Dear Helen,

Thursday, 30 June 2011

What is the matter with that silly rag Cosmopolitan? Ostensibly written for women – but the staff have to be men, or they wouldn’t exhibit such absurd notions about what turns a woman on.

I was just flipping through “The Twenty Hottest Guys of 2010.” Now, the issue may be a year old, and as we all know – a man who is hot in one year may be entirely withered the next. The years twenty-three to twenty-four are crucial, in that respect – that is when the six pack abs wilt into a beginning beer belly, the hair line starts to recede ever so imperceptibly, and something so intangible as the flower of his youth seems to fade.

But, of course, not even in 2010 was Cory Monteith hot, or Daniel Radcliffe, or, God help us all, Prince William of England. These poor lads are too young for me, anyway. I have an unfortunate penchant for older men with personality disorders – which doesn’t mean I don’t like the young, but only for their physical qualities. When these are absent, the situation is hopeless.

And, good Lord – Matthew Morrison? Russell Brand?

No healthy woman would display such questionable taste. I’m not fooled by the writer’s comments “God, what a smokin’ cast!” and “wouldn’t you die to be that [his] girl?” And what about this? “Early in his career, a casting team told his agent that Bradley wasn’t “f**kable.” We’d be more than willing to prove them wrong.”

Now I’m certain Cosmo is written by men. Always thought Bradley Cooper could be a boy’s boy…

It was Joanie who sent these Cosmo’s to me – that girl has no sense, sometimes. If she has to fill her days with reading cheap rags, at least let it be something female-oriented.



Dear Julie,

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

I don't have a lot of time, but in my spare moments I sometimes glance at Wimbledon. Can you believe the BBC? They're showing the entire Murray match, while ignoring Nadal's quarter-final! This shows unbelievable contempt for their female viewers.

Can't believe Murray is allowed on the courts, anyway - hideous body hair in the wrong places (on his throat!), untanned, unpretty...I thought tennis was a spectator sport!



Dear Marcia,

Oh, the ravages of aging! Was watching a little tennis, today (I try to watch Wimbledon when I have a little time to myself), and saw a face I recognized at court side. It took me fully 5 seconds to realize who it was. How awful is aging, if it makes one unable to tell Ann Jones from Bjorn Borg!

Incidentally, the same was always true of Golda Meir and Lyndon Johnson, in their middle aged years. It was impossible to tell those two apart, for anybody but their very nearest and dearest.



Dear Helen,

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Thank God Nadal won, today.
He had a slight injury, in the first set, and stretched his magnificent legs out for the trainer. As a result, one could study these legs up close. (A purely aesthetic pleasure for me, of course.)
The atrocity about tennis has been, since many years, the change from normal short shorts (as God meant them to be) to the hideous baggy things the boys drape over their rectus femoris and gracilis muscles, these days. (No, dear, the ‘rectus’ in rectus femoris has nothing to do with what you’re thinking.)
Aren’t the sponsors worried about losing the female audience?
But you know how I always recover from the disappointments in my life. Especially when that splendid specimen of a Spaniard arrived on the scene – excuse the alliteration. What a thoroughly deserving physique! You know how I am normally a leg woman, and his are simply commendable. I’m also, to some extent, a chest woman – and I will go on the record as saying that Rafi’s chest, revealed when he changes into a clean t-shirt, is entirely beyond reproach.
Just the right amount of hair – too little chest hair induces sadness in me, as you know – but too much of it can put one entirely off one’s feed. Remember Sam Gotthardt? Daniel went to Greece with him, last year. They shared a hotel room, and when Sam undressed, Daniel found himself thinking: “Could evolution be true, after all?”
Our descent from apes  (oh goodness, wouldn’t Faber scream at me – “there’s only a common ancestor”; but I don’t care much for such academic distinctions), our descent from apes, I say, should not be too obvious in a man. Don’t you rather agree? It’s been proven, incidentally, that we have on average 4% of Neanderthal blood in our veins. Averages don’t mean much – I’m quite sure I have none, and that some people are close to 99%. I won’t mention names – but don’t you think it’s time to trade Scott in for a newer model, dear?
Anyway, Helen – Burke is genuinely worried I will try to get a date with Nadal. I suppose the dear man still thinks of me as 23 – isn’t that lovely? Mind you, I could still beat that young Spanish girl of Nadal’s, hands down. But I prefer not to.
I adore boys. But the truth of the matter is, and don’t ever tell Burke, that I can fall, emotionally, only for older men with personality disorders. And these days, I’m just not so sure that I feel like having sex without ‘feelings’. Well – now and then, of course, but not on a daily basis.
Incidentally – I haven’t yet cheated on Burke. What is the appropriate time, in a relationship, when one should start thinking about doing that? I always feel it’s rather de rigueur to observe a certain period of exclusivity, a little time set aside for one’s mate, only. But at 8 months into this thing, I’m getting a little jumpy…

