Dear Uncle Dysfunctional,
You never answer the problems of people with unusual, or as I like to call them bespoke, sexual needs; what the ignorant call perverted. Why does some dull hetero who just wants to shag his nanny need advice? "Don't do it, vanilla dick," should suffice. Ninety per cent of the world is sexually bland, libidinous Lego. Nine per cent is gay. One per cent is imaginative. It's me. We have needs that are not found in the convenience store of eroticism. We are not off-the-peg or boil-in-the-bag, although sometimes you may find us astride the peg. And we could use a bit of advice. Not least how to cope with the slow and painful realisation that we are different. That we will only find erotic fulfilment and a blessed relief from frustration if a fat lass eats marzipan and then shits on our chest. Or, finally find someone who will treat us like a baby. Or, in my personal case, a muscular woman in sensible shoes who will abuse me. For the rest of you, breaking up with your spotty, awkward, sexually repressed girlfriend is no more than an inconvenience. You could conceivably get off with most of the people on the next bus that comes along. I have to find a needle in a haystack. (As a masochist, I'm always searching haystacks for needles.) Most of us exotics lead lives of frustrated loneliness punctuated, if we're lucky, with occasional humiliations we have to pay someone to fulfil. But generally, we are reduced to solitary acts of gratification. For a moment, try to imagine the complications of having even a simple wank if you are a committed masochist. It doesn't bear thinking about, except thinking about misery is one of the few little pleasures I get. Can you offer any solace?
Bill, by email
Dear Bill, don't beat yourself up.
I love my wife unconditionally. I don't believe that young people these days understand what "unconditional" means. Everything has its price for you lot. It's all a bargain and a barter. You do me, I'll do you. Well, that's not love. That's exchange and prostitution. No, when I got married I made certain promises. When a promise meant something, they were for life. Richer or poorer. Better or worse. Sickness, health. Rain or shine. Red or white. So when my wonderful bride goes out on Friday night and hangs around bars without the benefit of underpants and brings back uncouth men for the sole purpose of carnal gratification and I am made to sleep in the spare room, to hear her banging on the walls shouting, "Oh God, oh God, it's so good to get seen to by a real man," do I love her any less? Of course I don't! I made a promise. This is what's meant by commitment. It's unconditional. I want her to have everything that she desires and that I can give her. Including the full complement of STDs that I've been collecting over the years. The blessing I have brought to this God-loved union is a rare case of sexually transmitted Munchausen syndrome by proxy. Our little community has become a hot spot, or perhaps a cesspit, of embarrassing itches, weeping pustules and malodorous emissions along with those irritating little sores that never seem to heal. My wife is a sweating smorgasbord of gonorrheaic epidemic. Many of the men I meet in the street who smirk at me are suffering from drug-resistant syphilis and nuclear crabs. I am the town's pharmacist. I know what I'm talking about. I also know they are being treated with nappy rash ointment. What do you think of that?
Feel better now?
You know, they talk about girls who can't say no and how they're slappers and the like. Well, I envy them. I was brought up very strictly by my mother after my father left us. We were very poor and life was very hard. She hated all men and drummed it into me that I was not to give them anything and not to do anything that might encourage them. Girls who attracted men "were no better than they should be". Now, I'm 20 and my mum's in an old people's home. I'm pretty. I've got a good figure. Athletic. I've got a nice job and my own flat. And plenty of friends. But I still can't say yes. When it comes to second dates, or coming back to mine for coffee, or even another drink, I always say no, even if on the inside I'm screaming yes, yes, yes. I keep hearing my mother's voice and what comes out is no, no, no. It's ruining my life. Please, please, please can you help?
Caitlin, by email
Dear Caitlin, no.
And another thing
I sat next to a young man the other day, a model. We were both at this thing and he said, "Those questions you answer in the magazine, are they real or do you make them up?"
"They're real," I said, "and just to prove it I'll make you up."
He told me he'd just broken up with his girlfriend because she was 24. He said it like it was someone selling a car or putting down an old horse. Then he added: "Twenty-seven, it's all over. Everything's gone: arse, tits, skin, everything. That's not a problem," he laughed. "It's not like there's a shortage of 23-year-olds. They're still making them every year. Like scotch."
Of course, but every year you get further and further from 24 and while you're a very handsome boy and 23-year-olds will undoubtedly be attracted to you for more years than you can count, the truth is that you will find it increasingly depressing. And while the elasticity of a young epidermis is attractive, it doesn't make up for the boredom and creeping sense of self-disgust.
A greying actor I know broke up with his perfectly gorgeous twentysomething girlfriend and when, with wide-eyed astonishment, I asked him why, he shook his head and replied, "There was so much we didn't have in common."
"Like what?" I squeaked.
"Like the Eighties," he said, and there's a lesson there. The answer to the absurd and risible spectacle of an older man with a 23-year-old on his arm is two 23-year-olds together. They add up to 46, or one stately, grown-up person, and you know they'll amuse each other and let you watch. And anyway, the Eighties were overrated.
Taken from Esquire's April issue, on newsstands now.