Saturday, December 29, 2012

Should Auld Acquaintance

Quite laughable the cherished illusions we once had about ourselves. Like the erroneous conclusion that I'd made about being a shy, diffident wallflower back in high school - obviously recently debunked by my old classmates.

Turns out I'm far more prominent than I once imagined. Don't know if it's the way I talk, the way I walk or even the way I dress but somehow folks seem to remember me clearly.

Even from the tiny, almost imperceptible images I have of myself on the all-intrusive social media. Friends I know can easily attest that my pictures are shockingly rare, impossibly undersized and quick to disappear - kinda like the much lauded sporadic appearance of a passing comet. From an indistinct penny-sized stamp photo of my mug, it seems I can be effortlessly recognized by half the friends I might - and might not know on facebook.

Evidently proven on planes, trains and automobiles.

And these days, even in the gym.

Done my share of ogle-staring at some of the beefcake cuties in the gym, though I do try my best to keep discreet for fear of a violent gay-bashing. Almost impossible not to gawk unabashedly when a few choice specimens seem to spend all their time striking fieeerce poses shirtless in front of the full length mirror.

Whatchu looking at!

Not often do I get a quick glance in return but this morning I had particularly buff patron - not only catching my furtive gaze - but pointedly staring back full of undisguised curiousity. Wondered whether I'd need to make a quick getaway before I received a quick punch in the face. Was I drooling just a bit too much?

Then as he followed me into the shower, I started to reach for my mini brolly in my bag. Always a handy weapon for a purposeful smash on the face of a would-be assailant.

Patron : Hey, I've seen you online. You're Paul, right?
Paul : What the - 
Patron : Seen you around. Maybe Grindr
Paul : Hardly. I have a barely functioning Grindr profile!
Patron : Still, I've seen you around. 

Contrary to popular expectation, I don't actually enjoy carrying on conversations in the locker room while dressed in a skimpy knotted towel.

Waitaminute, it just came to me but did he want something else in the shower? 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Do You See What I See

Always kept a diary somewhere, even as a kid. Scorpios love their diaries after all. Usually hidden somewhere dark and obscure, preferably under lock and key.

Not that several layers of highly regarded, heavy-duty protection would keep an extremely inquisitive mother from finding it! Especially if you're the enigmatic, buttoned up son hiding homosexual skeletons in the closet. Wouldn't be surprised if she brashly ransacked my locked drawers the very moment I left for university. Don't think it took her much longer than that to discern my particular predilection from the hitherto secret diaries.

Though she certainly kept her counsel since I never heard a peep from her till recently.

Judging by her seemingly cool acceptance of my homosexuality with little or almost no complaint, I figured that was the end of the matter. She knows. Almost everyone knows. The end. Especially since my mother does seem to go out of her way to involve Charming Calvin in our family events.

Sounded almost idyllic till last week.

Mother : Reading some of your past letters, you seemed so happy.
Paul : I'm not exactly sad now.
Mother : Well I mean happy with so many friends who are girls.
Paul : I still have lots of friends. Who are girls.
Mother : That's not what I meant.
Paul : Are we seriously revisiting this topic?
Mother : Not really.
Paul : Because that horse is dead and buried. No need to beat it anymore.


Girl : How long will this take?
Paul : Just smile, it's a sham marriage.
Girl : Just make sure I get paid for this.
Paul : Could you be a surrogate too?
Girl : Let's see if your cheque clears.

Could have handled that better but I couldn't help getting irritated by it. Even worse, I don't think I could blame her, well not entirely. No matter how accepting parents might be on the surface, they will always hope for the best when it comes to their children, and yes, they want that bit of normalcy. At least something conventional in the heteronormative fashion with a man and a woman getting married.

Will that withering hope ever fade away? 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

A Virgin Unspotted

In our increasingly fast-paced world, attention-deficit tweens out there need everything to happen almost instantaneously at their fingertips. Needs to happen yesterday as the slangtionary jargon goes. Not only are comprehensive blogs being relegated to pithy tweets with sentences perfunctorily sliced into abbreviated LOLs and TMIs, even television promos have been disconcertingly reduced to an abrupt three-second flash on the screen.

Hell, we need to get into the action so lightning-fast that even the sober wallflower protagonist loses her ertswhile virginity with an almost stranger barely five minutes into her admittedly awkward debut. Not to say that I wouldn't do the same for the hunky dreamboat she has on top of her but hey, shouldn't we take some things real slow?

So I'm quite pleased to know that one couple has decided to slow things down, almost to a deliberate crawl. Both time-wise - and modesty-wise.

As in back to the Edwardian age slow. With the rage over all things Edwardian these days, you could say that Fabulous Felix has found his very own Downton gentleman in the form of the scrupulous, sober squire Sawyer. Though you wouldn't be able to form such a contrasting conjecture from the exceedingly dashing way Sawyer dresses himself.

Rather than stumble into a torrid one-night-stand as certain impetuous gay men are wont to do, Squire Sawyer has pleaded for a chance to pace their budding relationship, something the more demanding Felix is a little doubtful of but still willing to address for Sawyer's sake. So they have committed themselves to a series of dates, thoroughly dignified assignations in a bid to know one another better.

Just short of a reproachful duenna.

Felix : The tea was absolutely lovely. 
Sawyer : Quite. Nice weather we're having today.  
Felix : A tad chilly though. Would you permit me to hold your hand? 
Sawyer : Surely no one would presume to judge us if the action was solely to keep my hands warm. 
Felix : Quite above reproach I assure you!

{ Felix takes Sawyer's hands in his }

Felix : Why your hands are freezing!
Sawyer : Quite.
Felix : Isn't this just wonderful?
Sawyer : Wait I- I think it's a little too much. So awfully fast of me! Could you give me back my hands?
Felix : Really, my dear? They feel so lovely in mine.
Sawyer : But what would the neighbours think! 

Ooh saucy.

Everything above board with those two I assure you.

Perhaps a quick tumble, my dear?

In fact, if Calvin and I were to play the roles of Matthew and Lady Mary, I guess Felix and Sawyer would be Branson and Lady Sybil brought to life. Yes, the socialist chauffeur and the suffragette socialite who braved the gaping chasm of social class and status just to share a simple embrace. After almost five years. Talk about a slow-burn love affair.

Though I have to say I can't tell exactly who's playing either part. Doubt either could carry the role of a virgin unspotted. :)

Simple dating. When was the last time you heard that happening?

Monday, December 17, 2012

In The Bleak Midwinter

Some days you just watch a short that triggers a bittersweet memory, kinda like this wonderful locally-filmed clip about long-distance relationships and the futility of it all.

