Sunday, August 13, 2006

Don Juan in Helsinki: 18

Now I am feeling very badly to desert Lou like this, but the gentlemen's code is like Cinderella's carriage. It expires at midnight. And it is now three minutes past. One cannot expect more loyalty than this from any wingman, not when he is lumbered with someone like Priscilla, who perhaps should have hired an ambulance with an oxygen respirator for the evening. I am sorry, but Lou is on his own now. He has had his opportunity to seduce his stick-insect fashion model, and all he has done is amuse her instead. He cannot expect me to pass up this opportunity to bonk a woman who has just appeared in a swimsuit on the cover of 'Sports Illustrated.' He is a man; he will understand. Twiglet and I use the back 'celebrity exit' into an alley off 53rd just in case. She doesn't want to be seen with me any more than I want to be seen with Priscilla Pig. But soon Likkanen will change her mind on that score, have no fear! She is in for a night of ecstasy beyond her wildest dreams.

Unfortunately, it doesn't quite turn out that way.

I think maybe you know me well by now. You know I am far too discreet to give away any lady's secrets, no matter how famous she is. But still I am sensitive to the many moods and chemical tides that wash through a woman's veins like the deep, dark mysterious sea. This is the essence of being a great lover. And so sometimes even I am forced to notice when a lady who is in my arms is having perhaps just a tiny little bit of momentary trouble achieving the delicious ultimate climax of a powerful and deeply fulfilling orgasm, the sort she has a perfect right to expect from a Likkanen. There are many kinds of possible distractions. Often her mind is just on other things; perhaps the telephone has rung several times during our bonking. Or perhaps her small infant is howling in the next room. Perhaps 'Auntie Flo' (or 'puolukkapäivät', as we say in Finnish: 'lingonberry days') is just about to make her monthly visit. Or perhaps the lady is mentally balancing her chequebook. One can never be sure with women, LOL! Their mystery is why we love them. But for an experienced lover there are subtle signals that tell him when this lovely natural process of sexual release is being frustrated; tooth-grinding, for instance, nervous tics (like belching), or occasionally even loud disappointed groans and curses. With Twiglet, this whole dreadful business began with a single innocent little giggle.

Now, for me at least, bonking is not a laughing matter. Not in the middle of it, anyway. And scientific studies have proved this is so for all men. This is why there is no comedy in pr0n fims. They even tried to make some in the 1980s, but they were a total flop. Even the actors complained. Of course, it is different for the times in between bonks. Laughter is very natural then, especially if you are actually conversing with each other. Though most people used to watch TV instead in 1981. One former lover even enjoyed playing cards in between. Nowadays, of course, the women just talk on their cell phones, and the men play video games. No, no, sex is not a funny business. Female laughter is the deadly enemy of the healthful male erection. So, naturally, I stopped what I was doing at once. I had to.

'Am I tickling you?' I asked.

'Oh no,' she said.

'Are you nervous?' Once I bonked two Chinese girls who giggled for hours, but of course, they stopped as soon as I actually was making monkeys with them. Later I discovered that Chinese people often laugh when they are frightened or uncomfortable; it is a cultural thing. But Twiglet wasn't Chinese.

'No, I just think it's sort of funny. I mean look at you--you're all upset and red in the face.'

'You think bonking is just funny? How long have you felt this way?'

'Well...always, really,' she said, in a vague sort of voice. 'I guess.' They say that Frenchmen are the world's greatest lovers, but I must say I doubt that very much. Her husband was French, and she told me later he hadn't even noticed this laughing habit of hers. Or that she had never had an orgasm. However, I certainly did! But the harder I tried, the louder it got and the longer it went on. And please believe me when I say I tried everything. And I tried it for many many hours. I even invented three new zoo animals just for her, including the 'goldfish', the 'anteater', and the 'vampire bat'. But it was no use. After a week of this, my neck froze up, and I had to wear a brace, like someone who has been in a traffic accident. But of course, this did not affect my ability to bonk. So I swallowed my manhood and continued trying to conquer her strange inhibition. It was a challenge, you see. Also it was not just about sex any more. I even tried to employ romance, as well! I lit dozens of scented candles, spilled rose petals everywhere, bought champagne dinners...and of course, lots of cocaine, since Viagra had not yet been invented. I was bankrupting myself. And all to try to stop her from laughing.

