Monday, December 29, 2014

A Christmas Abroad

Sue : What are your plans this Christmas? 
Paul : The usual I guess. Party and all that.
Sue : A bit tired of all the brouhaha, feel like laying low for that month. 
Paul : If you wanna lay low, why not head somewhere else instead? 
Sue : Family vacation? 

Yes, just that brief texted conversation with my sister-in-law several months back prompted our December escapade! First time we haven't had our annual Christmas party for... well a really long time!

Providential though - since I honestly can't recall the last time we travelled famille en masse to some foreign destination! Perhaps our eventful Eurotrip almost a decade ago? Ever since my niece and nephew made their jubilant appearance on the domestic scene, family trips together have become increasingly rare apart from the mandatory Chinese New Year reunion dinner. With my distant brother far off in the desert climes of the Middle East and me isolated on the large tropical island of Borneo, scheduling conflicts are bound to occur.

Picking places to go is simple enough - having all of us agree to the finalized plan, especially the finicky children is something else however. Surprisingly - had us all agog I swear - bringing up the easiest suggestion of Bangkok seemed to garner quite a positive response from my niece and nephew! Apparently their last exhaustive trip tramping through gilded temples and bustling bazaars in the sweltering tropical heat didn't seem to deter them in the least. 

And we did dangle the possibility of lazing about in the luxurious hotel suite which the kids always adore. Though like any horrible unreasonable adult, I would probably curtail those fun-filled activities to the minimum so as to maximize our shopping time. 

Calvin : We're not lugging all that!!
Paul : Maybe some candy canes?
Calvin : No!

Of course I didn't need much persuasion since Bangkok is always the ideal destination for me, what with the relatives, the food, the shopping - and hey, let's admit it, the hot male eye-candy. With December ushering in cooler days up north, seemed like the perfect time to go!

Was half afraid that Charming Calvin would give the trip a miss with the recent bereavement in his family but a short break was exactly what he needed - so several days before Christmas saw all of us packing to leave for Bangkok. 

Friday, December 26, 2014

Deck the Belles

Yes, I tend to be more dressy than usual. Chances are very few have actually seen me out and about in something more casual than a shirt and slacks. More often than not, there's usually a tie or even a vest included in the ensemble. Blame it on my upbringing - my strict mother never ever let us leave the house unless we're perfectly presentable - and also perhaps my formal workwear where Casual Fridays are practically unheard of.

Perhaps it's my advanced age speaking but it always puzzles me to see youthful teens gallivanting abroad in their Wednesday Worst. What happened to dressing up tastefully for a night out on the town? With industrialization and mass marketing making readymade clothes easily available to all, what cheap excuse is there to be bundled up in a raggedy tee-shirt and rattier shorts out in public?

And flip flops - which I swear can only be appropriate for the beach or a pasar malam.

Paul : What is she wearing?
Kat : I know!
Paul : Is it laundry day and she doesn't have anything left to wear? 
Kat : Really hope that's the reason.
Paul : I wouldn't even use that tired tee to scrub the floors. 
Kat : So strict haha!
Paul : If that were my child, I would immediately drag her home to change. Or perhaps to a store for a new dress. What she's wearing now I would immediately consign to the flames. 

Yes, mean girls do judge.

Come on, there is dressing appropriately for the occasion - and there's just tearing out whatever crushed leftovers you can discover in the laundry basket. Just because everyone's dressing way, way down doesn't mean you have to join that motley crew. Seriously, almost everyone looks good when they put in some minimal effort to dress up but only a lucky handful look great in just a plain tee and shorts.

Not unless you're super fit and handsome like the fortunate fellow below. Disregard whatever fulsome praise the doting aunts showered on you - chances are you're never quite as pretty as they said you were.

Unless you're this guy. I assume Alex looks great in almost anything. And better in nothing. 

So short of being genetically blessed with good looks, don't even think about stepping out in anything but your best. Unforgivably elitist perhaps but even Cinderella knew the worth of dressing in her glamorous finest. Never even occurred to her to arrive at the ball clad only in her grimy kitchen rags. Hell, even the fashion-forward rats in her kitchen instinctively knew she would need a decent ballgown for her swanky soiree.

Imagine if she hadn't gotten her fairy godmother to offer some sartorial magic!