Sigh. Unfortunately not all of us are lucky enough to come home with an origami crane. Me, I returned with a  suitcase full of broken dreams.

Sometimes it's hard to assign blame when relationships fall apart. Don't think it was entirely my ISO's fault nor was it mine. Probably both of us contributed to the inevitable downfall. The gaping distance not entirely breached by the wonders of modern technology ( and by God, we only had really really slow dial-up back then ). The callow carelessness of youth neither relieved by my crazed schedule in med school nor his capricious moods.

And yes, my ISO and I didn't work hard enough to keep the relationship going.

Ah, the things you see in retrospect :)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

God Rest Ye Merry Salarymen

Unlike ye olde days when zealous fealty was paramount, these days it isn't all that uncommon to have even the most established salarymen forsaking their corner cubicles when a better offer comes along. Nothing like the seductive lure of the greener carpet flooring in the office building next door. Even I am not immune to the sweet siren call.

Yet Charming Calvin - despite his daily protestations about the evils of work - has remained steadfast at his post for the past decade. Or rather should I say his humble cubicle. Compared to the sinful wages claimed by his bragging peers, Calvin is only paid a miserly pittance for all the hard work he has presumably put in. Several months of insistent nagging ( on my part ) for him to send out a detailed resume to anyone who would listen only resulted in Calvin turning a deaf ear.

Till the proverbial straw.

Don't know exactly what prompted him. Could be his odious superior haranguing him again. Could be the intolerable work environment. Hell, it could be an inconsequential typo in the office newsletter.

And so the day came when he sent out two letters of application. Only two. Assuredly not the tottering towers of envelopes I expected but I was infinitedly pleased to see even some little effort made.

Paul : So have you decided to leave?
Calvin : Not sure yet.
Paul : What's making you stay? What's making you go?
Calvin : Not sure yet.
Paul : Maybe you should come up with a pro and con list. 
Calvin : Oh yeah, maybe I could do that.
Paul : Tidings of comfort and joy on the pro side hopefully. 

Normally any average joe, when given such a simple task, would briefly sum up the aforementioned pros and cons on a hastily torn scrap of paper napkin, listing them down with a borrowed pencil. Easy. Simple. Quick.

With all the complex equations and tables, how are we ever gonna come to a satisfactory conclusion!

Not for this engineer obviously. Someone obviously adores their spreadsheets, charts and graphs.

Paul : You came up with a coloured table with bullet points. Just short of a graph and pie chart.
Calvin : Soon.
Paul : You're a freak.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Deck The Belles

Time again for the annual Christmas fête in Netherfield. Carried that tradition over from back home - been doing it for three years since. Figured since I won't be here to celebrate with my friends and neighbours, I might as well throw a celebratory bash the week or two before.

Sweating ignominiously during the arduous preparations for dinner simply isn't for us so we've always hired caterers. Gives us more time to play dress up, something me and the other two tenants of Netherfield, Kool Kat and Fabulous Felix, simply adore. Don we now our gay apparel indeed.

Unfortunately that doesn't seem to be the case for everyone else invited.

Paul : OMG.
Kat : I see it too.
Paul : Flip flops? Crocs? 
Kat : Well I never!

Though the invitation card for the Netherfield Tea Party might read smart casual for the dress code, almost none of the guests come appropriately dressed. Most appear to have rolled out of their beds only to pull on the closest rumpled tee and shorts from the laundry basket and a pair of dirtied flip flops.

Paul : Good God. 
Felix : Ratty denim cut-offs? Seriously.
Paul : Maybe that's highly formal for them. 
Felix : What happened to Suit Up!
Paul : Used to think that dressing up for a tea party was inherently obvious. Maybe they mistook the invitation for a beach picnic. 
Felix : Don't you miss the days when we had themed parties?
Paul : And friends who would actually adhere to the theme?

Snotty much?

Hardly jolly but just let me rant a bit here. Look, I'm not deriding their choice of clothes - well, not much - but when there's a dress code clearly implied, shouldn't there be some intuitive need to follow? When did we all collectively start to think that scrubby casual wear can be suitably appropos for every sort of social event?

The halls are decked with boughs of holly, shouldn't you be similarly glammed up too? Suit up and join the chorus!

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Baby It's Cold Outside

Woman : Oh you must wear a condom. No glove, no love.
Man : Nah, I don't do condoms.
Woman : But why? 
Man : I can't get an erection when I wear one. 
Woman : Oh then it's okay.

Seriously? Sometimes I can understand when credulous females fall for this incredibly lame excuse that even the thinnest of condoms, almost feather light, would cause their formerly rampant erections to spontaneously wilt. Not being blessed - or cursed - with a penis themselves, you couldn't expect the poor bamboozled girls to know any better.

Oh boy, you ain't coming anywhere near my fine ass without a condom.

But you'd think that gay men - which by definition would be in possession of their own genitals and surely fiddled with them semi-regularly - would be far less susceptible to such deplorable schemes to deny the glove. Especially with the ever-present threat of pernicious sexually transmitted diseases around.

Apparently I was wrong.

Paul : You mean that stupid excuse that it doesn't have much feeling works on guys too?
Marshall : Yes?
Paul : And he said he can't get it up when he wears a condom?
Marshall : Yes?
Paul : And you believed it?
Marshall : Yes?
Paul : Bloody hell, you have a penis too!
Marshall : Yes?
Paul : Did you seriously phrase that as a question?

Honestly never had much of a problem with the rubber. Even a stiff wind gets me hard after all. And hell, imagining waiting out there at the hospital corridor for the test results confirming STD is enough to have me slip one on.

Look I can understand that there'll be some appreciable loss of sensation when that latex barrier first slips on. Couple that with a substantial psychological hurdle - omg it's gonna get soft - and it can grow to be quite daunting. Certainly enough to scare away a budding erection.

But hey, there are so many exhilarating ways to bring it back. :)

Sure, baby it's numb inside but you still gotta wear that condom.

Monday, December 03, 2012

Here We Come Assailing

I think most would find me quite unflappable. Become so sadly inured to the little horrors of human life, painful little vestiges that pass through the hospital corridors, that very little surprises me.

At least that's what I used to think. Till this morning when I opened the door for the patient only to let out a chilling, blood-curdling shriek worthy of a histrionic scream queen. Well, I almost did. Still had enough presence of mind to bite my lip.

Unsurprisingly very little prepares you for an ex-boyfriend coming in with his pretty young wife, visibly enceinte. If I hadn't taken the Hippocratic Oath to heart a while ago, I might have shoved his heavily pregnant missus aside only to wallop the swinging bastard on his handsome nose.

