Friday, June 27, 2008

Events in Italy

Time to reflect on a couple of Italian news stories. The first one is from Rome, celestial city of pizza-eaters, scooter-riders and bottom-pinchers. A man is jilted by his girlfriend and takes it very badly. Seething with resentment, he kidnaps the woman and brings her to his house. There, he forces her to perform domestic chores under his supervision, issuing dark threats to discourage her from shirking. Witnesses to the abduction inform the police, who arrest the man.

I expect the fellow will get a light sentence because he didn’t assault the woman, but she will surely testify that being compelled do his housework was no picnic. Although admittedly less traumatic than being violated, it must have been more humiliating. The man was effectively saying: “What I will miss most is not the sex, nor the visits to the beach, but the free maid-service.” He may argue that it was fair retribution for being spurned, but that sort of spiteful attitude should win him no sympathy. Forcing a woman to iron your shirts because you’re feeling shirty is not the conduct of a gentleman.

He would do well to learn from the example of my friend
Mr Louche, the heterosexual bachelor and debonair man-about-town, who by his own admission has been dumped by a succession of hot-headed females. Although I lack precise details of how he coped with these disappointments, I am quite sure that the thought of kidnapping anyone never entered his head. Knowing Louche, he probably invited his platonic girlfriends over for cocktails and allowed them to fuss over him like a gaggle of mother hens. Were he to meet one of his ex-paramours by chance, I am certain he would do nothing worse than agree with them about his own shortcomings as a boyfriend. Perhaps Louche should consider holding etiquette classes for the likes of the Italian abductor.

The second, more uplifting piece of news is that the Bishop of Cesena
has forgiven a couple for having sex in his confessional box during morning mass. It’s always inspiring to see holy men practising the true tenets of their faith. The Catholic clergy, after all, are in no position to cast the seventy-seventh stone let alone the first one. And while the church should never encourage fornication, I can’t imagine a better place for it than the very spot in which the faithful confess their sins. It makes sense for people to get it off their chests at the earliest opportunity rather than letting their guilty consciences fester. Perhaps the couple were actually confessing while they were sinning to free up valuable box-time for more serious offenders.

I hope you’ve appreciated the moral lessons in these stories – let us pray that all the actors receive fitting epilogues. May the vindictive Italian boyfriend be assigned laundry duties in an open prison and learn what it’s like to be a domestic drudge. May the woman he treated like a peon have a hot date with Louche, grasping his manly chest tightly as they whiz through the Devon countryside on a 140-horsepower motorbike. May the insatiable lovers continue to experiment with debauchery in confined spaces, perhaps with the aid of an oak wardrobe packed with silk shirts and fur coats. And may the Bishop of Cesena be appointed Pope so he can legalise the making of whoopee and other harmless pastimes for a billion guilty Catholics. Amen.

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Monday, June 23, 2008

Songbird of France

An English tourist tells me how he would go about seducing the French president’s wife. “These French beauties are suckers for poets,” he explains. “I’d send her a note saying:

Let’s go for a meal

Let’s have a quick tipple
You’ll sigh when you feel
My tongue on your nipple.”

I scratch my head doubtfully. “I don’t think any amount of nipple talk will impress Ms Bruni,” I say. “Her nipples have seen and done everything.”

I encourage him to discuss his romantic fantasies with the other guests.

Now Gorilla Bananas is no poet, but he’s watched enough French movies to have a feel for the verbiage that goes down well with their floozies. If I were writing a love note to Carla, I’d pen something like this:

Your smile: it is the arrow that pierces my heart

Your skin: it is the food my body craves
Drain my lake of desolation with your lips.

I have a pretty shrewd idea that this sort of guff passes for sophistication in France, especially if it’s recited by one of those brooding Gallic voices that does the narration in films by Jean-Luc Godard. I assume it will translate well.

