Womanism and Feminism
I religiously read the Stick weekly column on Sundays and a few weeks ago was surprised and delighted to see my name mentioned in one of the emails to Stick. This splendid fellow mentioned he enjoyed my contributions (clearly a man of taste and discernment) and had a script which notified him when a story by Phet had been posted. For an hour or so I felt like a dog with two dicks in a street full of lamp posts. I also realised I had not posted for a time so was prompted to put pen to paper.
The other great attraction of the Stickman site is the wonderful diversity of essays published in the readers' submission section. When the sainted Stick finally departs the kingdom, as he has been promising for some time, there will be huge sadness and darkness will descend upon the kingdom with a great rending of cloth and gnashing of teeth. The final days could also see the second coming of the blessed Dana.
In the meantime the site is very fortunate in the number of excellent writers it has on board. Many are proper writers who have already had books published and it is fairly obvious who they are. Most submissions you see over a week are entertaining or informative; many are nostalgic about the mythical good old days. Some are provocative and one or two are just downright daft.
An example of the latter was the recent “Every time I see a western woman I want to vomit”. I could sympathise a little with his view point but it was so provocative I thought Stick’s comment that the writer would feel somewhat ashamed showing this essay to females he knew, was very pertinent.
It was delivered with such acrimony it was inevitable it would prompt an equally confrontational retort. This came in the form of a gainsaid response “Why western men make me vomit” which was a paraphrased contradiction of the initial essay. It was a harmless little interchange of which the site has seen many of in the past but it prompted the thought that if an alien visiting the planet from a faraway galaxy read these two essays he would conclude that western men and women hate each other with a vengeance and it would have cast doubts upon our ability to continue to propagate the species.
It is quite scary when you observe the extreme polarisation of views, particularly in the perennial issue of western women versus Thai women. There are many essays that give the impression that all Thai women are thieving, conniving bitches without a scrap of morality. Many bemoan the fact that farang are considered beneath the flea on a soi dog’s ass in the pecking order of their Thai partners affections. There are some real horror stories about men being done over (and done in) by their Thai wives.
However there is an equal number that consider all western women to be fat feminazis with an over inflated sense of entitlement. I am ashamed to admit a few years ago I held similar misogynist attitudes. If it had been a political view I would have been slightly to the right of Hitler and just to the left of Genghis Khan. I felt a scold’s bridal should be compulsory attire for any western woman before being allowed out in civilised company. I advocated blankets being thrown over them in the streets to avoid scaring the horses.
Fortunately I have somewhat mellowed of late and now see the error of my ways. I have stopped using the sobriquet feminazi in the past few years as I very rarely meet the mythical strident feminists of legend that were common place some years ago. The rare ones I do meet are atypical misguided individuals usually in the realms of education or politics. In truth I believe the power of radical feminism has all but disappeared amongst sensible women in the UK. The majority of women I now meet appear to have a more pragmatic and balanced viewpoint and absolutely no interest in radical feminist politics.
I do still very occasionally meet stupid opinionated women but quickly establish their tirades are mere mantras. They are definitely in the minority and their strident and ill-thought invective are actually not worth a knob of goat shit. I am finding the vast majority of women I meet are rational sensible people. I believe when men do see self-centred or mean-spirited attitudes in the women they encounter it can not be completely blamed on feminism.
The ideology of feminism was the 20th century’s most durable secular faith. Although it surprisingly outlasted the other discredited creeds of communism and fascism I believe it has now finally had its day. The first wave of feminism concerned itself with suffrage and the right to vote which was achieved in the early part of the 20th century. The second wave involved the concept of equality, a worthy cause most fair minded men understood and generally supported. Their principle aims were achieved by the 1980s.
Ironically, women got it all and then found out it was not quite exactly what they wanted. The real problems began more recently when the third wave feminism reared its head. Having achieved their aims the movement expanded into other areas beyond the issue of gender. The result has been the worst excesses of Political Correctness, a blatant misandry in the media, unwanted interference by NGOs in world affairs and numerous examples of gross stupidity perpetuated by a crazed minority.