Yes, I was gonna go Assailing.

But the unrecognizing look on his face gave me pause. Surely after sharing such intimacy as we have had, he wouldn't have forgotten me - short of a lame amnesiac episode courtesy of a badly-produced television drama.

And he called me doctor.

No, my ISO has never called me that. Not even during roleplay.

Definitely not him then, this shockingly identical doppelganger right down to the riotous black curl on the back of his neck. Such amazing similarities that I had to further confirm by checking the name on the medical notes handed to me. Apparently this firmly heterosexual fellow bearing a striking resemblance to my ISO had brought his wife down for a caesarean section.

Who's Your Daddy!

Doesn't mean my ISO got off scot-free though.

Paul : Damn you.
My ISO : And a Happy Holidays to you too.
Paul : Bastard.
My ISO : What did I do now?
Paul : You got a girl pregnant!
My ISO : Me? Lordy, sounds like a Christmas miracle to me. 
Paul : The patient's husband looks exactly like you!
My ISO : Surely not! Take a picture.
Paul : No! But he does look like you.
My ISO : Impossible! Surely I am better looking!
Paul : He's in his early twenties. 
My ISO : So am I. 
Paul : In your dreams. 

Always wondered what I would think if I were to meet my ISO and his new partner, if ever. Though he has forever eschewed companionship and commitment, I wouldn't hold him to his word.

Obviously I would start out screaming - and then a-wassailing.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Ding Dongs Merrily On High

Shows you how out of the loop you can get - and sadly how decrepit you're getting - when you hear tantalizing news of a notorious lil gay joint from the mainstream media! And from an unfriendly ratfink at that. Obviously that malicious little tattletale must have done his fair share of whistleblowing before, both literally and figuratively to get this story.

Apparently there's an all-male health sauna down in Petaling Jaya where patrons who wish to enter on Fridays are required to disrobe. Utterly naked. Would barely draw a twitch from the surprisingly progressive Koreans with their au naturel steambaths but over here in our increasingly conservative nation, mindless panic ensues with narrow-minded prigs automatically jumping to the conclusion that it's a dirty, debauched den of degenerate depravity.

What? You mean I gotta get nekkid in there?!

Just the sort of place I'd frequent before. Otherwise known as a gay club.

Forget the fact that the admirable club administrators at least support safe sex by offering a plethora of condoms on admission.

But that is evidently besides the point since for our government-controlled media, anything vaguely hinting of homosexuality must be emphatically condemned. Licentious gay saunas with ding dongs merrily on high are definitely a stern no-no. Another fortuitous strike on their recent homophobic witchhunt, all in their pathetic bid to throw dust in the eyes of the public from focusing on the mismanagement of the nation.

Shall try my best not to jump on my soapbox ranting over the rights of an individual, and how the government should keep the fuck out of our wanton sex lives.

Though for the community's sake, I gotta say our gay vigilantes out there had better start keeping an eye out for these pernicious informers. Not the first time someone has tattletaled on us. Time to find the narc. These monstrously hungry newshounds ( or should we christen these unworthies as newsrats ), with little wit nor integrity, should be unceremoniously hunted down and strung up by their cowardly ankles to be soundly whipped. Possibly thrown on a torture rack for an excruciating round of BDSM.

Doms out there, take heed.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Oh Christmas Tree

With sighing carols playing everywhere you go, you simply can't miss the beginning of December over here. Shops compete to come up with the glitziest storefronts while towering evergreens laden with shiny baubles start cropping up on almost every street corner.

Damn, you mean it's Christmas already?
And it's time for me to clean off the dust on the boxes from last year and unearth my own tree to set up in Netherfield. Obsessive compulsives like me would know what a pain it is to keep the Christmas baubles every year - and what a bigger pain it is to unpack the box the year after. Inevitably, some helpful but thoroughly bumbling hand would let slip a precious trinket made of Murano hand-blown glass.

And then those same clumsy hands would turn the already horribly entangled, knotted and tortuous twinkly lights into an impossible Gordian knot that would surely frustrate me for hours. Or place all the decorations on a particularly fortunate branch leaving glaringly empty spaces bereft of glad tidings.

So yes, I do silently grinch to myself every year about decorating the tree - but though I frequently bemoan the pronounced lack of help, I still suffer through it all on my own. Obviously finicky micromanaging control freaks like me simply can't stand by while someone else does a poor job of the tree.

Calvin : I can help put up the tree. 
Paul : Sure, no problem. Go ahead. 
Calvin : You sure? You're not just saying that?
Paul : Yes, take some of these and go hang them. Heck, you can take the entire box.
Calvin : Hmm... you're just going to wake up in the middle of the night and move everything around, aren't you?
Paul : You know me too well.

This year though rather than the pink paper cranes I did for Netherfield before, I shall rely on green paper wheels to form a theme. Maybe even a hanging mobile from the chandelier. Perhaps even mini paper wheels to clip on my coat.

Hmm... maybe I do need some handy elves for that.

And that's only for the first of my Christmas trees.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Mean Doctors

Generally doctors are arrogant, conceited bastards with a stinky shitload of ego.

'Oh no, they couldn't be!' Quite a few patients would make an earnest protest here, especially those who have been on the receiving end of a kind, gentle physician who guided them through their medical trials and tribulations with a sweet, comforting bedside manner.

But like everything else in medicine, nothing is absolute. There's always the unusual oddity somewhere out there that breaks the near hundred percent norm. By and large though, bastards the lot of us. Obviously exhausting their entire supply of the milk of human kindness during their daily rounds with the patients, there is little left to spare to dole out to their equally stressed colleagues.

Far less to trickle down to their unfortunate subordinates. Hence the infamous mistreatment of junior doctors, which ranges from the mild sarcastic put-down to nasty inhumane mental torture not seen since the Russian gulags. Apart from the few who don't make the painful cut, most successfully emerge from the horrific anguish of housemanship with that hard-earned badge of mental strength.

Paul : Made an intern cry?
Friend : Yeah. No suicides yet though.
Paul : We might be doing something wrong.
Friend : Don't worry. Right now, Sue is upstairs torturing the interns.
Paul : Better move my car away from the windows. 

Toughens us. Hardens some unfortunately.

Which always makes me smile when I think of the ill-treatment supposedly received by my friends in other career paths. Engineering especially. Compared to the Turkish treatment replete with whips and chains we're dishing out, it always sounds as if they're only receiving light slaps on the wrists.

