Pat-Pong Rd

15 05 2011

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Well Dear World,

Do I have your attention? Hold on a moment. I have just been reading about nuclear fusion–or rather trying to in between my computer crashes. I have to confess that these concurrent glitches e.g. ( ‘Gmail cannot display this page:’ or ‘Internet explorer cannot display this page. It may be down or have  moved somewhere else!’) (irresponsibly*) (my asterisk) These glitches have definitely put a dent in my faith in that wonder machine the confuser, that is already in charge of running seemingly unreliable nuclear reactors, murderous flying drones with their ‘collateral damage’, our international financial systems that crash and overnight transform the savings of remote peasants into debits and, of course, nuclear weapons with their computerized safety programs designed to prevent our blowing our world to ratpoo. At times, it appears that we have so deeply delegated survival to scientific mechanization, that tactical speculation about how to live, what to do for a living, what to eat or drink, where to raise our young, and even what to teach them, have all become so compromised that the mere consideration of considering is utterly pointless.

We live in the post-physical age beneath the merciless shadow of the mechanical Moloch, which, whether we like it or not, will consume a certain proportion of our children, and whose scientific omnipotence has made our very bodies obsolete, beyond the responsibility of keeping the fingers sufficiently agile to hit computer keys and press buttons.

So what should we be learning to survive in a world where only eight and nine year olds know how to get into adult-proofed food packages, open bags of potato chips, get the caps off bottled drinks, manipulate computers, learn their lexicons sufficiently rapidly to keep up with the pack until a fresh generation—this time in their sevens and eights– supersedes them on the technological learning curve, and leaves the rest of us doddering on the brink of utterly useless obsolescence?

Am I feeling my age? Well, yes, Dear World. I am. I do think I might have a wee touch of post-physical-age-obsolescence-syndrome coming on, and it isn’t comfortable. Is there anything that I can take for it that isn’t vacuum wrapped in impenetrable plastic, and does not require that I learn an entirely new language of technical jargon and acronyms to understand the microscopic instructions in seven languages, written in red ink on a black background?

Robbie Burns, the Scot’s darling poet said “A mon is borrn wi his cods in a cleft stick and maun wise ‘em oot as best he can” –another dystopian worldview! It is perhaps pointless to imagine what he would have said had he lived in a time when radioactive power plants, were seeding the heavens with radioactivity, and the internet page warning people down-wind about it ‘might have ‘moved somewhere else permanently’- whilst the inventor of this software system was now a billionaire and had no intention of telling us where they went. By the bye, I really get off on that ‘permanence’ that is seducing my web-pages. I find it quaint, to say the least, that in this age of Buddhist impermanence, there is a little ‘somewhere’ that Bill Gates and company know about, crammed with fugitive web-pages, (many of them mine) locked perpetually into pristine immobility, like quaint and frozen mammoths from prehistoric pasts. And Mistah Gates, Suh, he doan feels no obligation whatever to tell me where my web-pages may have gone to, or how to escape his mazes. He even has the effrontery to ask me , when I hit ‘Help’, if I have paid for my Windows!

Listen Mister Gates, you arrogant young nerd. Give me back my web pages that I have paid you and yours so frigging much for, or I’ll sic the bikers on you and have them break all your Windows. Have I paid? Have I ever paid! Grrrrrr! Forgive me World. I am usually a pacifistic, gentle man. It must be my existential impotence getting to me. It isn’t merely the fact that our world is becoming daily more complicated and difficult to evaluate, and that that difficulty informs our self knowledge in a progressively evolving manner. It is also because the way in which we grade our life efforts is not only vastly different from that of our grand parents, encompassing activities, professions, and callings, which didn’t exist before; but also because our moral and ethical value systems are also in a constant state of flux.

A modern air-space controller is looking at a totally newer field of evaluation than anything that ever happened before, when he is deciding whether or not, his has been a life worth living. The only common factors with yesterday’s world, apart from moral precepts, is how much money has been earned. For it appears that today the entire world runs on the paper we call money— dirty paper most of the time. The world runs on dirty paper. People do the most incredible things in exchange for dirty paper—robbery, rape, murder, prostitution, labouring and on and on—a universality that confers the status of magic on what are , frequently in emerging countries, truly filthy little pieces of paper, given in exchange for a most extraordinary range of activities.