Cinderella : Oh hello!
Prince : Umm wait, isn't the help supposed to be downstairs? 
Cinderella : Oh no, I'm a guest! Really. I mean I had no time to dress so I just came in whatever I had on. 
Prince : Oh really? 
Cinderella : The card mentioned formal wear but I am going for comfort today.
Prince : I think there's a gravy stain on your tee shirt. 
Cinderella : Oh maybe. 
Prince : I think I see someone else I need to talk to. 
Cinderella : Wait, you haven't seen my flip flops!

Yeah, she might not have gotten her happily-ever-after if she'd come in her Wednesday Worst. 

Monday, December 22, 2014

Season of Giving

Christmastime also marks the time when I wait patiently for the elusive mailman to arrive. Especially this far in the boondocks, the mailman can sometimes be our only lifeline to the real world out there - at least that of the material sort. Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be any proper schedule for the slippery fellow who seems to pop by according to his volatile whims and wants.

Honestly Santa would be easier to catch than our unreliable mailman. 

But not only does he deliver the sadly mundane such as bills and solicitations, during the magical month of December he also drops the occasional Christmas card. And of course, my favourite brown paper packages tied up with string -- all bought online the weeks before Christmas.

Unfortunately I couldn't find this on offer. 

After all I still need to send my ISO some coal with his black stockings. Though it also comes with similarly coloured charcoal body soap this year. 

My ISO : It's all black. What the hell did you send me? 
Paul : Coal.
My ISO : So I toss them into the fire? 
Paul : There's only one lump of coal. The rest are soap!
My ISO : Black soap. Seriously?
Paul : Well it's to wash away your evil deeds this year!
My ISO : You didn't get me enough soap for that!

Have to assume my ISO flirts shamelessly with the usually grumpy mailroom workers to get his gifts sent out promptly every year since it usually arrives surprisingly early. Surely he doesn't actually queue up at the post office since that very idea of such patient selflessness on his part boggles my mind. 

Which is why I have a wrapped gift box waiting to be opened very, very soon. 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

All I Want For Christmas

Well perhaps not me but apparently all Diffident David wants this year from Santa is a new toy. Don't worry, you'll be forgiven for thinking along the naive lines of a boy's snazzy technogadget plaything but it seems our fellow here wants something far more.... gratifying to say the least.

No simple cellphones or tablets for this fellow.

Dammit where's my Christmas Tenga!

Sympathizing with his perpetual self-enforced bachelorhood - and his recently avowed virginity pact, my friends here banded together to present him with a novelty hoping to placate some of his more libidinous urges. A boy has his needs after all - and since David refuses to participate in the mindless orgies about town, he abashedly received a plaything that would afford him endless prurient pleasure for as long as it lasts.

No, not a hunky submissive sex slave since I would have kept that for myself. No, not a dildo since he hasn't quite decided which end of the controversial top-bottom spectrum he's gonna land on yet - though we all have our compelling suspicions.

So David got a Tenga. For those who aren't in the know, a Tenga would be a revolutionary masturbatory toy for men; just imagine a corrugated sleeve made out of flexible elastomer with various adjustments to help achieve tremulous exhilaration. One of the taglines for their more popular product calls it the Joystick of Pleasure so you can just imagine what to do with it.

Me, I'm honestly happy enough with my trusty hand and a whole lot of wicked imagination.

Not so our Diffident David. For someone so desperately averse to the more raunchy side of our gay lives, he seems to have taken to the erotic wonders of Tenga almost instantaneously without reservation. Apparently our friend here revelled in the novel product with quite a lot of admirable gusto - and obviously very little diffidence - since it didn't take him long to entirely annihilate the ultimately fragile product.

Felix : I think we'll get him another Tenga for Christmas. 
Paul : Didn't you just get him one?
Felix : He broke it. 
Paul : Gosh. 
Felix : I know. 
Paul : How rough is this fellow! 
Felix : I know!
Paul : Does he use it ten times a day?
Felix : I know!

Far be it to wonder about a friend's masturbatory conduct but surely he must be shockingly aggressive to destroy the product in such a short period of time. Pounding sledgehammer much? Even I'll admit to being slightly perturbed at the thought!

So would that be naughty or nice? 

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Under the Mistletoe

IT is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife. However little known the feelings or views of such a man may be on his first entering a neighbourhood, this truth is so well fixed in the minds of the surrounding families, that he is considered as the rightful property of some one or other of their daughters.

There's nothing wrong with being single.

Lots of things to rejoice over when you're all me, myself and I - and certainly nothing to be ashamed about. But while you're busy revelling in that sexy singleton status, that doesn't mean there's any harm in checking out what's available on the marvellous marriage mart either. After all as Jane Austen has said, matchmaking has been going on ever since monogamy came into style.