Calvin : Work is terrible! I'm being mentally tortured!
Paul : Poor fellow! What's happening over there!
Calvin : My lead engineer...
Paul : Screamed at you in the meeting, tore up your work into little confetti and then asked you to get a new presentation done in a day?
Calvin : No, he just asked me to work faster. 
Paul : And that's mean?
Calvin : Yes.
Paul : Just be thankful I'm not your lead engineer.

Of late, poor Charming Calvin has been getting a whole lotta flack at work from his immediate superior. Turns out his unreasonable boss is cracking the whip just a wee bit hard, I assume.

I swear I'm trying my best to sympathize in his times of trouble - but trouble is I have a niggling feeling I've probably inflicted far worse abuse on my long-suffering interns. Pretty sure he can get lots of tea and sympathy from our friends so I shall offer this instead.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Naked in Bangkok

Took only one night in Bangkok to make this hard man humble. 

Since I try it but rarely, I would consider myself almost a newborn virgin when it comes to such shenanigans. Though my more seasoned friends have raved about the excellent treatment received from the skilled locals, with the occasional smirk at the mention of happy endings, I have yet to experience it myself. Far too busy partaking in the other pleasures to be had to try this one out. 

But it was a tick on my bucket list so I just had to make the attempt, made easier after a particularly harrowing day of lugging around my shopping bags. Nothing like a half-hour quickie to get me going again.

Dozens of choices available in the city so it was easy enough to randomly pick one. As expected the entrance to the room was shrouded in mystery with plush velvet curtains ushering me into a shadowy Delphian chamber, utterly bare except for a silken mattress, several bottles of bergamot scented oil and quietly gleaming lacquerware. Bowing all the while with the occasional wai, a slip of a girl stepped in to the peculiar, though not entirely incongruous, accompaniment of traditional Thai music. 

Part of the Asian mystique no doubt. Almost expected the laudatory ring of a gong.

Though I would have preferred someone a little manlier, it seemed that I would have to be satisfied with the winsome waif available. 

Girl : Remove clothes, sir. 
Paul : Not a problem. 

( Does the usual five-second strip )

Girl : No, no, not now. I will leave room. 
Paul : Well, I'm already naked anyhow. 
Girl : Wait a moment. I bring you a robe to wear.
Paul : I'm gonna be naked anyway. 

Obviously unused to such genuine enthusiasm! I mean, surely all her regular clientele would already know what her service entails. What's the harm in getting just a bit naked? Perhaps I'm not exquisitely built like Chaiwat Tongsaeng but hey... it's not like the flimsy silk robe she handed me later actually managed to conceal anything.

Well I would get naked with very little provocation if I looked like that.

As she put her oiled hands on my naked back, I resisted the urge to giggle to myself.

Partly from her surprisingly cold fingertips. Mostly from the novel experience. Surely the first time I've gotten naked with a woman as an adult male. The entirely homophobic conservative orthodoxy would surely be proud of my fledgling efforts to conform. 

Unfortunately it's all only for a Thai massage. 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Reincarnation Much

Wouldn't say I lend much credence to esoteric beliefs such as reincarnation but I wouldn't be so quick to repudiate the claims of its advocates either. Surely there must be some truth in their long-held convictions. After all, I don't think such infinitely fallible creatures like human beings only get that one chance to get things right.

Putting aside my rumoured past life as a dour Japanese manservant to a murderous geisha aside, I am starting to believe that in my past life I must have been a British aristocrat in the roaring Twenties. The preternaturally calm, composed, almost chilly Lady Mary Crawley with her crisp, cutting commentaries to be exact. Though of course that frosty demeanour barely conceals a doggedly determined, dominating dictator.

Ice Queen seriously.

How else to explain the frighteningly uncanny similarities that we share? So much so that I can practically predict her next wily move, wildly unconventional though they may be. 

Watching the recent episodes of Downton Abbey, I could swear I've had the exact same arguments word for word with Charming Calvin. With him in the not entirely flattering role of the indecisive, idiotically incorruptible heir to the earldom, Matthew Crawley of course.

Mary : So you think I'm a cold conniving cow?
Matthew : I wouldn't exactly put it that way.

In almost every episode with the couple together, we are treated to an oddly familiar scene of our shameless virago Mary relentlessly nagging her long-suffering beau. For instance, a frivolous little quarrel over Matthew refusing to accept a sizeable inheritance due to an inconsequential uncertainty; some unresolved guilt over mistreating his insufferably insipid and happily departed fiancee. Fancy not wanting a handsome fortune dropped on your lap!

So all depends on a little slip of notepaper to allay his guilt - which of course our eminently resourceful Mary leaves no stone unturned to find. 

Matthew : Are you sure you didn't write it?
Mary : I assume you know his hand.
Matthew : Not well enough to test a forgery. 
Mary : ....
Matthew : Besides she couldn't have written to him without my knowing. 
Mary : ...
Matthew : I'm not accusing you of faking it.

Being accused of deceit and duplicity, sometimes you can't blame her for the occasional browbeating. Of course as the clincher Mary threatens to beat him about the head if he doesn't capitulate. I can certainly relate.

Mark my words, it's almost a reincarnation.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Right Guy Wrong Time

To that I gotta say bullshit.

It's not the first time I've heard of this particular excuse. Citing work commitments, family pressures, scheduling conflicts etc to deny themselves of the simple pleasure of a sweet romance. Sigh.

Felix : Well he says he won't be dating yet because the timing isn't right.
Paul : What? He needs Libra to be on the cusp? The moon to be in the right position? A divine mandate from the Temple of Heaven?
Felix : Says he doesn't have enough time.
Paul : Not enough time? I worked from 8 to 5 for five days. I had 24 hours oncalls every three days. I studied in the evenings for my exams. And I still found time to date. Quite desperately too I might add. 
Felix : But you're different!
Paul : Contrary to popular opinion, I am not a robot!

Waiting for the right time?

Is there ever a convenient time to find love?

Plainly I find that simply unreasonable. Surely if you continue to wait for the perfect opportune moment, that might never ever ever happen. Is there ever a right time? If people can fall heads-over-heels in love while fleeing for their lives right in the midst of a raging genocidal war, I see no reason why anyone else in relative peacetime can't find the time to do so.

Yes, it does take some work, some hardship, some sacrifice but I've always believed if there's a will, there's a way. Make time to fall in love.

Yes, after all even educated fleas do it.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

That Fairy Godbrother

Despite having a contingent of increasingly grumpy dwarves staging daily insurrections protesting her draconian regime, our fairytale princess seems utterly happily oblivious to her sorry plight at work. For Pretty Panacea, twirling around forest glades with various woodland creatures and singing with winged friends seems to take precedence instead.