And so it evolves that a man who has, by means of high energy or intelligence or both, hoarded a great deal of this trash, can regard himself as successful. Isn’t that strange! Providing you have enough dirty paper you can get away with just about anything and regard yourself as a successful being. You can be a mercenary soldier and for years shoot other humans for dirty paper and with it buy all that your spouse and offspring need or desire and the world will approve you .There are, of course certain moral limitations, but they are few and flexible. The people you shoot shouldn’t be nationals of a friendly state or children of someone more murderous than yourself. Apart from that it’s Rafferty’s rules.

That being said, some things never change. Though a person may break every man-made law and still have a significant and enjoyable life, there is one cosmic law which cannot be ignored by everyone without human life ceasing for ever on the planet. That law is simple; reproduce. Fortunately in this task humanity has an ally in Ma Nature, a devious old manipulator who has designed females to be in oestrus once a month, and males to be in oestrus permanently, and in so doing created what has been described as the world’s oldest profession: prostitution.

The interplay of buyer and seller in that dance, manifests in an almost endless variety of exchanges from hyper secretive and covert, to brazenly ostentatious and outrageous. It morphs into its most ugly, surreptitious, counter-productive and destructive modes, under the hands of religions and governments attempting to eliminate it. It is highly exploitative of males and females alike and simultaneously highly profitable for some men and some women, who are capable of earning very high quantities of that dirty paper, without feeling injured by the Puritanical prejudice, and vilification of their peers-who sometimes are themselves both ‘whores’ and ‘pimps,’ (both of which labels are sexist and unfair, and should be avoided by kind people). Furthermore, with little imagination, some members of both genders find a solace in the oldest profession that is otherwise denied them by unattractive appearances or mental handicaps. Others of both genders are injured. Like drugs the oldest profession penetrates the highest levels of society and the lowest. Whether we like it or not, whatever our opinions, it is. It is us, always has been us, and always will be us.

One of the most colourful markets for sex in the world is in Thailand on Pat Pong Rd in the heart of Bangkok. At this stage I must point out that although there is prostitution in every large capital in the world, Pat Pong is not typically Thai. In fact Thais are a very conservative and restrained people who strongly disapprove of any egregious display of any emotion whether it is love, lust, anger, or excitement. Historically prostitution was restricted to massage parlours. During the Vietnam War the Americans used Bangkok as a Rest and Recuperation centre and Pat Pong’s raunchy sex centre grew in response to American money, combined with the unrestrained sexuality of the West.

That lengthy introduction having been said, let’s get on with the interesting account of my night on the town down Pat Pong, with my good friend Carey and a new friend George from Sydney who was spending ten days in the city. And so it was that the three of us, whom we named the The Three Muskytears came to be walking along Pat Pong Road one evening after watching a whole street morph in little more than an hour from a nondescript side road linking two city streets. It became a crowded boulevard of stalls down its centre, selling literally everything, with open door’d night clubs on either side emitting loud music and the soft blandishments of extremely attractive and scantily clad young women. Above the doors in garish stuttering neon, the logos of the establishments signalled to us to enter. Unsurprisingly we chose the door beneath a large circular neon saying “Super Pussy and passed into a living exegesis of the expression ‘culture shock.’

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Impressionism

It was like a reverse time warp into Paris during the Impressionist period. For awhile, because of the light change it was difficult for my eyes to identify form. Everything melted into a swirling cloud of bright red and blue. Heavy hip-hop music from massive wall to ceiling speakers, extinguished all other sound. It was a chemical explosion, an aurora, a street riot, it was Gauguin, Monet, Van Gogh, an East Indian wedding. It was sensory rape. And as my mind cleared slightly I made out a long room with chairs along the sides facing a raised platform down the middle on which, clad only in very skimpy bikinis, designed to emphasize the camel hoofs of their mons, were about a dozen exquisitely beautiful young Thai women, who couldn’t have raised an ounce of fat between them all.

Now let me tip-toe as lightly as I can through the bone-yard of the Western gender wars and try to position myself as kindly as I can in a neutrality . I am a white male—guilty by my birth and hormones of relentless attraction towards beautiful young women. By my age guilty also of being ‘too old, ‘ and dammed in perpetuity by the insatiable ache of desire and hunger. They on their part are not condemned for being ‘too young’ but are socially censured for their profession. I am not among their critics. Their bodies belong to them absolutely and without reservation. What they choose to do with them, providing they don’t injure anyone else, is entirely their business.

