Sunday 19 October 2008

Of Chimney Sweeps and Bakers, of Communes and Kings

The Chimney Sweep has a curious, and if I may be candid, rather suspicious sort of marriage.
I do not trust her motives as far as I can throw her and that really isn't very far.

I have strong suspicions that the marriage exists solely for her to be able to claim two years residency after two years, when the Chimney Sweep will then become surplus to requirements, though I doubt his house will.

Until that point, he gets one month's conjugal intimacy, separated by three month's practical singledom whilst she returns to Zimbabwe to 'run her business'.

Myself and the Baker are pretty much of the mind he's being taken for a mug. And he suspects we may think this. Still, no one says anything. Well, myself and the Baker do. To eachother. But not to the Chimney Sweep. We make contingency plans in his absence.

Anyway, the Cat having returned to 'Zim' this week, I went over to Coventry to babysit.

After an hour or so of catch up chit-chat, The Baby, things I have done whilst drunk of late, work, women, crazy people on the internet, etc, we moved on to something she had said and he wanted my opinion on what exactly had been given the carte blanche to do.

It seems she'd said that if he was 'unfaithful' during these times apart she wouldn't necessarily not forgive him as long as;

  1. She never got to hear about it.
  2. The other party wasn't someone she knew.
  3. The other party wasn't a 'sister' (as in, black).

I advanced my opinion;

'Well, I'd say go for it mate. I mean basically she's saying, you need feel no guilt, because she's effectively saying what the eye don't see the heart don't grieve over. You only need feel guilty if it's someone she knows, as in an existing friend/acquaintance, so it might be more than just sex, or if it's another black girl, because she's your only black girl, as long it's just sex with a random white girl, it's not cheating in her book, it's just sex and in the circumstances, fair enough'.

Chimney Sweep nodded 'So you think it means she's actually saying go ahead'.

I grinned 'Well, you have to remember you're asking me, and it's not like I'm a great champion of the principleof sexual chastity, but I'm saying go for it. Christ man, it's normal. She's going to be gone three months. Make the most of it. I can get you sorted for something if you want'.

Chimney Sweep: Well, that's partly what I wanted to talk to you about. I don't really want to go anywhere round here because she might find out. I mean, I was thinking of going to a massage parlour. You know a few don't you? How does it work exactly?

I rolled my eyeballs and pointed out that I hardly thought a massage parlour was necessarily the best solution. That I could show him a few pubs where there were much better, not to mention far cheaper options. They just meant the investment of a bit of charm and a willingness to devote a bit of time chasing the quarry.

Still, he wanted to know the the drill in massage parlours. I explained the principles of one I know- the only one I know, as it happens- and pointed out that things might very well have changed since my visit, that being a good three years ago. A couple of raids had happened since, so everything could have totally changed.

And so the Chimney Sweep mulled over the two options.

One, pop to the Hagley Road, invest about ninety quid in what would be a certain, high quality sexual experience with a twenty one year old Malay girl.

Or, come over to mine one weekend and invest a few pints of alcohol and the possible double Malibu and coke for the ladies in the less certain game of 'See what the Westcroft has to offer on a Friday night disco'. My view was, it always has something to offer, if really, that's what you want. It really is always there for the taking, it just depends on how many rose tints you want to adjust your beer goggles with.

Anyway, he seemed like he was sold on the idea. I've promised I'll find him someone to carry out his licensed infidelity with. I don't promise quality, but I've promised to find him something.

Quite why we ended up at a wake, I don't know. We never found out who's wake it was. We did have some magic mushrooms though, which was pretty cool. I ended up hypothesising about the possible future of internet communications.

I managed to hypothesise a future where it really is possible to actually have conversations like IM conversations where holographic and virtual reality advances mean that all parties visually see the other parties present, so that those you are talking to seem and feel as if they are physically present. In fact, future technology means that it will possible for no human beings to really be strangers. They'll all kind of be able to meet up at will. It will only be a few highly intimate acts for which only a genuine 3D presence makes possible.

