Last week I visited Bataan, here in the Philippines, for the first time. I was amazed by the scenery, which is remarkable; beautiful mountains, beaches and sea views, amongst everything else. What a richness this country has! Anyway, the highlight of the tour was when an old friend suggested going to Las Casas de Acuzar at Bagac.
Bagac is south of Olongapo on Subic Bay and is accessible by bus. Once again, the scenery en route is spectacular.
I was expecting a beach and maybe a nice old village — my friend and guide, Belgie, said ‘There are old houses’. I wasn’t even slightly prepared for what I saw.
Well, a belated Happy New Year to everyone and my apologies for the long hiatus.
I came here to the Philippines in early December after three months of flat-out work, to the point of exhaustion. I achieved a lot but I think regular readers would have noticed that my focus was not on the blog here but on other things, notably my new books — of which, more later.
The Philippines has become very important to me over the last four years. It’s now the focus of much of my life and I want to spend more time there. The winters in France are just too cold for me now.
When you visit a country for longer periods, months at a time, as I do, you can’t do quite what the holiday tourist does. It’s partly to do with budgets but also with burnout. You have to learn to chill and take it easy.
Most people have at least heard about jeepneys, the ubiquitous, colourful and incredibly noisy backbone of the Philippines public transport system. For those who have not, you’ll catch up.
The first jeepneys were in fact modified Willys Jeeps that the Americans left behind. The enterprising pinoys lengthened the chassis and fitted seats. Now they are custom built with stainless steel, all-enclosed bodywork and diesel engines.
Most jeepneys are 20-seaters; 18 in the back and 2 in the front, guv. This makes them unquestionably the friendliest form on transport on the planet, because actually there’s only enough room for 16 in the back and we are talking kitten-hipped pinoys here.
Dr Peggy Reeves Sanday is best known for her work amongst a tribal people called the Minangkabau who live in Indonesia. They are also called the Urang Padang and are the largest ethnic group on the island of Sumatra, whose traditional homeland is the west-central highlands. While these are notionally Muslim, they actually follow what is locally called an ‘adat’ which is a tribal set of beliefs, permitted under the local form of Islam. There are many of these.
Beach beer and paddling with ladyboys in the Philippines. I wonder what the collective noun would be here? A delight of ladyboys? Pictures made in 2016.
Jelly and I went to the beach to relax and drink beer with some ladyboy friends. Two, Azumi and Icey, paddled around in the water and I photographed them. Icey reminded me of Botticelli’s ‘Birth of Venus’. She had amazing – dyed of course – auburn hair that fell in cascades around her face and adopted a perfect contrapposto, holding a towel over her head to keep off the sun.
First, an excerpt from Travels with a Ladyboy, for your entertainment. We’ll get to the hairy down the page.
It’s Christmas Eve and we have come to a friend’s party in Ipil-Ipil. Much against my desire and better judgement I have funded the videoke machine, which lurks in the corner like a castrated Dalek — and is the more malevolent for its fate. This is blasting out at deafening volume, which is, I suppose, justified. It has to be that loud to drown out the neighbours on either side, whose own machines are threatening to trigger tsunamis.
There are eight adults in the company and I reflect that we make an interesting cross-section. Renz and Joanna are our hosts. He is a tricycle pilot and she is a housewife, but, technically, she’s actually his mistress, although they live as a couple. He already has a wife and three children that he supports. Occasionally Joanna works in a bar for extra money, but she has just had a baby — her first with Renz — and is fully occupied as a mother. Joanna is genuinely beautiful and is doing a remarkably sexy Filipina-Earth-Mother thing, her body still a little plump and luxurious from carrying her child.
Anti-clockwise next, me and Sam. I’m a natal man, heterosexual; Sam is a transwoman, though she calls herself a ladyboy. I get a bit annoyed at uppity Western mouthpiece SJWs saying ladyboys can’t call themselves that, by the way. Funny that it always seems to be the USican SJW types who engage in this particular cultural imperialism. They’ll be bombing us for it next; which would be funny were it not the standard USican response to any disagreement with their edicts, never mind the sheer irony.
(A holiday musing for my male readers, especially the older ones who might be suffering from a common problem.) It’s well known that women live longer, on average, than men do. Partly, of course, this is due to the fact that men tend to have more dangerous jobs, in our modern world. That was not always the case: until little more than a hundred years ago, men’s life expectancy was relatively much longer, because of the high levels of death in childbirth. But most men don’t die in mining accidents or in wars. So what actually kills men? Could it be that not having sex is what kills them?
On the surface, this seems like a ridiculous proposition, but bear with me. I think I might be on to something. Let’s look at the evolutionary case. The function of women is to produce ova, to conceive them, gestate them and then raise the child to adulthood. While the first two are easy, the third is less so and the fourth fraught, not least because a woman has to pass through the dread test of parturition to do it. 1In the early years of the 20th century, however, medical advances (proposed and enabled by men) reduced the Maternal Mortality Rate drastically in the UK; this became the global norm.
The basic unit of human society is not the nuclear family but the extended family or clan. The nuclear family is a modern, Anglo-Saxon invention, which has caused nothing but trouble. The clan is a matriarchal unit that ensures that the largest number of children survive to adulthood. Individuals who are not directly involved in having or rearing babies become burdens on the clan’s resources. This would appear to suggest an evolutionary limitation on maximum age. But on the other hand, this should apply equally to the sexes.