At one time, when I was a soldier in the front line in Korea, I slept with a professional girl who was procured for me by the military, before I was sent back into combat. I think both she and I liked each other—in fact I fell in love with her, romantic youth that I was. I have no doubt that she and her family were all hungry as were most young women and the men in Korea at that time . And I too was hungry with the savage need of young romance and the adumbrant fear of death that combat can generate. If there was any guilty party in that relationship it was undoubtedly the military, who conscripted me into the ranks of murderers, fed me amphetamines that generated a post combat habit, hired the girls as hookers to furbish the British Commonwealth Military Division’s Rest and Recuperation Camp, and then discarded all of us.           

The reasons why some women get into prostitution are as  IMG_5339-1_thumb

numerous as there are players in that game. Some of them, especially in developing cultures, are sold into prostitution—sometimes by their impoverished parents- and these women are victims of our ruthless societies. Some enlist because they like the money and clothes and affluent lifestyles, and some get into it because, like me and ninety five percent of all humans , they like sex, and are impatient with the protocols and dances that surround human mating with so much frustration, hypocrisy, guilt, fear, and deception.

I do not go with prostitutes for a variety of reasons. I am an older man who, as an infant, was subject to the brutal sexual mutilation which we call circumcision. Bereft of his protective foreskin, a man’s penile sensitivity has diminished from constant chafing of clothing by the time he is around fifty years of age or later,  with the result that achieving an orgasm while wearing a condom is frequently impossible. He then has the choice of asking for ‘unprotected’ sex, which is now considered criminal in some strongly feminist cultures like Sweden, or having sex only in monogamous relationships, which makes the already difficult mating game harder than ever. This is like condemning a woman who has suffered a clitorectomy because she doesn’t have orgasms. But no one wants to look at it like that. It is easier to condemn men than try to reform the atavistic practices of the medical profession.

I have other reasons for not availing myself of these lovely women. Since the advent of AIDS unprotected sex is dangerous anywhere and doubly so in Asia. Then again when I mentally change roles I don’t think I would like to have sex with some people I was not attracted to and, also, I have a daughter whom I love very deeply. I must treat all women with the same love I have for her and I would much prefer that she did not walk that road, it is far too dangerous. There are men ‘out there’ whose minds have been messed up by religions; foolish, unkind men. There are less conflicting and less risky ways of surviving in this world.

All this to explain to you why, when the lights began to clear in my head and I took a seat in the Super Pussy club, I had no intention of buying. There is, however, since feminism, no neutral ground around things sexual and males carry a baggage of conferred culpability merely for being male; this translates into feelings of guilt and awkwardness. As with most other men since puberty, a large part or my mind has been occupied with thoughts of females, femininity, sex, romance, love, and sexual hunger. If there is any one quality that distinguishes men from women, it is men’s inexpugnable sexual hunger and conflicting emotions. Oh Dear World! How that hurts!

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The girls were truly lovely to watch as they wriggled their hips and bums so I sat contentedly with my hands in my lap as George and Carey bought drinks which were, of course, outrageously expensive. The hip-hop rattled around in my head like boulders in a barrel. After awhile of protracted eye contact the girl closest to me on the stage stepped down into the recessed path between the chairs and the stage. She hooked her thumbs into her bra and popped her breasts into my face. Well, beginning, I guess, at birth, I have seen a lot of breasts in my life, though not often so close or so soon after meeting . But I have never shared the North American mammary fixation. So I rested my hands in my lap and occasionally looked up into her face. Perhaps I was not registering enough interest or excitement, because after awhile she took a step up so that her crotch was right in my face. . Hmmm! Now what? Where should I look now? A prepubescent child in the back of my brain was nervously eyeing the door, preparatory to cutting and running for it. But too late! She hooked her thumbs into her bikini and pushed it down to her knees. Oh My God! What do I say, do, now?

