My dream –

After graduation from graduate school in northern China, I continued to work for the French, but relocated to the western part of Guangdong Province, Zhanjiang, the major base of support and foreign compound serving drilling operations in the South China Sea, and the Gulf of Tonkin. The French, stewards of the compound, were in the company of the Americans and the Japanese. Also in large number were the employees of sub-contractors serving the field, many of them Indians. The Australians were stationed in Haikou.

Zhanjiang, because of its seeming remoteness, was considered by the Americans and the Japanese to be too isolated for their families. The French, however, with an established infrastructure to serve them, were accompanied by their wives and young children. The Indians, too, young and newly married, also brought their spouses.

In their ‘Disneyland’ far from home, the Americans and the Japanese sought, as it were, to kill two birds with one stone. They hired all of their office ‘help’ out of Hong Kong, females, all, amongst the not-so-young and not-so-pretty, but eager to make expat wages in service to all the needs of their foreign bosses. Away from their wives, working closely with their secretaries and other office staff, the parings were immediate. Every American man, and every Japanese man, had an openly sexual relationship with a Hong Kong woman.

Over the course of my many years there, in very many if not most cases, though the secretaries had been introduced to the wives of the Americans on their brief visits, the marriages ended in divorce, the Hong Kong secretaries unable to conceal their vainglorious smiles. The Japanese, obedient to their culture, were quite pleased to fuck around, but in exchange for gifts other than marriage.

Fluent in both Mandarin and Cantonese, there was little that did not reach my ears, long before it reached my eyes. The Chinese staff of the houses, dormitories, and hotel of the compound, with whom I remained as cordial as family through my language ability, and the favours regularly and easily granted with my frequent travel outside of China, were all too eager to keep me abreast of the gossip – who was sleeping with whom, and all the juiciest of details.

To the fuwuyuan 服务员 were known even the movements of those thought too high up the ladder to falter – heads, chiefs, directors, superintendents – but who succumbed nonetheless, though they exercised far more caution than most in their affairs, flirtations, intrigues, romances, and entanglements.

I was also made privy to those who curiously refrained. Were they too conscientious in their work to digress? Had they just missed out in the coupling? Were they truly devout in their marriages, or unmarried; so either were not inclined to stray, or disinclined to Asian fare? Innocently, the fuwuyuan seemed not to have homosexuality on their radars. 

With the Americans and the Japanese present, needless to convey, in the relatively small field available within the compound, softball was a must. The Americans arrived at play with cutoffs and t-shirts; the Japanese, in appropriate company-provided uniforms proudly displaying the company name, the team name, the location.

As a Welshman, baseball was not my game; despite and still, with some American experience in my past, it was insisted that I join the Americans in their rivalry with the Japanese. I could hit, and run, and throw, but, being left-handed, with no left-handed gloves available, I was compelled to catch the ball, should it be hit to me, with bare hands. Recovery from the sting of those catches necessarily delayed momentarily my return of the balls into play, moments which were crucial to dissuading the accomplishment of a run or runs by the Japanese. That being the case, I was always positioned in the location perceived to be the least likely to receive a hit. Of course, the Japanese quickly discovered that place of weakness, and took full advantage.

Despite and still, without fail, and with seeming ease, the Americans always emerged victorious, often embarrassingly so for the Japanese. I never felt sorry for them, but nor did I feel as if any part of those American triumphs were mine to boast of or to celebrate. I was a fill-in; that was all.

Following afternoons of play in the hot tropical sun, at the pool, in the compound, there were American-style barbecues with all the fixings. The oil industry was rich then, and no expense was spared. The French stayed clear of these gatherings, of course, and the pool, in general, preferring their private beach, where they could swim and sunbathe in the nude. Though I worked for the French, and spent most of my time at my own training centre compound quite removed across a couple of kilometres of rice fields from where we all lived, I did attend these American barbies. It was a venue through which I could connect with the Americans and the Japanese – those few of the vanquished who attended – in relaxed, casual fashion.

I was bronzed with the sun. My hair was long, to the middle of my back, and, like my neatly but naturally trimmed beard and moustache, in colour, like the deepest, darkest brown of the walnut. As I was truly an outsider, from the point of view of the Americans, I was fair game in their make-believe Chinese ‘Disneyland’.

There was always plenty of beer at the victory barbecues – American, Japanese, Chinese, and European. Just as my game is rugby, my drink is whisky; so I refrained. I was very fit, from walking between the rice paddies to and from work, and from working out with weights under a tent in the heat with a Scottish geophysicist who was on contract to the Americans. Beer, which didn’t quench the thirst, and couldn’t get me drunk, was not in my programme.

