, women are told, you are all princesses and they believe it. British TV soaps like Coronation Street, East Enders or Emmerdale have very large female audiences. These soaps are populated by strong vociferous women characters whilst the males are all portrayed as wimps and weak willed buffoons. This stereotype is propagated throughout the media and society in general. Sadly, it is not only tolerated but accepted as routine.
Yet men are instructed to be happy with our lot. You have got to just accept that your wife looks like an overstuffed mattress, she is not fat it is just her hormones. Be grateful she is letting you take her to the expensive restaurant, her sister’s birthday party or mow the lawn. So what if she hasn’t cooked a decent meal for you since a Midland club last won a major trophy or hasn’t given you a blowjob since she tasted the wedding cake on the day of your nuptials…. just be happy with your lot.
A casual observation of weekend activity in town centre bars and clubs confirms the demise continues to the next generations. One observes the young men in their 20s and 30s as clean, presentable and with well toned bodies. The contrast of these fit young men to the rude corpulent binge drinking females without a discernable waistline is quite fascinating. Maybe the tastes of young men have changed but I suppose you can get used to anything in the absence of an alternative.
In the land of the truly hideous the merely repulsive is king.
A Karaoke balladeer
In a previous submission I reported I was a little disturbed that I appeared to have more friends in Bangkok than I had in the district where I lived. In the past year I have done much to rectify this and am happy to report I have added a few local pals to my wide circle of friends outside the area. A key factor was my participation in the weekly quiz at my local pub “The Welded Wallet”. I can also report I now have the company of three cultured and charming ladies in my Wednesday quiz team.
Another avenue in removing my “Billy no mates” tag has been my discovery of the karaoke culture in the neighbourhood. Singing has always been my passion. I was recently diagnosed with COPD, a pulmonary condition which is the result of a lifetime working in dusty foundries. It is not life threatening but explained why I could no longer comfortably sing the operatic arias and oratorios I always had. It was a little disappointing as my Handelian runs were a sight to behold
It has been my experience that when one door closes another is ready to slam you in the face. But as the tenor soloist in my choir I was determined to continue singing and recognised I had to learn a new repertoire. Now most of my copies of music are priced at 2 shillings and sixpence which gives some indication of their antiquity. All were inherited from my father (which gives an indication of my frugality). I learnt a new repertoire of romantic operettas and light tenor ballads (from copies priced at 3 shillings and 9 pence) and developed a new singing technique.
I found this lighter touch also conducive to singing karaoke and I indulged it at every opportunity. I sing at a few venues but it is at my local on Saturday nights that I come into my own. The girl who runs the karaoke has recognised that I am always good for a few numbers so has based her playlist around me as a sort of resident artiste. The cynics amongst you could suggest she has recognised me as a sad old fart whose presence guarantees she can have a rest but I prefer to think she appreciates my talent and versatility. I thoroughly enjoy it anyway.
Generally the audience is predominantly middle aged so I intersperse a few soul and R&B numbers amongst my ballads. If there are a few youngsters in they also get renditions of some ska and reggae classics. Occasionally the audience is a little more elderly then I am in my element and I stick to old ballads and songs from the musicals. A few couples get up and dance a slow foxtrot to my version of Some Enchanted Evening. My impression of Matt Munro has had many a matron as moist as a mermaids face flannel. The gaffer of the pub frequently reports he has to sponge the seats dry on a Sunday morning if I have sung Portrait of my love as my closing number.
I do occasionally have to give up the mike for the ubiquitous Elvis rendition from ageing teddy boys or to old geezers with fading navy tattoos who think they are Frank Sinatra. I willingly give way to the lovelorn young men who want to sing some current boy band anthem to their girl friend, usually to her great embarrassment.
Most amusing are the gangs of drunken girls who get the irrepressible urge to perform some Meatloaf or Abba number after their 15th vodka and red bull. This entails 5 drunken females fighting for the two microphones (and struggling to keep their ample breasts contained in flimsy tops) whilst screaming out “You are the Dancing Queeeen” at the top of their lungs and only slightly out of tune.
Invariably it is at this point the 6th member of the gang (initially reluctant to “show herself up”) realises she is missing out on the fun, gets up and makes her way unsteadily towards her raucous friends on stage. She does this with a strange little dance I call the “Fat wench shuffle”. This involves elbows bent, arms pumping upwards alternatively in a jerking motion but keeping the forearms parallel to each other. This continues for exactly 8 seconds or the number of steps it takes her to get within 10 feet of her friends. She then shouts a few of the words of the song her friends are murdering, flings her arms vertically in the air and laughs uproariously at her own bravado. Then embarrassment sets in, she returns to her seat and takes a swig from her drink. The routine never varies even with a different group of girls.
A similar phenomenon can often be observed when young western women enter a Thailand Go- Go bar. You may have seen the spectacle yourself. Apparently they and the bargirls are all sisters united together. They feel the urge to show the Thai girls what 30 years of female liberation has done for western women. They do this by showing they can drink more than men, laugh more loudly and generally behave with less decorum than an African despot. I have observed them standing around the stage forcing tequila slammers or vodka and Red Bull on the bemused bargirls. Then they do a stupid little dance very similar to that just described. In some way this sisterhood shuffle is supposed to express solidarity with their sisters on stage.
But this is not the strangest behaviour I have seen as a karaoke balladeer.
A few weeks ago four young teenage girls got on stage to perform some inane pop song. I could not believe it but never once did they take their hands or eyes off their mobile phones during the whole performance. They were actually still texting each other whilst they were on stage singing!