Now for pure bonking, as opposed to oral sex, the animal kingdom makes for a very bad guide. Birds, for instance, are finished in several seconds. Lions are so lazy they often fall asleep in the middle, and the bonking habits of apes and monkeys are frankly disgusting, even to me. And I will not even mention insects. This is one of the many reasons why the 'Kama Sutra' is so useless a book to learn sex from. I will admit that some of the principles are sound: size and shape actually really do matter, and a 'bear woman', for example, will find very little lasting joy with a 'deer man' (luckily, Likkanen is a 'bull man', LOL!) But the positions are generally foolish and uncomfortable and the romantic advice is for the mentally handicapped, IMHO. Of greater use to me has been the study of the techniques of the Sufi masters and those of Tantric Yoga. The manipulation of the prana and the kundalini, or vital sexual energies that rise up from the base of the spine, is of particular interest, as well as the meditative techniques that can help one think of other things during the inevitable boring or unpleasant moments. The best teacher, of course, is constant practice, but if you cannot arrange for that, you may find the disciplines of the Zinja monks of ancient Japan most useful of all to the skilled and sensitive lover. They teach arrhythmic variations to regular everyday bonking based on the harmonies of nature. I have personally adapted these to more modern rhythms which I have named, for example, 'The Dropped Ping-Pong Ball' (each thrust taking place in half the time of the one before, particularly effective when alternated with its precise opposite, 'Flubber'), the 'Mambo', and the 'Tail-Gunner'--along with its delightful but exhausting variation, the 'Spinning Tail-Gunner.' But even this last one caused nothing but more shrieks of mocking laughter! It haunts me still, this mad sound, like the screams of banshees or evil water-witches. Since then, I have always been a bit afraid I will hear it again from other women. For me the true moment of ecstasy only arrives when I know there will no screams of laughter but sweet moaning noises or even just polite silence.

But with Twiglet, this was never to be. Finally one night, I grew so overheated in my bonking that I opened up a window in her bedroom. It was winter, and we forgot all about it when we fell asleep. The next morning I woke up with my back seized up completely. I could not move! Not even the littlest bit; not even to go to the bathroom. I could not get out of her bed for nearly three days, and I had to piss in a bucket. To ease the pain I took some Motrin that she had for her 'heavy periods'. This made me very stoned, but did not loosen my muscles. Worst of all, Twiglet now had the opportunity she had been waiting for--to start talking to a captive audience. And after she started, of course, she would not shut up. Looking back on it, I suppose that in many ways, her laughter during sex was really much better than her conversation after it. She had two main topics. The first was all the people in the industry who had slighted her or who had been cruel to her when she was first starting out in it. Someday, she said, she would write a book and expose all of them by their real names. This seemed a very infantile and even pitiful ambition to me. And so much work! 'Move on, lady!' I thought to myself, LOL. The second subject that preoccupied her was her lifelong battle with constipation. For two days I heard about nothing but various sorts of 'roughage', while she sat or exercised in front of the professional make-up mirrors that took up most of the adjoining room. On the third day, when she was off on a shoot, I phoned Lou and he and his friend Brad Balfour came over and carried me downstairs to a taxi-cab. I suppose Paris must have looked very much the same when his dead body was carried back on his shield to Troy.

In fact, I wonder if Helen of Troy wasn't a bit of a giggler as well. It might explain many things.

It is Sunday. When I was young the cathedral bells would be tolling, as well as in churches all over the city. But now nothing. Only the radio can be heard booming up from below. And all the talk I hear from it is of Cricket's concert tonight. I suppose this is the new religion these days. I hope the Strawberry has a happy time when she goes to it. I like to think of her jumping up and down and singing along with the music. I realize I was very cruel to her, but truly, that was a good thing. She is much better off without me. Still, I am sure she is not a giggler. Not even when she is drunk. And there is something else I liked about her a lot; unlike Twiglet, she didn't snore.

What shall I do with my long free Sunday, this 21-hour day filled with bright sunlight? I cannot think. The floor is covered with plastic Stockmann bags, Antiilla bags, Academy Bookshop and Free Record Shop bags. But suddenly I do not want any of the things inside them any more. I cannot telephone Maarit at her business number until tomorrow or even Tuesday, August 1st, if she is still on vacation. I cannot telephone Magnus or Jesper in New York until tomorrow evening. There is no one in Hawaii I wish to call at all; the only person who knows me there is the manager of my condo building. I am bored. I had not realized until now just how much of my life was devoted to bonking. And not just bonking, of course, but all the rituals and preparations and prayers that accompany the activity. Perhaps those are what I am really missing about this Sunday. Of course, at least now I am spared all the messy cleaning up after.