The aims of this third wave feminism were conceived by a few selfish conceited women and perpetuated by male despising misfits. Unfortunately these creatures have infiltrated the world of politics, education and the media and have far more influence in western society than their extremely small numbers warrant.
Compared to the great women of the 20th century like Marie Curie, Eleanor Roosevelt, Dorothy Hodkin, Mother Teresa, Rosa Parks (to name but a few) there are very few western women of the 21st century worthy of admiration. There are a few British women I do admire like Baroness Denise Kingsmill in the world of business and politics, Alexi Polizi and Suzy Klein in the media and Freema Agyeman (Martha Jones in Dr Who….just because she is absolutely delicious).
In the world of British politics, in the last Labour government we experienced a Cattery of mediocre female politicians (namely Hazel Blears, Jaqui Smith, Patrica Hewitt, Caroline Flint, Margret Hodge and Tessa Jowell) who were of such unspeakable incompetence they actually diminished the prospects of capable women for many years to come.
Fortunately the majority of intelligent women in the UK have realised the “having it all” philosophy has actually served womanhood extremely poorly, Post feminism is a female reaction against this misguided third wave. I perceive most women are prepared to accept the gains made in equality and access to jobs but reject the political agenda, principally because they don’t have time in their busy lives. Many now realise they were also sold a myth that women can spend their twenties and thirties relentlessly pursuing a career and their own agenda then suddenly switch tracks at 40 and try and find a life partner and father for their kids. You can appreciate that beneath the veneer of assertive confidence they are a bundle of insecurities and I can feel sympathy for their predicament.
Now I am not saying that all western women have become paragons of virtue overnight but I contend that the worst excesses of female conduct we may see are no longer due to rabid feminism. I put it to the house that any selfish and mean-spirited behaviour we occasionally encounter is merely down to human nature. If I am entirely honest I encounter an equal number of selfish stupid and opinionated men in my daily life.
“Steady the buffs there, Phet” you say as you go into a fit of apoplexy over your morning coffee. “The old fool has gone over to the dark side and will be advising on fabrics for your soft furnishings next”. Be assured I have not suddenly become good with colours and will continue to report on the capricious behaviour of women I encounter in my perambulations. I remain convinced all women across the planet inhabit a world as they would like it to be rather than as the world actually is. However, the self centred and fickle behaviour one occasionally encounters should be attributed to mere human nature. Blame “Womanism”, not feminism.
It was as an unexpected note from an old friend I had not heard from for some time that first prompted the chain of thought. This female pal had been a good friend and fundamental to my sanity a few years ago but through a series of misunderstandings we had fallen out and lost touch. She had also been concerned I was adopting some extreme misogynist views that were not really in my nature. She remarked however that she still followed my ramblings on the Stickman site and could see my attitudes had mellowed of late. Much to my delight, she regretted our misunderstandings and wished to restore our friendship.
I mentioned in a previous essay that some 20 years ago I had been director of a significant foundry operation in the West midlands, I used to joke I was a “bit of a gaffer”. I also referred to the successful training scheme I initiated which supplied many senior technical staff to the industry in the subsequent years. I couldn’t be considered a feminist but at the time I had a growing respect for women and their capabilities. I had got a little tired of the testosterone fuelled posturing and machismo attitudes of the men around me. I developed an admiration for the expanding band of professional women I was encountering, particularly in the disciplines of science and human resources. I began recruiting and training girls as foundry technicians. The foundry industry was a male dominated hairy arsed environment but my girls quickly made their mark as supervisors and technicians and I was very proud of their achievements.
For a number of years I was a driving force for the promotion of female engineers in our industry and enjoyed the enthusiasm of the intelligent young ladies I mentored. I also found myself lionised by hordes of fragrant career women who applauded my feminist actions. I was involved in projects with Cambridge University and Brno University in the Czech Republic and met some delicious intelligent young ladies in academic circles. It is with regret I admit I never took advantage of these opportunities at the time. I was married and over the next few years inexorably slipped into the anesthetised domesticity of the treadmill, the hamster’s wheel of houseboy to my wife and taxi driver to my children.