Dear Emma,

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Back from France! A brief thrill of excitement as I made ready for Amsterdam in my Paris-bought outfit, and then the inevitable disappointment and tedium of Dutch Social Life. Party in the famous Schreierstoren, a 15th century tower overlooking Amsterdam harbor and the Central Station – very poor service, as one is used to in Amsterdam, rain (also used to in Amsterdam) and, at dr. Veltman’s party: old people practically disintegrating into their constituent parts, increasingly many of which are made out of durable plastics.
Did give me a chance to see Donald S., former ambassador to Albania, who as you know has had his eye on me for many years. Have you seen him around at all, lately? His conversation centers primarily around the visual arts, and culture in general, which is painfully boring - but I do rather like him, mostly at the moments I am able to interrupt him and talk about myself. So much more rewarding, as a subject.
I was glad to see him looking so good, and not at all surprised that his crush on me hasn’t abated since my torrid affair with Burke (now so much less torrid.) It’s not exactly that he’s one of those men who desire one the more hotly if one is ‘romantically attached’, as the horrible cliché goes (there isn’t all that much of romance anymore between Burke and me, after eight months), but he simply does not view relationships or marriages as legitimate obstacles to his sexual feeding frenzy. He’s been married to Marjory for positively decades,  but the two of them don’t live in the same country. In fact, as he likes to say, enjoying his wine and his popularity amid a small group of devotees at social do’s: “No wonder marriages fail. People insist on being in the same country. I wouldn’t even want to share the same continent with Marjory!”
So he shoots off on a plane to her a few times per year, never mind the hours it takes him to get to Belize. Did you know, by the way, that Belize is one of the most dreadful places to live in the world? According to a survey into World Happiness, anyway. Supposed to be at or near the absolute bottom. I suppose it’s a matter of personal taste? Marjory is apparently perfectly happy, living there. Sunny weather, lovely house, staff entirely devoted to her…It’s what you make of things, isn’t it? I think one can be happy anywhere.
Oh darling, more tomorrow – just got another call from Moffat, the unhappy artist. Insists on seeing me today, because he happens to be in town. Well, there are about 700,000 people in town, right now!

Oh well, I suppose I’ll let him take me to the seaside. Will have to listen to more griping about his personal and financial hardships…I do so hate it when people complain. If they only knew how unbecoming it is…
More about the Schreierstoren party will have to wait! Will get back to you soonest, off now, love,

Dear Joanie,

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Burke annoyed with me – so humourless of him!
I hadn’t been in my house in the Netherlands for a while, a small place in the center of an old town, quite adorable but one does so dislike the weather.
Apparently it had been sunnier than I knew – when I walked into my bedroom, I saw that the Hedera Helix had grown into my open window! (Forgot to close it before I left, the last time, and the neighbours are apparently too busy with whatever they spend their life doing to notice my open window and close it. We’re in the age of the Selfish Society, as you know…)
And not just a few centimeters, either! I must send you a photo – the tendrils extend well into the room, it’s actually quite charming! But Burke of course emphasized my ‘sloppiness’, which seems a little unfair, since this could happen to anyone. He was irritated about having to sleep amid so many open suitcases, too, with clothes flung over them and on the floor. Not recent suitcases, either – they’ve been there since my last trip to Holland, which was, oh, a year and a half ago. 
He takes these things so seriously. I like a tidy room, too – but where do I get the staff? In a sense it’s his own fault, for not having more money. Which is because he’s been married such a lot. Shouldn’t be taking that out on me, should he. If he can’t pay for someone to clean up after the both of us, he shouldn’t complain if things are a little less than perfect, now and then.

Don't you rather agree?