This is becoming morbid. Inside every true Finn there is always this tendency too much to brood. It is not healthful for me to just sit here inside this boring hotel room on such a pleasant sunny day and blog. No no, I must find something constructive to do with my time. So, after much thought and some watching of TV, I decide to take a tour of every bar in Helsinki and get very, very drunk. And while I get drunk I will have many deep, profound philosophical reflections about life. And bonking.

It is a strange thing, isn't it? Asking a woman to bonk is very easy for me. Asking a woman to be my girlfriend is not. In fact I have only done it twice in my life, first with Stina (who said yes) and then with Maarit (who said no). Likki doesn't count of course, because I never asked her anything, she simply demanded what she wanted. In fact, that was how I learned we were to be married, by overhearing her conversations with other people on the telephone. With the Strawberry, I have never had any urge to ask her to bonk with me. No, no, none at all. Well, that is for most obvious reasons, since I am dying of cancer and therefore have no interest in sex. But I can imagine asking her to be my girlfriend. Perhaps it is her hair. But, of course, it would be a disaster if she said yes (it always is). When I asked Stina, I had no idea of this. It was like those old cartoon filmstrips of a 'Lovers' Leap'. When two people fall in love they take a giant leap of faith together off the edge of a cartoon cliff. Because everything that lies ahead for them is unknown; in fact, they are really two strangers to each other. It is very sad, however, that only one of them ever survives this great leap. Perhaps the one who falls the harder cushions the impact for the other one. Such matters are all very strange to me. You know, matters like 'love'.

I think love was very strange for Stina, too, but she came prepared for it with many maps and manuals. You can bet she would have had plenty of plans and things for me to do today; oh yes, she had a very definite idea of all the many duties and responsibilities of a boyfriend. And she was very adaptable--she was always adding new ones. I had no idea of all this, of course, when I asked her to be my girlfriend that night in the Torni. I had only a very vague sort of dreamy picture in my head of what it would be like to have a girlfriend at all, lots of nice bonking and parties with friends, for example. Her vision of romance came as quite a surprise to me. But I went along with it, partly because it was all so new, and partly because I was simply amazed at her energy and inventiveness at finding new things for me to do. Also, it was nice at first to have someone to fuss over me, arrange my schedule, and order me about. Medical school studies are very hard work and take many hours; one has no time for a real social life. It was a nice feeling to have her curled up in the corner with a book sometimes while I revised or to have her interrupting me with snacks or meals. She even committed the ultimate sacrifice for an actress--she would sometimes cook for me! And a few of her dishes were actually almost edible. Every time we had some sort of screaming fight (and this often happened because of her terrible temper), she would buy a new shirt or phonograph album for me as a present. I knew by then that this was simply a tactic from one of her books, of course, but it still felt pleasant. After all, when someone still makes the effort to deceive you, you know they truly love you. Also it turned out that Stina and I had many things in common. For one thing, we both hated Finland, but unlike me, Stina already had a plan of escape. As soon as I became her boyfriend, she started to include me in her plotting. And of course, this was very flattering.

'First we'll move to Stockholm,' she would say. 'Then after you have studied at the Karolinska and I've studied at the Teaterhögskola, we'll move to Paris. We'll be the most famous and glamourous couple there. You'll become a famous doctor at the Institut Pasteur, and I'll become a famous actress at the Comedie Francaise and make films with Truffaut and Godard. Everyone will desire us, but no one can have us because we'll be totally, blissfully faithful to each other. That's why you need to learn proper French, Lemo.' This is how she talked, often for hours. This was how she wove her magic spells, by repeating her fantasies over and over until everyone around her became maddened and exhausted by them and made them come true. Stina was lovely, but there are actresses far lovelier. However, she was not even so very talented, merely stubborn and ambitious. She had 'sisu'. Oh yes, she, who hated Finland, had more Finn in her than anyone else I ever knew. And she was not stupid, either, not like most other stubborn girls. Oh no, not her. She was very sly and clever. I think she loved me perhaps because I was the first fellow she had met who noticed or could appreciate this. And who still could stand to be around her for very long, I mean.