When my wife left me and I found myself back in the dating game I had an enormous shock. I awoke like Rip Van Winkle into a world I barely recognised. Women had changed beyond recognition in 10 years; it appeared an alien force had invaded a whole generation of females. They had altered so dramatically it was like the invasion of the body snatchers.
For some time I was only meeting strident harridans who thought it amusing to give gratuitous mean-spirited put downs to any man who approached them. I wondered where all the intelligent sophisticated women had gone. I speculated that the gargantuan lard arses I was encountering must have eaten them all in an unreported cannibalistic frenzy. It was not a good time for me and I had the Samaritans on my speed dial.
I then discovered Thailand which saved my sanity and probably saved my life. I discovered that beautiful women existed who did not treat me as if I was Quasimodo even though it invariably entailed the exchange of money. In retrospect it was a mixed blessing although it provided a respite from the misery of life in the west the resultant rollercoaster I rode saw me love and lose a Thai wife and say goodbye to my modest life savings.
Ten years on, I have gone through the black hole and come out somewhat bruised and dishevelled but otherwise intact. In those years the glass ceiling has dissolved and to see women in senior positions is now quite commonplace. I actually now work for a women and she is the best boss I have ever had. It is also common to see tattooed women everywhere. I remember having to wait for the circus to arrive in town and then pay an entrance fee to see a tattooed lady.
I do often get irritated with my obsession with Thailand which for 10 years has dominated my life. For example, if I get a lucrative contract or a project that involves working away from home or even the promise of a foreign assignment, my first thought is….Ooh, I can get away to Thailand with the money I make. The new diploma programme plans to take a month’s break in December and immediately my first thought was it would be a perfect time for a Thailand visit. My reaction is almost pavlovian in its predictability. A psychiatrist would call it operant conditioning whilst others would conclude; I am just a sad old tosser.
It is disappointing that as a basically decent bloke my mindset is that Thailand is the only place I can enjoy any female company. I am somewhat haunted by a recent comment from the Professor that "Anyone who says they can't find an acceptable western woman is either not trying hard enough or has something seriously wrong with them." I could certainly be accused of not trying hard enough but my real fear is his latter premise may actually be nearer the truth.
I have written many essays about those painful days of my initial forays into pubs and clubs looking for unattached females. My advances were met with sharp-tongued and unnecessarily caustic putdowns. A smile was met with “In you dreams you old tosser”, a compliment with “Yeah, so I am gorgeous, what’s it to you, piss off!” The classic one was “Being attractive has always been a burden, just be thankful you don’t have that problem." Looking back objectively at those agonizing days I can now smile and appreciate that I at least collected some amusing anecdotes I have since shared with the Stickman congregation.
In retrospect I can now also acknowledge that I was the architect of my own failures with women. I was frequenting pubs trying to meet unattached females with the single purpose to get into their panties. It is now blindingly obvious that the population I was sampling would be statistically skewed. There was an extremely high probability I was going to meet a disproportionate number of dysfunctional specimens of the human race. With hindsight I also realise I was my own worst enemy at the time with my negative attitude and uncertain demeanour my whole being emanated an aura of being needy and defeated. It is no surprise that women wouldn’t touch me with a very long bargepole. I admit I was frequenting unsuitable establishments like bars and pubs where it is unlikely to meet respectable females but in my defence the libraries and animal rescue centres are closed in the evenings.
I can acknowledge the hypothesis that men have lost their major bargaining chip with regard to western women….which is income disparity. I can readily accept that intelligent educated women who have high flying careers and earn a significant income can afford to be increasingly selective in their choice of men.
In western society a man is totally invisible to women more than 10 years younger than him. This is a fact of life, perfectly understandable and I have learned to live with it. The problem however is exacerbated in that western women now feel they are entitled to male partners 10 years younger than them. The upshot is that a 55 year old man can now forget any interest from a woman less than 45 and will only attract the interest of women 65 to 75. A salutary thought you must confess.
I am painting a very dark picture that suggests it is safer to completely avoid the company of women but that would be a very gloomy and grey world devoid of passion. I realised that once I stopped looking for a bed partner and began to appreciate women as merely human and as people again my life became richer and infinitely less frantic.