Anyway, the Chinmey Sweep asked how as I was finding recent transitions affecting my own lifestyle, as in; Him being married and the Baker now being The Family Man.

I said I'd been mulling it over and come to the conclusion that all this settling down stuff just really wasn't something I wanted to do, not in the conventional sense. I said that I just couldn't in principle, accept it as the way I wanted to live. I told him the scheme I'd been pondering on and how my thoughts on it had developed.

'It would be a commune, in the sense it would be run like a commune. But I'm not actually suggesting going out and living a totally alternative lifestyle. Just one that within the privacy of it's own home, operates a different model. I think if you get eight people, four guys, four girls and you bought a large, six bedroomed house, I don't mean a bog standard six bedroomed house, but a big old Victorian House of some kind. Six bedrooms would usually be enough, but if everyone had a different partner one night, then there ARE other rooms, but the idea would be it would operate as a free love commune, the four guys and the four girls all being eachother's partners, but all potentially practising Free Love with outsiders too.'

'The thing is, it's cost effective too. As I say, big old Victorian house, it would be expensive, I'm thinking about eight hundred a month mortgage. But get this. Add another four hundred on for bills and council tax. Add another five hundred for food, toiletries, cleaning produces etc. And now, now, here's the good bit. Add fifteen hundred for a domestic on a salary of eighteen thousand a year to clean, cook, do the shopping, do the laundry, total costs, three thousand two hundred a month. Divide by eight, you get four hundred a month.'

'Four hundred a month. Total living costs, four hundred a month. Four hundred a month, all your bills paid, all your domestic chores done for you, all your meals cooked for you, and you live in a house where you share four girls with three other guys and yet have all the space you need. And everything else, you keep. It's yours to spend on you. Your four hundred quid, goes into the communal pot, the rest is yours. Now, tell me, is this not the best scheme for a proposed living arrangement you have ever heard?'

The Chimney Sweep had a few questions. Firstly, who would control the finances? 'Well, ideally not me. Not really my area of expertise. But the reason why I say eight, is because eight is supposed to be the optimum number for group decision making; too large for one person to dominate but too small for factions to start forming. It's supposed to yield the best results for group dynamics. So I'm hoping that each person will be able to fill their own natural function in the group, maximising their own strengths and yet group decision making to still be realistic.'

Chimney Sweep smiled 'Bit of an ethnic mix I guess you want. What about gay people?'

I paused 'Well, that's a good point. I'm not sure I'd considered that. It would kind of pose a slight problem. I mean the thing is, it would kind of defeat the obvious point of it being a partner sharing venture too. I would kind of think it just wouldn't be his sort of thing. Difficult to find a way round it. I don't like to discriminate against people on that ground, but it would just be they wouldn't have a possible sleeping partner in the commune, so what would be the point? As for ethnicity, yes. I think it would be good to have a decent ethnic spread. I'd certainly want at least one of the girls and one of the guys to be black.'

The Chimney Sweep nodded 'But you'd all carry on working and behaving in every other way as ordinary people? Wear suits and work in the white collar sector?'

I nodded 'Yes. That would be the idea. Render unto Caesar, then go live a Bohemian life of Free Love and positive mental simulation at home. I really don't see why not'.

The Chimney Sweep could see this is an idea which is fast taking shape in my head.

I've really got this idea in my head now, and I really think it's a way of living I want to try out.


Final pause for thought.

When I got home the following day, the phone rang almost straight away. It was the Baker. A whole day with D's family was just too much to take. He needed a beer.

As we sat in the Westcroft I told him about Ken's carte blanche.

The Baker clicked onto something I'd not thought of. 'xxx, if she's saying that, it's to cover herself. Because if she's said that to him, then it might well mean that she wouldn't feel guilty about cheating on him over in Zimbabwe as long as;

  1. He doesn't find out about it.
  2. It's no one he knows.
  3. He's not white.

My eyes widened 'Christ. Never thought of that- Good point.'

