Saturday, December 31, 2016


Truthfully most of us hold some unfortunate misconceptions about ourselves; more than a few erroneous shades emerging during our troubled adolescence. It is only with the saner light of older adulthood - and the relentless allusions from mates - that some of these bothersome phantoms are finally laid to rest.

Though I still maintain that I was the diffident wallflower way back when. Really. 

Or at least I thought I was. Apparently everyone I know these days think that was just a fraudulent myth that I dreamt up. Overwhelmed by my relentless browbeating under the interrogation spotlight, a number of my hapless victims find it supremely unlikely that I was in any way introverted in the past. Repeatedly telling them that personalities undergo a mild shift as we all grow older doesn't seem to make a dint in their preconception of me.

Oh yeah I'm helluva intense!

And yes, they do have a catchphrase that they use repeatedly for me.


Quite a couple of times, me - and some of my more forceful friends - find ourselves being spoken of as such. For me, I associate the word with wildly fanatical zealots such as the brooding Heathcliff stalking the moors madly obsessing over a lost love. Seems I was quite mistaken. Generally though, it's being recounted by a much younger millennial sounding mindlessly mellow as if they've just smoked a collective doobie.

Paul : What are you doing in your life? Get out there and so something about it. 
Millennial : Oh man. Wow. 
Paul : What is that? 
Millennial : That's just wow. 
Paul : Huh? 
Millennial : Intense, man. Just intense. 
Paul : Are you high? 
Millennial : Chill, man. 

Perhaps they'd prefer someone unbelievably wishy-washy in their opinions?

In fact I don't take it as a diss. Far from it since I would much prefer to be intense rather than the opposite. Let's face it, the direct antonyms such as bland and blah don't exactly fit into my aspiration in life. Just amusing that someone like me - who I flatter myself to think rather laidback - would be taken as someone unreasonably tenacious. 

Well, maybe when they're really on weed. Everyone else would seem quite intense then. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Memoirs of A Concubine

Surely it was inconceivable that her very own sister, intricately tied to her by heavy bonds of blood and family, could have concocted, compounded and carried out such a malicious scheme solely to sully her reputation in the eyes of the other concubines in the Inner Court. The imperial concubines, supposedly the epitome of courtly elegance, so exquisitely bedecked with silk and pearls - and yet only too quick to abandon all semblance of civilized poise when the slightest opportunity arose to tear down the reputations of their supposed 'sisters' in court. 

Waving away the palace maids that hovered around her anxiously, Concubine Jing paced the floor of her inner chambers while trying to distract herself from her recent troubles. Right on top of her writing desk lay a red lacquered box which she opened to reveal an old letter. Wasn't it only less than a year ago that her kind older sister had written out a perfectly worded invitation begging for her attendance at court? 

Perchance her own star had risen too fast at the unanticipated expense of the other concubines? When it came to the emperor's ever changing affections, there were some who whispered that even the formerly radiant shine of her sister's elaborate Phoenix crown seemed to dim beside her very own lowly concubine tiara. Just a meagre pearl less than the size of her nail adorned that seemingly inconsequential tiara but even that modest gleam seemed to have drawn the lustful eyes of the young emperor - and apparently the jealous wrath of his newly enthroned empress. 

Not the king but hey, a hot prince is always welcome. 

As Concubine Jing unfolded the letter, several dried leaves tumbled out. Rosewood petals. Extremely rare plant indeed - and yet half a leaf was it took to generate an extreme reaction that could lead to death, epecially to someone like her sister who was allergic to it. The germ of a plan immediately came to Concubine Jing.

Was that why she had packed the fairly innocuous leaves along so many months ago when she'd first entered the palace? 

Pardon the wishy-washy pseudo sentimentality but I can't help it especially with Charming Calvin whiling away the afternoons watching what I sneeringly dub Classless Chinese Concubine Catfights.

Unsurprisingly, more than a millenia worth of Imperial China with all the drama, intrigue and scandal contained therein has apparently provided near endless fodder for the Chinese television script writers; even spinning off a particularly trashy genre based purely on the clashes, confrontations and catfights of the imperial harem of the Inner Court. For those unfamiliar with classical Chinese mores, think a purely all-female Game of Thrones with perhaps a dash of Gossip Girl and a dollop of Scream Queens; all dolled up in the lavish intricacies of Imperial Qing Empire concubinage.

Usually with the overarching theme of a good girl gone bad. Way, way bad.