I must admit I do meet some charming, cultured and amusing women but they are all already spoken for. I am certain there are some lovely unattached western ladies about but I have reconciled my chances of meeting them are miniscule. I must declare unattached western women do make it difficult for themselves. If you ask a lady if they have a partner they will invariably say yes even if they don’t as they don’t want to be considered a failure. The dichotomy of the post feminist world even the liberated and empowered ladies of the world of Bridget Jones and Sex in the City are still seeking a man to complete them and make everything they have achieved worthwhile. We know with many Thai women if you ask that same question, even if happily married, they will reply in the negative because they are always looking for the next opportunity to upgrade their situation.
It is not all gloom and doom. I recently received a note from my friend “Old Bill in Cyprus” informing me he had met a delightful white lady of his own age. She is elegant, charming and it is clear he is deliriously happy with her. I am extremely jealous of his good fortune but would not begrudge him some comfort after reading his wonderful submissions relating his harrowing and traumatic experiences with Thai and Philippine women over the years.
All that being said, whilst I really try to be fair and objective about English women there is one last bastion of female delusion and stupidity that continues to infuriate me. I must confess my tolerance and forbearance for womanhood immediately evaporates when I have an occasional perusal of the British internet dating sites, particularly POF. I know when I do so I am going to be exasperated but it is like the compulsion to touch something with a “wet paint” sign attached. British dating sites are the ultimate display of hope over experience for those in the 45 to 65 age group. They are the last refuge of the deluded and dysfunctional womanhood who hit the “wall” many years ago. "The wall" refers to the point in a woman's life where her ego and self-assessed view of her sexual market value exceed her actual sexual market value. This is the beginning of the decline for a woman and can occur as early as 30.
I never ceased to be amazed by the endless profiles of obese women who claim to be just a few pounds overweight. I am so tired of hearing the requirement for a sense of humour in a man which I interpret as “dance monkey dance”. The ubiquitous “all my friends say I am attractive” or no time waisters (sic) is enough to turn a man to drink.
Another species is the fat, older, single mothers trapped in the perception they are still as beautiful as they were at 19. Our self image solidifies in our late teens so when we look in the mirror our inner self still sees a 19-year old. Most of us are realistic about this but there are thousands of damaged British women trying to find a husband and father for their feral children with a dangerously overinflated perception of their value. I fear for any single fellow who falls into the clutches of one of these dangerous and expensive individuals.
I appreciate as we get older we all struggle to maintain some semblance of dignity but the scale of their self delusion beggars belief. What is particularly scary is that these women must be actually meeting men from these sites further fuelling the wave of self delusion. Have British men completely lost all sense of discernment or is it that in the land of the truly hideous the merely repulsive is king?
My medications have now kicked in and the attendants have me nicely pacified after that little outburst. I must explain it is only British dating sites that evoke that reaction. I have a slightly different attitude to the dating sites for foreign women such as ThaiLoveLinks (now known as ThaiCupid).
However, I do see similar attitudes from Thai females who have lived in the UK for any length of time.
Foreign women who move here quickly see the lifestyle of entitled English women. These females see themselves slimmer and significantly more attractive than the native specimens and immediately look to trade up. The tales of new immigrants being corrupted by western culture are very common resulting in romantic success stories being very rare. This is irrespective of whether the female is Asian, East European or African.
I will declare that dating sites like ThaiCupid or are very successful for meeting ladies in their country of origin. It appears to all go wrong when you attempt to take the flower from the garden. I must also observe that with the younger Thai girls on the site if you have not pledged your undying love and promised to support their family and a small Isaan village by the third correspondence they lose interest.
Enough already with the crackpot philosophy I hear you say, pray give us an update on your dysfunctional life in the Soviet socialist republic of Wednesbury.
I finally got knocked out of the singing contest in the Pisshead and Ponytail at Easter but had got into the last five. It was a poor man's X-Factor, however a prize of £750 attracted over 20 entrants. I had no aspirations of actually winning the contest; my best hope was reaching the final six and giving the youngsters a run for their money.