Not that I entirely blame her since I can see no other solution than to guillotine the entire band of mutinous dwarves.

To keep her mind away from such petty annoyances, we keep up a regular stream of instant messages, all thanks to her still amiable carrier pigeons. Not directly under her exacting employ, the birds obviously don't see a logical reason for a revolt. Such affectionate missives flying back-and-forth, along with the irregular luncheon, would signal the beginning of something special for a man and a woman.


Fortunately for me, I have left loaded hints aplenty to reassert the fact that I'm far more fairy godbrother to her than charming prince. Perhaps Panacea sees me in the light of a gay Jiminy Cricket perched on her shoulder offering sage advice. Or at least that's what I hoped.

Paul : I'm like the fairy godbrother! Really!
Miranda : Doesn't explain why the princess is busy checking out royal marriage registries.
Paul :  Well she ain't gonna get a happily ever after with me!

Miranda : Better tell her before she buys a pumpkin carriage.

Sweet platonic dreams callously crushed when our colleague Miranda Merry caught wind of our occasionatête-à-tête. Based on her wholly unstable, wildly illogical feminine intuition, Miranda is starting to suspect that Panacea might be a little more ardent than we had both imagined.

Miranda : So a word to the wise, you'd better tell her you're gay before you proceed any further with this cozy relationship.
Paul : Think she already knows. 
Miranda : That's what you think.
Paul : I've told her 'I like men' dozens of times.
Miranda : She thinks you're kidding.
Paul : Why would I joke about being gay? It's not that funny.
Miranda : You make a lot of jokes!
Paul : Ouch.
Miranda : Nevertheless you'd better say something soon.

Does lightning strike twice? Am I leading someone on again? All well and good for my self confidence of course - but hell, why aren't any of the sexy boys coming after me instead? You mean my raging homosexuality isn't wildly apparent to all? C'est impossible! Although I might not be as fabulously swish as the local drag queen but I'm sure my far from discreet pink polka-dot bowtie says it all. Surely I don't have to start walking around introducing myself as the gay fellow.

So how do you broach the subject with a fairytale princess? Do they even have gay princes back in their kingdom?

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Love Gets Blinder

They said someday you'll find
All who love are blind
Oh, when your heart's on fire
You must realize
Smoke gets in your eyes

For a lucky few, the hazy cloud clears after a brief spell allowing them that crucial moment of clarity to extinguish the burning flames in their heart. Yet that doesn't come true for all; in fact sometimes that smoke coalesces into a permanent fog blinding lovesick fools who fall into the same trap time and again.

Oh Mother of God, those fools...

Which brings me to my point. Not too along ago, Mercurial Marshall was involved in a singularly perilous relationship with a manly discreet fellow. Since Marshall's quite obviously sexy, free and single now, I don't have to tell you that particular mésalliance didn't end very well.

Paul : Out on a date again this evening?
Marshall : Yeah, with the... *ahem* fellow.
Paul : The manly discreet fellow who prefers secret assignations in abandoned parking lots?
Marshall : That's the one.
Paul : You know manly and discreet probably means he's married with a passel of kids?
Marshall : No!
Paul : That's what you said the last time.
Marshall : It can't happen twice!

I know most of us have certain types that we all fall for. The brash bad boy. The sappy sentimental sonneteer. Me, I have a thing for cute bespectacled nerds I can pin to a wall. But if you've ever been hurt once by a certain type, maybe even twice, I would figure you'd be a little wary of trying it out again. Yet Marshall insists that it isn't so.

Seriously though, love isn't blind. It's the languishing lovelorn who are. Enough that you'd be tempted to douse them in icy water just to clear the smoke from their eyes.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

That Gay Wedding

Seems like there were four of us in that conversation; Charming Calvin and his mother; me and my mother. Though it could have been more since I was much too flustered by the bizarre domestic situation we had inadvertently fallen into. Rare enough to find us all seated companionably at a table together - without throwing unseen daggers!

Rather than delicately skirt around the taboo topic of the glaringly hot pink elephant in the room as one would expect, seems like all we could talk about that evening were gay weddings; the event, the venue, the requirements, the dress code, the etiquette, the attendees etc.

Now who might be the gay one in the lot?

Like I said, bizarre.

Mother : Wonder what they would wear. 
Paul : Don't know about anyone else but I'm always partial to morning suits. 
Calvin : For the grooms, yes!
Madame Borgia : Can't imagine the guest list. Pretty thorough I hear. 
Paul : Think almost everyone who's anyone was invited. 
Calvin : There might even be a video of the ceremony. 
Madame Borgia : Ooh let's take a look. 
Mother : Wonder if they have guidelines. 

Debating the intricate pros and cons of a homosexual wedding in our rigidly conservative country. All in all, that peculiarly unfamiliar discussion amongst the four of us had to go down as the oddest conversation any of us had ever had. Well, right after the uncomfortably detached coming-out chat I had a while back.

With all the talk of two men getting married in unholy matrimony, I was half-expecting the disquieted Madame Borgia to suddenly run berserk with her trusty kitchen cleaver.

Perhaps if I were the groom in question, she might have. Ever so slightly I shifted my seat to trip her if she had any distasteful thoughts of running for sharp implements. Satisfied with my position, I couldn't help but push the envelope. Constantly an advocate of shocking the elders into submission, it was a the tip of my tongue to just pop the question anyway but Calvin's horror-struck expression when I tried to kneel warned me against such a hasty decision.

As it were, the wedding we were talking about were the infamous nuptials of Jessie Chung and Joshua Beh several years back. Wildly controversial here because Jessie herself used to be a man. Basically this was Malaysia's first public wedding involving a sex-changed person and even the media were invited. 

Gotta admit her husband is kinda cute though.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A Series of Unfortunate Events

Guess it's appropriate that I timed this post for today since I'm here to talk about the origin of superstition - and what better time than to speak of it during spooky Halloween.

I know... I know... With the shockingly rapid development of science and its many eager advocates ready to debunk the entire tome of ancient superstitions, it's easy to decry such unsubstantiated beliefs as so much hogwash. The unlucky number 13. The black cat. The rabbit's foot.

Yet such simple superstitions began centuries ago as a way for our unworldly ancestors to explain mysterious circumstances or events with the little knowledge that they had. Trip over a black cat. Stumble onto a bad encounter. Simply no other way to explain such ill fortune, is there?

Which brings us to Charming Calvin's revolting mirror - or what I shall henceforth term the Borgia Mirror on account of his venerable mother. And her inexplicable fear of mirrors. Suffice to say, Madame Borgia expended all her considerable efforts to rid Pemberley of said mirror, even resorting to such shameful tactics as a cowardly swoon!