In fact the series called The Empresses in the Palace received such worldwide notoriety that even entertainment giant Netflix has co-opted the hit historical drama - although it was compressed from several dozens of complex episodes to a measly six. Nonetheless the heavily edited version managed to condense most of the pernicious schemes carried out into their pertinent bits without the dull monotonous concubinage chatter.

Simple actually. See wicked concubine. See her plan. See victim drop dead from a myriad of nefariously ingenious ways. See wicked concubine smile.

Apparently quite a few of my friends assume this would be entirely up my alley, not knowing my oft-mentioned preference for sweet, sappy romances with a definite happy ending. Watching the main protagonist - usually innocently pure as driven snow initially - being browbeaten repeatedly by the villainesses before having her abruptly transform into a monstrous bitch simply isn't my kinda show. Usually find such weak-willed doormat characters highly deserving of repeated abuse.

Honestly I like my bitches downright nasty right from the beginning.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Gun Show

Men are visually inclined.

If there's any doubt of it at all, just look at the amount of titillating visual stimulus specifically geared towards men - regardless of sexual orientation - from the ubiquitous flesh magazines to the copious strip bars. Let's face it, it really doesn't take much to arouse the senses for a man after all. Just the sight of a deep cleavage scrupulously exposed, even the flash of a perfectly turned ankle can be enough to set the pulse racing.

As the straight men have their countless titty bars, the gay boys have their own equivalent in the ever-present dancing go-go boys who writhe and undulate deliciously in their briefest thongs to the relentless thumpa thumpa beat of the gay discotheque. For the boys who might wail at the unjustly conservative prudishness here that prohibits such seeming licentiousness, they can take hope in the fact that beautifully fit male specimens bumping and grinding for their visual pleasure aren't only available at the go-go bars.

After all why bother paying for a show when you can get it free at the gym?

Really. Gym boys these days seem to find the overly large locker room mirrors adequate reason enough to pose and flex for everyone's benefit. Raucous runway music and flashing strobe lights notwithstanding. These days not only do I get inadvertently shoved onto a coveted front-row seat to the spectacular gun show, I also get invited to do a little groping. Without even paying the prerequisite dollar.

Though I'll admit I would much prefer sliding that crumpled note into their skimpy briefs.

I mean, would you say no to grabbing his pecs? 

Didn't take very long after exiting the showers to find a post college boy starting the afternoon show in front of the mirrors. I wasn't entirely unfamiliar to this particular beefcake of course since I'd often caught myself drooling behind him while he earnestly performed his routines. Delicious Danish I called him. The man ticked all the right boxes for me from the rugged, faintly stubbled jaw to the rounded shelf of his chiseled pecs.

And that spectacularly curved bubble butt at the back of course.

So finding him flexing in front of the mirrors clad only in black boxer briefs, I found myself transfixed to the spot. Instead of squealing in horror to flee into the shadows though, he beckoned me over instead.

Danish : What do you think? 
Paul : About what? 
Danish : My chest? I'm trying to get my pecs bigger. Bulking up. 
Paul : They already look great. Really.
Danish : Maybe rounder. Fuller. Care to feel it? 
Paul : Umm.
Danish : Come on. Just grab it.

It's rare indeed that sculpted collegiates reach out to pull my hand onto their bulging pecs. My head was already playing the beginning thumpa thumpa refrain to some cheesy gay porn soundtrack. It was with much steely resolve that I refrained from inching my itchy fingers lower down to the hem of his shorts.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Waiting in the Wings

Often I've repeated my faint distaste of mawkishly fawning couples who find themselves figuratively joined at the hip. Even the veriest thought of a fleeting moment's separation seems to bring about a world of agonising torment unimaginable. Perhaps those recently enjoined I grant a couple of months to revel in their joyous cohabitation.

Hoping beyond hope that most would get over the relentlessly punishing forever-together time. However an ill-fated number find themselves far too weak to extricate themselves from such union and are forever lost as a shipped portmanteau.

Well... unless he looked like Chris Evans. Yes, I am quite biased. Even so if I waited for an hour, the man had better be ready to be my sex slave after.  

Such a two-headed creature eternally bonded I found right there in my local gym. For more than a week I've watched this fascinating quadruped make its way to the weight stations only for the male to uncouple for his obligatory hour of weightlifting whilst the female of the pair sits herself at the side to observe.

Rather than hie herself to whichever location would suit her best, all she does is position herself in a corner to watch. And she does this each time I see her. One would think with female empowerment these days, there would be better options for a girl like her instead of just whiling her wasted time waiting for her man.