The Baker shrugged. 'And imagine if she's having lots of unprotected sex with random dudes out there in Zimbabwe. AIDS. It's not exactly something I'd want to broach with CS, but maybe it's worth thinking about.'

I furrowed my brow 'Shit. Hmmm. That's not an easy one, is it? But, yes, thinking about it, she probably is. Unless of course, she might actually be committing bigamy. Wouldn't put it past her. But I suspect she has got someone out there- got to have. More than one, I suspect. Hmmm. Should we say something to him?'

I think we decided it was better we didn't. Not sure really. I got distracted by the two girls who'd just sat down next to us. It was one of those times I silently cussed the fact the Baker has forgotten how to even just pretend he hasn't got a girlfriend and baby to go home to, just for my sake, just for an hour or so until it really doesn't matter, the friend has been successfully sidetracked.

Life is change, but if we're lucky we get to walk these roads with the people who really matter being with us all the way.

There is nothing in the world more precious than friendships.



Anonymous said...

What if the infidelity thing is just to give her a "reason" for divorcing him when she needs to?

Anonymous said...

Surely as a friend you should be helping your friend by supporting his marriage? Not helping him ruin it.

You might not like the fact he's married. And you might not like the woman he's married to. But he chose to marry her and you should at least respect his choice and support him when he needs you.

Don't be part of the problem.

Anonymous said...

> It really is always there for the taking, it just depends on how many rose tints you want to adjust your beer goggles with.
Hehe. I was thinking the same thing myself! :-)

blue eyes has a point - it's a set up, if you say she's just biding her time. smart girl. and even if he'd recorded her voice saying all she did, she'd still win in a UK law court, i'd bet (i've heard it's very pro the woman ;-)).

> The Baker clicked onto something I'd not thought of. 'xxx, if she's saying that, it's to cover herself.
AH, that was my first thought. you tell him he can do it, cos you're doing it too. hehe. the 'he's not white' is funny... heheh ;-) just like her 'sister' rule. interesting, to see how they view it. in some ways, though, she sounds like your ideal woman, crushed - she supports the idea of free love (just that she can't bring herself to acknowledge it yet, cos the pride is still there).

very interesting... and you'll know the ending in 2 years. but it couldn't be any other way (unless you secretly get the dirt on her, as a backup), cos if he loved her, you wouldn't be able to change his mind...

Anonymous said...

I'm both cringing and laughing at this post... it's "nice" to know how men think, sometimes....I think....


Anonymous said...

I'm with Kate on this, lol! But yes, that Zimbabwean woman. What to do? If you tell him then you could ruin your friendship with him as he might freak out and turn on you. If you say nothing he could be walking into a lions den, and as your friend it's your duty to watch out for him...I don't know. That's a tough one.

Anonymous said...

Call me cynical and unromantic, but I had not even got to the bit where you mention Baker’s suspicions on the ‘blank paper’ when I had thought the same thing and gone on to consider the point blue eyes made…

Thing is, free love is ok in theory, but you have to be able to trust that everyone involved is going to be careful about STDs. Weirdly enough, as an example, you can’t always necessarily trust the word of someone who would say almost anything to just get into your pants.

Then there is shared property, that complicates things too

I know it’s only based on your possibly not totally objective account but I guess I have formed some doubts of Sweep’s "Sue's" motives.

Squeeak squeeak, "What's that you say sweep?"

Maybe you should try to watch out for Sweep, he might just be heading for some hurt, emotional and financial.

Maybe he might need someone to get his back for him.

Maybe that would be you.

Anonymous said...

Oh and what’s this hokum about it does not count if you are intimate with someone who is black/white, or white/black, depending?

What about people of other races? What about boy on boy or girl on girl? I am not sure about the thinking behind that idea, sounds like maybe it needs a spring clean.

Anonymous said...

Cynical but I am sure you have something there

Anonymous said...

Blue Eyes- Well, that could be possible. As I say, I am always supicious of her motives. She and I have an uneasy truce. That's to say, I've told her I trust her absolutely. I think we both know that's not so.