After all the mommies’ little darlings and obvious lightweights had been eliminated in the first few weeks it left some serious singers. As they were all younger than me I was somewhat punching above my weight so I had to employ a little guile. After the first few rounds the words were removed from the screen and each week the judges set new challenges. These included singing Abba, using props etc. One week we were required to tell a joke during our set which was no problem for me. If someone opened a fridge door I would do a 3-minute spot.
However, amongst the things I am learning as I get older, one is I can not bend an iron bar round my dick anymore (my wrists have gone) and another is I can not learn three brand new songs in a week. For the first time in my life I stood on stage sang the first line of a song (Gene Pitney’s Backstage) and my mind went blank as if someone had pulled a plug in my brain. I realised at 58 and 30 years senior to the remaining contestants it was time to concede to youth. I accepted defeat and resolved to return to entertaining the matrons in the Welded Wallet on a Saturday night.
My gay pal Stephan did not win as expected (he came second) but he got off with one of the Judges who I had suspected had a whiff of lavender about him. I have been amused observing the conversation between these sausage-jockeys which is similar to listening to teenage girls. Although it is fascinating observing raging shirt-lifters from an anthropological point of view I will contain my curiosity of the actual bumming and frotting activities.
The girl who won the contest was a young single mother in her mid 20s. She is a big mumsy unit but can certainly hold a tune. We became friendly and she often asked my advice on voice technique. Watching her develop over the months from a shy plain girl to a confident performer with a personable stage presence was a real pleasure. Whether she spent the prize money on tequila and inappropriate shoes or wasted it on food and clothes for her children I have yet to establish.
I must confess I enjoyed the experience and found the attention quite addictive. In the three months of the contest I gained a few admirers and it has probably not done my reputation as an amateur entertainer any harm. Because I always dress smart (albeit old-fashioned) and am the only chap there with both my ears I have a mild celebrity status as an eccentric old gentleman. A fair number of middle aged and elderly women inform me I have got a “lovely voice”. I flirt disgracefully with them and my son jokes with me that eventually one of them will call my bluff and I may have to deliver. He has warned me not to expect him to lift me on and off them.
I occasionally get asked to sing duets with a couple of the gifted girl singers, mainly because I am the only bloke there who can sing the songs from musical theatre. One girl has asked me to sing a duet from "Phantom of the Opera" with her next week which will be fun. One wag suggested with my face I won’t need make up for the part…..I have told him he will be hearing from my solicitor in the fullness of time.
Speaking of solicitors, my best friend has a new mistress, an extremely striking estate agent 15 years his junior. She is absolutely delicious but for a few weeks my pal became quite insufferable using his accomplishment to "advise" me on all the things I do wrong with women. I have no illusion I am the architect of my own failures but it did get a little weary being told my faults quite so frequently although his enigmatic comment that I was fishing in the wrong pool did make me think. I know this affair will ultimately end in tears. Although she is enchanting, her life is like a soap opera. She has a lot of baggage, living well beyond her means and has two dysfunctional ex boyfriends stalking her. It will end in a train crash worthy of the stories on Stickman, except it will involve an English woman rather than a Thai girl. He remains my best friend so is assured I will be there to pick up the pieces with him when it does.
I have just returned from Scotland and the fourth week of the six-week certificate course I am delivering there. As previously mentioned I was staying in Queensferry in the shadow of the iconic Forth Bridge. Bored with staying in the Premier Inn and having to share a room with Lenny Henry (British joke) I took a taxi into the historic town. Walking along the main street I noticed a billboard outside one pub declaring “TWATS here tonight” which sounded just the place for me. I was slightly disappointed to find it was an acronym for “The Whiskey Appreciation and Tasting Society” but joined in the activities anyway and made a few friends. Of more significance is the decent rate per day I am paid for the week which will house and feed me for the month. Unfortunately it is only every second month but it certainly helps keep my head above water.
The Casting Diploma courses have now finished for the year and I had a lovely card from my second year students thanking me for my unorthodox tutoring and amusing anecdotes over the past two years. They also said they appreciated the life skills I had taught them. I am without gainful employment for two months until the programmes start again in September. There is some discussion about a two week teaching project in India next month and the sniff of a consultancy job with a gravity die foundry in Romania. However, I am not holding my breath that either transpires.