To complicate the issue, women (and whales) menopause. This is the cessation of ovulation around the age of fifty. But at that time, the woman still has millions of viable ova, since they are all actually made during her own embryonic stage; nature values female reproduction so highly that almost the first thing is does is to install it. Many reasons have been suggested that might explain the menopause, including the age of the ova, the ability of the mother to care for her children and so on. But none are conclusive. 2The menopause is proof positive, if one were needed, that humans were evolved to live long lives; adaptations like this do not occur without a reason.
The function of males in mammalian species is to impregnate females. There is no other prescribed one. That suggests, however, that as long as a man is impregnating women, he is valuable.
Male Menopause? Nope
There is no ‘male menopause’. Men are just as sexually capable at seventy as they are at thirty, given the same levels of general health.
Humans are by far the most socially complex of mammals. The structure of human society, based on the clan, might be similar to other primates, say the chimpanzees or bonobos, but don’t be misled into thinking they are the same. Human clans are always matriarchal. They are always led by the alpha females and not the males.
At the same time, human females are constantly sexually receptive, and can be so even after menopause. This is unusual. Other animals are only sexually receptive during the times that the female is in oestrus and capable of being fertilised. Why so? In order to bind male partners to individual females.
Of course, this can only work in conjunction with a set of social rules that oblige the males to access sex only with mate approval. Again, this is normal in the animal world; females select mates on their performance. But human females are sexually receptive all the time, rather than once or twice a year. The human clan works differently from other similar structures in that instead of only the Alpha male having access to sex, most males do, because the Alpha is only allowed to have approved sex with one woman and the others all need to be fertilised.
Access to sex: the real power
Because power over access to sex is so important to the clan and especially to the females inside it, numerous social structures, such as marriage and injunctions against rape were invented. Think about it: why is rape intrinsically worse than being beaten up or stabbed? It’s not. It is the denial of the woman’s privilege of control over access to her body that offends. Marriage is the social sanction, designed by women, that forces men to stop ‘sowing wild oats’ and only penetrate one woman. Marriage is codified female power over men.
This power is why women complain so much about prostitution: they see it as diluting their own agency over their bodies as well as challenging the social institution of marriage. After all, what’s the point of a woman denying sex to her partner, if he can get it elsewhere?
In addition, anti-prostitution campaigners consistently assert that sex work is fundamentally different from other kinds of physical labour. Somehow, having sex — an intrinsically pleasurable act — is worse than hacking away at a coal seam in sweating, dust-filled darkness and dying of pneumoconiosis? Nonsense; this is about power over access to sex.
Within a system where men are monogamously bonded to individual women, however, older men have a problem. While they remain biologically capable of siring children, their assigned partners will stop being fertile at menopause. This could be as early as 45. They are likely, then, to find their wives begin denying sex, as their vaginas lose natural lubricant and become irritable — likely itself a mechanism to encourage shutting off sex. These men cannot, then, seek a younger woman, because the society reserves those for younger men, who will stay with the woman and help her to raise children. The society does not care about individuals, it cares about ensuring its own future.
Competition in having sex
Certainly, some older men will be able to find younger women, but this is only in competition with other men, both of their age and much younger. A man in this position might end up just not having sex. But his entire function is to have sex. He has no other; his conceits and vanities, his achievements and successes, his fame and wealth only exist for one purpose: to enable him to have sex. If it is denied to him, then what?
The society has to sustain older men, just as it has to sustain older women. Even fit, healthy men reach a point in life when they simply can’t contribute as much as a younger male could and, unless there is some specific skill or talent that is valuable to the group, he’s a burden. Nature abhors a burden even more than a vacuum and so we have to ask, could it be that not having sex is a way of clearing out the older men? That, in other words, the female menopause is a way of jettisoning men who no longer have a purpose, since the women they have been bonded to can no longer become pregnant?
It follows that a life without sex is not really a life, for a man, so, is not having sex a way of killing men? So that they are not a burden to the society? Nature’s way of tidying up?
The good news
The good news is that, even if that were the case, then there would still be ways to counter it. While prostitution remains available, and even where it is ‘illegal’ it is still easy to find, men can still have regular sex, even if their wives are denying them. Clearly, we do not accept that men may force women to have sex, but a woman denying it to her husband has no moral recourse if he seeks it elsewhere. And if someone’s willing to sell it, well then.
Pattaya is a pretty good place to begin your new life and knock the years off. You’re only as old as the woman you’re, er, with. And there is more than a cornucopia of delight there. And they’ll never even know, back home.
If you want more kids, even in middle-age, it’s not a problem to arrange. Just take care in choosing a nice girl.
Alternatively, find a nice transwoman who wants to settle down and just be cosy with a man who really loves her. It will be worth the effort; she will wind back your clock fifteen years or more. (And you’ll need it to keep up with her.)
Happy New Year
Whatever you do, if you’ve hit that point in a married man’s life, where sex seems but a forlorn memory, remember: where there’s a will, there’s a way and there is always another path. You’re not condemned to a sexless existence. There are other ways. Happy New Year and make sure you get some. It will make you live longer.