We were discussing France’s first lady because
she’s recently released an album of songs about each of the 30 men who’ve had the pleasure of licking her nipples. “Only 30?” I hear you ask. “It appears so,” I reply. Carla has been quite selective in her choice of paramours if one ignores the anonymous studs she’s picked up in bars, who obviously don’t count. She is one of those beautiful women, you see, who is particularly attracted to intellectuals. Having consorted with a succession of eminent writers and philosophers, she was swept off her feet by Sarko because of his “five or even six brains” (as she admiringly put it). One wonders how they fit inside his head. Maybe he keeps a couple in the refrigerator and one in his pants as a backup system.

Of course, I can see why Carla wouldn’t be interested in very handsome men. A stunningly attractive woman doesn’t want a lover who may – perish the thought – think that she is the lucky one. A clever fellow with a face like an owl will give her the perfect combination of adoration and gratitude, as well as helping her solve crossword puzzles. And if he happens to be president of France, she gets to flirt with the world’s most powerful men while upstaging their own dowdy spouses. The dove looks twice as lovely when preening her feathers beside the broiler hen.

The fascinating thing about Carla’s latest compositions is that they’ve made her enormously popular with the French public – far more so than her gnomish husband, who is widely regarded as a bit of a dick. You’ve got to admire a nation in which the president’s wife is feted for admitting to 30 past affairs and writing a song about each one of them. I don’t think it would have worked for Mrs Clinton, even if she’d possessed the required musical talent. Perhaps the French Constitution should be amended to allow Carla to continue in her position when Sarko is voted out of office. Ideally, he would be forced to bequeath her to the next incumbent, like the presidential seal. La courtisane de l'Elysée Palace might be a tourist attraction to rival the Eiffel Tower.

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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Jolly boating weather

A correspondent accuses me of being a toady to the English upper classes, citing several posts in which a titled lady or gentleman has either saved the day or provided timely advice. My defence is that I can only write about what I have experienced. It so happens that the aristocrats I have encountered possessed admirable qualities, be it resourcefulness, stoic determination, good humour or simply a firm bottom. And while there are surely many toffee-nosed swine among their number, it has thus far been my good fortune to avoid them. (Lord Angus Fartwell may be the sole exception, although I suspect he is an impostor.)

The first patrician to cross my path arrived on the scene in my early days with the circus. She was the daughter of a Baronet and her name was Millicent. Trained as both a nurse and a masseuse, she had a job at England’s premier boarding school for boys. She was seconded to us for a summer season, pending the appointment of a permanent circus doctor. Millicent was a woman of early middle-age, full of figure with a handsome face and flawless complexion. Although unwed – and consequently childless – I would describe her bust as maternal.

Oddly enough, it was the circus dwarves who were most intrigued by her. She was not at all perturbed by their appearance, nor intimidated by their brusque behaviour, which seemed to impress them. Maybe they reminded her of the schoolboys she was used to tending. I noticed that one muscle-bound manikin called Edgar was a frequent visitor to her trailer for rub-downs and perk-ups.

“I know she wants me,” I overheard him saying to one of his bow-legged comrades. “She’s seen me in my underpants and knows I’m not small where it counts. Tomorrow morning, I’ll be waiting for her in the pavilion.”

The pavilion of which he spoke had been loaned to the circus for its bathing facilities. Millicent showered there every morning at precisely thirty minutes past six, when virtually everyone else was sound asleep. Being an early riser, I had seen her stride purposefully from her trailer in her dressing gown, with towel over shoulder and shopping bag in hand, the latter no doubt containing the shampoos, gels and lotions that women apply on such occasions.

I resolved to be close at hand next morning, lest the dwarf’s ignoble scheme give rise to an untoward incident. So shortly after daybreak, I assumed a strategic position on the far side of the pavilion, beneath an open ventilating window. Although this denied me a view of the action, I would certainly hear the accompanying dialogue (and other noises). Peering round the edge of the building, I presently spied Edgar approaching alone. When he was inside, I heard him take off his boots and make unpleasant puffing noises. I began to imagine the surprise he had in store for Millicent and my nostrils twitched in distaste. A little while later, I heard another person enter. I held my breath and listened intently.

