Thai Thoughts and Anecdotes Part 369
When I was a young man I did not have a young man's body. I did not have Pattaya Gary's body, more like Pee Wee Herman's body. So you were not going to see me out in public with no shirt on. I had a boy-man's body that I did not feel good about and that no female wanted to see. Young men without shirts are advertising to females that they are young and strong and fertile. I could not do that.
In my middle years I was the vice-president of a financial company and the company had a discount member situation with the penthouse health club in the sixty story skyscraper next door. I joined. Pool and hot tub and bar-restaurant and weightlifting sixty stories up with big windows. You could sit in the hot tub in the winter and watch storms roll in. In wind storms you could see the water in the pool move as the building swayed. I started out in the pool doing laps and then graduated to the weight room. That is when it hit.
The disease. The addiction. The pleasure of weightlifting. I spent the next seven and a half years in various gyms in Boston lifting weights. I read all the magazines. I went to local shows. I made friends with knowledgeable people. I lifted every second or third day for seven and a half years. I loved it. And it changed my life because it changed my body. Weightlifting gave me a man body. Completely changed my body and my appearance and my confidence level.
Amazing. I owe weightlifting a lot. My comfortable weight was one hundred and sixty pounds and I was not overweight. I was 5 foot three inches tall. Very happy years with endorphins being dumped into my bloodstream and racing to my brain. I would have been happier and in less recovery trauma and made more progress if I had only lifted every fourth day but you can not talk new addicts out of their pleasure. Weightlifters would make more progress in a shorter period of time if they would lift less but you can not get young men full of testosterone to listen.
Then the heart attack. After recovery back to the gym but I could not handle the fear of blowing out the back of my heart again so I quit. It is no fun to be doing standing military presses if you are worried about blowing out the back of your heart. It is no fun to be doing squats if you are worried about your heart. So I took up outdoor roller skating. Roller skates instead of inline skates because with rollerskates you get more lateral support. Weak ankles. But roller skates instead of inline skates are more of a challenge because the 'tripping moment', the fulcrum, is much further back. You can happily skate over anything in inline skates; in rollerskates a match stick will send you flying. I rollerskated all over Boston for twenty years. Every weekend weather permitting for twenty years. A nice full body exercise. But once a week is not the same as several times a week lifting weights. I lost mass and there was some slippage in appearance. Back came the sugar bloat, and few extra pounds around the waist. Still no public posturing without a T-shirt.
Then the cancer. Cancer of one organ without a treatment. If you ever hear the word oncology: run, run like the wind. Metastasizing will be to nearby organs, tissue, and bones. Is there any good news? Yes. Cancer is a great weight loss program. I have lost the sugar bloat and the extra pounds around the middle that I have been carrying around for years. I look pretty good. Not exactly young man tight and lean good, but pretty good.
Of course it is the look of incipient death but no one can tell the difference. So lately I have been enjoying the giddy young man's pleasure of sometimes walking around without a shirt on. Usually on beach and boating tours where I know I will not offend the Thais. It is fun to sample a pleasure that was not available to me forty years ago and I tell myself that the incoming photons of radiation are good for me. Going to Ko Larn using the public ferry is a deal. Fun and easy and cheap.
There is an attractive Thai woman on the beach at Ko Larn that sells temporary tattoos. She has a book that you can page through and you pick a tattoo. Dragons and skulls and other tattoo miscellania. Of course, to the intelligent educated westerner this three ring binder of tattoo choices in clear plastic sleeves is evidence of the juvenilia and stupidity of an uninteresting and deadend society. Sitting there on the sand next to the farang hating bitch who tells her small children racist jokes about her customers you can not help smiling internally, or not so internally, with bemusement at it all.
Add it all up: the sun, the sand, the sex, the financial transaction, the smiling, the pathetic and silly societal tramp stamps; and what does it spell? Vacation. I am on vacation. An experience that is supposed by it's very definition to temporarily take you out of yourself. To present different sights and smells and sounds sufficient for titilation, but not too great to be handled with reasonableness and safety. To wit: if on your last day you can find your passport and your airline tickets and you have enough local currency left to get you to the airport, it was a vacation. If you are missing any one of these ingredients then you are not on vacation anymore, you are in hell.
