Sunday, October 30, 2011

Oh So Wicked

Who knew a walking haystack could be so sexy I'd want to reach over and blow him?

Turns out all sorts of wonderful and magical things actually do happen in the fictional Land of Oz. The Wicked Witches aren't all that wicked, the Wizard isn't at all wizardly and Dorothy isn't that much of a heroine after all.

At least that's how they tell the tale in the musical Wicked.

A warm welcome to the theatre!

With theatres lining the block in the West End, surely there's no visit to London without catching a musical or two! Not forgetting the plays of course. So many to choose from but for me, it had to be a choice between the Lion King and Wicked. Although I would have loved to have seen all the rest, we had very little time on our hands with our packed itinerary.

And I'll admit the thought of taking the dodgy midnight train home always gives me the chills.

Thank goodness we started out early to the theatre since we found ourselves utterly befuddled somewhere in the West End after finding out that there were two theatres with the same name!

Calvin : Only one short day but are we there yet?
Paul : OMG I think there are two Apollo Theatres in London. An Apollo Theatre in Shaftesbury and an Apollo Theatre in Victoria!
Calvin : What is this feeling? Does that mean we have to defy gravity?
Paul : Perhaps you will have to since they are both miles apart!
Calvin : Perhaps we need the Glinda to show us the way!
Paul : Not unless you have some ruby slippers lying around!

Didn't have a yellow brick road in front of us but we had our helpful wizard in the form of an amiable ticket tout who pointed us along our way. Even plodding munchkins and flying monkeys didn't hinder our way as we marched down to Victoria just in the nick of time before the curtains rose.

And quick we were to find our seats despite squeezing between portly matrons stuffing themselves full with sweet candy and warm beer. Didn't blame them for partaking in the meagre bit of consolation since the deliciously debonair hero of the show, Fiyero, seemed only to have eyes for the green-skinned Elphaba, the main protagonist of Wicked.

Seriously. No one has made tight leather pants look so good on stage. Even when Fiyero ( played by the sexy Mark Evans ) later turned into straw, even the witch couldn't stay away from him. I certainly don't blame her.

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Only Way Is Essex

Real people in modified situations, saying unscripted lines but in a structured way.

Yes, sometimes my life does seem particularly scripted. My very own reality show, fortunately more in the vein of a light situational comedy most times rather than a hysterical tragi-drama. Let's face it, coming-out storylines shown on our television screens are usually fraught with drama, suspense and the occasional suicide pact.

Not exactly the walk-into-the-sunset happy ending we're all looking for.

Though I did toy with the idea of coming out to my mother on the crowded steps of Piccadilly Circus moments before sprinting into the tube station hand-in-hand with Charming Calvin, I figured that piece of wild fantasy would border on a silly farce the likes of Benny Hill.

Paul : Pardon? Were you inquiring after my friend Calvin?

So perhaps a change of venue to the pretty little cottage home of our hosts in the picturesque English countryside? Granted I already figured that revealing such a momentous though poorly hidden secret in the their presence would seem a tad ungrateful. Why, my hosts are English - a Mr and Mrs Smith no less - and they certainly wouldn't allow such a surfeit of unbecoming histrionics in their proper household! What would the neighbours think!

With Charming Calvin and I unobtrusively playing footsie under the dinner table every night, it didn't take Mrs Smith very long to ascertain the situation at hand. Racked with curiousity since we weren't inclined to confirm or deny any accusations, Sadie Smith found the time to have a spot of tea with my mother.

Mrs Smith : Oh so who is this friend of his? Calvin?
Mother : Yes, Calvin.
Mrs Smith : Quiet lil fellow. Have they known each other long?
Mother : Mother : Yes, he has been Paul's friend for quite a long while.
Mrs Smith : Comes over often?
Mother : All the time! Calvin's practically a part of the family.
Mrs Smith : That close?
Mother : Almost an adopted son.

Obviously not the answer Sadie Smith was looking for.

Not the one I wanted to hear either. Like any other soap opera out there, there was someone busy eavesdropping several feet away of course. This time it was me - and I leaned surreptitiously against the kitchen door with bated breath to listen to the conversation.