Paul : She just sits there like a statue waiting!
Kat : Maybe she doesn't have anything to do!
Paul : Read a book. Sketch a scene. Find a job. Get a life. 
Kat : Or maybe take up some exercise?
Paul : You would have thought so but the only exercise she gets is sending texts with her fingers.
Kat : Is her boyfriend hot at the very least? 

She could only wish. Well... short of lying in wait for Chris Evans to finish his workouts - since hey, who wouldn't wanna watch him do squats!

Even then, it would be a one time thing to just wait. Squandering that precious hour every day just to keep the man company on his gym time seems faintly ridiculous - and almost enough to make me want to throttle the dimwitted girl for it.

Couldn't she at least take up a spin class?

Monday, December 12, 2016

Crass, Crude & Coarse

One would think it odd that I have become quite the arbiter of taste and etiquette amongst my peers. These days I seem to be the only one who gripes often about the sad lack of social graces in the people we meet. Seems more than a boorish few would benefit from a term or two in a select finishing school to polish off some of their rough edges.

Just terribly ironic since I used to thoroughly enjoy flouting social conventions. Back then, rules and regulations, deportment and decorum - all of that seemed so decidedly fuddy-duddy Victorian - but that didn't stop our tenacious martinets from drumming it relentlessly into our thick skulls. Learn it we did though we never truly saw the worth of it then.

Until recently when I hear of tightfisted colleagues insisting on going dutch during dates. Or when I see shameless friends consider ditching a party when something better comes along. Exactly what is being taught to our artless youngsters these days?

But even all those minor little social faux pas can hardly compare to what just happened today.

Tim : I'm sure you've received the invitation to my grand soiree this weekend? 
Paul : Yes. And I have returned the RSVP as well. 
Tim : Thing is... I've decided to disinvite someone. 
Paul : What has he done? Unless it's something monumentally wrong...
Tim : I just changed my mind. 
Paul : Gracious, you simply can't.
Tim : Why not? 
Paul : You can't just disinvite someone when they've already replied with a yes to the party. 
Tim : Well I will. I'll just tell him there aren't enough seats for dinner.
Paul : Unceremonious indeed!

Picture me with hands to my face doing the Scream Edward Munch style and you'll know how I feel.

You cannot do such an unconscionable thing!

Inviting a guest and then subsequently rescinding the invitation? Without a doubt one of the worst breaches of social etiquette ever. Such a social blunder would probably have a swooning Miss Manners immediately taking to her bed with smelling salts. Hearing of such an inelegant brush-off has made me feel quite uncharacteristically faint myself.

It's simple and you don't need Emily Post to lend a hand. Yes, you can disinvite a guest but you shouldn't. Not unless you'd prefer the unsavoury reputation of a loutish barbarian.

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Breaking Bad

There are certain rules you learn growing up; little dos and don'ts that get written up in your own black book of etiquette. Though they might not fit squarely into the prescribed Miss Manners archive, they do generally help guide our behaviour navigating through treacherous social occasions while avoiding the dreaded faux pas.

Recent events however have made me wonder whether my ideas have become quite a tad stodgy especially since most Millenials tend to treat the values I hold dear as antiquated Victorian oddities. For instance arriving at a social gathering utterly emptyhanded, not even a bouquet or bottle to show. Oh how I would have goggled in the not so recent past but nowadays I've gotten almost inured to the bitter fact that some young'uns don't even believe in birthday presents any longer.

Just like the fact that returning an RSVP seems almost shockingly passe. Organizing events while trying to keep a proper head count really does seem impossible when hardly anyone ever replies with the RSVP. On the final day itself, everyone - and several random uninvited guests - tend to just turn up with little warning beforehand.

Good gracious indeed. Do they think we're hosting a drunken kegger where twenty more wouldn't make much of a different to the distasteful mess on the lawn?

Seriously the millennials do set such a low bar for a party these days. 

And then someone asks if it's alright to skip a party to attend another. Really.

David : I think I'll have to miss the party. 
Paul : You already told the host you would make it. 
David : But something just came up. 
Paul : Other than death or disability, you do not skip a party. Prior commitments trump newer ones.
David : I have an old friend coming over. 
Paul : Then you bloody well bring him but you do not ditch the party. 

Short of death or disability like I said of course. I mean, having mangled zombies as guests would certainly ruin most parties.

How is this something teachable? Something has certainly gone wrong when these seemingly simple social mores are judged to be quite extraordinary. Forsaking a prior commitment to attend something better when it comes along is just not done. Honouring a commitment made isn't just a matter of respecting rigid social conventions but also a sign of respect for the host who has organized the party in question.

At the very least make a polite appearance.