It has been two years since I tentatively embarked on the venture in technical education. It has been a modest success. A severe skills shortage and ageing workforce was identified and the industry insisted “something must be done”. The institute responded offering nationally accredited courses and I was willing to travel anywhere in the country to deliver them. The industry response has been generally disappointing but we do now have some 60 students across the country studying castings technology which is a good start. I have also passed the PTTLS introductory teaching certificate which allows me to practice as a college lecturer.
I am still working freelance as I relish the independence. I made £18k last year and a similar figure in the previous year. It is barely sufficient but it is steady, I enjoy the work and it is allowing me to impart some stability in my life again. There are concrete plans for the institute to open its own centre in my home town as a new National foundry college. There is a real danger of me being employed (almost) full time. I joke they offered me a full time job once but other than that have showed me nothing but kindness. For a few years I have been reluctant to plan my life beyond a six-month horizon. I may now have to reconsider a slightly longer perspective.
I still can not completely escape the vagarious influence of my ex wives. My first wife maintains delusions of achieving sainthood through her lifetime of martyrdom. She is selling up in the UK to live in Spain which means my two lads are about to become homeless. I say selling up, she has nothing to actually sell up but her current boyfriend has sold his house to support her and her aspirations. They leave in September. Her boyfriend is actually a nice bloke and I will miss him.
My second (Thai) ex wife fell out with me for a time when I told her I had enough of her (albeit intermittent) requests for money. In a moment of weakness I helped her last year with her son’s wedding but the recent request for her daughter’s school fees was a bridge too far for me. I wanted to remain civilised but we were no longer married and I was still disappointed with the way she had treated me. After two months of silence she has renewed contact with me. I expect the cycle to repeat itself as her next crisis arises.
I am ashamed to admit for the past few years my aged mother had been doing my washing and ironing. In return I cook meals for her three times a week, do her shopping and chauffeur her around as requested. However, she has severe Alzheimer’s and my ironing is getting a little too much for her. I never bought a washing machine and because I travel quite a bit I have little time or inclination to do my own laundry. I realise I will have to either find a woman or a laundry service…..the latter may be cheaper in the long run. However I acknowledge I need to do something quickly as I am beginning to smell like a small African village.
For the first time in a while I had accumulated a few quid. If I were a sensible fellow I could replace my aging vehicle or make some prudent investments for my impending dotage. However, it is me we are talking about so there is no prize for guessing that with pavlovian predictability a trip to Thailand beckoned.
Nevertheless, for the first time I have begun to question my motivation for making this trip. I still retain the fantasy of finding a respectable Thai lady of means to spend my retirement years with. I am still active on ThaiCupid and I have focused my recent activity on older educated Thai ladies and have been pleasantly surprised by the quality of the ladies who have corresponded with me. They are all professional women of substance so the ubiquitous issue of “taking care” is not a concern.
I had even resolved to visit a few places outside of Bangkok and Pattaya on the next visit. With the sad demise of my pal Phil, with Bangkok Barry residing on his estate in Northern Thailand and Union Hill exiled in Singapore, Suhkumvit does not offer the attraction it once did. A long postponed exploration of the Isaan was on the agenda serving the opportunity to meet some of the higher calibre ladies I correspond with.
I perceive retirement in the kingdom preferable to spending my old age drooling and ignored in some impersonal uncaring nursing home in Tipton. However I am increasingly beginning to wonder whether my thoughts of retirement in Thailand are actually a mere delusion. I originally considered making a trip at Easter but deferred it due to work commitments. The next window of opportunity was July when the college and diploma programmes closed. Once again I delayed my plans in view of the possible teaching project in India. I have speculated that my subconscious is compelling me to review my perceptions that Thailand is the panacea for all my troubles. I must confess, however, if I do the job in India I will need a holiday so I will certainly use the money for a trip to the kingdom.
It will be interesting to see if I finally make the visit and if I do, will it finally cure me of my obsession with the kingdom? Maybe this will either be my final trip or mark a new chapter in my infatuation….. Who knows?
As always, I ask that you watch this space.