Of course with such pivotal moments transpiring in the next room, Charming Calvin remained oblivious, utterly engrossed with his feast of butter scones, apricot jam and freshly picked apples.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Racy Upstart of Savile Row

Hear ye! Hear ye! Oh gentlemen of London, you need look no further for a place where you'll feel woefully, painfully, tragically inadequate! Just take a step right here down to the posh district of Mayfair to find the shopping street Savile Row, renowned for its traditional men's bespoke tailoring!

And this time it's not the perfectly cut suits that would have you feeling sadly deficient in some manner.

No, the unfortunate lack of flawless six-pack abdominals would be the source of unendurable shame instead.

It would be hard not to notice the store just around the corner. Despite the staid, reputable front of the historical building, it would be impossible to overlook the ginormous risque poster of a muscular Adonis with his sizeable package placed conspicuously at the foyer. The theme of male near-nudity - and the inherent homoeroticism therein - seems to be the general interior decorating look they're going for with shirtless teenage boys cavorting blithely on advertisements and murals.

Abercrombie is here!

And how could we possibly forget the half-naked store greeters! Hunky male model wannabes with the prerequisite six-pack, sublime tan and beatific smile in low-slung jeans.

I’m pretty sure there’s a lot more to life than being really, really good looking.

Certainly not in the eugenics utopia of Abercrombie & Fitch where the unattractive, the overweight and the disabled need not apply. Even the photogenic sales assistants are uniformly gorgeous with blinding white smiles. Not that they could actually determine anyone's looks in the grim subterranean darkness of the store.

Adjusting to the dim interiors had me blindly tottering down the wooden steps utterly disoriented - a fact not helped by the deafening thumpa thumpa club music and the copious amounts of fragrance in the air. Shades of a gay nightclub so hip that it actually hurts. Fortunately the store had plenty of shockingly photogenic store models ready to help.

Somewhere in the dark I saw a brightly luminous smile belonging to an amazingly sublime construct of human male DNA. Now I finally knew what Bel Ami pornstars did as a daytime job.

Sales assistant : Hey what's going on!
Paul : *cough* Is there something in the air?
Sales assistant : Oh yes that's our cologne Fierce!
Paul : What? *cough* I can't hear you over the pounding music!
Sales assistant : Fierce! Would you like to try some?
Paul : *cough* Definitely no.
Sales assistant : How about one of our jeans?
Paul : I'd rather pay to get you out of yours!
Sales assistant : What?
Paul : Nothing. What about this hoodie?

What self-respecting gay man could possibly fail to pay pilgrimage to such a holy site.

Didn't purchase anything though since the prices were shockingly prohibitive. With the exorbitant amount I'd pay for a pair of jeans, I'd expect at least a quick grope in the changing rooms with one of the exceedingly stunning models.

Monday, October 24, 2011

A Foggy Day in London Town

Oh yes it is foggy.

Though the fog remained more in my throbbing head than around the city environs itself - despite its oft-repeated moniker as the Big Smoke. Apparently a jet-setting lifestyle - and the unsettling time differences between cities - would prove highly detrimental to my fragile health. Add that to my persistent insomnia during harrowing flights and you can imagine my distress.

Never one to give up without a fight, I turned to the one thing that would help alleviate my pain.


Nothing like the glorious ring of cash registers to get my senses realigned.

Quite a foggy day out there!

London is rightfully famed for its dozens of neighbourhood markets. Though very few quite as famed, kitschy - or as jam-packed with gawking camera-laden tourists - as Portobello Road Market. As you move from the wildly expensive antiques at the Notting Hill end, the stalls gradually evolve to display fruits and vegetables, cheeses and meats, cakes and breads; on to trendy boutiques selling vintage clothing and up-and-coming labels, only to finally end up in Ladbroke Grove with stalls hawking retro military memorabilia.

So you can imagine I went just a bit mental seeing the bargains.

Signs everywhere I turned brightly printed with the beguiling phrases of sale, bargains and prices down certainly cleared the disorienting fugue in my head. Siren calls for me, even a tiny yet enticing 2-for-1 sign propped up on a shabby stall drew my gaze. Yes, my poor wallet and I simply cannot stand to be near markets! No doubt I would have carted back dozens of antique stoneware water coolers, old street signs and even an ancient toy pull cart if I hadn't had Charming Calvin to shake me back to reality.

