‘Changing Times’ Column 2006 – 2007

Football fanatics, health clubs, wealth clubs, men’s groups, Masons, jocks, pretty boys with designer gear, skinheads, yuppies, cyber folk in virtual relationships, family, the 12-Step tribe, the victim tribe (quite untouchable with their weapons of mass passive-aggression) – we all belong to at least one tribe and often strive to climb up the ladder of clans to the great mystical castle in the sky that protects the Holy Grail; or at least a bar where everybody knows your name.

Olugai is a Masai Warrior, born into his tribe, who proved his manhood by killing a lion in the Kenyan bush. His status elevated as fast as lightening. Olugai invited me to stay in his village. I’d be obliged to sleep with the wife that takes care of that particular hut. I didn’t want to insult his tribal customs, or join the tribe of men who cheat on their partners.

Meretui is the daughter of a chief in Nandronga, Fiji. She too was born into her tribe; high status and the responsibilities that go with it. We met at Uni and realised that our ‘British tribe’ was a tribe of misfits.

John is co-authoring my second book ‘Dark Side Of The Spoon’. Our tribe has no father figure or male role models. We smoked dope, took drugs and partied until …the next party! This tribe is ruled by peer pressure. As a kid, he wanked with his best mates, until one raped him. Enough to fuck with his mind for twenty years and leave him a love addict with all, and a sex addict with women; to counter the painful anal shock? He fucked the pain away, generally drunk, stoned, or drugged up. Please, get over the heroin! Waste of a great soul.

Last night, I went to bed before my girlfriend, exhausted by Sangria and hot Spanish sun. She quietly lifted the covers and crept into bed to snuggle up to my naked, sleeping body. “No! No!” I freaked out! Her calm voice counter-balanced the terror on my nightmarish face. “Put the light on!” it took me a while to recognise her. We hugged me to sleep again. She had never-seeing me like this before, and it was our fifth anniversary. Do I belong to the sexually-abused-but-don’t-remember tribe? Probably not, though it would explain my issues with touch.

My tribes have changed, as I have changed. Some stay with their original tribe, some move – or are moved – on. We all need somewhere to go where people know our name, a place we can wear our scars on the outside, a place where it’s okay.

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