The previous week a woman (probably in her late 30’s) got up to sing. She couldn’t sing worth a knob of goat shit but was rather attractive if somewhat overblown, I would certainly have shagged given the opportunity (although I do appreciate this is hardly a recommendation). She engaged me in conversation after her performance but I quickly established she was extremely full of herself and determined I had little chance with her. She would never be short of an admirer if there was a mirror in the room. However she made an interesting quip that was quite memorable. She said “I find being attractive is quite a curse, you should consider yourself very lucky you don’t have that problem”. As this was delivered in all seriousness with out the slightest sense of irony I found it both amusing and enlightening.
I would be lying if I did not admit I got some female attention from my romantic warbling particularly from the older ladies. I am often asked if I am married and last week whilst sitting quietly in between numbers I was approached by a lady who made herself comfortable besides me. She introduced herself and said she was informed by her friend that I was single. She was quite slim and not unattractive and probably only a couple of years older than me. During the subsequent conversation she made no secret that she was available had an apartment nearby and was “up for it”. She was pleasant enough but I had a suspicion she was not the “full ticket”. When she told me about her pedigree dogs and how they always slept in her bed with her my ardour was somewhat dampened. My attitude to dogs is rather akin to the Koreans, the only decision is whether to barbeque or casserole them. I proffered some excuse about leaving my dick in my other trousers as I extricated myself from her attentions.
Now I know older women probably have perfectly usable pussys and a standing dick is alleged to have no particular sense of discernment. I may be becoming overly fussy in my old age but I genuinely doubt I could raise any enthusiasm with some of the ladies I meet even with aid of the products of the pharmaceutical industry.
Until his passing 3 years ago I had a very close relationship with my Father. I recall some years ago when he was in his fifties in the pub with his pals who were expounding upon the problems of their libidos. I remember my Father explaining that the trouble was they were all stuffing old women. He suggested that if someone threw the occasional attractive younger woman under them their libido issues would immediately disappear.
It was not until my first trip to Thailand did I fully appreciate the wisdom of his words.
Ditching the hair shirt
Have any of you ever woke up one morning and received an epiphany, a blinding flash of perception where you see things with a mind-blowing clarity and you suddenly understand the meaning of life and everything?
No? Neither have I, but I often wake up with a feeling of guilt that I should be achieving more than I am.
The last time I had a blinding flash of awareness it was November 2007 and I was sitting on a Thai air aircraft returning me to blighty at the end of one of my biannual Siamese sojourns. For the first time since my divorce in 2002 I felt a degree of security and had the semblance of a plan. After living on a six month horizon between my Thailand trips for the first time in years I could visualise a future beyond a six month horizon. I was in a job I loved in a business that was successful and I felt valued. I resolved that the forthcoming Christmas would be the last one I spent alone. I decided to marry Nat my long term Thai lady friend the following Easter and bring her to live in the UK with me.
Whether I should blame the thin air of flying at altitude or the effects of imbibing Scotland’s finest beverage for that decision I remain unsure. As we all know how that misadventure ended it will come as no great surprise I have since avoided epiphanies.
I must admit living in the industrial rust belt of the Black Country is probably doing little for my well being and enthusiasm for life. I worry I am beginning to adopt the mentality of my neighbours who believe that unless I start taking pleasure from other peoples misfortune I am going to have a very miserable old age.
I have mentioned before about the travel writer who recently 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 not completely correct; Birmingham is Britain’s second largest city.
It was rumoured that the producers of the highly successful US TV series CSI were considering producing a British version. A nearby town in the environs of the Black Country was suggested as a suitably gritty location for this show about forensic investigators. Unfortunately the project was shelved: it was alleged that the whole population of the town has the same DNA and there are no dental records in existence.
I do wonder if a change of scenery is long overdue.
I must declare I no longer have the black dog of depression living with me but he has been replaced by the tabby cat of indifference and inertia.
The previous evening I had watched some feminist inspired programme on TV. It contained comments such as a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle. The whole tenor of the programme was quite dispiriting but it prompted my own mini epiphany. Why am I tormenting myself about women, do I really need a woman in my life? Other than the obvious carnal imperative I suspect the answer is no. My apartment is small and does not need much cleaning; I am a reasonable cook and can iron my own shirts. I have plenty of drinking partners and mates to watch football with. If I want to go to the theatre or the opera or see a band I have no shortage of male and female friends to accompany me.
Knowing this was suddenly quite liberating and was surprised why I hadn’t considered it before. Well I do know why and it resides in my nether regions. I look forward to the future when the desires of my small brain finally diminish; in fact I suspect the bromide they used to put in our Ovaltine at scout camp and reform school to suppress sexual desire in adolescence is finally beginning to work.
I recognise I am the architect of my own predicament but have decided to remove the cilice of self reproach and divest the hair shirt of contrition. I have still not found a job but remain optimistic. However I refuse to worry and am just putting one step in front of the other at present.
I believe the secret of a long and happy life is to:
Never live too long in Wolverhampton. Never lift anything heavier than a woman’s petticoat and if you really must shift your piano wait till your mates come round to help you.
This morning I awoke to find I had received a refund from the Tax year 2008/09. It is a not insignificant sum and prompts a decision I should have taken in January. I have wasted far too much emotional energy in prevarication. I desperately need to refresh my spirit and repair my soul. If nothing else I need some new material to continue writing my series the Brokenman is repaired (number 11).
This morning I have booked the Thai air flight to Bangkok and reserved a room in the mother ship (aka Nana hotel) for the Easter holiday. I will be in the Golden bar on Soi 4 on Thursday 21st April at 1900 hrs. I will be in my customary perch and wearing my trusty drinking shirt. You are welcome to join me for a beer and to mildly admonish me in person.
In the meantime, may the blessings of the Buddha go with you and may the skin of your ass never be used on an African banjo.