Paul : Ooh you're single?
Bachelor : Yes!
Madison : Ooh, someone's gonna start matchmaking!
Paul : Of course! Let's make a list of everyone we know who's single!
Bachelor : No, you don't have to do that. 
Paul : It's our pleasure seriously. So any peculiar likes or dislikes? 
Madison : Oh yeah any preferences?
Bachelor : No, I don't want to seem desperate!

Yes, we do tend to browbeat the singletons here into getting matched up - though of course they keep vehemently insisting they would prefer being alone. Which if fine by me but really, being happy single doesn't preclude wanting to find someone special, does it?

In fact, during the times when I was single myself, I always put myself out there. Made it almost a mission to accomplish : happily chatted up single guys whenever I could, cautiously answered every random stranger I found online and gamefully attended every blind date my friends set me up with. Certainly nothing desperate about it, let's just call it being open to all the possibilities.

Definitely didn't bury myself at work. Seriously, modern day romantic comedies might have the lucky protagonists meeting up in the most peculiar happenstances but in real life, there wouldn't be a random meetcute if you're locked up in that office tower alone with loads of assignments.

Unless you're desperately keen on the night janitor.

Something you won't have to deal with if you're fortunate enough to be a doctor or a nurse. Curiously enough, ardent matchmaking is rife in the medical world - practically the first question asked on arrival in the ward is an urgent confirmation of the marriage status followed by an extensive roll call of everyone still left available on that floor. Occasionally even the fitter patients ready for discharge get slotted into the list of marriage eligibles.

Possibly the reason why we have so many salacious goings-on in the hospitals.

It all begins with the meetcute!

Evidently something the professedly independent engineers don't seem to be into! From the illuminating conversation we had above, it turns out friendly matchmaking is almost taboo in their corporate world - and coming off as faintly desperate would almost doom them into something close to a pariah status at work! Tough job to play stupid cupid over there, that's for sure.

However we haven't let said trivial obstacle deter our meddlesome efforts in the least. Since Mad Madison seems to have a surplus of single yuppies in her office, we have decided to make matchmaking her Key Performance Indicator for next year. After all she herself was happily matched so she might as well pay it forward by bringing other couples together as well. Two couples by next December maybe?

Time to get some folks under the mistletoe!

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Coming Out on Christmas Day

In case you didn't know, Diffident David is gay.

Shh.... don't say it out loud 'cause someone might hear! Part of the discreet closet case comrades here, David vehemently insists that he passes as 'normal' despite being quite painfully obvious to the rest of us. I mean, surely nattily fussy fellow with painstakingly coiffed hair and perfectly rolled up sleeves still reeks of pink suspicion, no? Evidently he doesn't think so - and blithely believes the rest of his erstwhile colleagues remain utterly oblivious to his apparently deviant sexual predilections.

David : I'm not gay! They think I'm metrosexual.
Paul : My present to you is allowing you to keep your cherished illusions. 

Ever the game changer, Mad Madison has taken it upon herself to make sure things get better.

By outing him for Christmas.

Paul : Did anyone check Facebook? 
Kat : What happened? 
Paul : Apparently Madison appreciates all her gay friends. 
Kat : That's nice!
Paul : All her gay friends including David. 
Kat : He's tagged?
Paul : Oh yes. 
Kat : Talk about blowing his cover! He's going to have a cow.
Paul : He doesn't check his phone so that would be several hours of being outed before he comes to that particular realization.
Kat : Oh that Madison.   

Like some other friends on Facebook, they maintain supposedly 'straight' lives on Facebook where anything even vaguely homosexual being posted would drive them up the hysterical wall. Even the random shot of a half-naked hottie would probably trigger their hypersensitive homophobic alarms.

So imagine Madison thanking him for being a great gay friend. With an appreciative tag.

Obviously getting him out of the closet is her novel idea of a Christmas present.

Remarkably took David less than an hour to become conscious of the fact that his crouching homo hidden gayness was being recognized by one and all, courtesy of the ever-accessible Facebook wall! Perhaps one of his burlier patients sent him a salacious wink? Cue his overwrought wail of distress that was heard for miles on high, amped up even louder when the tag couldn't be removed.

David : What if everyone knows!
Paul : Providential! I do have a song for Coming Out on Christmas! 

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Back to December

That new tenant. Perhaps one of the most common tropes ever on every possible television show you've ever seen. An easy way to bring in some fresh colour to something that's grown a tad predictable after some time.

