Stickman Readers' Submissions September 3rd, 2014

WTF is Chemistry?

For the last few weeks I have been on a work avoidance programme. I actually have plenty of little tasks to do especially with the new training centre being commissioned in a few weeks' time but I really don’t feel motivated to do them. I put this indolence down to not having had a holiday for two years and having to forgo my planned trip to Thailand this summer. I was in desperate need of a little mischief.

You all know my opinion of English dating sites and the unbelievable expectations I encounter amongst the women who inhabit them. I know for my own sense of sanity I should steer well clear of them but like the irrational impulse to pick at a scab I still have a masochistic compulsion to visit these sites which is probably a glaring example of optimism over experience. I tend to explore the POF site on Sunday evening after I have had a few too many beers so often regret the messages I sent by Monday morning. I often experiment and sometimes try something novel or amusing. They very rarely work as I don’t think any of the women on the site actually have a sense of humour.

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Last week with the confidence that only a serious drinking session can convey, I decided to test my supposition and sent a witty message out to a number of fairly attractive women in their 50s. I suspected those I selected thought their Fannies were lined with gold and also chose those who expressed that they were specifically seeking a man with a sense of humour.

The message went “I have been notified by this site that they consider you and me to be a match. I apologise for any distress this may have caused you. I can give you the name of a good solicitor should you wish to pursue legal action against the site. I suspect substantial damages will be awarded for this vile calumny. On the other hand you may have a healthy sense of humour and wish to correspond with me.”

I thought this quite witty at the time but as you would expect I did not receive any replies ….except one. One woman (a reasonably attractive 55 year old) replied “I thought your message was very amusing but I looked at your profile and couldn’t see any chemistry”.

What on earth is chemistry? I always thought it was an attraction from contact with a person with whom you have shared values and interests. At the very least I believed it implied having seen a person or spoken to them. What she meant was she saw a photo on my profile on the site and seeing I didn’t look like George Clooney or Colin Firth immediately rejected any further consideration. I believe these deluded creatures don’t know what they really want but are willing to suspend reality until it comes along. It is all rather sad.

I also continue to be mildly dismayed by many of the English women I meet in person. Most of them are decent people but their compulsion to be overly assertive to prove they are empowered is most frustrating and unnecessary. I have lost count of the times a pavlovian impulse to make inappropriate and ill timed put downs or an acidic remark have ruined otherwise agreeable conversations. I often think if they just took a deep breath and relaxed when they get this urge they would get so much more out of simple social interaction and not feel so constantly embittered about their lives.

Fortunately there are still some women who understand this and these rare enlightened females are a pleasure to be with. They are probably reviled by their more strident “liberated” sisters as being servile and submissive but these feckless creatures completely fail to recognise the social success and respect their less antagonistic sisters enjoy.


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My interactions with English women have not all been negative, in the past month I have had interesting episodes with some delightful ladies. I can work on the premise that even a stopped clock is correct twice a day.

In my last missive I mentioned the affair my best pal Devin was having with a delicious lady some 12 years his junior. I have no doubt it will end in tears with the same certainty of a monger’s marriage to a Patpong bargirl but at the moment he is enjoying an episode not dissimilar to the legendary Thai girl friend experience.

Over the past month I have got to know the lady and have found her to be absolutely lovely. Sasha is vivacious, highly intelligent and a joy to be with. Unfortunately she carries a little baggage, principally in the form of a psychotic ex boyfriend. Since their split he has effectively been stalking her and has not been averse to giving her a beating on occasions. She had been living with friends but has purchased a house near her job in Stratford. She then discovered her nemesis had decided to buy a house within 200 yards of her new home.

Two weeks ago was the date for her move and Devin expressed concern that the ex boyfriend may use the occasion to create a scene and possibly assault her again. Unfortunately my pal was away on business so could not be there and asked if I could go and support her instead. Although it was an unusual request I was somewhat indebted to my pal for his support in difficult times so agreed to go as her metaphorical bodyguard for the day. I had also seen the effect on Sasha of the last battering her ex boyfriend gave her. I had seen the guy and although he was a big bloke I figured he was a spineless bully and suspected he may be a little more disinclined to raise his hand to an erstwhile football hooligan than he had been to a defenceless woman.