Calvin : What is that?
Paul : A lovely antique sterling silver toast rack?
Calvin : You don't like toast.
Paul : One day I might! Especially if I had a maid ready to make the toast. And look it has such pretty matching sugar tongs!
Calvin : For the dainty cubes in your sugar bowl?
Paul : We could always get a sugar bowl.
Calvin : Get it then.
Paul : Hmm. Wonder if I should get it.
Calvin : Well, you can certainly afford to splurge.
Paul : Damn. Now I don't want to get it!

Never underestimate the taciturn Calvin.

Similar scene repeated itself on the high streets of Oxford Street, Kensington and Piccadilly as well. Each time Calvin brought up the notion that I could actually afford the needless expenditure, contrary fellow that I am, I immediately backtracked from the frivolous purchase. Wildly unequal exchange rates displaced the bargain bin signs in my head.

Double damn.

Else I would probably have needed a 20-foot container just to ship my purchases home.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Autumn in London

Almost three years ago, we took romantic walks every evening down the crowded streets of downtown Beijing in autumn.

Though the streets were quite as crowded this time, the walks were far from leisurely and resembled more closely desperate marathon runs down cobbled streets into dingy underground stations and up again. Far too many sights in Londontown to cram into the paltry space of a short week. Yet we managed to cover quite a bit from the grisly secrets of the Tower of London to the hushed halls of the National Gallery.

Hand-in-hand. Shoulder-to-shoulder. Though twice as hurried, I found it quite as romantic as our walks in Beijing. With my mother as an ever-present chaperone during the trip, it occurred to me that not recognizing our relationship for what it was had to be the severest form of denial. How could she not tell? Calvin and I were far from circumspect that's for sure.

Though we did refrain from any serious hanky-panky since the expeditious nature of our jam-packed sightseeing meant we were both dead tired by the end of the day.

What shall I read next?

All that art, culture and history crammed into the space of only two days had me blithely wondering how Charming Calvin was taking it. Never a big fan of reading himself - especially when it dealt with such interminably tedious topics, I guessed the sudden unwelcome onslaught of trifling British trivia must have been quite bewildering.

My ISO : So how is the boyfriend enjoying London?
Paul : Endless museums, galleries and bookshops? I have no idea. Shell-shocked possibly.
My ISO : I never could make much sense of all that dull information either.
Paul : Think all the tales of kings and queens from the different eras must be jumbled up in his muddled brain by now.
My ISO : William the Conqueror marrying six wives in time for the Great Exhibition of 1851?
Paul : Something befuddling like that.

At least I thought it would confound him. Calvin however seemed to take all that in stride.

Despite the hours spent browsing in the behemoth bookstore of Waterstone's Piccadilly, I don't think he was inspired to reexamine the overflowing glut of information shoved down his throat by our enthusiastic guides. Not a single book did he crack open! Instead our dauntless fellow spent the time reviewing the pictures he took of everything in sight from the awe-inspiring marble casts of Trajan's Column to the boisterous fruit vendors in Portobello Road Market.

Just a note though but have you guessed that I simply adore the bookstores in London?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

London Calling

Plaster cast about six inches tall of a free-standing clock tower painted in bronze and gilded in gold.

Nothing much really but that's about all I could afford back then. Always been one for tacky trinkets - thankfully the loose bits of change I had in my woefully thin pockets as an impecunious student were just enough to justify the exorbitant purchase on an underwhelmingly minuscule replica of the towering Big Ben. Yet it was the most I'd ever squandered on a holiday.

So it was all I could do not to have my foolish blundering maid summarily executed on Tower Hill when she clumsily chipped it during an unfortunate dusting misadventure. To say I was livid would have been a severe understatement.

Where shall I begin?

It has been a while. More than ten years later I stood before the towering monument yet again, this time very much older, far from wiser and significantly more plump in the pockets.

And obviously more than ready to splurge.

