Buenos Aires Argentina 1994
“You’re very pretty,” said a fat, elderly, man with a glass eye and an artificial hand, as I was meandering lost down the street. “Would you like to go for a drink?”
“With you?” I choked, admiring his front but not his crumbling façade. “To be honest I’m rather busy I haven’t got time to socialize.”
This was something the men in Argentina had in common with men in Jamaica, a complete lack of shame in making advances to women forty years younger than them.
“Well what about you give me your number and we go for a drink later?” he smiled.
“I don’t think so,” I said, eyeing the metal hand, “you’re not really my type.”
Unfortunately everyone in Argentina assumed I was Brazilian which was not a good thing at all. Brazilian women had a reputation for being highly sexed and very available. Countless men approached me in the street asking me out on dates, not all of them geriatric but clearly assuming my answer would be yes. I was even offered a job at a Strip club but said I was fed up with nights.
The young men in Argentina were phenomenal, the best looking men in the world, like an Italian stallion crossed with an American footballer. But I was warned by several well-meaning older women that they were trouble and not to get involved. The women were beautiful too, leggy and very thin, although I wasn’t surprised to find out that there was a high proportion of eating disorders.
I was in Argentina to investigate setting up as a freelance reporter for the BBC. And to cover the story of the bombing of a Jewish centre in Buenos Aires in which 85 people died. The bombing, in which hundreds more people were injured, had caused international outrage after allegations that local right-wing elements in the Argentine police were involved.
The brutal military junta that ruled Argentina had only stepped down ten years earlier in 1983. They’d conducted a 7 year “dirty war” against opposition supporters, in which at least 10,000 were killed. The victims were tortured and dumped in unmarked graves. Even before this, there’d been allegations of Nazi supporters in Argentina going back to the Second World War.
The taint of the military junta was still in the air and there was something vaguely fascist about the architecture in Buenos Aires with its massively wide avenues. The Argentines, who are mainly Italian in origin, with some indigenous blood, thought of themselves as the Europeans of South America. Indeed I was told of a government programme to “mejorar la raza,” improve the Argentine race, by importing Europeans. They obviously weren’t talking about importing the inhabitants of Leicester or Birmingham. Thus when I did a live radio interview, on “Bonkers in Buenos Aires”, the main question they kept asking me was, “isn’t it just like Europe here.” With the smell of the military junta lingering like a noxious fart, I replied that it was not at all like Europe, so they took me off the air.
The main problem with setting up as a stringer in Argentina was that at this point, before the crash of the peso and total economic collapse, it was very expensive indeed. Thus I learned to ask the price before every cup of tea, to avoid a nasty shock when I got the bill. The Argentines, whose average wage was obviously much lower than in Europe, seemed oddly sanguine at the prospect of paying 8 US dollars for a sandwich, which I thought very dear. It was as if they thought that the fact that everything was so expensive was a sign of economic recovery. But the schizophrenic nature of the society was clear when you walked round the shops. Instead of showing a price for all the clothes, everything was displayed in instalments. While not balking at paying 8 dollars for a sandwich, no one could afford to buy a pair of shorts or a suit. In fact everything was shown in instalments in Argentina suggesting a population living beyond its means.
I threw myself into covering the story of the bombing of the Jewish centre, visiting the site of the attack, interviewing survivors and relatives of those who died. There were tears in my eyes as I listened to the testimony of the survivors and everything was recorded on my trusty tape recorder.
Alas, disaster struck, when I left both tape recorder and all the poignant recordings in the back seat of a cab. I put an advert out on Argentine radio begging for the return of the tape recorder but never got it back. This was one of the biggest fuck ups of my journalism career and of course I kept it very quiet.
My journalistic credibility in shreds I sought solace in men and bumped into a tall New Zealander at my hotel. His name was Eric and he was even more disturbed than me. He had apparently seen his father murder his mother when he was a child and had never been the same again. He had a pronounced twitch and a thousand yard stare. Lonely and upset I welcomed him into my room. But when he took his clothes off I practically fell off the bed. “Is your father a donkey?” I said, staring at his dick which was about the same length as my arm. “It is big,” he nodded shamefaced, “it’s been a great problem for me.”
I reached out to touch the knob, which had swelled to the size of a tree. “Well there’s no way that’s going to fit.”
I was practically still a virgin, having slept with one and a half men. The half was a businessman whose efforts to shag me had been thwarted by a hairy wart on his nose.
“We could try it the other way,” Mr Big Dick, said thrusting it towards my bum.
“You must be joking,” I said “if that went up my insides would fall out.”
We decided that alcohol was the passport for entry for the giant dong. So he plied me with drink until I was pissed enough to try and get it in. Alas, there was no success and we had to give up. He did admit, which in my naïve way I discounted, that he sometimes had to visit prostitutes because of the size of his dick.
Of course, once I returned to the BBC, I was silent on the subject of leaving the tape in the cab. I simply said the documentary, “didn’t quite work out.” But my flatmate, who was working for Newshour as well, unhelpfully told everyone the saga which made them all laugh. I decided that paying 8 US dollars for a sandwich and being chatted up by geriatrics with one hand, was not my cup of tea. I would carry on reporting until I could get a paid job elsewhere.
Despite the lack of success in Buenos Aires, Mr Big Dick visited me at my flat in London to try again. This time, through luck or penis shrinking pills, the vast thing did go in. But we soon had a falling out as he caused a flood in my house, and then refused to pay for it saying I had to claim on his insurance instead. I dispatched him and his giant dick back to New Zealand and decided I would have to cast my net into the wider population to find a man.
Next Saturday: looking for Mr Right and ending up bonkers instead of bonked