Finally she even took it upon herself to have the ill-fated mirror surreptitiously carted out in the dead of night and summarily disposed off. Rumour would have it that Madame Borgia personally lit the sacrificial pyre herself while muttering words of unholy scripture under her breath. All much to the disgust of her disapproving son.

A week after the mirror was reduced to relatively benign ashes, Calvin's team mysteriously lost a significant contract.

Two weeks later, he had his weekend trip inadvertently cancelled.

Then just yesterday he woke up with a horrible sprain on the neck.

Shit! Now my neck too?!

Coincidence? Charming Calvin obviously thinks not - and attributes the string of misfortunes to the infelicitous absence of the mirror.

Calvin : I think that mirror actually brought me luck. Without it, I seem to be afflicted with all sorts of unaccountable misfortune.
Paul : It could be coincidence.
Calvin : It's definitely the mirror. Pretty sure it must have deflected evil away!
Paul : Doesn't seem to have worked on me.
Calvin : Maybe it's not that powerful.
Paul : So you will get another?
Calvin : Certainly I will. An even larger, more imposing one to break the Pemberley Jinx

Guess we haven't heard the end of the Borgia Mirror yet.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Muay Thai

One of my friends - Jaunty Jared in fact - is one of the most peaceable men I know. Though he does have the extremely rare, fleeting moments of seething pique over seemingly trivial issues, our surprisingly zen fellow probably wouldn't hurt a fly. And yet he is a trained exponent of muay thai, the Thai art of kickboxing.

Me, I find myself with vengeful thoughts of exterminating half the human race right before a hearty breakfast. And yet I find myself purging myself of such genocidal bile with a bit of ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arranging.

A tall drink of water...

So on impulse I have decided to take up kickboxing. Might as well channel all that crazed aggression somewhere before I run crazy amok down the streets. Which is why I approached the local muay thai instructor here, our very own booming baritone-voiced Kick-ass Ken.

Ken : You want to take up kickboxing?
Paul : Think of me as Kungfu Panda.
Ken : Huh?
Paul : Utterly clumsy.
Ken : No worries. We all start as beginners.
Paul : You haven't seem me stumble yet.

Seriously. My voice dropped several octaves while we were talking.

So yeah, I'll see how it goes. Don't know exactly how long I'll last. Chances are Ken will throw up his hands in patent disbelief wondering how anyone could possibly be as uncoordinated as I am - before giving me the final round kick of rejection sending me flying out of the windows.

As his new apprentice, I certainly don't mind performing wax on, wax off on his sculpted abs.

BTW did I mention I've seen him in the showers almost naked?

Monday, October 22, 2012

Answer Me 1997

Contrary to popular expectation, I actually hated school.

At least while I was in it. Not the model student everyone thinks I was. Certainly a near Herculean task for my poor mother to drag me growling, groaning and griping out of my den at some ungodly hour of the morning to head to school. Even worse to have me frowning at the breakfast table mumbling heathenish curses in a dozen unrecognizable languages over the endlessly trivial piles of homework dumped on the pitiable students. Repeated mutters about blood sacrifice must have worried her a little.

By then she must have guessed at the hours I spent staring at the languidly ticking clock waiting for the interminable hours trapped in the gaol called school to be over. The brief freedom of recess was the only respite I had in those days, that and the fleeting seconds in between classroom periods. Or when the regular teacher was otherwise unavailable for the duration due to training courses, seasonal illnesses or ... unforeseen calamities induced by the rare blood sacrifice *cough* hit by a runaway bus.

Yes, I wasn't all that big a fan of school. So it must be creeping senility that has me looking back reminiscing and actually finding those horrible years of schooling almost ...dare I say it... pleasant.

High school antics before the days of facebook, cellphones and broadband

Or it could be my recent viewings of Answer Me 1997 that has me smiling at high school memories.

My ISO : You always get maudlin close to your birthday.
Paul : Yeah yeah old age creeping up.
My ISO : So any ideas on what to get you?
Paul : You know I like surprises.
My ISO : Liar.
Paul : Good surprises I mean.
My ISO : Hmm.
Paul : Maybe you could watch Answer Me 1997 with me.
My ISO : A Korean drama? That's torture.
Paul : And the perfect gift.
My ISO : Revenge, I knew it.
Paul : At least there's no blood sacrifice involved.
My ISO : That I know of!

Ah high school.

Answer Me 1997 is basically a refreshing drama series about friends in their thirties reminiscing about their schooldays during their high school reunion. The good old days when everything seemed so crazy godawful important despite how insignificant it may seem now, so much so I can barely recall half the things I used to get so wildly passionate about. From local pop stars to the school dreamboat. From Dance Dance Revolution to the Tamagotchi.

In retrospect, almost everything gains that nostalgic sepia tone of halcyon days, even the once dreaded classroom bully. Hell, even the loathsome bouncing buzz of the dial-up internet sounds almost soothing with the passing of age.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Nine Yin Manual

For readers of martial arts novels - and ardent followers of the wuxia television serials, an amusing literary trope frequently used would be the misinterpretation of ancient manuals, usually born out of duplicity, resulting in dementia, dismemberment or death.

Such as the infamously coveted Nine Yin Manual 九阴真经 from the peerless Condor Heroes Trilogy. Misinterpretation of the scrolls and scriptures coupled with astute revision successfully turns one of the main villains quite certifiably insane. Blame it on the yin yang going out of whack.

Certainly not for the faint of heart.

Which is why martial arts manuals shouldn't be taken lightly. A valuable lesson ill-received by an obstinate Charming Calvin who undertook the Nine Yin Manual desperately hoping to reduce his rising cholesterol levels. After a hard day's work, he would make his way to a faraway hidden temple to recite the sublime verses and practice the moves he learnt. Thought he would have learnt from his broken toe that aggressive martial arts just doesn't mesh well with his phlegmatic nature.

Calvin : Might as well down another cup of wine if nothing else is working!

So after months of endless repeated routines such as the Rhino-Stomp Body Pump and Lotus Blossom Body Jams, Calvin decided to put his burgeoning skills to the test. 

Calvin : OMG I think the cholesterol levels are getting worse.
Paul : Alarming you mean. 
Calvin : But how can this be! I have been practising my kungfu religiously!  
Paul : Probably read the manuals wrongly. Or had it misinterpreted. 
Calvin : It can't be!
Paul : Maybe your wicked enemies have been sabotaging your attempts!
Calvin : This is not a wuxia movie!