Actually, rereading this last paragraph, it is amazing how much of her fantasies really did come true. We really did move to Stockholm, though of course, not with each other. And she has been in many films. And in the end, I really did move to Paris, too. So the French classes came in very handy. But next I will tell you how, just nine months or so after we were together, she suddenly left me. And after that, naturally, things were never quite the same between us. But first I need a drink, so I will need to find a good bar. Perhaps I will drag the iBook along with me and blog from there. Ihop! That's Swedish for 'Off we go!'

OK, here I am back again. I am logged onto a wifi network of some sort, but the signal is very weak. I am sitting in a bar called Kipinä on Vuorikatu. It has polished wooden tables and yellow curtains and a nice view of the tram junction. I think I will be moving on soon. I only selected it because it is so dark and boring and therefore there is absolutely no chance of meeting the Strawberry or the Gollum and Dr Pretorius or anyone else I know here, although I must still be very cautious not to come across Vaino again in the street. Who would have ever imagined that only hours after landing here and quite by accident, I would have managed to meet the one person in Finland I totally did not want to see? Well, that is so typical of life, isn't it? It has happened to me on more than one occasion in Rockefeller Plaza. Especially after dumping someone. However, if I wish to remain anonymous here, I will have to stay on the move, which will also require me to drink more or less continuously. I am willing to commit to this.

Stina. Sometimes I wonder what my life might have been like if she had never left me at all. Would we have been sweethearts forever, perhaps? Married eventually and had two children? Would I have become a doctor and she the director of a theatre school, as she is now? Imagine, if that had all happened, instead of being happy and successful and wealthy, as Likkanen is now, he would just be a dull, boring old Finnish fellow driving an old yellow Volvo to work every day, LOL! And instead of 2,999 corpses inside my cavern there would be only a dozen or so, if you count Matti as just one person. Which I suppose she was. The barmaid here looks quite a bit like Matti, but of course, is young enough to be her daughter. Or even grand-daughter, if we were in New Jersey. Of course, I had known for months that Stina was madly applying to every theatre school in Scandinavia. Well, all except for the Finnish ones, that is. I guess I just thought she was too young or that her marks were too poor and that she would never actually be accepted into any. But one afternoon when her parents were away, she greeted me at her front door with that slight flush of excitement, that calculating sideways look and half-smile I had grown to know so well. She was fond of greeting me at her front door in surprising ways. Sometimes I would find a trail of notes or clues leading up to her bedroom. Or the bath. One time she met me wearing only the open front page of the 'Hufvudstadsbladet'. Today, however, she was wearing all her clothes. And that expression.

'I have some wonderful news!' she said. 'Only, well, you aren't going to like it.' I did not react. I was too young to have learned that when people say these words to you--women, dentists, doctors, for example--you are really, really going to hate it, whatever 'it' is. But of course, she often spoke to me dramatically like this if she had decided not to go to a film that night or if for some reason we couldn't bonk. Like if her grandmother was staying over. So I assumed that was all this was. 'I got accepted into theatre school. In Odense.'

'Odense?' I had no idea where that was.

'In Denmark. It's where Hans Christian Andersen was born.' I thought from her tone that she was very disappointed. She had set her heart on Teaterhögskolan in Stockholm, which is their prestigious Royal Dramatic Academy, like RADA is in London. So naturally I decided it would be easy to dissuade her. After all, I would have months to try.

'When will you go?' I asked her, my heart sinking at the very thought.

'In three weeks,' she said, bravely fighting back tears. I realized at once from this of course that actually she was quite happy and thrilled to be going, even though it wasn't Teaterhögskolan. Bravely fighting back tears was an expression she practiced rather often, based on a face she made during--well, never mind. 'But we'll see each other on holidays. And you'll come visit me there. This is only temporary, until we can move to Stockholm.' I didn't believe her, of course. I was no more a fool than she was. Well, not much more of one. But I discovered to my very great surprise that I wanted to believe her, which in some ways is even worse.

