Here is a true story.[1. …with some exaggeration for dramatic effect.]
My tennis partner Anna has gone back to New Zealand more or less until February. As I’ve been enjoying my tennis a lot lately this leaves me in a predicament. So last week I contacted the ‘captain’ of the MANZA tennis group, Monika, to see if I could join in on their Monday game.
“Well, we had a man once”, came the reply (MANZA is a group that supports stay-at-home expat wives and partners, like me :) “…but we’re not sure what happened to him”. Hmmph, that sounds a bit ominous. “Let me consult the ladies and get back to you … Can you wear a wig and shave your legs?”
After a day or so the verdict can back “We are looking forward to welcome you on the courts”, but it was not without a caveat “Let’s see how you can cope”. It still sounded ominous, but what sort of a man would I be if I was afraid of a handful of part-time tennis expat wives?
Well, maybe a man that goes missing…
When I arrived at the hallowed Duta tennis courts, Monika found me and brought me over to ‘the meeting place’ (If that isn’t ominous, I don’t know what is). There were two other ladies who greeted me with a
smirk smile and introduced themselves. I thought, “Cool, these look like fun sporting ladies, not too serious. Surely they couldn’t’ve scared that last bloke off, right?”.
And then the other ladies arrived. 13 more of them. I found myself recalling that scene from that documentary where those sharks gather and slowly, nay ominously, circle their prey. They had hardcore shoes and hardcore racquets and hardcore grimaces. Some of them had their knees and elbows strapped. I get nervous around women who play tennis so hard their own bodies can’t cope with the demands. I twisted my ankle once when I was about 10. These women probably twisted their ankles for fun.
It was then I began to sweat. It is humid in Malaysia, yes, but my body has become used to that. These were beads of that other type of sweat. The same beads of sweat the sharks’ prey were probably sweating. Underwater.
“Everyone seems friendly”, I thought as I fumbled for my towel, “Everyone’s
smirking smiling at me, and besides, they’ve already given me the nickname ‘Brave Bart’. That’s a good sign, right?”