The sarong slipped off my hips as I was mixing a whiskey and soda earlier this evening. As both hands were occupied with ice cubes, wedges of lime, and a glass, there wasn't much to be done about the sarong. Gravity was in a mischievous mood…. Let her pull off my sarong. I can take a joke. However, in comedy, timing is everything, and this prankster Gravity can be awfully clever when it comes to timing. It just so happened that two good-looking Australian girls were walking by my verandah while I stood there naked and preoccupied with the construction of my sunset libation. What with the breeze crackling the palms, the mynah birds chirping, the frogs croaking, and ice cubes clinking, I hadn't heard these girls approaching. They just suddenly were there in front of me. Very embarrassing. I snatched up the sarong and wrapped it around my waist as quickly as possible--without spilling the drink, that is. They started giggling.
"Hey, sorry ladies," I stammered. "You didn't see anything, did you?"
I was sounding rather sheepish.
"No worries mate. Didn't see anything," said one. This was a relief.
"Well, not much of anything," said the other, and they ambled away snickering.
On the one hand--the one holding the whiskey and soda--I'm thinking, "Wow, that was close." On the other hand--holding a cigarette--I'm thinking, "Hey, wait a minute. What do you mean not much of anything? Not much of what, damn it!"
At this point they're gone, so forget about quotation marks because I'm just thinking this stuff to myself. I'm thinking, did they mean that they didn't see much, or did they mean there wasn't much to see? I know they saw me completely naked, and--come to think of it--they saw me completely naked from a clear frontal view. Come to think of it further, they saw me for four, five, maybe six seconds before I noticed them.
Why all the giggling?
And excuse me for wearing the hell out of this stock expression but, come to think of it, their giggling had a distinctly derisive warble about it. In fact, were a man particularly sensitive about his sexual anatomy, this whole episode would have been most unnerving. But what do I care if the bounty of my loins is a . . . a . . . lollipop? No! No it isn't! Stop this! What's going on here? They should see me when I'm excited. Ha! Then I'd like to hear how they'd giggle. Well, okay, so I'm slightly excited now. What I mean is that they should see me sexually excited. That is assuming either of them is capable of sexually exciting me. (Entré nous: they definitely are capable. If you'd seen them you'd know; fabulous faces, lusciously contoured compilations of flesh, and radiating a lusty aura. Yes, definitely, by all means, capable.)
Why do women have to be so concerned about a man's physical dimensions? Why can't they just look beautiful (all the time) and appreciate a man's spiritual and intellectual attributes? Most of us men are practically bulging at the seams to extend our affections and bonhomie to the average sultry woman with a great body. A sense of humor is something all women say they like about a man. Well, damn it, I've got a sense of humor. I can listen too. Women reportedly like that as well. They can tell me their troubles and I can make them laugh. I can also open doors for them, pull out their chairs, pay for dinner, and stay for breakfast. Of course, after breakfast, I'm gone. Naturally, if I had a good time I might be back a night or two later . . . after dinner.
Unfortunately, these two giggling vixens are not likely to become the repast that will sate my appetite for the gratifying pleasures of mortal congress. Granted, women are more discriminating about such engagements than men. As a gesture of good will, I'd be very happy to extend my affections to accommodate either or both of them. It makes no difference to me. All I want is to be a vehicle, a vessel, a viaduct of love. Sometimes I think of myself as a locomotive of passion speeding along the rails toward a tunnel into a valley of dewy grassland shaded by twin knolls….
Mayday! Mayday! There's a Catholic with condoms on the prowl. Still, this physical dimensions matter gnaws. Once, not so long ago, I was progressing rather nicely with Irena. The first evening we had dinner on the beach. Coconut curry soup with prawns and garlic followed by a succulent steamed fish covered with onions, carrots, and shredded ginger. There was also the remainder of a liter bottle of good old Irish whiskey…. A dozen long-tail boats were bobbing on the bay. The fishermen were cleaning their nets by the glow of kerosene lanterns. It reminded me of that dusky velvety soft incandescence so masterfully depicted by Rembrandt. As you may know, Rembrandt was Dutch, and an artist of great renown. And, as you may recall, the girl I began alluding to a couple of paragraphs ago was also Dutch. Consequently, it was a truly blessed inspiration that I should be reminded of Rembrandt while watching the Thai fishermen making such a blasted racket banging crab and prawn shells out of their nets. I cleverly mentioned this Rembrandt connection to Irena. She seemed duly impressed and agreed that the glow of the kerosene lanterns certainly had a Rembrandt quality about it. Other than this, we talked of the usual inane nonsense about the majesty of nature and the wickedness of man. The second night, following dinner, we ended up on my verandah smoking ganja from a coconut-wood water bong and coiling our tongues together. Sort of like two friendly eels who hadn't seen each other for a long time.
The third night seemed all but gift-wrapped for passion beneath the palms, until at dinner she asked me to try on one of her rings. It was a red garnet set in burnished silver. She'd bought it while on a trek through the hill tribe villages of Northern Thailand. I liked it. I tried it on. One finger after another. The only finger it fit was my right thumb. She started giggling. The same distinctly derisive warble as the two Aussie girls.
So, now I'm alone on my bungalow verandah sipping my last whiskey and soda, smoking my last cigarette of the evening, and ruminating upon the whimsical behavior of women. I catch a glimpse of my Thai Buddha statue and fix my gaze upon his lovely, tranquil smile. Breathe in . . . breathe out…. Well, Mr. Buddha, what have you to say? Yes, yes, if you can't improve upon the silence, you say nothing. This I know and this I respect. But what about these girls and their giggles? "Mai pen rai," you say? Listen my friend, I understand that communication, existential engagement, and--perhaps most of all--sexual congress is of no concern to you. You can just sit still by a river in a full lotus position, your palms enfolded upright in a lap of quietude, and your eyes poised half-draped above that marvelously placid smile. The flesh of matter is of no interest to you. You fast, you meditate, and you wait. You seek a communion with the underlying universal spirit that permeates the corporeal aspects and wearisome furor of the human condition. But, while you're upon the shore looking like some stoical vegetation, the rest of us are riding the rapids of cascading passions. The source of your pleasures is internal; soulful. Ours are external. They are abducted or seduced, then embraced, gratified, and dismissed. We move on, you sit still. We're engaged, you're disengaged. You're content, we're not. Oscar Wilde said something to the effect that the only thing worse than not getting what you desire, is getting it. The difference between you and me, sweet Buddha, is that I desire and you do not. I even want to be an object of desire. I want someone, anyone, and everyone to desire me. Lately, however, I've been the object of giggles regarding the dimensions of my digits.
Breathe in . . . breathe out…. I'm learning. Slowly, slowly. I'm learning never to engage in any activity that requires the use of both my hands while I'm wearing a sarong. I'm learning to stay away from girls with fat fingers. Every little bit of enlightenment brings me closer to your smile. Hell, I'm smiling now.
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McFinn is from Chicago and currently resides in Cambodia He has a B.A. degree in Philosophy from Georgetown University.Much of his work should be considered humorous and fictionalized memoirs. There are also satirical essays. Location settings include Thailand, Cambodia, India, Burma, Morocco and Greece.Excerpts, reviews & purchase information are available at his website: www.morganmcfinn.com
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