As afternoon turned to evening, most of the participants called it a day. A few persisted though, still nursing their quasi-drunks of beer. Conversations arose, which, in retrospect, always had the same motivation. Rather than genuine interest in anything I might be doing – my position as Director of Training and Technological Exchange, my opinion of the French, my long experience in China – opportunities were sought, indirectly, as it were, to arrive at those well-timed instances, through the medium of apparently nonchalant visiting, to address the question of the evening, always the same question – ‘Will you suck my dick?’

Until I began to focus conscientiously on the evidence of the coupling of Americans with their Hong Kong Chinese staff, though that evidence was by no means conclusive, I was often taken be surprise at those who persevered ’til well into evening, in the guise of curiosity or fascination, before popping the question. It was always the most apparently manly, macho, redneck; geologists, geophysicists, petroleum engineers; all company men, all with years in offshore petroleum exploration; the former football players from Buffalo, from Green Bay, from Golden, from Lubbock.

We were usually alone, or nearly so, at that point, and the invitation meant, of course, accompany me back to my room, to engage. The surprise was always prompted by the half-drunken boldness of these men – all much more men than I – and who or what they saw me to be. Was it really that obvious? Of course, though all liaisons were seemingly planned, they appeared at the same time at least somewhat discreetly spontaneous. Discretion, however, was assured only in the presumption that I was the camp slut, the camp whore, free for the asking. For no one could be held culpable merely for availing of the services of the compound faggot. Certainly, not once did I refuse, presumably confirming the supposition, the rumour, the fact.

In the rooms of my solicitors – blame it, too, on the night, the heat, the game, the beer – blowjobs were always prelude to fucking, bareback, always, of course. I took command, urging all that I could get; then I left quietly, no fuss, no muss.

There was never any expectation of anything other than a one-night-stand; always, rather, the wink-wink assumption that all would be forgotten. Circumstances had colluded to bring it all about, that was all. Pretence had to be maintained. We didn’t work together…the faggot worked for the French…he was from the UK, but not English…he had been in China for ever…I was so fucking horny, and all the girls are taken… Excuses, justifications abounded. For me, I got to suck another cock, to get fucked again. There were many other contexts for that, to be sure, throughout the camp, the compound, at my training centre…and I was the only openly eager and daringly enthusiastic recipient.

The only non-Japanese working for the Japanese in a leadership rôle as a teacher was an Irishman, though not in robes, a Catholic priest.

One afternoon, returning from my walk from the training centre, hot and sweaty in over 40 degree heat, I stopped by the pool club for some water, water only. The water in the bottled water cooler was low; so I went the supply room for replenishment. To my surprise, the Irishman, Liam, was standing in the darkened room, pants at his ankles, masturbating his big uncut cock. My first impulse was, of course, to leave him to his privacy. My second impulse, and the one that prevailed, was to help him out, to offer to suck his cock. That is what I did. In his awkward position, obviously caught in the act, what could he do but accept.

That first time, he ejaculated into my mouth, I swallowed, and he thanked me. Apologising for disrupting him, I got the water I was seeking initially, and left the room, as if none of that had happened. From then on, though, differently from everyone else, adhering to required circumspection, we became regular lovers, sharing everything we had and felt and thought.

He had come to China, disillusioned concerning his calling to the priesthood. He was not a pedophile, nor did the girls or women in his congregation interest him sexually; he was gay, purely and simply. For over a year, under the genuinely blind eyes of the fuwuyuan, or in the unused rooms of my school or his, we made love. When not so engaged, we talked about everything under the sun, from art to Spinoza to Zoroastrianism. At night, punctuating our lovemaking, often spending whole nights together, we snuggled, kissed, and continued to talk. Both of us had beards. He was much bigger than I in girth, and much more hairy, a real bear. He was also ten years older.

There was no ‘Disneyland’ between us; no ‘Disneyland’ surrounding us. We were two men in love, exploring the world between us, the world into which we had been cast.

Post-game one-nighters never stopped, nor did mid-exercise-session sucks and fucks with my Scottish workout partner, but Liam and I became a loving couple in many ways.

To everything, there is a beginning, a middle, and an end. We had gotten off to a good start certainly. Then, first, I left for Africa. Shortly after my departure, Liam decided it was time to return to Ireland, much more at peace now having satisfied his natural desire to mate homosexually. Had he broken his vow of celibacy? We had discussed that, of course. In some ways he had; in others, he had not. He was still single, a bachelor; still, even more, pure at heart, having traversed a threshold he had by destiny to cross; and his virginity was still intact, as I had never fucked him… Abnegation, self-denial, self-restraint, abstinence – No, these he had renounced, at least then, and there, with me.

We are still in contact. Liam is still priest, but retired, as it were, from active duty. And I remain, as I remain, appearing as I am, being as I appear. 

It is unlikely that the Divine would have such fragile conceit as to be in any way offended by those who disbelieve.