Bunny- I help my friend by giving him what I consider to be the best advice with his best interests at heart.
Since for the life of me I don't think either this marriage or sexual fidelity are his best interests, you'd hardly expect me to go out on a limb to support the marriage. He knows that. He knows hw has my full support, the marriage doesn't.

One thing my friends know they'll always get from me is totally honest advice. As in, they get to hear what I really think, not what I think they want to hear, or someone else thinks they should hear.

She is quite well aware I regard him as still being my responsibility whether she likes it or not, and he will always remain so. She knows damn well I'm watching her.

When a friendship has proved it can last for life, that gives it a status over and above a 'marriage' which may probably not.

Eve- Yes, I suspect he's riding for a fall. Pity, he's a damn nice guy.

I'm not sure whether she does support Free Love. She knows I do, we've discussed it.

One year now. They married last September (?
There is a gullible gene in the family. His sister married a Mexican guy- and he disappeared after two years.

Kate- You have to remember I am quite a cynical male...

But yes, these are the typical sorts of conversations we have. Especially me. I'm pretty mercenary at times.

Ginro- Well, we've been in this boat a while. Neither me or the Baker actually approved of the wedding in the first place. and we had long discussions on whether or not to really voice our objections. tell him we REALLY didn't want him to marry her. But we decided against it. We handled it in different ways. The Baker deals with it by avoiding her totally. There is a huge coldness betwen him and her. I was straight with CS, told him I had grave misgivings but was prepared to put them aside socially, for his sake. so me and her are pubvlically huggy huggy kissy kissy, but we embrace with daggars in our grasp, methinks.

Moggs- Well, yes. This is so. Mind you, I'm not one to preach on that front.

Shared? It's all his! His parents stumped up half the money for that house. She'll take him to the cleaners!

He knows I'm always here for him. I'm resigned to picking up the pieces one day.

I think the thinking is, she is his only black girl, so if it's a white girl, it's not a substiture for her. God knows. I thought it was a silly condition as well, but apparently, these are her rules. But as the Baker says, there may be ulterior points to her rules.

Deejay- Well, cynical I can be. But as someone once said to me; you can tell the true romantics- they're the ultimate cynics.
I think that's true.

I think it's only when you really are totally cynical, that you understand the value of the things that really matter.

Like genuine human emotions and interaction formed naturally.

Anonymous said...

andin that whole post I picked out the word Coventry. I tend ot assume people are in the states or wider world. so is it actually coventry thats a half hour from Leicester? If so, when did they put a fence round the Godiva statue, I grew up sitting onthat plinth.

Anonymous said...

I was straight with CS, told him I had grave misgivings but was prepared to put them aside

I think that is a good approach rather than ignoring the situation.

Anonymous said...

I'm with Blue Eyes on this one... she's a shady lady by the sounds of it.
The wake sounded like quite the pussy magnet though...(sorry, had to be said)

Anonymous said...

Hagelrat- It is, yes. I actually don't know Leicester that well, but Coventry I go to often.
If you know the Skydome, you will know some of the places I sometimes frequent whilst there.

I don't know about the Godiva statue. I would ask the Chimney Sweep, but he tried to convince me once a random bit of wall miles out from the city centre was part of the old city walls when it blatantly couldn't be so, so I wouldn't much trust his historical data.

CherryPie- I do, by and large. Me and her have only had one slightly tense moment since the wedding. She overstepped herself once in conversation. Her exact words were 'But then again, it's not something you need worry about. xxx has me now.'

I just stared at her and we had a little mental battle of wills which ended in a stalemate.

By and large, she makes a great effort to be nice as pie to me. We have a truce.

Princess P- I'm always amazed how me and the Baker are in total unison about her almost all the time. He avoids going over there if she's around, because he just thinks if he spends too much time around her he'll say something.

The wake, well, there were a couple of nice girls there, but the one that most caught my eye was very definitely attached.
Not that stopped me trying.