Dear Angela,

Monday, 20 June 2011

I thought your comment about my ‘total ignorance of working class life’ was rather unfair. Perhaps Candace’s ‘How the Other Half Live’ experiment wasn’t perfect. Well, one can hardly expect laboratory conditions and double-blind random samples, can one? It was just a group of enthusiastic people trying to walk (or sleep, in this case) in another man’s shoes, for a mile or so.
And now a note about the ‘working life’ part. The experiment was never supposed to give us a taste of that, admittedly unappealing, lifestyle. We were just going to feel what it was like to live in a very small house with few amenities. And do admit, I slept in the very smallest habitat one could imagine, and with no conveniences whatsoever! Very few of the poor live in 45 square ft, Angela. And most of them possess a bucket for Nature’s Call, at the very least. I had no such thing.
Granted, we did not have to toil, as the ‘toiling masses’ have to, one is told at nauseam. And I will never claim to have a thorough understanding of such a regrettable predicament. But that isn’t to say that, with one’s aptitude for imagination, one cannot envision what it would be like. Some people need years of experience, in order to feel something, while others need but a second of a certain profound emotion.
You see what I mean?
In my young years, I almost did one honest day’s labour. Almost, I say – I didn’t quite make it through the day. Which is all the more proof of how deeply it affected me. And I thought it would be fun! Imagine that. It still seems to me that a lot of jobs are probably most enjoyable. If only I had the time! I wouldn’t mind working, you know. It’s a way to employ one’s talents, isn’t it. And I know I put mine to use, already, but sometimes I wish I could be ordinary, like most people, and go to work and be appreciated for it. It seems a much simpler life.
But this was nothing like I imagined it to be. Toby Waybroke had a little printing business, and was making posters for some charity that he convinced me I should get behind. This was unpaid work – both for him and me. Never one to ignore someone’s plea for help, I reported to his business place at 10.30 a.m. – a time when I usually don’t even think about getting up. I was supposed to help pull these posters through some awkward, frightening machine I was continually worried would cut off my fingers (though Toby said it was only rubber, and my fingers could get crushed, possibly, but never cut off), and then roll them up, fasten a piece of string around them and put them in a cardboard cylinder for mailing out.
Sounds innocent? Well, it wasn’t. It was unbearably monotonous! After about 50 minutes of going through the same, unnatural motions, my shoulder began to hurt. I tried to ignore it, and somehow managed to struggle on for hours. They were the longest hours of my life.
And the terrible popular music that blasted from Toby’s loudspeakers! I can never see what is so attractive, or remotely respectable, about music for the masses – music for the people at large, that is to say: popular music. Art, I always say, is elitist by nature. I’m sorry if I offend anyone by saying it, but it’s simply true. These dreadful sounds are the cheap drugs that the populace blast their brains out with. Making me endure it is beyond rude.
After those beastly hours, my shoulder froze completely, and I had to tell Toby I quit. He had the audacity to make a long face! Instead of being grateful for the tenacity with which I had punished my body for him, he felt it appropriate to tell me I was “unreliable”, and even: “spoiled”. Can you imagine it? I could have seriously harmed my shoulder! I went to see my doctor straight away, and he said I had ‘very strained muscles’. Oh, for a good massage…
Believe me, dear, after you’ve suffered pain and terminal boredom for five hours, you don’t need to go through it for 8 hours, or 10,000: you know what working feels like. It’s all a matter of seeing the whole in a small part – I can suffer more in one minute, than some people do in 10 years. It is the bane of the highly sensitive person. Cf., for this, Dalí's "Diary of a Genius." Could have been written by me, myself, it's so close to my own sensibilities! He gets an infection in the finger during the time of the Spanish Civil War. In his Parisian hotel room he worries dreadfully that he may lose his hand. And even die, ultimately. And will they make a small casket especially for the hand? He concludes, after days of suffering, that he doesn't need to go to the war in Spain. He has been through more, right there on his bed, than someone ever could on the battlefield.
Quite apart from this, I have also worked in a grapevine, years ago. You see, then, that my experience is both varied and intense.
Felt I had to share this. I was really taken aback, darling, at your aggressive criticism. Sad emoticon!

