A worried young man from Stamboul
Found blotchy red spots on his tool.
Said the doctor, a cynic,
"Get out of my clinic,
and wipe off the lipstick, you fool!"
No, I'm not from "Stamboul". Unless you're a history freak, or a fan of Graham Greene, you're unlikely to know this old name for Istanbul. I certainly didn't until I looked it up after finding the limerick. And while I'm sure you can be George (or something equivalent) in Turkish, my ancestry is British (whatever that actually means), not Turkish.
Nor were my worries unfounded. No amount of wiping would remove the red blotches and the stinging sensation when urinating was acutely painful. I was also feeling really crook.
However my doctor was cynical when I protested – and kept on protesting, even under the threat of legal repercussions – that my one and only sexual partner for the last nearly nine years was my wife of over seven years, Deidre.
I got out of his clinic with a prescription for some hefty antibiotics, which he, with no small amount of glee, informed me would make me feel like shit for weeks, causing unspeakable mayhem to my digestive system (thus making me actually shit for weeks) and make me "reflect on my sins". Further, he informed me, he would have to re-evaluate our doctor-patient relationship when it was shown that I had lied to him about my sexual partners.
"When", not "if". You noticed that, didn't you? Perhaps it was a poor idea using my usual GP for something like this, given that he is Deidre's maternal uncle, but at that point I had frankly not even considered the possibility that I had an STD (or a VD as they are still known by old-fashioned doctors over here). I mean, if you are in a monogamous relationship you don't have to worry about that kind of thing, do you?
Perhaps you'd (rightly) consider me a dim-wit for not learning from my mistake in choice of doctor since I essentially repeated it five minutes later when I handed in the prescription at the local pharmacy to get it filled. The pharmacist and doctor are brothers, you see – and their sister is Deidre's mother.
But like with the doctor, I didn't have all that much choice - there is only one of each in our little hole of a town,
Anyway, the pharmacist too made the wrong inference at once. He treated me like a leper and was far from discreet in handing me the offensive medication.
His pharmacy was full of the usual gossips who would undoubtedly swap notes with the old biddies back in the waiting room at the doctor's surgery whom, I am sure, had overhead my dressing down by his brother earlier on – the doctor was loud, the door is thin and their prim faces closely resembled chooks' arses when I left. I was in for interesting times.
On mature consideration I decided it was unlikely that Uncle Graham, as the pharmacist was known to me then, would be sympathetic in assisting me with obtaining ameliorating remedies to counter the oncoming mayhem in my digestive tract that his brother, Uncle Russell, had taken so much pleasure in forewarning me about. I bought yoghurt in a local shop instead and by and large that's what I lived on for the next several weeks, but I'm getting ahead of myself.
On my way back to work, I was taking stock. I had the clap – and there was only one person I could have gotten it from – Deidre. That surprised me; our marriage was to put it mildly no longer loving and trusting and our sex-life had dwindled to a mercy-fuck once in a blue moon, but infidelity was not something I would have suspected Deidre of. I knew her strong views on the subject. I would never ever have thought that either of us would bring anything of that nature home to the other.
The funny thing is that I have from time to time brought home smudges of lipstick. Not on so incriminating a place as my dick I hasten to add, but even a trace on my cheek could make Deidre go ballistic. One infamous example was shortly after we were married. One Saturday I had gone to see my parents (something Deidre went to great lengths to avoid even back then) and Great Aunt Margaret was visiting. Now she is a character and something of a trial. At least I thought so then; later I came to a very different opinion and today I will defend her with my dying breath. But that is an aside I will take up later.
Anyway! Great Aunt Margaret was there. She had made it clear she thought Deidre was a sad mistake on my part, and managed to monopolise the entire conversation with that theme during lunch. On leaving, I went through a routine ordeal that I had feared and loathed all my life. It is called "Give Auntie A Nice Kiss". I left the house with a large red smudge of lipstick on my cheek. Regrettably, I was unaware of it.
