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What Women Are Not



Black Pagoda Patpong Bangkok



“Come on man! All women are prostitutes!”

I heard this over my shoulder as I was asking Ying the Obese Bartendy for a bottle of Kloster. As stupid as the comment was, I didn’t react. It was Anus Moony speaking, and since it was Anus whatever poor tourist he had cornered was on his own. It had to be a tourist; nobody who knew Anus would ever allow themselves to get trapped in a conversation with him.

He was probably born “Angus,” but when you say stupid shit like “all women are prostitutes” you surrender forever the right to choose what people call you. The bar of the Pension Grilparzer was nearly empty, as the kitchen had just opened and most of the crowd had rushed to get good tables on the veranda. I was at the extreme other end of the bar from Anus but the still, damp air and his strident, hectoring voice made it impossible for me to ignore his rant.

“It all boils down to one thing. You’re getting what you want and she’s getting what she wants so you’re both happy. Simple.”

Only in the farang ghettos of Thailand would you hear a man saying that making a woman happy is simple. Go anywhere within a mile of Phuket’s western shore and, if you can hear anything over the music, you will hear some lonely guy giving the world his impressions of female psychology. The fact that he has to pay for sex means he doesn’t know squat about women, but that won’t stop him from climbing a soapbox and lecturing the room.

“A bar girl’s in it for the short con. If she’s a good girl, like your wife or your girlfriend, she’s in it for the long con.”

Anus was getting cocky. I’m an old man; the tourist was just a tourist. With nobody in the room to challenge him he was really letting it all out. Later tonight the Hash House Harriers would end their run at the PG and if he had talked that way about any of their wives or girlfriends the police would find his body on the beach in the morning.

Ying the Obese Bartendy had poured my beer and gone back to her comic book. Her anime bangs were plastered to her forehead with sweat. Her signature white T-shirt was clinging to her muscular shoulders. It was so hot Ying had removed her studded leather collar and traded her biker boots for flip flops. She has been in a committed relationship with Doi, the prettiest girl behind the cosmetic counter at Ocean Department Store, for about five years. Together they own a chicken farm up in Nakhon Sawan. Ying had no idea what Anus was saying about her, but Anus’s aura is so dark that Ying has discreetly spit in his glass every time she’s ever poured him a drink.

Like a choir of angels, five massage matrons arrived at the open seaward wall of the Pension Grilparzer with their mats and their water jugs and their big straw hats, to wash the sand from their feet and the coconut oil from their hands at the spigot next to the beach stairs. They each had twelve hours’ worth of funny things the farang had done to share with the others, and they only had the time it would take them to walk from the stairs to the bus stop out front to get them all said, so they were all talking and laughing at once.

Their chatter and laughter drove Anus Moony’s poison out of my ears and out of my head, and their big, strong hands in the cold, clean water made me think of the last woman who touched my penis. It was two days ago.

In the hot season the hotels suck all the water out of the water table and our domestic wells get very low. The bacteria count goes way up, the wife douches with well water and suddenly Papa has a bladder infection. My prostate is 150 grams, eight times normal size, so all it takes is a nudge to close it down. Before modern medicine men my age routinely died of this. If you can’t urinate your bladder bursts and you die, slowly and in agony, from sepsis.

Luckily Phuket has several nice modern hospitals. So when the spasms begin to squeeze blood out the end of my dick I go in to the emergency room and get catheterized. It’s not easy for anybody involved. My prostate is a clenched fist and the catheter is flexible rubber; it would rather twist up inside my urethra than penetrate the gland.

There was a decade when I supported my family at two baht per word. I’m pretty glib. But I still cannot find the words to describe that pain.

So 48 hours ago the ER doctor was trying as hard as he could, but just couldn’t get it done. I’m weeping when he gives up. Next a young intern gives it a try. I’m screaming when he gives up.

And that’s when my angel appeared. Maybe fifty, pock-marked face, no-nonsense attitude, a little spot of somebody else’s blood on her left shoe. A smock that was once bright with yellow and blue flowers faded to the color of cigarette ash by years of bleach and hanging to dry in the sun.

She took my demoralized penis in one hand, as gently as if she held a dying baby bird. She told me to take a deep breath and let it out slowly, then she slid that terrible pink rubber tube up inside me as slick and quick as a cobra chasing a rat up a downspout. Three seconds later the terrible pressure in my pelvis was easing. The sound of urine hitting tin went on forever. My relief was ecstatic. It was better than any orgasm.

That woman was no whore. She saved my life, literally. She saved me from a pain so fierce I wanted to die. I’ve been with about a hundred hookers, I reckon. But that nurse treated my penis more kindly, and was of more benefit to my overall well-being, than all of those sex workers combined.

Obviously not all women are prostitutes, in fact a very tiny percentage are. If all women were prostitutes pathetic guys like Anus Moony wouldn’t be flying to Thailand and the Phillipines and the Czech Republic. They’d stay home and save the airfare.

When the massage matrons had left and I could hear Anus ranting again I took my beer down to the beach. Some men look at women through beer goggles, or love goggles. Anus looks at women through pain goggles. Years ago some woman turned down his invitation to prom and created a monster.


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