Anyway, I always get a tattoo when I see a tattoo lady on the beach. Don't even think about it. Just smile back at her, sit down beside her (right beside her, arm to arm and hip to hip), and pick up the book full of tattoo selections. And, of course, since I am on vacation, I temporarily fully invest in the juvenilia and the fantasy of the experience. Maybe this tattoo I pick this time will make me look badass instead of like some little elderly white guy foreigner. Maybe I'll look more noteworthy to the local women. Maybe the tattoo will publically display my counter-culture rebel spirit. In other words, I get these tattoos (oh excuse me, body art) for the same reasons that men have been getting tattoos since the beginning of time. Tattoos don't show your differentness, they show your sameness.
The perception is the opposite of the truth. No wonder God spends his days smiling like an idiot. Anyway, you know those stupid Abos who have been wandering around in Australia for the last 40,000 years? You are no different than them.
Example: there is currently a denizen of Pattaya to be seen on the boardwalk covered with male display. Tattoos (oh excuse me, tats) of numerous and testosterone detailed aspect. On the back of his shaved head it says: f@#$ AUTHORITY. That's putting it out there. He must be different. He must be scary. He must be interesting. No. Wrong on all three counts. He's just another loser Abo with a digging stick trying to repel males and attract a woman. Any woman. No, really; any woman. If her hips are wider than her waist she qualifies to be invited into his love temple, aka any hotel room in Pattaya. Ridiculous. Another jolly jackass who didn't want me on his team when I was young but who now just makes me laugh. Don't mess with men in their sixties. We have been retooled by life and by survival and we aren't buying what you are selling. Your colored handprints on ancient cave walls mean nothing to us. f@#$ AUTHORITY? Ok, I'll tell that to the admissions people at the hospital the next time some tiny invisible microbe has almost delivered your great manly body to death's door. Fool.
Anyway, common. Silly. I don't want to meet him. But I enjoy the show. To vicariously dip my toe in male fantasy is a fun thing. I'm not evolutionarily hardwired for intelligence, but for experience. I always get my tattoos on the neck.
She rubs you dry (you have to make sure she does this well) and applies the tattoo. She will shave your chest if you are getting a chest tattoo. It is temporary. Lasts about one day or until your first shower. The best part, of course, is that you get to sit touching close to an attractive woman, hear her talk and talk to her, feel her breath and her eyes and her hands on you. Recently I was on the beach at Ko Larn paging through her book of tattoos and I was stunned, flabbergasted, shocked, and pleased to see this tattoo:
I dream of angels,
But I live with devils.
Eat a bean.
I dream of angels,
But I live with devils.
Eat a melon.
I dream of angels,
But I live with devils.
Listen to my rants.
My name is Caveman,
And I have a
Zucchini in my pants.
There are two letter font designs available: block letters not unlike the font on Stickmanbangkok.com, and a fancy Thai type script you might see in a Buddhists's suicide note. I chose the fancy script.
"So solly sir. No have."
Ok, Thailand. So I got the simpler block letter design.
After chest shaving, an acetone based artist's fixative was sprayed on and quickly dried with a battery operated hair dryer. The pain was excruciating. You might consider shaving your chest and stomach (it is a long tattoo) the night before. Way before. The fixative used by artists to keep charcoal and pastel drawings from smudging was painful in the open cuts. Maybe that is just me: or, HOLY f@#$WAD THAT HURTS.
"So solly sir, you have sensitive skin."
Yeah, that's right honey. Sensitive skin. Sometimes I think Thailand is the black hole of the universe for dumb humans, millions of them swirling towards a final immolation of dumb humanness. And we marry these women? No sex act is that good. But I almost digress. So, it's another Mai Pen Freaking Rai in the Kingdom and we move on.
Anyway, she shaved my chest, taped the stencil on my chest, and sprayed the stencil. I spent the rest of the day walking up and down the beach with no shirt on, and later on; remainder of the daylight hours in Pattaya walking up and down the boardwalk with no shirt on. With little or no provocation that night I would take off my shirt in bars and show people my Caveman chest tattoo that can now be purchased and applied on the beach at Ko Larn. If people asked me if I was Caveman I was careful to tell them that I was not Caveman, but they could have this tattoo on their chests also. Or their backs if they were Thai girls who actually had breasts. Anyway, the tattoo is getting a lot of comment and it would not surprise me to see other shirtless farangs with this chest tattoo in the future. And I owe it all to weightlifting and to cancer. Is this a great world or what?