I took the train down to Stratford to see Sasha waiting at the station for me. As there was a delay in her obtaining the keys for the new house she drove me to Waitrose to meet her friends and buy me breakfast. Her two children were there waiting with her two friends Susan and Beverley who were two real babes in their late 30s. They made me welcome and even laughed when I joked the last time I had been in Waitrose it was with a mask over my face and a shotgun in my hand.

The day passed pleasantly, the removal men executed the move with great efficiency without my assistance. I had declared it was my intention never to lift anything heavier than a woman’s petticoat. Sasha and her two delectable friends kept me entertained all day with food and harmless flirting. I could see her ex boyfriend’s house from the lounge window and spotted him coming out of his house. I went and stood in her garden in the manner of a night club bouncer trying to appear as mean as my boyish good looks would allow. I noticed he walked to the corner of the street spotted me and immediately turned back to his house. We never saw him again that day and the move went well without undue incident.

I later went with her to Henley to collect her son’s vehicle and got the chance to drive her Mercedes SUV back to Stratford which was a definite improvement on my 13 year old Mondeo. By 7.00pm the move was complete Sasha took me for a quick drink before dropping me at the station for my return to the Black Country. Sasha thanked me for my help and knowing my penchant for Asian women has even promised to fix me up with her Chinese/Malaysian friend. I believe her name is Rachel Chan.


I have been friends with Claire for almost 20 years. She once worked for me as a quality engineer and I mentored her through her Higher National Diploma. She is now employed as the castings expert for a major automotive manufacturer. Currently she lives in Munich with a 25 year old lad who is knocking the back out of her. She has just turned 40 so I frequently recommend she suck a lemon to take the permanent smile from her face. She is the most striking woman I know. Imagine Linda Kowalski with a touch of Nicole Kidman and you get some idea of the attraction.

Our relationship will always be platonic as she views me as a kindly old uncle but we have always enjoyed each other's company. It was she who recommended I visit Thailand after my first divorce. Three weeks ago she was in the UK to visit the new engine plant in Wolverhampton so she took me to the famed Vine pub where she treated me to an excellent curry. I took her to a couple of my local pubs where she caused a few heads to turn. Being seen with her has certainly enhanced my reputation and I am still being asked who she was three weeks on.


I have known Devin’s Cousin Lane for years but lost touch for a time when she and her husband moved down south. She is amusing intelligent and has always been wonderful company. Although she has just turned 50 she has retained her looks and still turns heads. She has recently separated from her husband and returned to the Black Country. She is still desperately in love with him so remains somewhat in limbo which limits her social life. Devin and the gang have adopted her and she often comes out with us an honorary bloke. It is always enjoyable to be seen with an attractive woman and even better if she can contribute to the conversation and pay her round.

At our last meeting in the local Thai restaurant the conversation came around to music. Lane told me when in the south with time on her hands she had joined a community choir. The conductor had taken an interest in training her voice and persuaded her to make a tape. As she handed me a copy I thought the choir conductor had discovered a novel seduction technique I may try myself sometime. On the drive home I played it with no great expectation as Lane had never expressed any previous interest in singing. To say I was surprised would be an understatement I was totally enthralled with her renditions of jazzy blues numbers with a voice reminiscent of the late Dusty Springfield. It was proof if ever it were needed that even though you think you know someone they can always surprise you.

I have a theory that if you are often seen with beautiful women other woman become inquisitive as to what you have or what they are missing. Unfortunately it happens too infrequently for me to test the theory. Conversely I also suspect if you are seen with fat or plain females other women think that is your level and completely dismiss you for future reference.

All my charming lady friends claim they can not understand why an amusing raconteur has not been snapped up by one of the hordes of lonely women it is alleged exist. If it wasn’t for the fact I was short, old, destitute and somewhat challenged in the looks department I believe I would have no problem with seducing women.


I have been subjecting my reader to a new series “the Die is cast”, an everyday tale of foundrymen with a Thailand twist. It was composed in response to a challenge from my students that there were no novels written about foundries. One splendid fellow Peter recently informed me there was actually a book “Atlas Shrugged” written in the 1950s by Ayn Rand that preceded my effort. Although the character Hank Reardon was a steelmaker rather than a foundryman I do not wish to be pedantic in the light of Peter’s kind observation. I also recall a book “Nice work” by David Lodge in which an iron foundry figured largely, but the main character was a university English lecturer.