Dear Helen,

I know you are interested in social issues – well let me tell you, I have just returned from a night of ‘Living Like the Other Half’! Very eye-opening.
It was an initiative of Candace’s. She’s quite as socially minded as you. Me, I hardly have to find out what Living Like the Other Half is like, since I’ve been with Burke – he’s paying alimony for three ex-wives, plus a girlfriend of old who has fallen on hard times – or has his child, I’m not really sure which.
Candace’s plan was that we all spend the night in tiny, old campers, with little or no facilities. Not easy, for me! There was no loo (or ‘toilet’, as the common people call it), no kitchen, no shower even…Imagine it, me without a shower! But the loo thing was of course the worst of it…I made sure not to drink any alcohol in the evening. There was a café not 100 meters down a charming sandy path, but I had only a ginger tea – you know how alcohol hits the bladder so aggressively. Of course Candace’s hare-brained idea was that we would relieve ourselves outside…But most poor people don’t even do that! So there’s no way I’d go through that sort of ordeal, not for all the social ‘engagement’ in the world.
It wasn’t too bad a night, really, and some of it was actually fun – staring up at the night sky through a little window in the roof of my ancient Volkswagen, for instance, and there was some sort of adventurous excitement about making it on your own, with nothing and nobody to fall back on. Even sleeping in that horribly small makeshift bed (1.20 m wide!) had its charms, so long as I knew it was only going to be for one night. It’s a rewarding challenge to make do, I find.
On the serious side: the privations that come with even one single night of significant inconvenience have to be experienced firsthand to be fully appreciated, and I did feel this gave me a notion of what it’s like to do without. I was constantly concerned that some deranged local might break into the camper. We were all parked at least 50 meters from one another, and any scary nutjob could have crept up to the Volkswagen and forced his way in. I had Barnaby with me, of course. I knew his barking would alert me, so at least I wouldn’t be assaulted in my sleep. But it was a frightening idea.
I’ve never been alone in my life, you see. There have always been men, and even though I’ve traveled alone, there was always staff I could alert through the mere lifting of a phone. It was a first, for me, to be locked into my own little space, with nobody at hand to provide assistance or safety.
A sobering experience, in that regard. As I say, I do know, more or less, what it’s like to live a life of poverty, since being with Burke (isn’t it interesting how Angela always said I only ever date rich men, and I’m ‘in it for the money’? What would I be doing with Burke, if money was really all I cared about?) But needless to say, I’ve never spent a night without showering, both in the evening and the morning. I felt filthy and scruffy, in the morning – went out for a short walk with Barnaby while, apparently, all the others were still asleep, and ran into a man also walking his dog. He has a yacht in the little marina nearby, quite a sophisticated sort, it seemed.
I was very insecure and inhibited, in talking with him! Felt acutely aware of my unkempt hair and my naked, tired face – I’d only dabbed a little day cream on, a little rouge and some mascara, but without a large mirror I can’t do  my usual routine.
He did seem charmed by me, but I could tell he was a little guarded – as I would be, when confronted with a messy looking stranger. This is why poor women never catch rich men, isn’t it? They take so little care of themselves. Bad make-up, cheap clothes, hair that gets cut once a month, if that…The rich are instinctively repelled by such outward signs of disorganization, of letting oneself go. I find that most poor women have little self-discipline. If they did, they would spend what money they do have on good clothes and a beautician, and they’d be far more likely to escape from their life of poverty. By which I don’t mean to say that it’s always people’s own fault if they’re poor. Just that they might show a little more initiative.
Must say I feel quite happy to sleep in my 1.80 bed, tonight! I fear I’m not cut out for real privation – beyond what Burke and I go through, these days.