That's what he thinks. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Up the Garden Path or Down the Wedding Aisle

It was just this morning that an unsuspecting Shameless Shalom baldly confirmed one of my worst fears. The imminent return of that virtually forgotten spectre had me inadvertently choking on an excellent piece of breakfast hash browns.

Terrifying monstrosity from my past that came up barely to my shoulders, all of five feet on her bare soles. All awkward angles, bony bits and graceless grace! Knew it wouldn't be too long before Graceless Grace returned to haunt me.

And it was all because of that aborted wedding pact.

There was always something I always half-suspected, a little something more sincere than just mere joshing banter when Grace kept bringing up the topic of our wedding pact. Perhaps she seemed just a little too keen on the subject of mock matrimony.

Paul : Waitaminute, what do you mean she doesn't know I'm gay! Look at the bowtie dammit.
Shalom : Just saying she probably needs a bigger sign.
Paul : What! A pink feather boa?

Despite thinking that my suspicions were wholly imaginary ( not to mention disconcertingly conceited ), it made me uneasy enough that I stayed several feet back from one of my cherished friends. On the wild half-chance that I might be correct in my immodest assumptions.

Shalom : You know what's the first thing we all talked about when you came out of the closet?
Paul : What you mean is you kicked me out.
Shalom : I just couldn't stand the endless questions. 
Paul : What about it? 
Shalom : We immediately thought about Graceless Grace and how you're leading her up the garden path.
Paul : Rather than down the wedding aisle?
Shalom : Something like that, yes. 
Paul : So you think that Grace might have some ... intentions when it comes to me?
Shalom : Something like that, yes.
Paul : I was hoping to be wrong. 
Shalom : You're not wrong.
Paul : I've actually tried to tell Grace dozens of times but she just won't listen. 
Shalom : Give her more hints. 
Paul : I couldn't possibly be gayer. Should I tattoo 'homo' to my forehead? 
Shalom : That might work.

Hmm. Ingenuous heroine falling for the defrauding homo, probably not the first time it has happened. Certainly gratifying fodder for our endlessly repeated primetime rom-coms.

Guess it's time to nip in the bud any hope of connubial bliss that Graceless Grace might have cherished. But how do you bring it up without sounding like an egotistical bastard?

Sunday, October 14, 2012

National Coming Out Day

Despite what you might hear from our hysterical news media, generally guys are straight from the get go. Though the headline-hungry honchos might claim that almost everyone's turning gay these days, homosexuality isn't actually infectious.

Heterosexuality is still very much the norm. Hence the act of coming out to friends and family; a significant event fraught with emotional and spiritual anguish in every gay man's life. Not only is it a crucial life choice to make but only a fortunate few find themselves in a position to do so without fear of acrimony or hostility.

Though said often enough that it has turned into a schmaltzy cliche, I would willingly attest to the fact that the act of coming out has truly lifted a wearisome burden from my shoulders. No second-guessing myself, no switching pronouns. No more hiding, no more pretending. Basically it's about being honest, not only with ourselves but with the people that we care about.

But there's only so much coming out we can take before it gets a tad burdensome. Unfortunately having the deplorable ( and entirely slanderous! ) homosexual guidelines readily available doesn't mean coming out hasn't become a regular necessity.

But is there actually a suitable time and place to proclaim our aberrant sexuality? Can't very well make the gay song-and-dance announcement moments after the obligatory meet-and-greet handshake. Can't very well say hello, I'm gay in between dinner courses. Perhaps one day proper etiquette would recommend proclaiming it after a fabulous dessert!

Paul : BTW I'm gay.
Friend : I know. You told me last week.
Paul : Shit. I did?
Friend : And I already guessed before. 

Honestly there's hardly ever a good time - so I'll readily admit to missing out more than a few friends in the irksome process of coming out. Fortunately Shameless Shalom has taken it upon herself to act as my avid spokesperson.

Tina : So tell me, is Paul still single? Is he seeing anyone? 
Shalom : Is this like the hundredth time you're asking?
Tina : Not really. But is he? 
Shalom : Well it's the hundredth time I'm getting the question but..
Tina : Is he seeing that girl?
Shalom : No he isn't.
Tina : So he is seeing some other girl?
Shalom : No he isn't.
Tina : So he is single? 
Shalom : No he isn't.
Tina : So what?
Shalom : Aiyo he's gay! He's gay! 

No longer do I have to shoulder the particular burden of gay notification. If anyone has any impertinent queries about my sexuality, I can now refer them to an ever-accomodating Shalom - who is now officially anointed as the Keeper of My BTW I'm Gay Cards.

A timely blog post especially with National Coming Out Day just a few days past  - an annual observation to celebrate coming out and to raise awareness of the LGBT community and civil rights movement. Wonder if they have booths selling little pink closet ornaments with doors flinging merrily open at the touch of a button followed by the thumpa thumpa beats of a suitable gay torch song such as YMCA or We Are Family .

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Through the Looking Glass

"Beware the Jabberwock, my son,
the jaws that bite and claws that scratch
Beware the jubjub bird
and shun the frumious bandersnatch."

Fear what lies beyond the looking glass for things never look quite the same.

No doubt a frightfully frightening little Victorian novel that played quite a large part in Madame Borgia's tormented girlhood. Always wondering if something otherworldly and sinister remained waiting on the other side. Or perhaps the fear that her eternal soul be forever caught in the twisted imperfect reflections. Whatever the reason - ever since then, mirrors, no matter how small or insignificant, even the slightest shard of glass, brings a barely concealed shudder from the redoubtable Madame Borgia.


Something Charming Calvin conveniently forgot about his sainted mother. Since during the original renovation of Pemberley, a relatively sizeable mirror was placed right in front of the main entrance. Large as life to her, bold and bright with a border of dazzling white. Didn't take but a brief dramatic minute for a horrified Madame Borgia to stare aghast at her lifelong nemesis, let out a faint unrestrained shriek before falling heedless to the unforgiving tiles at the sight of it.

Hartshorn and rose water was needed to revive her. Citing fabricated feng shui reasons for the immediate removal of the offending object, her dutiful son Charming Calvin had no choice but to comply with her shamelessly distraught requests - lest she fall into an agitated swoon again.

The son finds the way to defeat his mother. 

It was then that I began to hear whispered tales of Madame Borgia furtively plastering up mirrors around the family compound to hide them all from view. Even mirrored reflections in still pools of water were deemed unholy to her eyes. Rumours of latent vampirism and black magic rumbled amongst the fearful servants.

Unbeknownst to most, the object of her scorn - now known to all as Calvin's Disobliging Mirror - remained quietly ensconced in a darkened corner of Pemberley away from the prying eyes of all, especially the all-knowing ones of Madame Borgia. I started thinking of having it subsequently restored to the powder room.