I occasionally write short stories as a relief from the tales of my misadventures and failures with English women. This new series has been surprising well received with only one reader dissenting. He described it as mind numbing insufferably boring and wondered in regard to casting technology….who gives a f*ck. As one of my fellow stickmanites declared, every body is entitled to their own stupid bigoted opinion but I did acknowledge it would not be to everyone’s taste. I had a thought of self publishing it and making this and my previous work (the mongering philanthropist) compulsory reading for the students on the Certificate and Diploma courses ….although I doubt I would be allowed to get away with this.

I reflect that over ten years I have corresponded with hundreds of stickman readers. I have met some of them and now consider them as real friends. I continue to correspond with some excellent fellows and consider myself blessed to have made contact with them. I feel I would never have known blokes of this calibre if it had not been for the Stickman site. It begs the question what will happen to us all when stick finally departs?

Gosh some of us may have to get a life!


I went to Bristol again to meet my Thai lady friend Pan. It may come as a surprise to you but for some reason I have a reputation for being a tight fisted git. Although I spent a lot of money on my previous trip I was surprised I felt a frisson of pleasure from the uncharacteristic act of spending. I took the train down and booked again into the Radisson. Pan came to meet me. As I described in my previous missive she is ostensibly an elderly Thai lady who at times reminds me of one of the characters created by Julie Walters. However, when she smiles it lights up her face and she looks 10 years younger. We pop our heads in the celebrated Reggae bar but having grown up with Jamaican culture I thought it overpriced and pretentious. We dined again in the Edge Thai restaurant and for some reason spent even more than last time. I am dangerously close to having my man card revoked for this indiscriminate spending.

Bristol is a lively city with numerous bars and restaurants along the waterfront development. Pan was in a sociable mood so we started at one end and worked our way down all the bars having a drink in each. All evening she was a proper little chatterbox telling me about her life and giving me the gossip about her workmates. It was lovely to hear as she seemed so happy to be with me. I joked with her she had rattled my head off so much I feared she would make my ears bleed. I noticed she was drinking considerably more than she had on our last date but she seemed content and remained coherent so I was not unduly concerned.

We ended up in the hotel bar where there was a wedding party still going strong and Pan joined in with the proceedings with great enthusiasm.

It was almost 4.00 am when the party finally dissolved and she did not need any persuasion to come up to my room. Once inside she removed her coat and shoes and climbed into bed fully clothed. Undeterred I approached her but once again as on our previous encounter she wouldn’t let me kiss her to my great disappointment. I was not expecting sex but merely a kiss and cuddle as some exhibition of fondness.

I was already one nil down from the previous leg and my paranoia set in. I could perceive myself slipping into the dreaded friend zone where I would come down every three or four weeks spend a shed load of money but experience no intimacy not even a kiss and cuddle. Well bugger that I declared and got into the other side of the bed in high dudgeon. I do like the lady but I resolved that tomorrow it was goodbye to her.

Next morning I awoke around 9.00 am took a shower and decided to try again to kiss her but found she still did not respond keeping the duvet tightly wrapped around her. Now one of the big disadvantages of time spent mongering in the kingdom is that it is too much like shooting fish in a barrel. Whenever one goes off piste and tries their hand with Thai girls outside of the naughty bar scene you quickly realise it is not so easy. I must agree with the points made by my pal Tommaso in a recent submission about the East having a higher concept of sexual morality than the permissive west. The vast majority of respectable Thai women are extremely conservative and display a degree of modesty that would shame a Methodist minister.

I had recently sought the advice of my Thai friend Anne about Pan’s diffidence and was surprised when she told me be more assertive in forcing my attentions on her. I have felt decidedly uncomfortable with this counsel that contravened all my western concepts of gallantry and decency but she is not the first Thai girl to recommend a level of forcefulness that in western culture would be interpreted as rape.

Now I acknowledge that it is only cads and bounders who recount the details of an intimate encounter but I feel I must relate this episode for the edification of other readers who may experience similar behaviour with conservative respectable Thai ladies. She allowed me to remove her bra and panties but still did not respond to my tender attentions and necrophilia holds little interest to me. I then recalled some previous experiences with Asian ladies and a recent conversation with a psychologist pal.

I lifted the duvet and threw it over her head. With her face covered she could not see me so she could convince herself that she was not part of what was happening to her. My pal described this behaviour as “Disassociation” and is apparently quite common amongst women who attempt to mentally detach themselves from a promiscuous behaviour in conservative cultures.

