I have many girlfriends. They come from all walks of life. There is Tasha, 32 years old, divorced with one son. She works as a floor manager for a bar in Bangsar. She is fit despite having had a child and takes good care of herself. As a whole, she looks good at first glance with tight round curves and the face of a vixen, but you can see in subtle ways that she works hard for her money.
It can be found in her nails, which are not manicured as often as they should be, and her teeth – which are slightly off centre and have never seen braces growing up. She tells me that she came from the kampong to the city almost 10 years ago, married wrongly and found herself stuck in KL as a single mother with no skills except a smattering of English and her beautiful face.
I like her, she works hard and seems like an honest enough lady. I know she is with me for my money but at the same time, she knows I know it and we have an exclusive agreement. I help her with her rent and we meet a few times in the week for a good time.
This arrangement suits me far better than some of the others I have had in the past. I am 52 years old, single and would like to think I am in good shape. I arrived in Malaysia almost 20 years ago to set up a fabrication factory for the HQ in Sydney and have stayed ever since. It has grown significantly from an outpost to one of the largest factories in the region and my position has grown with it.
I came from the ranks with no formal qualifications but experience and charisma has taken me this far. I am not university educated but I am street smart and can smell bullshit from a mile away. When I first moved to Malaysia, I was still idealistic and thought I would eventually meet a nice girl, settle down and marry but that wasn’t to be the case. Instead, I found myself in and out of relationships.
In the beginning, it was of my choosing. I did not want to be tied down and chose one night stands and short flings instead. That lasted for several years as I scratched notches in my bedpost to mark the number of women I managed to bed. I was a real life Barney from the How I Met Your Mother TV series and I was enjoying my nightly conquests.
It wasn’t difficult bedding different women as I was white, young, fit and had enough money to throw around. And throw it around I did, nightly, around bars and hotels in Bukit Bintang. Women were drawn to me for my money or my looks.
When I hit my 40s and my memory started to go, I began to realise that seeing a different face every morning was more disturbing then ego boosting. I also found that I had to start looking after my body as well. Before, women still wanted to be with me because I was physically attractive and I was the cream of the crop in terms of expats. Nowadays, with my slightly receding hairline and hard to fight growing belly, I find the most beautiful women flocking to the younger expats instead.
It is the older, more mature women whom I attract now, or those who are looking for someone to take care of them. Women like Tasha and Grace and Mei. Currently, I have three to four women that I look after and who look after me. I have no intention of marrying them even though I know that they would not hesitate to do so if I were to propose. At my age, I am not ready to change my lifestyle for someone else.
Maybe I am too selfish to allow for any upheaval in my well-planned out life and daily routines, but I cannot foresee a situation where I would invite someone to permanently move in. Now, I see a different girlfriend every few days. In them, I find companionship and sex, and in me they find a form of security both financially and otherwise. I am not their husband but they know I am committed enough in their lives to give a damn if something were to happen to them. It’s more like a partnership of sorts.
At times, my friends would ask me whether I regret not settling down and having a family of my own. I look at them with their teenage kids and their again-wives and their family dramas and think that maybe I do. Maybe in a different life I would have been perfectly happy with a traditional family but in this lifetime, I have Tasha, Grace and Mei and their children and that’s good enough for me.