God’s Waiting Room
Hardly a month goes by without the news of another couple of my acquaintance getting divorced. Invariably they are couples in their late 40s or early 50s and have been married for 20 years or more. Neil is a typical example, a hard working fellow who for years has been a beast of burden to his wife and unpaid taxi driver for his ungrateful kids. I find him an interesting chap, entertaining company and always willing to get involved in raising money for various charities. However his wife suddenly decided he was “boring” and wanted a divorce. Although mildly attractive in an overblown way I had always considered his wife to be thoroughly dull and uninteresting. Many of the middle-aged, middle-class women I know I find incredibly tedious. They are disappointed women who express their displeasure by giving the impression they permanently have an unpleasant smell under their nose. I am also always amused how often they purse their lips in an imitation of a cat's arse.
I always expect to be treated as a pariah by these women simply because of my Thailand affiliations. I am considered the devil incarnate to these spoiled creatures principally because I represent an alternate freedom to their downtrodden husbands. I can not deny I have a very negative attitude to these women. I know I am never going to find a partner amongst this fraternity because I could never satisfy their expectations. I have read that 75% of divorces involving couples above the age of 40 are initiated by the females. What prompts these women to suddenly become unsatisfied and resentful? Is it the effects of menopause? Is it the result of a blatant misandry in our media? Is it the L’Oreal effect (because you are worth it) so prevalent on our TV screens?
Or is it just because they can?
I often report on my expeditions of anthropological exploration around the hostelries of my rust belt town at weekends. I have described the parties of women usually in groups of four or five out on the piss that I often encounter on Friday nights. I have established they are merely out with the gals to get disgracefully drunk, make fools of their selves and post selfies on Facebook. They are certainly not interested in meeting a man (unless he is George Clooney then all bets are off). Having accepted they are not in the market for Hampton and understanding the rules of engagement, one can still enjoy friendly banter with them. In my case I usually get requests to sing some old Nat King Cole or Matt Munro number that was the favourite of their mother (or grandmother).
The members of these groups are always the same. There is generally one fairly pretty girl or (as everything is relative) at least attractive enough to attract attention amongst the pissheads. There will be two moderately passable females in the shadow of their vivacious friend and a mousey quiet one who becomes increasingly appealing after your 4th pint. Then there is the inevitable wizened old hag who always accompanies these parties. She is invariably the fattest, oldest or ugliest (delete as applicable) and her sole function is to put a dampener on proceedings or to make the inappropriate or gratuitous put down to any bloke who has the temerity to approach them. These creatures can not help themselves as they are genetically programmed for the role. My usual response to a mean-spirited tirade is “Have you ever considered voluntary euthanasia as a cure for your unfulfilled existence?” This always goes completely over their heads.
I wonder if these same women also consider their husbands boring.
In my last missive I reported on my best mate Devin’s affair with the delightful Sasha who is 12 years his junior. Sasha is a delightful creature, beautiful, vivacious and a joy to be with. Unfortunately she carries quite a little baggage. Three dysfunctional children, a perpetual air of drama, a string of broken relationships and a psychotic ex-boyfriend are only a few. Living beyond her means and an absence of a moral centre that would embarrass a Patpong hooker complete the picture. Knowing it could only end in tears, the initial advice to my pal was “Run, Forrest, run”. However, seeing he was completely enraptured by her I knew my advice would be ignored. I merely resolved to be there for him to pick up the pieces when the inevitable occurred.
I have spent time with Sasha principally as decoy for their affair. I do not entertain any sexual designs on her and acknowledge she is off limits to me, but must confess I genuinely enjoyed her company. She is the succubus of legend, the mythical siren tempting sailors to their doom, the femme fatale beloved of writers of spy novels. She knows how to charm and whilst not totally immune to her siren charms I am a realist and never took her inveterate flirting seriously. I can certainly understand how she could enchant any man she meets. Very few men receive any gentle feminine attention anymore, never mind encounter such a provocative temptress.
Two hundred years ago she would have been burnt at the stake as a witch.
I could see many parallels with my pal’s affair and the famous all consuming Thai girlfriend experience many Thailand aficionados have encountered. My pal fell unreservedly and totally for her charms fully intending to leave his wife for her.
It has been a fascinating if not macabre experience observing the inevitable train crash. I saw the wheels leave the rail some weeks ago and watched in slow motion as the locomotive began to roll over and career inexorably towards the embankment.
In my opinion the moment of derailment occurred when he introduced her to his rich friend, David. David is a millionaire with property in the Channel Islands, a box at Lords and a playboy lifestyle. He is also an unmitigated cad and a bounder. He thinks his money can get him anything he wants and invariably it does. Sasha is an opportunist with the morals of an African despot so the result of this meeting was inevitable. On the very day Devin admitted his affair to his wife the capricious Sasha was in the south of France with millionaire David. At that point he realised he had lost her, or as I explained he had lost his place in the queue.
He is understandably devastated and I am helping him pick up the pieces. However, there are couple of aspects I find fascinating. Sasha sees nothing wrong with her actions and cannot comprehend why they could not get back together once she had returned from her assignation with David. The other was the reaction of Devin’s wife.
His wife had become a frumpy old bore with no interests or social life. She had not slept with him for years and he had to practically beg for the occasional sex which always made him feel dirty. When he told his wife of his affair there was the inevitable histrionics, divorce was threatened and he was told to leave their house. However once she was acquainted with a few facts of life she realised her husband was all she had so tempered her reactions. She is intelligent enough to realise her friends and colleagues would comprehend her frigid attitude had contributed to the situation and she would lose the moral high ground all martyred women crave. The subject of divorce has therefore been shelved and reconciliation is a distinct possibility.