That ignorance ended a few milliseconds after I was home, and for the next hour or so Deidre was yelling and screaming at me for my transgression. At no stage was I allowed to get a word in and before long she had herself worked up to a state that could hardly have been worse if she had caught me in flagrante delicto with three prostitutes of varying genders.
Just before physical violence was inflicted on my unworthy body, the phone rang. It was Mum who wanted to remind me to wipe off Great Aunt Margaret's lipstick. She had been unable to warn me at the time and Great Aunt Margaret had only just left now. Since Deidre was closest to the phone, possibly in preparation to throw it at me, or strangling me with the cord, she took the call.
At least the make-up sex was great in those days. The somewhat contrite Deidre, in a moment of post-coital bliss, reminded me that we had promised each other fidelity to the forsaking of all others. I agreed, laughingly, that I had no doubt she was serious on that point. But she needn't worry – so was I; never would anyone replace her in my affections – just as I knew she would never do that to me either. Funny thing was I actually really, as in really-really, believed that then.
But back to the day of the unpleasant diagnosis. I didn't have all that much time for my musings – getting time off to go to the doctor had not been popular, so I had to rush. And once back at work, I had to concentrate on what I was doing (or I could end up short of a hand); so there was little time for further thought.
I operate complex manufacturing machines. Or rather, I set them up for operation. I am an engineer and was employed with Theo Travis and Co a few weeks after graduating. The job wasn't great and the location in a small town in semi-rural West Yorkshire was dreadful, but jobs were sparse at the time and at least I'd get to use my education. And since it was reasonably close to my parents' home in Wakefield, they were happy.
Theo Travis & Co was still owned and run by the Travis family. Just. Roger Travis, the last male of the family, was the great-great-grandson of the founder and that was the absolutely only reason he was involved with the company, since he was notoriously stupid in matters of business and so ignorant about what the company was producing that it defies description. The actual leader of the company was his brother-in-law Gregory Haines, brother of the aforementioned Russell and Graham Haines – and of Gladys Travis, née Haines. If Gregory Haines ran Mr Travis' company for him, Gladys Travis ran his life. If you do a Google Image search on "pussy whipped West Yorkshire" you ought to get a page full of photos of the late lamented Roger. Oh, and of me, I fear.
And if you think being the son-in-law of the owner and nephew-in-law of the actual leader secured me a comfy cushioned pretend-job, you're sadly mistaken. My pay was fine until that catastrophic day, but that was earned. I had few special perks to speak of.
Anyway, with the exception of his bizarre personnel skills, Uncle Gregory was an excellent business leader. He was a visionary and foretold the need to introduce more modern technology to salvage Theo Travis & Co from going the same way as the many other companies in West Yorkshire's then dwindling, but formerly proud industrial heartland. I was part of that strategy, having specialised in advanced computer controlled automation at a time when that was new and rare, and while the initial pay was dismal, the conditions unfavourable and my treatment borderline abusive, I was given excellent opportunities to prove what I, and the technology, could do.
With absolutely nothing else to do (the town had no life beyond a boring pub), I threw myself into that task and did very well for the first year – so well that even Gregory Haines moderated the abuse (slightly) and raised my pay (even more slightly). What he didn't bank on was that I would help myself to improving my life, particularly my private life, on his account. That happened at the company Christmas party in mid-December where I fell for an absolutely gorgeous brunette hitherto unknown to me. I'd been involuntarily celibate for the whole year, so just about any pretty girl would have piqued my interest, but this girl was hot and it was lust at first sight.
Had I had my eyes more open the few times I'd been in the Director's office, I would have recognised her from a string of photographs. She was one Deidre Travis, daughter and only child (and sole heir) of the owner. She was home on Christmas holidays from her last year at Uni and bored out of her mind. I was practically the only male there younger than her uncle. I am also not outright ugly, so Deidre willingly let herself be captured by my tried-an-tired routine pick-up lines.
.... There is more of this story ...