Dear Joanie,

Friday, 17 June 2011

Last appointment with Severin, today. I suppose it’s nice that my tooth is fixed, but I did come to enjoy those weekly visits. Well, not the noisy, invasive goings on in one’s mouth.  But it was quite clear, almost from the start, that Severin has a thing for me. And I find that fascinating.
What is so unusual about that? you will say. And, of course, men having a thing for me could not be more commonplace. Barely a day goes by when someone doesn’t fall head over heels in love with me. I suppose it delighted me once, long ago – when I was 14? By the age of 15 it had already become so much boring routine.
But, you see, a dentist…I’d have thought dentists would be naturally immune, wouldn’t you? How horrid it must be, to look into all these unappetizing mouths! It would revolt me. Of course I know that my teeth are nearly perfect, and my former dentist, Marc Unzinger, complimented me on my ‘aesthetic’ mouth – teeth nicely lined up, not too large, not protruding, gums not even thinking of receding. And of course my oral hygiene is excellent, I make it a point to brush my teeth with full attention twice a day, come rain or shine.
Yet any mouth remains a grotto of saliva, unpleasant odors (this would hold true for the general populace, if not for you or me), food rests (horror!) and grotesque slabs of meat called tongues, positioned ever so unflatteringly when the dentist’s equipment enters (I beg your pardon for that most suggestive phrasing.)
I wouldn’t look into one for the world. Even when I am deeply in love, I prefer not too think too much about what’s inside, when I kiss a man. The body does not hold up to close scrutiny, I always say. Good – that is, sparse – lighting is of the essence. I cannot emphasize this enough.
So I never imagined that a dentist could fall in love with any of his patients, even me. I suppose an internist might, a podiatrist, or even a surgeon – once everything is sewn back up, one can forget the bloody nightmare one has been privy to. And I have received most flattering attentions from all such medical men. But not a dentist. As Freud did not consider his own children and family to be people with a subconscious, so the dentist probably considers his loved ones immune to plaque or tooth rot. How else could he ever kiss his wife?
And yet, Severin fawns over me every time I sit down in that clunky chair, flirting with me even as his tools probe the depths of my mouth. I try not to look into his eyes while he labours away. But that’s hard – whenever he can, he looks into mine. Which, naturally, disturbs his concentration, so that the dental work suffers.
Proof, once again, that being the object of so much male desire isn’t always a pleasure!

Dear Naomi,

I’m sorry, too, that we haven’t seen much of each other lately. Has it really been ten years? I suppose we’ve both been very busy. Are you still with Herman?
Last Thursday, darling, I passed within 200 miles of your house in the Charente, on the way from Bordeaux to Paris. Would have stopped by, had it only occurred to me, and if I hadn’t already promised to spend the night with Giorgio and Matt. Well – spend the night…not that way, of course!
I’m entirely not the type to enjoy having sex with two men. It’s surprising how many people enjoy that sort of thing, don’t you find? Carl was always going on about how he’d love to sleep with two women. In fact, he had the specifications all ready:  they had to be two redheads, and they had to be twins.
One day he actually ran into redheaded twins in a bar in Seattle, and of course he felt this was a sign from God. And that’s not a manner of speaking: in his own bizarre way, he was as religious as your average mental institution inmate, believing that God followed his every step with keen interest and gave him Signs left, right and center. As if God doesn’t have anything better to do with His time…So, in his mind, the twins had been planted by the Lord to give him the best sexual climax he had ever experienced.
Here’s the surprise to this story: the twins accepted his offer, and he actually spent a night of Hot & Sweaty with them. The only downside? They were ugly as all hell, early fifties with thick glasses (sorry, darling, not implying that people with glasses are generally unattractive – I wear reading glasses, myself, occasionally), and half an hour into the thing one of them burst into tears because she’d never been with a man before and hoped ‘this would lead to a relationship’. The plainness of the women, and the virginity and despair of the one were not in Carl’s dream scenario, of course, but it was what God wanted for him, and you can’t argue with that.
You must have heard this sort of thing a lot from men – the Two Women thing. Common as it may be, I’ve never had a desire to have it on with two men. On top of that, the two dear men in question, in the Charente, are gay – so the whole thing would just end in a terrible fiasco. I have, in my younger days, made an effort to cure several men from this unfortunate affliction, but to no avail. I don’t mean to toot my own horn (that is so vulgar! as is the expression itself, of course) but it does seem obvious that if can’t turn them, the whole thing’s hopeless.
It’s a scary thing, to me – gay men. Alice likes to take me to homosexual hangouts – to the “Petunia”, for instance, and while their tiramisù is great, I was taken aback, almost physically taken aback by the positive wall of a cold front I walked into. It was only then that I realized just how much attention I get from men. When it’s absent, I get clammy and nervous. Do you ever feel that way?
The dreadful thing is it makes me doubt my femininity,  my physical attractiveness. And I neverdoubt my attractiveness. That’s why I don’t like to hang out with gay men. It’s different with Giorgio and Matt, of course – they adore me. And Giorgio is from too good a family to make one feel anything other than extremely sexually desirable.
My usual migraine coming on – will write more, soon, love,