Like an old trusted friend, the city remained much the same with the shopping streets written clear on the back of my hand. Much to the dismay of Charming Calvin - himself an ingenuous first-timer in the Big Smoke. No doubt wide-eyed with endless wonder over the treasures that the city of London had to offer, he found himself instead confronted with an irate boyfriend at the steps of the Green Park tube station early one October morning.

Paul : List down ten places you want to visit in London.
Calvin : Only ten? There are so many sights to see. I don't know if -
Paul : Didn't you make up a list on the horrific thirteen hour flight here with a monstrous 8 hour layover?
Calvin : I slept!
Paul : Well I never can sleep a wink on planes so I made a list.
Calvin : Would that be a shopping list?
Paul : Clever boy! Speak now or forever hold your tattered visitor's guide. My shopping spree will commence in about 24 hours!

Dithering between tourist sites, Calvin found it hard to make a snap decision when faced with such an ultimatum. Accustomed to such nervous agitation, I saw no other recourse but to drag him to the Tower. Lucky for him though no grim executioner awaited him at Tower Hill but a gregarious Yeomen Warder ready to show him the historical sites.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Endangered Virgins

With a terribly apt handle such as Harry Huevos, you can imagine that sexual intercourse never actually scared the randy fellow. Even as a little eight-year-old boy.

Though there might be a bit of exaggeration on his part - macho Latin bluster and all that, Harry claims that nine is the age that he first delved into the sensual mysteries of womanhood so to speak.

Yes, nine.

Even as Harry proudly announced that outrageous proclamation, my shell-shocked mind goggled over the horrifying idea that a bunch of libidinous primary schoolkids gleefully rolling about the sandbox could actually be discovering the carnal uses of the pee pee and the tatas. Seriously, eek and eew. Though I encourage education in all its various forms, I think some lessons should be learnt in time.

Certainly no mad rush to absorb such licentious knowledge! With the indecently early exposure to such worldly delights, you can imagine how shocked Harry Huevos was to learn that thirty-year-old virgins actually exist here. Even forty-year-old ones.

And I don't necessarily mean a member of the clergy.

Friend : I hear there are virgins around!
Harry : What? Where?

Finding out that Virginal Vesper was... well virginal, Harry was horrified. I might as well have informed him a flying dodo had just landed outside the studio. As the phrase goes, we could have knocked him over with a feather.

Harry : She is a virgin?
Paul : Yes?
Harry : They still exist?
Paul : Why not?
Harry : With all the sex available back where I came from, I think virgins became extinct! Everyone was doing it in school.
Paul : Hunted till extinction with rare specimens placed in museums for all to gawk at?
Harry : Maybe!
Paul : Don't you think it's romantic to wait? To share the gift of innocence with someone special?
Harry : Wait? What the fuck for?
Paul : True Love Waits?

Since I'm quite the advocate of wild free loving, it's a little bit hard for me to convince him of the thrill of the chaste! Can't very well speak well of purity pledges and abstinence vows when I don't entirely believe in them either.

Always been a terribly randy fellow as well. Perhaps if I had known back then my ISO was available for mindblowing sex, I might have lost my virginity much, much earlier.

Though probably not at nine.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Latchkey Kids of Miri

Like any frontier town out here in the East, Miri is pretty much run by the men.

Despite what you may think, the raging ideas of bra-burning feminism doesn't seem to have fully breached these blackened shores. With the predominant trades here being oil, timber and shipping - which requires more than its share of simple brute strength, men have the enviable upper hand when it comes to lucrative employment. Though such bright, bold ladies as Piratin Patty are steadily making inroads into these previously male-dominated milieus, even they would agree that their numbers are still few at the moment.

And yes, it is terribly intimidating to be faced every morning with an entire crew of burly sweaty truckers off in a faraway logging camp / offshore platform / shipping yard. Even I would be a little nervous.

Jamie Dornan
Husband : I'm having an affair.
Wife : I'll pretend I didn't hear that. But yes, I am having one too.

So yes, the men go off to work and the ladies stay home to mind the children. Imagine the perfect 1950s family. With their errant husbands usually away for extended periods of time and the squabbling kids already sent off to school, these desperate yet utterly bored housewives are left to their own devices whiling away their time with daily mani-pedis, endless self-improvement classes and endless mahjong nights.