Though certainly not my intention, the new tenant certainly has brought some drama into our lives. In her short time here in Netherfield, Pretty Paisley has done a meetcute, dated that perfect stranger and ended it melodramatically with a bit of a teetering cliffhanger - all in barely three episodes. Such thrilling theatrics! God knows there's hardly enough time to even heat up the popcorn!

Paul : Whose dogs are these?
Paisley : His.
Paul : You stole them?
Paisley : And programmed his scent so that they would track him.

Haven't actually met the stranger, don't really know much about the whys and whens - but near the end, I found my sympathies lying squarely on the poor fellow's side. Well I could hardly blame him. Full of whims and fancies like any budding ingenue, our volatile Paisley certainly gave her bewildered beau the complete runaround during the breakup. 

Paul : So you think he cheated.
Paisley : Yes. 
Paul : So you ended things with him?
Paisley : Yes. 
Paul : That's over then. 
Paisley : I still went over to his house to check up on him.
Paul : After you told him to leave you alone? 
Paisley : I messaged before going.
Paul : You told the guy you wanted it quits and yet you message for a drop by? 
Paisley : Why not? I saw that he was at home on Facebook. 
Paul : You initiated the breakup and now you're stalking him! What the hell.
Paisley : How else do I know what's happening?
Paul : You already dumped him. Leave him alone. 

Surprised he didn't suffer from frequent migraines caused by her wildly contrary behaviour. Almost impossible to predict where the fickle winds would carry her actions next. Last we heard, the terrified fellow apparently packed up and fled to a faraway hermitage - utterly inaccessible by any electronic means.

Ever since high school, I have witnessed the most peculiar breakups with the female partner frequently exhibiting increasingly bizarre behaviour after! No doubt we'll soon hear of Paisley donning overly large sunglasses, a fetching trenchcoat and matching fedora to pursue her hapless ex to his hidden retreat.

Does she want him back? Does she not want him back? Seriously don't think Paisley knows the answer to that herself. 

Like I've said repeatedly, break up cleanly. Leave no ambiguities about the hopefully valid reasons for breaking up. Hand whatever belongs to him back. Then for God's sake, delete his name from your phone - and from everywhere else if at all possible. Don't call. Don't text. Don't tweet. Don't follow him.

Just don't.

Monday, December 01, 2014

Bah Humbug

Cooler December days are here again with cloudy climes bringing some soothing respite from the usual tropical burn. Advent calendars are already counting the days till that wonderful time of the year. Even people on the streets seem quite a bit more cheery as they hurry home from work, sometimes with hidden packages in their bags.

Ah, more Christmas gifts to send!

And like all traditions before Christmas, I've already found my first Grinch so far. 

Or should that be a Scrooge? 

Several weeks back, one of my work colleagues suggested having a Secret Santa for this year. To those who are wondering, Secret Santa is a Christmas tradition where members of a group are all randomly assigned a person to anonymously hand a gift on that special day. Think of it as a way to save cost as a group since each person only purchases one individual gift rather than a whole lot of smaller gifts for everyone. 

Receiving nary a protest, we had already set out happily to write down a list of participants when a little miserly whine came from the corner. 

Scrooge : I don't think I want to join. 
Paul : That's entirely your choice. We're not making you do this. 
Scrooge : What if I don't know that person very well? 
Paul : Well, then you'll have to get to know them better.
Scrooge : What if I don't like them?
Paul : Then the gift would be twice the charity, no? 
Scrooge : Meh. And what am I getting? Something equal in return?
Paul : No one can promise you that. But we did set a maximum price tag. 
Scrooge : Bah-Humbug. I'd rather buy my own gift.
Paul : Suit yourself. If you think I'm going to spend my time persuading you to join, you're quite mistaken.

There are times when I think I'm quite the stingy, self-absorbed lil shit. Then not soon after a far more egregious creature creeps out of the shadows - like our odious Scrooge here - just to remind me that I'm not that atrocious at all! 

No one expects to find a Tiffany bracelet for a Secret Santa exchange here. A gift for a tuppence or two is all we're looking for, just a simple gift to cheer someone's day. Yes, even a total stranger. Surely that's not too much to ask for?  

Christmastime has always been doubly special for me since it gives me that extra excuse to max out my cards shopping for presents for all my loved ones. In fact, quite a few get gifts in multiples since I keep finding things that would be just simply perfect for them. And no, I don't ask for something equal in return. Have we all forgotten the wonderful gift of giving?

The Scrooge obviously has. Guess who's getting coal in their stocking this year.