Here I was , with slight variation, delivered of the dream my starving mind had fantasized so many years, now a mere six inches away, and suddenly I didn’t know what to do with it. Was this the Perfect, the Super Pussy? Should I abandon all civilized protocols, scoop her off her feet , gather her up and pack her off to a room out of the back somewhere? Or should I play safe and pretend I hadn’t seen anything and, kind of, you know just casually look away? Who me ? What pussy? Did she really? No! that wouldn’t wash. Perhaps I should just brass it out and stare right at it as though I was a porno movie director checking one of his stars. No. Not very plausible. And the reason I am so red in the face as a matter of fact, is just the harsh red lighting in here. Anyway I am Gay. And why was I sitting in a Thai brothel called Super Pussy if I was Gay?…No , O.K. so I’m not Gay it just—-hmmm, um,

Well , yes, it probably could be quite pleasant if it weren’t for all the other people in the room. I turned to my right. George was in a similar situation to me except he was getting a gynaecological display that was pure second year Med School . So I just sat there like some open mouthed country hick and yes…I did look at it . Well all right , maybe I stared— a bit. I guess I did stare a little. Just a little, you know. All right! I stared at it. Goggled at it. Dammit it might have been the perfect one leaving me with a lifetime of regret that I had ignored it.

Perhaps I perved at it. All right, I leched at it if that’s how you want to describe it! What the hell was I supposed to do? It occupied eighty percent of my visual field. But I kept my hands to myself—politely resting in my lap. I am a product of the eighties and nineties. I know how easily a charge of sexual assault can be slapped on a man, and how prejudiced the justice system is in these cases. I’m from Canada, dammit; the country where a mere look can earn a guy ten years hard. Maybe I did look a long time—a little long time . But I didn’t touch, O.K? At all! I didn’t touch!

But then, after a small time, my lissom dancer swivelled round and, bending over, displayed the same treat from behind and, to ensure that I understood the nature of the transaction we were enacting she sat down on my hands. Which was more than my beleaguered brain could handle. “Mr Payne” a cold voice snarled in the back of my brain. (It was the judge). “You say this scenario was not of your making or desire. Did you, at any time, attempt to escape, physically or verbally? My terror must have registered with my dancer. She stood up, pulled up her bikini and re-ascended the stage. Real men were hard to find these days!

Well Dear World. I thought about all this a lot. I had walked into the club fully aware of the nature of the bait and I cannot complain about what followed. My dancing girl did not in any way or form attempt to deceive me. On the contrary:, in evaluating the way she was conducting her business, she must be judged as absolutely fair and honest. There are many incredibly beautiful boy-girl transvestites in Bangkok where there is far more tolerance than in the West, and many of them, like the girls, and every employee in the west, sell themselves for a livelihood. The nimble little twist and duck of my dancing girl left me no doubt about which gender I would have been choosing, had that been my wish. The advertising had not been deceptive and, unlike the makers and vendors of candies, cookies, and a hundred other commodities, globally marketed in miniscule portions in large semi-void containers by ‘respectable’ retailers, “what I seed would have been what I got.”

Furthermore the vendors of watches, and jewellery and leather goods and trinkets and souvenirs, that filled the hundreds of stalls each night along Pat Pong, enjoyed a busy market that owed its popularity entirely to the dancers of both sexes. The following night George regaled us with a lovely story. He had taken three of the dancers to his spacious room in a nearby high-end hotel. The girls had a wonderful time, jumped into the massive bath together and soaped and splashed and laughed and helped themselves to the extensively furbished bar. When they left giggling they took every bottle of Johnny Walker and other drinks, all the bath robes and towels and even the soap. They had a marvellous time. We all agreed that it was good to hear for once a story about the oldest profession, that wasn’t darkened by the sere clouds of Western religious Puritanism. And the Super Pussy?  Dear World, every story of human attraction seems to have those thoughtful endings that touch upon our loneliness, and our  failure to grasp the vital moment that leads to perfect happiness.

And thus the native hue of resolution

Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought

And enterprises of great pitch and moment,

With this regard their currents turn awry,

And lose the name of action. Hamlet.

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Madonna

Was that the Perfect One, the Super Pussy, who, bored by my passivity, turned and re-ascended the stage leaving me with the scrubbed visions of Madonna. I’ll never know. She was very very pretty.

Photos by Carey Linde. www.Linde photos.coms

Copyright Laurie Payne. May 11th 2011. reproduction with request.

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