Dear Helen,

Thank you so much for your kind card. A courtesy many people forget, in such cases. I am feeling a little better, but we all miss Stanley dreadfully.
Burke, too, has shed a tear. Well, not the sort that actually rolls down one’s cheeks. But his eyes welled up when he looked at Stan’s stiff, dear body. “Thank god he won’t be humping me anymore,” he said. I heard the emotional strain in his voice.
It’s true that Burke always took the brunt of Stanley’s sexual drive. Pugs are incredibly sexual, did you know? Of course many dogs have urges, but our darling Stanley took the humping to quite an extreme. He would glare at one with wild, angry eyes, and then come running and exert his passion on one’s arm, with a furious look  that said ‘don’t you dare try to stop me’.
Burke would lightly push him away, which would make Stan all the more frenzied, a mixture of passion and rage. If he got very displeased by Burke’s rejection, he would even bite him, so Burke usually gave it up and let Stanley have his way with him. Oddly enough, Stan never quenched his desires on me - a dog of strange tastes.
Barnaby is of course much less lascivious than Stan, especially since his chemical castration. I always wonder, by the way – why can’t they do those on men? So much simpler than the whole vasectomy thing, which I personally don’t like because men tend to complain of all sorts of little aches for weeks afterwards, so that one is wholly put off one’s feed, if you see what I mean. Of course, now and then even Barney suddenly discovers a Love Object, and when he does, he won’t take no for an answer.
Wasn’t it funny the way he used to climb on top of Dr. Veltman? Simply hilarious! No matter how vehemently poor Barnaby pawed Dr. Veltman’s stomach and bit and sucked on his ear lobe, Dr. Veltman had no clue what was going on.
“Yes, yes, you’re a good dog,” he would say. Or, if he was very put upon: “Why don’t you go play with your fire truck, now?” But he was never on to Barnaby’s carnal lust for him, even when the dog humped his arm furiously. I just didn’t have the heart to tell him what was going on. So innocent, Dr. Veltman…Even his almost fanatical devotion to me seems quite chaste and pure – Thank God!
I have put your card on the mantelpiece, my dear, with similar attentions from other friends. Nothing from Joanie – she can be quite cold, can’t she. I love her, of course.

Dear Joanie,

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Darling, sad news – Stanley passed away in the night.
I’m sorry for announcing it so bluntly – but I’m all red-eyed and exhausted, and have, for the moment, lost my usual knack for diplomacy. Of course we knew it was imminent – there’s only so much a body can take. He was old and worn, basically. But even when you know the end is near, part of you doesn’t want to believe it, don’t you find?
Dr. Harman dropped by early in the evening, bless his soul, gave Stan a sedative, and told us to sit with him, be close to him, and that was all we could do for him. “But it is a lot,” he added. And yes, for that I am grateful. Stanley didn’t die alone.
In the middle of the night, he let out an odd grunt, then panted frantically for several minutes, his eyes bulging from the effort. I could see his extreme discomfort, and the sedative had worn off, but Burke said I shouldn’t call dr. Harman. I didn’t want to argue over Stanley’s bed, but I think it’s a doctor’s duty to do anything he can, even if it’s the middle of the night, and I do think I should have called him – even if he really couldn’t do anything, it would have been a reassurance to have him by the bed.
Don’t you agree?
Then  came the death throes. L ‘agonie, as the French call it. Oh darling, so awful! I don’t think I’ll ever be able to erase the image from my mind – Stanley half-conscious, half gone to a better world, yet in obvious distress…He was so far away from us, and then suddenly, his eyes opened, and there was a moment when I knew he recognized me. It was very brief. I think he knew – he knew that he was going to die.
Thank God I was there for him. But of course, in the end, we all die alone. No one can help us through the transition.
And now, we are left with the pain. Even Burke, who used to pretend he didn’t much care for Stanley, and shooed him off the couch quite brusquely many a time. But I know that deep down he adored Stan. He’s been digging a grave all afternoon, didn't want for dr. Harman to take his little body away.
Darling, I am heartbroken…Will write more, soon. Right now I need a Valium.

Dear Joanie,

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

To get back to the topic of fidelity – do you have the same problems I do? Could you not?