For a woman of 54 she had a remarkable body. With small firm breasts, an absence of tattoos, a tight stomach and the sweetest little shaven Djihm it was a sight to gladden the heart. There is no doubt a Thai pussy is the 8th wonder of the world. I applied my silver tongued talents to her delightful body and she began seriously responding. I soon had her shaking like a shitting dog and crying out for her maker. Once we were connected she threw the duvet off her face and began kissing me with an unexpected passion. It wasn’t long before I felt the jester’s toes upon me.

It was midday before we checked out of the hotel so we took a stroll and a light lunch in a nearby pub. All afternoon she complained of a hangover and kept asking me if she was very drunk the previous evening. She did so with such repletion I feared early onset dementia. When she asked me if I had put something in her drink I called a halt and asked whether she thought I had put it in her 9th or 10th double Jack Daniels and coke. I was aware of the charade we were performing. She was distancing herself from the act she had so clearly enjoyed. I played along as I would welcome a repeat engagement in the near future.

There is no denying all women are weird but Thai women especially so.


I mentioned my work avoidance programme earlier and must confess it is developments in the industry’s education initiative that has disheartened me. The last two years we have been pioneering Diploma and Certificate courses in castings technology after 20 years of neglect and indifference in the industry. There were only three of us battling away at this task, Dr P the director of the institute; Steve the guy who designed the web based system that allowed distance learning and me. Steve also ran courses operating in the enclave of Sheffield whilst I covered courses in the rest of the country. From a standing start two years ago we have enjoyed some moderate success as we now have 7 study groups and about 60 students across the country.

I have just spent my bank holiday organising the renovation of the new training centre ready for its opening next week. I will not be paid for this but saw it as the start of a new era.

Our modest accomplishment has finally attracted interest from the leaders of our industry. However instead of supporting our work by funding a few students, with a myopic predictability they formed a committee to seek government funding. We have now become part of an industry initiative and knowing the hoops you have to jump through for government money I fear the worst.

In my days as an executive many years ago I likened seeking grants to finding a crutch and going home to break your son’s leg. My experience was the costs of satisfying the requirements for a grant always exceed the costs of the project you wanted the money for in the first place.

Suddenly I am informed I will have people from various quasi government organisations wanting to assess, verify, audit, evaluate and observe me in my work. These include OFSTEAD EAL SEMTA and numerous other organisations with more acronyms than you could shake a stick at. I estimate I now have more people observing, appraising and monitoring me than we have actual students to teach.

It is the classic plague of the silly tarts.

Dr P the director recently left to advance her career and whilst her replacement is a decent enough chap he is determined to be more “professional” and told me he considers me a maverick. I am little miffed as I perfectly understand what being professional means but he forgets for two years me and my colleague in Sheffield stood alone with little resource. For two years I was travelling the country living out of a suitcase, preparing lessons on the hoof and frequently running up bank overdrafts whilst waiting to get paid, all for £18k a year.

I have been informed I will also have responsibility for the apprentice NVQs so have to train as an assessor which means additional work with further observations and monitoring. In addition I am instructed I must also prepare detailed lesson plans and schemes of work which would be ok if I had been issued with any teaching materials from the “professionals” above my pay grade.

It has also been forgotten that I earned £36k profit for the institute last year from the Certificate courses I ran single handed in the wilds of Cumbria and Scotland. If that had been released to our initiative there would have been no need to seek government grants with its incumbent nonsense. All that being said I suspect my real gripe is our new director is allegedly being paid £60k a year whilst I can look forward to another year of penury.

I am not looking forward to being on the front line in a goldfish bowl of observation or the additional administrative work whilst my income is unlikely to increase. At one point last week I considered packing it in and (god forbid) going back into foundry management. I must confess I quickly took that thought into a corner and beat it soundly with a stout stick.

I have now had a good moan which I appreciate is akin to peeing yourself in a dark suit where you get a warm feeling but nobody notices. I am a realist and acknowledge I am in a better position than I was three or four years ago and I enjoy the job. I am a resilient fellow so will gird my loins, take a deep breath, do as I am told and grin and bear it. When I get in front of the groups of students and begin telling them my interminable anecdotes I will be as right as rain. I can only hope the hordes of observers do not outnumber my students or curb my style too much.

Or then again, is now maybe the time to consider making the big move to Thailand?


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