Don't be fooled by the saccharine-sweet montage of suburban bliss though. Just like the perfect Wisteria Lane with its hotbed of intrigue, this town is no different. Of course when I say mani-pedis, it means scathing gossip, self-improvement has more to do with dashing dance instructors and yes, endless mahjong nights come with lots and lots of booze.

Not exactly the sweet domestic housewives you were dreaming about.

Which makes for a lot of screwed-up latchkey kids in town.

Kid : Mommy, I need to go to school.
Mother : Oh darling. Mommy has an awful hangover again. Could you get a ride with the neighbour?
Kid : What about my lunch?
Mother : Just get the maid to wrap up something. I've got a class with Ramon later.
Kid : Ramon? The one who comes by after dinner sometimes?
Mother : Oh yes, mommy's dance teacher.
Kid : Didn't Ramon leave his clothes here this morning?
Mother : Well we do get plenty sweaty after. But nevermind about that. Shoo shoo, get to school.
Kid : Is Daddy coming home this weekend?
Mother : Well he has that other woman to worry about, doesn't he?

Mommy is no angel obviously. Neither is daddy since quite a few seem to have discovered minor wives and secondary families in whichever faraway postings they have been sent to.

And I'm not talking about a handful of examples. More like a truckload. The screwed-up suburban nightmare. Dead-beat parents who don't seem to be trying to hold their family together in the least. Damn. Trying my level best not to judge their shoddy parenting skills since until I have my own children, I wouldn't know how I'd react when faced with a similar situation. Hopefully I'd do better if ever given the chance.

But after being given a brief peek at how the other side lives, never have I appreciated my parents more. Perhaps Stepford perfection would be a bit too much but my parents tried their hardest to give my brother and I the best upbringing they possibly could.

And by God, I'm thankful.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Speaking Hokkien

For my brother and me, the main lingua franca for us at home when we were kids would be English. Dinner time conversations were usually carried out mainly in English with a smattering of Bahasa - our local native language - and our own Hokkien dialect as well.

Since my parents hailed from the northern state of Penang - where the Hokkien dialect is easily spoken everywhere by almost everyone, it was a dialect that was familiar to them both. The dialect itself originated in the Southern region of Fujian province, an important centre for trade and migration, and has since spread beyond the mainland borders to become one of the most common spoken Chinese languages overseas.

So as a side note, some of the patriotic Penangites speak it so much that they've even started making regular podcasts in the Hokkien dialect just to keep it alive.

Something my parents tried to do as well when they passed on the torch, so to speak, to my brother and me. At least that's what I clearly recall. Pretty sure my brother spoke in Hokkien back then!

Dammit. What do I say in Hokkien?

Lately however for some peculiar reason whether from lack of usage or severe cerebral concussion sometime in the past, my brother seems to have forgotten how to speak the dialect. Or at least he seems to have misplaced the ability to speak it conversationally.

Seriously. He speaks like an earnest foreigner trying to pick up the language. Stilted, forced and highly formal rather than the more informal speech the natives are used to. Simply put it would be the equivalent of a Shakespearean thespian painstakingly speaking to a regular English-speaking joe today.

Which we find simply hilarious.

Brother : O thou invisible spirit of wine! If thou hast no name to be known by, let us call thee devil!
Paul : So you don't want to drink?
Brother : Has thou taken leave of thy senses? If wine be the drink of love, then pour on!
Paul : Probably not as much for you then.

We can acquit my brother of any false pretense. I know what you're thinking but it's not a conceited affectation since my stolid brother simply doesn't participate in such shallow artifice. And he doesn't do accents. Much.

Wonder if he can even understand a Hokkien podcast nowadays!

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

The Big, Bad Penis

Battering ram. Spear. Missile.

Even a list of the sly euphemisms associated with the penis itself sounds ouch painful enough. Is it any wonder that virginal romance book heroines squeal in fright whenever one of the above comes knocking?

Heroine : Ooh, I’m not sure about this.
Hero : Hush, baby, you just need to relax.
Heroine : Relax! Are you mad? It’s too big; it will never fit!