But to no avail.

Calvin : In her near deranged search throughout the apartments, my mother finally found the mirror. 
Paul : Wasn't it already placed face down on the floor in the store room with a multitude of religious talismans at guard?
Calvin : That didn't stop her from finding it.
Paul : Shades of Alice. Told you she would have sensed the supernatural aura. 
Calvin : While I was away, she had it immediately dragged out to the recycling centre for disposal. 
Paul : Never suffer a mirror to live. 
Calvin : I shall purchase an even larger one, one so large that she wouldn't be able to move it.

Obviously her son doesn't share her fear of mirrors.

And now I have found her secret weakness. 

Friday, October 05, 2012

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Day-Time

Popular belief maintains that keeping a pet is good training for having a baby in the future. Though a child is something I would want in the near future ( willing surrogates anyone? ), I don't see why I'd have to attempt the amateur route first.

Something Mercurial Marshall obviously failed to realize when he first adopted his newborn puppy. Hoping for a proper guard dog for his cosy cottage, Marshall received an unanticipated lesson in dog-parenting instead. With his little dog perpetually in tow, he is beginning to realize that his footloose fancy-free bachelor days would be at an end.

I said no, you're not coming to dinner with me!

Especially when it comes to spontaneous weekend escapades. Flighty caprice simply isn't the best trait for potential daddy-wannabes.

Which sadly left Marshall in a quandary when he needed to leave for his... irregular extracurricular activities.

Being such a frugal fellow, Marshall only briefly entertained the thought of a canine hotel before laying his hopes on his friends. Unfortunately he had me as one of his mates. Not only is my disaffection for animals quite patently obvious, there is also my peculiar penchant for exotic meats - with canine flesh being somewhere on the top of my list.

Marshall : Could you babysit my puppy for a week?
Paul : Not a problem. 
Marshall : Thanks. 
Paul : Remind me to get coal for the barbecue pit though. 
Marshall : Huh?
Paul : Probably tough, stringy meat. Would need to marinade for long I bet. 
Marshall : Umm.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Bowtie Stories

Hipsters and hobos alike have always decried the class-conscious tie, habitually predicting the coming apocalypse for that absurdly expensive 12-inch strip of fabric that smacks of prejudice, pretension and pomposity. Eager to appear egalitarian and non-comformist, men everywhere are anxious about wearing them: would it make you look stuffy, old-fashioned, aged, if you wear one?

Don't have much of a choice for me since a tie is practically part of my work uniform. And one that I love. Would feel almost naked marching out to work without that sobering knot at my neck.

In fact, I wonder what the tie rebels would think if they knew that I have even developed a taste for smart bowties. Yes, I can sense a growing grimace from the readers - and I truly understand the apparent distaste. Before I used to imagine time-worn bowties purely the preserve of cherubic choir boys, crazed clinicians and crusty college dons. Hardly anyone above the age of consent with an aspiration to be fashion forward would deign to tie a bow on their necks surely.

But even the snazziest tie ensemble starts to turn stale after a while. With everyone else upping their game dressing in a more sophisticated preppy fashion, how else could I not follow?

Yum, makes me wanna tear the tie off. 
Pity there's not enough fabric to tie him to the bed. 

And hell, it does make you look dapper.

So these days, my dresser drawer has a couple of avant garde bowties mixed in with the more orthodox army of ties. Purchased half a dozen on the cheap in Seoul - from the pink polka dots to the green tartan stripes - where unsurprisingly conservative bowties are all the fad. Hard to blame them when pretty boys such as Choi Siwon look so irresistibly fetching in them.

Though I have a couple of traditional tie-it-yourself bows, most days I have to depend on the pre-tied bowties. Oh the shame! Yes, it's the lazy way but I can't very well knot one perfectly while I scramble off for a medical emergency.

Try to knot one, certainly not as easy as it looks. Hell, it takes a lotta practice :) Don't make it too perfect though, it always looks better just a tad off-kilter.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Hunting for a Teenage Heart

Judging by the horrific retellings of beloved fables with increasingly disturbing revamps, you obviously can't judge a storybook heroine by her picture-perfect cover. If the wonderful Fables ( great collection of graphic novels btw ) would have its merry way, Cinderella would be a butt-kicking super-spy, Gretel would be an amateur witch and Beauty would be a murderous two-faced succubus. So who knows what hides behind that sweet gamine smile?

Even a seeming innocent like Pretty Panacea has some secrets to hide. Seems our local princess didn't spend all her time sewing samplers, strumming strings and singing serenades while locked up in a forbidding tower.

Panacea : I'm hardly Snow White! I have quite the unsavoury reputation!
Paul : You interest me greatly. Pray tell.
Panacea : Well I once had a brief connexion with a particularly dashing huntsman of twenty-three.
Paul : That's not particularly scandalous.
Panacea : I was barely fourteen.
Paul : That's not scandalous. That's borderline illegal. I feel like I should inform the respective authorities!
Panacea : But why!
Paul : The huntsman - a fellow I'd have to assume is a full-grown adult male - is stealing away the heart of a callow schoolgirl in pigtails barely out of primary blues!
Panacea : I was never callow. And by God, never pigtails!
Paul : A schoolgirl nonetheless.
Panacea : But the huntsman was extra charming!
Paul : Paedophile much? I would have taken an axe to him!
Panacea : He was always the gentleman. 
Paul : Let me put it this way, can you imagine me dating a teenager? 
Panacea : Eeew.
Paul : Precisely.

Am I the only one seeing how very wrong it would be for a reasonably mature man in his early twenties to dine and romance a vulnerable adolescent schoolgirl almost a decade younger? Isn't it just a little bit disturbing?

It's not the chronological age difference that matters to me but the immaturity of one half the relationship. Terribly old fogey of me but I could only think that the man has wickedly prurient designs on her virtue. Surely they couldn't have all that much in common to share - with him on the first rungs of the career ladder while she's busy cramming for her geometry exam.

Huntsman : What do you think of my new bar?
Panacea : You do know I'm underaged right?

Not that I would ever agree to it but could this be what our learned judges meant by speculating assumed 'consent' for the recent spate of disconcertingly lenient sentences for statutory rape?

As much as my heart - and other lower bits - might occasionally lust after the virile teenage youths in their secondary greens, I don't think I would ever act on it. Dewy smooth skin, firm young muscles and sweet innocence certainly couldn't compare with the frightening thought of dealing with the anger, angst and agonies of a hormone-stricken teenager. *shudder