There was a wordless exclamation, which sounded like the noise a woman might make on seeing a dog licking its private parts. This was surely Millicent. But before she could utter a word, Edgar made his pitch:

“No one knows I’m here,” he panted huskily. “If you lie on the floor I can keep going for as long as you want.”

There was a pregnant silence of no more than five seconds, in which Millicent appeared to be formulating a reply to this unexpected offer.

“You ghastly gnome!” she cried indignantly. “Do you really think you can seduce me with that…that THING?! I grew up in the country and watched my father tease stallions when I was a girl in pigtails! Put on your clothes and get out of here at once, you stupid naked little man!”

There were no more words spoken, but I surmised that Edgar was following the instructions given to him, and soon heard him stomp out of the place briskly. Millicent then turned on the water in preparation for her shower, and I crept around the building to return to my trailer. Before I had gone twenty paces, I was halted in my tracks by the following words ringing out from the pavilion:

Jolly boating weather!

And a hay harvest breeze!
Blade on the feather!
Shade off the trees!

I could scarcely believe my ears. How could a woman indulge herself in a merry sing-song so soon after such an unsettling experience? I bit my lip and gulped before resuming my journey. Ever since that day, I have held upper class English ladies in no small measure of awe. Anyone who can sing the
Eton Boating Song five minutes after being propositioned by a naked dwarf has the respect of Gorilla Bananas.

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Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Day stripper

News arrives of an unusual incident in New Zealand. Annoyed at being repeatedly whistled at by road workers, a comely Israeli woman strips naked on her way to an ATM. After being arrested and taken to a police station, she explains that she was making a defiant gesture in response to a vulgar provocation. She is informed that this is not an approved method of rebuking whistlers in the antipodes.

Cultural differences between humans are fascinating to a gorilla. Those beer-bellied navvies must have thought it was their lucky day, having their boorish antics rewarded with a striptease. They might have wondered, with some justification, whether the woman’s response to having her bottom pinched would have been to place the pincher’s hands on her breasts. Yet speaking as one familiar with the conduct of female gorillas, I think I can see where she was coming from. As well as showing that her proud spirit could not be quelled by a few dog-whistles, I sense that she was contemptuously taunting the labourers with forbidden fruit. It’s as if she was saying:

“Hey losers! Think of what you’re not getting the next time the mare who shares your bed lets you paw her!”

Events like this raise the question of whether there’s an acceptable way for a stranger to compliment a woman. Back in my circus days, Doris the knife-thrower’s assistant often used to complain about the leers and whistles she received from men in the street. Although far from modest in her dress sense, and possessing a figure of outstanding qualities, her temperament was that of a heroine in a Victorian novel. There was one occasion, however, when she did appreciate the attention she got from a strange man. The circus was touring Ireland when he approached her as she sat on a park bench.

“Top of de mornin’ ter yer young lady!” he exclaimed, doffing his cap. “May I say what a picture yer are for sore eyes dis fine and luvverly mornin’!”

Doris was kind enough to swallow her embarrassment and chat with the fellow. It should be noted, however, that he was at least 70 years old and posed little threat to her virtue. It seems that lavishing praise on young women is one of the few activities that becomes easier for men as they age.

I suspect you’re wondering whether I’ve ever complimented a human female on her appearance. Being a gorilla, it’s certainly not something I make a habit of doing. However an event of this nature did occur recently at the safari guesthouse, whose visitors included a striking young minx with jet black hair and olive skin. It was actually her eyes that caught my attention. If I said they were emerald green, I’d be doing her a disservice – aquamarine would be closer to the truth. She glided up to me to order a drink when I was tending bar.

“Miss,” I said, “your eyes are bewitchingly beautiful, even to a gorilla.”

“Thank you,” she replied with a coy smile. “If you gaze into them closely you might lose your soul.”

She moved nearer as if tempting me to test the validity of her claim. I pondered her statement silently as I poured her drink.

“In that case,” I said, handing her the glass, “I shall admire them from afar.”

She giggled and walked off to socialise with the other guests. I could have sworn she wiggled her bottom as she sauntered away, but that may have been a trick of the light.

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