By traditional convention, all good girls are brought up to fear the great, monstrous invader that threatens to tear their virginal walls to pieces, so to speak. Correspondingly, bad girls are forever damned for being much too free with their affections. So by expressing sometimes irrational fear of the penis the good girls therefore prove their untouched innocence, and therefore their inherent worthiness.

I've got a weapon and I'm not afraid to use it!

An analogy I found absolutely mind-boggling till a friend of mine actually admitted to believing the same. Ever since I've known her, Virginal Vesper has been scandalously co-habitating with her admittedly scrumptious boyfriend of many years - and yet so far there seems to be nothing remotely sinful happening.

At least according to Vesper who swears on her undefiled chastity!

Vesper : I'm a good girl, I am! I've barely touched... It!
Paul : It?
Vesper : Well... umm.. It! You know It!
Paul : You make the penis sound like some horrific sea monster.
Vesper : But It is!
Paul : Your boyfriend's delicious. I'd definitely play with his monster.
Vesper : With another man? He'd probably freak.
Paul : Sigh. So even with a sexy boytoy stationed by your side, you've only ever been up to 3rd base?
Vesper : I can't even go near it!
Paul : So you masturbate him with what? Two-feet-long chopsticks? Handy feather duster?

Guess some girls just can't rid themselves of the agonizing spectre of the painfully plundering penis.

There's always the fear of the unknown in all of us! Of course I guess gay men would be exempt from this particular rule since we wouldn't be quite as nervous around the phallus. As men ourselves, theoretically most of us would have had an intimate knowledge of the said member. Apart from slight, often negligible differences in size, shade and shape, certainly nothing wildly dissimilar from what we have ourselves.

As teenage boys are all wont to do, chances are we'd have thoroughly explored that particular part of our anatomy. The more curious fellows would have held it up to a measuring ruler at regular intervals. Even as adult males, we handle our penis on a regular basis. Apart from taking a piss of course, we have other more pleasurable pursuits to handle as well. Sometimes repeatedly. Oftentimes more than a couple of times a day depending on the extent of our libidinous urges.

So yeah, with such familiarity, the penis wouldn't be the big bad wolf that it would otherwise appear to be. Hell, most times I actually want to go around playing with other men's erections. Let's be frank, even a stolen glance gets my pulse racing.

Though the sight of it increases Vesper's heart rate in a most undesirable way. Apart from telling poor Vesper to just go for it with eyes closed hoping for the best, I find myself at a loss. Now how do we make the penis seem less intimidating?

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Sugar Daddy

How are you? I am sugar daddy who looking for slim young man like you to be my sugar son. I am interested with you, and wish to offer you RM10,000 to exchange 5 times of sex from you. If you interested with it, do reply me.

Don't worry, I am decidedly not the author of that particular piece of purple prose.

Though having a sexy sculpted boy-toy lounging around the decadent halls of Netherfield would definitely perk things up, I don't think I'd be able to afford splurging on such frivolous luxuries. Yet. Who knows sometime in the future I might require the services of a hunky blond Chris Evans lookalike to help polish my silver.

Turns out some younger twink pals of mine have been getting such prurient offers online from the many predatory wolves stalking out there in the dark. Though I would have looked upon the proposition as a tremendous windfall, they don't seem to agree with my immoral ways. Bartering sex for an easy handout smacks too uncomfortably of prostitution for these junior prudes.

Won't you be my sugar daddy?

But exactly why is this so complex?

Basically you lie down, he gets you off and you get two thousand for each time. Talk about a win-wank situation. Rather than beat off alone in the privacy of their bedrooms as most boys are wont to do ( for free, mind you! ), now you have somebody who's willing to lend a hand. And you get money to boot!

Seriously, I don't see the downside in this particular arrangement. Certainly better than scoring only a mere pomelo for all your efforts!

Obviously if I had blessed with drop-dead gorgeous looks, I'd be trolling the streets as an ambitious money boy hustler. After all I've always been a sternly pragmatic fellow. Rather than run screaming from aspiring sugar daddies, perhaps it's more practical to properly evaluate their salacious offers to see whether it fits. Everyone needs a bit of sugar after all.