Your Averill isn’t the most physically alluring man, if you’ll forgive my saying so…I’ve always warned that choosing intellect over body entails great dangers. It seems so appealing, at first – here is this man with this great mind. I know. I’ve been there. It was that way with me and Bentley. I stupidly thought the attraction would last.

And then, of course, it doesn’t. After so many years (or months), the fascination wears off. His bon mots don’t seem so fresh, anymore. His witticisms have become tedious. His repartee, which you once thought brilliant, now drives you to frantically varnish your nails while he speaks. This is the point of extreme danger. Now that his mind has become wearisome to you, all he has left is the physical trapping, and that physical trapping, with men of intellect, is usually lamentable.

I know I have argued the reverse, one evening when you and I were both drinking just a little too much. That a pretty face can grow tiresome, too. This is a fact. After you have quenched your thirst for his body, a handsome man with no conversation becomes a stupid doll. Oh, it may take months, years even, but the moment will come. And then you’ll find yourself wanting to shake the wretched doll, shake it till its sawdust brain gives out.

And yet – how much more tragic is the relationship which once took off in a dazzling affair with the brain, a love for what was in the person rather than the flesh and blood hull, a spiritual affair, in other words…only to collapse onto itself and leave nothing but cold ashes and broken dreams…and a puny little man with glasses and no chest hair. Thank god Burke is not puny.

But you see my point, dear – yes, life with an inane doll will bore you frantically, after the novelty has worn off. However, you can still shag his brains out of a bored evening. But the man you once revered for his intellectual powers, who then deflates on you like a pompous balloon, will be of no use whatsoever. Unless he’s rich. And even then - I’m famous, as you know, for saying I prefer brains to money. And that’s only a slight exaggeration, a fairly minor deviation from the truth. Believe me, no amount of luxury can make you forget how appalling his once adored profile looks on your pillow, when you wake up in the morning.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you…


Dear Marcia,

Monday, 13 June 2011

Have you ever looked up people with "similar interests", on the internet?

I am at present of course not in interested in meeting somebody, as I share my life with Burke and he seems, for the moment, to expect 'exclusivity' - but it's always nice to expand one's circle of acquaintance, isn't it.

Idly looking at Blog Profiles on, I found there was exactly one other person, among the hundreds of thousands, who has the Hite Report on Male Sexuality in his list of Favorite Books. And a man, at that. Who is this intriguing person? I thought. Could he be a soul mate?

I checked his profile:

I am a dissenting nonconformist working-class writer with a moral, intellectual, artistic and social voice of conscience! Please do not ignore my valid concerns about -- and accusations of -- malignity, wrongdoing, ineptitude, dishonesty, illegality, and perversity --against SAFTI military authorities (now retirees) who, in 1972, decided to implant me without obtaining my consent, approval, agreement or acceptance!

And so, you see, it doesn't look as if this gentleman and I have much in common, after all. It's certainly true that I am a nonconformist, and I believe I know a little about the working class life from my brief stint in the grapevines of Margaux, France.

(I know Burke told you I didn't finish my shift, there, but I did a full three hours of it, and have you any idea how absolutely back breaking and awful it is? I only did it to help out Papi, Jean-Claude's father, because he had to harvest everything before the thunderstorms began. It was brutal! You had to pick the ripe clusters, but leave the unripe ones and the ones with bunch rot. First I thought all my clusters were unripe, so I walked leisurely through the vine, and as it was a lovely day, I contemplated that the working life wasn't so bad. After all, I get to be in the house most of the time, bored and wan, while these people socialize and get tans.

True, isn't it? But then Tanguy, Papi's rather rude helper, said my clusters were all just fine and I should go back and pick the grapes. Unpleasant little man. Within 20 minutes I was drenched. But you know how I am - never one to let people down. Poor Papi was moving around awkwardly and picking with bent back, and when he tried to straighten, he didn't - that is, his back hasn't gone back to normal in the past twenty-five years. So I carried on, wouldn't hear of stopping, and by God if I didn't put in those three gruelling hours! Then I was simply exhausted and went inside to make Papi a cup of coffee. I think several hours is plenty to get an impression of anual labour is all about. Let me tell you: I've been there, seen it, done it, and thank you, I don't need any more of it.)

I suppose I'd also agree I have "a moral, intellectual, artistic and social voice of conscience". The plight of our world hurts me almost physically, viscerally, sometimes. I really have no time for people without a social conscience. I suppose that's how Mommy raised me.