Ah, I will have to move to a different bar soon. The young barmaid has started flirting with me. She is looking at herself in the mirror and fidgeting with her hair. I know what you are thinking. Oh ho, Donho, you are saying, you think every woman wants you. Well, only the pretty ones, anyway. But no, no, this time it is perfectly true. BTW, several young dudes have messaged me at this blog recently asking for 'sex tips'. To them I will say only, observe closely now. The barmaid does not 'want me' because she is playing with her hair; not at all. Young dudes who believe this when they see a woman are fools. Women play with their hair in public whenever they feel self-conscious, which is almost always. Or at least whenever they feel men are watching. Or other women. What a tragedy for the world it is that Likkanen, who has so much bonking wisdom to impart, has so little time to do it now! And of course I have Stina to thank for so much of it. She taught me everything I know about zoology, just as Likki taught me about biology. And physics. You see, to the scientific eye the young woman at the bar is not just a 'woman', at all--women are not a single species, anyway-- she is a 'Matti'. Nature evolves very few true phenotypes, without beginning to repeat itself. And it is shocking but true that often people who resemble each other greatly physically share many of the same character traits, as well. So I can tell just by looking at this girl that she is bored, self-conscious, romantic, a bit overweight, a bit too generous in her affections. All of this from my intimate knowledge of Matleena those many years ago. And most important of all; she is myopic. Look at her big soft eyes glancing over shyly in my direction; all she can see is a male outline, a white blob for a shirt, a tanned lean generic older face. But that's OK, she likes older men. And she knows I am a foreigner, because Finnish men have no clothing sense; they either wear T-shirts with stupid slogans on them or else dress like the Mafia in dandruffy dark shirts with even darker ties. I have seen men wearing every crazy color in the world since I have arrived in Helsinki; they all look like Russian cabbies in LA. I suppose the seasons must keep them eternally confused over their proper plumage. But back to this barmaid: like most young women, she is very nearsighted, which is a kindness of nature. Because as she grows older, a woman's vision sharply reverses itself and gradually becomes very farsighted instead, able to read a line of email on a man's computer screen from the next room--or foresee when a relationship with him has no future. You can Google this, it is a scientific fact.

It was Stina who first taught me how to dress, as well. Oddly, her best advice came in her letters after she was away studying at theatre school. 'Most men dress to please women,' she wrote me once. "Never make this mistake, Lemo, darling. Always dress as if you are too rich to care how you look. Whatever else you are wearing, be sure to wear an expensive white dress shirt, so that it will seem as if you have just come from a party to which no one else has been invited. It's quite all right for your jeans or your jacket to be shabby--in fact, the older, the better--but you must take care that your shoes are very, very expensive and come from an exclusive shop. Everyone judges each other by their shoes; you can tell everything from them. Your socks are your own affair.' And indeed, I have followed this advice to the letter ever since. I have all my shoes hand-tooled from lathes cast from my feet at a shop in London's Savile Row and then shipped to me wherever I am in the world. But I have discovered a strange thing about socks over the years; secretly, women hate the thin ones, the tight ones, the colored ones, the translucent ones, the dark ones that go to the knee or end below the ankle. Leave these for the gay blades. You know what women really like? Thick white fluffy ones. Yes, it's true, such socks seem soft and cozy to them, like bunny feet on pajamas, and when worn with black hand-tooled leather dress shoes give a man a nice virile Finnish blue-collar image, making a subliminal promise of some great rough bonking ahead and a bit of soft cuddling in between. This is why women love men in uniforms. The socks. The other great Finnish contribution to success with women is polite silence. I have learned long ago never to make the 'small talk' with them, just to half-smile and appear to agree with whatever stupid nonsense they are saying. This way they are able to project any emotions they wish onto my 'meaningful expressions'. And again, it was Stina who first suggested that I should keep my mouth shut.

It made me uncomfortable to imagine how Stina was discovering such useful insights, so I refused to think about it. Much. Besides, she was very open on the subject, as she was on all others: 'We must be very, very faithful to each other, Lemo, if we are to survive as a couple. What that means is it's OK to kiss other women when you are out on dates with them--I must allow you that, because theatre people are always kissing each other, though it means nothing to us. But you are different, my dearest; to you a kiss means something, so you must promise not to do it with other girls too often, or I will worry. And no sex! This is a very definite rule for both of us, no matter how tempted and unsatisfied we might feel after an evening of kissing only. But we must save ourselves for each other. ' In those days, there was no name for an 'LDR' or Long Distance Relationship. Few people even tried to have them. There was no email then, no instant messaging, no Internet, no cell-phones, no web-cam. We exchanged a letter or two a week, and then a long-distance telephone call on the weekend. And of course, she came back at Joulu. But she had already changed quite a bit by then. For one thing, she was now a blonde.

OK, the barmaid has actually drifted over here to talk to me now. Up close, I can see many tattoos and piercings, including a sort of stud that dangles from her nostrils, like a shiny bit of metal mucus. Frankly, this is disgusting to Likkanen. Perhaps I am just too old for women any more. Anyhoo, I am going to find a new bar, BRB.

Next time: Something rotten in Denmark.

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