The other interesting aspect has been the level of self confidence my pal has displayed since beginning his affair, almost to the point of self delusion. Devin is a 58-year old average bloke, Sasha his mistress is really quite a babe so it is understandable their relationship would attract discussion. In reply to the frequent comment that he was punching well above his weight he vehemently disagrees and maintains he and Sasha are a good match. He refuses to accept the brainwashing of our culture that a man above 50 is invisible and has no value. He maintains he is well respected and popular in the social circles he moves in and declared she is not too good for him it and was she who should feel fortunate. It is not quite a sense of privilege but a profound belief in his own value. I can not help but admire his confidence and feeling of self worth, however misplaced.
This is in complete contrast to my own attitude and mindset. I am no less witty or amusing than my pal. I am self assured in most my parts of my life, my work and general ability to socialise but I have a real problem of confidence with western women. I can not escape the brainwashing I have undergone. I feel unworthy and can not imagine any woman being attracted to me. It is quite worrying.
A couple of my students have told me of a new phenomenon amongst their fraternity. Many young men have cameras set up in their flats to film the activities when they bring a girl home. They do this not for the sordid reasons one would suspect but do so in case there is a question of consent. They retain the recordings as evidence in the event of subsequently being accused of rape. I find this development most disturbing and is a sad indictment on the society we are creating.
To be fair, other than my discontent with western womanhood I am generally happy living in England at present although I do feel a little restless. My Thai lady in Bristol has cooled on me and has not returned my calls for a month now. I suspect like most Thai women resident in the UK she has a stable of elderly and middle aged men courting her attention. I clearly failed the audition.
My work situation is encouraging. The concerns I previously reported have not materialised. All the people I feared would impede me are too involved with looking busy and being important to interfere with me. Although the lucrative project in Scotland finished last week I now have four diploma groups to teach at the new centre in my hometown which is keeping me gainfully employed. In fact out of a possible 60 days from September to the end of November when the courses close for a month I have 48 days work. I also screwed a slightly improved daily rate so I may be able to tuck a little money away when they finally pay me. Ironically, now I am busy the institute have decided to string me out for my money. At the beginning of November the last invoice they paid was from early August. Whilst this is a source of annoyance I know the money will start to come through eventually. If I stop drinking two handed on Friday nights I should have a surplus by December. What should I do with this money?
I read Thailand-related stories somewhat indiscriminately however I do preferentially purchase books by fellow Stickmanites like Tony McManus, Mark (Mega) Jones or Steve Rosse. Of course the ultimate Stickmanite is the magnificent Steven Leather and I buy every book he publishes. I consume his novels and adore his short stories. In two recent Spider Sheppard stories there is a commonality to the two villains. One is a Muslim terrorist from the West Midlands and in the other story the baddie is a fat Brummie. Both are defined by wearing Wolverhampton Wanderers shirts. This has convinced me the great Steven Leather is a Stickman reader and has actually read some of my ramblings on the site. I believe in deference to my frequent allusion to West Bromwich Albion shirts (small youth size) he clad his aberrant villains in the rags of my rival team, the Dingles (aka the Wolves).
Or maybe I am deluding myself and should get out more often?
On the subject of books I am determined to (self) publish a collection of short stories. They are ready for publication but need a cover. I would appreciate if any stickmanites have images or photos they could give me appropriate to the proposed title “The Bangkok Lady boy Male voice choir and other stories”.
In my last missive I reported my first wife had remarried and had moved to Spain leaving my two sons homeless. My eldest lad has purchased a house and is living happily with his girlfriend. My youngest son is more problematic, without a job his options were limited. He and his girlfriend plan to move to Bulgaria in January to work on an ostrich farm (you couldn’t make it up) but having nowhere to go in the interim have moved in with me. As I only have a one bedroom flat they are sleeping on my bed settee, an arrangement that is not without difficulties. His girlfriend has a job at the local Bingo hall so is in and out at all hours. My son however spends all his time playing games on his computer, I suspect waiting for the alien mothership to return and collect him.
I am not particularly house-proud but for the past few years have endeavoured to maintain the standard set when my Thai wife was living with me. There had admittedly been a little entropy in the last year with so much college and teaching material stacked around the flat but the effect of three people living in such a confined space came as a shock. Their eccentric lifestyle and untidy habits also came as a shock and I feel I am living in a student squat. With the clutter of three people it is like being in a can of maggots and I am glad I have had my tetanus jabs. It has been no hardship not being able to bring any female company home but I have no opportunity to enjoy myself in a gentlemanly manner….. I may as well throw away my left handed computer mouse.
You can imagine it is a little dispiriting as I have not been enjoying the best of health. I have three medical conditions classified as acute which means they will never improve. At times I believe the only ailment I don’t have is hypochondria. I have learnt to live with this and it does not bother me unduly although I do sleep in the recovery position in order to save the paramedic’s time. I have felt a little lethargic of late and feel as if I am sitting in God's waiting room with only a stroke or heart attack to look forward to. With the dreaded season of ill will known as Christmas on the horizon I need to break the mood. I need to escape for a time.
My pals Bangkok Barry and Union Hill informed me of the plan for a tribute evening to our comrade Phil who sadly met his demise in suspicious circumstances earlier this year. The plan involves a group of his many friends making a pilgrimage to his old Suhkumvit haunts and raising a glass together in memory of the old bugger. It was also rumoured that the sainted Stick would be participating. The idea of meeting old friends was definitely appealing, the event was planned for Saturday 5th December, I have no commitments in December, so why not join them?
So I can report I have booked a flight and am coming to Bangkok on Thursday 4th December. I will be sitting in the Golden bar adjacent to the Nana Hotel at 7:00 PM on Thursday should any Stickmanites care to join me for a beer. I shall also be in the Secrets bar on Walking Street on Monday 8th December if any of my Pattaya based pals would care to join me. As always, watch this space.