But apparently, this man has been "implanted" in 1972, and this without his consent. Or even his approval, agreement or acceptance. Quite apart from the fact that 1972 is of course before my time, I very much doubt I have been "implanted". But, who knows? You know what I always say: I know I've been abducted by aliens, because I don't remember it at all. This could be a similar thing. How does one know whether one has been implanted?


Dear Joanie,

Monday, 6 June 2011

Dom is going to plead ‘not guilty’, on Monday. I mean Dominique Strauss-Kahn, of course. You know I’d never expected this of him? I knew him during my brief Parisian stint. He was quite fun to be with. I remember once at a social do he suggested we go into the Salle Henri Désiré Landru, adjoining the reception area, because of the marvellous paintings there.

Whenever a man has asked me to go into any room with him, it always ended in steamy groping, that goes with the territory. But this kerfuffle was too much even for my tastes. I slapped his face hard. If you think that stopped him, you don’t know French men. When those clammy socialist fingers went for my décolleté, I took off my high heel and rammed it you-know-where.

That was the end of the matter, there and then. A few minutes later we were conversing animatedly again in the Salle Philippine de Rothschild. And not half an hour later, another important politician asked me to come look at the paintings in the Salle Landru with him. That’s how it goes, in France! I said yes, by the way.



Dearest Joanie,

So, Nadal won his 6th Roland Garros, last night. What a pity I don’t live in Paris anymore! I’d have taken the boy out on the town, for an evening he’d never forget. Although – well, now that I’m with Burke  (a not necessarily very fortunate relic of that same Parisian period, if you’ll forgive my putting it so uncharitably), I’m not really supposed to wine and dine gorgeous 24 year olds.
I quite see the logic in that, I must say. You know I don’t believe in monogamy, but when I’m with a man who is very adamant about the subject, I do try not to hurt his feelings by shagging some nubile hottie. On the other hand, an older man with indifferent physique is fair game, I feel. Not that I’ve discussed it with Burke, or with most of my better halves, but it would be absurd to call a night out with somebody very ordinary, with an ordinary body, cheating. Don’t you rather agree? I mean, how could one’s partner possibly be jealous? I don’t think it’s genuinely cheating unless you put your heart and soul into it, I always say. And that is such a rare thing with me, as you know.
I shouldn’t watch those tennis matches. It’s insupportable, as the French say – you see this perfectly built child-man sweating and running around rippling his perfect muscles, and the next moment you look at your own partner, and…Well, I don’t mean to be unkind. But one does tend to compare, doesn’t one? I’ve been urging Burke to go to a gym, but I should be realistic. I suppose it’s hopeless. At his advanced age they just can’t do the Nadal shape, can they, even if they work at it 8 hours every day. Which I'm just certain he will refuse to do, when asked. Stupid Mediterranean stubbornness.

More later!


Dear Carmen,

Friday, 3 June 2011

Well, have I ever! You remember Otto, my German lover of…well, absolute ages ago? Having never really gotten over me (so tedious when they don’t!) he sends me pictures, now and then, of his boys. And the oldest of these – well, you should see his photo! Did that boy suddenly blossom, in the past few years…It’s Otto, only much younger and with a divine body. Exactly as I’d always wished Otto looked. I daresay I wouldn’t have broken up with him if he had been in the shape that boy of his is in.
But what do you think? Typical German lack of a sense of humor! I wrote a message to young Dieter – he has a Facebook page, and I thought he might like to hear that a woman who knows a little bit about the world finds him attractive. You know how these 16 year olds are – they can be so shy, and so troubled about their acne, can’t they. Of course Dieter doesn’t have acne, or I wouldn’t have written to him. I mean, what would I have said, in that case? 
So, just to lift his pubescent spirits, I flirted a little with the lad, made some quite muted remarks about his bodily qualities, and I suppose I suggested he learn the ropes from an older woman like myself – in jest, actually. I have far too much on my plate to put up with an insecure teen right now.
However, Otto took the matter completely seriously, and wrote me to say “Do not ever contact my sons again”, with a CC to his lawyers! I was furious. It’s not even as if I did it for myself…Can’t a person be nice to another person, without all hell breaking loose? Really, I’m amazed at German prudishness. One wonders how they procreate.

Oh well! Love for now, my darling, from


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