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Fingers

Author: Ginnie
Nationality: United Kingdom
Current Location: Dominican Republic
Other Countries Lived In: United States
Type Of Woman: Free Spirit
Biography: The conventional side: born in UK during WWII, grammar school, university and post grad studies followed by a career as a probation officer, social work tutor with the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children and University social work teacher for 17 years.

The less conventional side: as a schoolgirl vacation work started when I was 14 in 1957 as a clerical assistant in a company whose boss, I later discovered, had a penchant for 14 year old girls! My next vacation job was with a wrestling promoter. Seriously. As an undergrad vacation jobs ranged from life saver in swimming pools, custodial staff in a girls’ remand home to a go-go dancer in a US singles bar. The more conventional jobs itemised above were interspersed with periods of travel across the Sahara, in North Africa and later in Russia, China and Mongolia.

Before my marriage to an airline pilot I obtained a pilot’s licence in the UK. Legally. When that marriage became time expired I sewed wild oats for 8 years before meeting my current partner. He and I moved to the Dominican Republic in 1992. Tales from our early years in the DR are described in Quisqueya: Mad Dogs and English Couple published in June 2007. In the DR I have worked as an English teacher, tour guide and freelance journalist. During the last couple of years I started writing articles about the DR for a variety of websites. These are all listed on my website:
http://www.ginniebedggood.com/


Technically, I am now ‘retired’. One day I might even find out what that means………!
 
Fingers
 

From time to time when I had a day off I would take a book to the beach for a couple of hours. The favoured spot was the beach in front of the Puerto Plata Beach Resort Hotel where resident gringos would hang out, so you tended to meet up with those you knew.

As well as being a favourite spot for residents, it was also the place where some of the off duty tour reps. relaxed. Not all of these, particularly the newer ones, observed the dress code of the
Dominican Republic. Dominican women might wear the skimpiest most provocative bikinis but they would never go topless. But there were many tourists and even some female residents who would go topless. Seemingly the chronologically older ones whose assets had gone south or the overweight ones whose assets were bouncing every which way. I always knew before I got to the beach if there were those in display mode on it, by the number of Dominican men sitting on the beach wall watching……….

But there was one regular who did more than watch. A young Dominican man in his twenties who spoke some English. He may have spoken German too because he certainly made a beeline for topless German titillation. He would sit and chat and when sun lotion needed to be applied he was there to oblige. Frequently when the girls packed up and left the beach he would go off with them. A lone sanky.

The term sanky-panky derives from hanky-panky and refers to males who sell sex in exchange for either goods or money. It has a well established tradition in the DR. There is even a film called Sanky Panky on this theme. Many Dominicans feel that if they can make it to the United States or Europe they will have a better chance for employment and earning a decent wage. The middle class tries to ensure that its children go to College outside the DR in order to get them on this ladder of achievement. But, for the poor, there is no College education, generally speaking and certainly no trips abroad unless they find a ‘sponsor’. Thus the birth of the sanky whose ultimate goal is a visa out of the DR. On the road to this and in case he doesn’t get it, he will accept gold jewellery, the flashier the better, and motorbikes or cars. Ditto. For sankies whose girlfriends are tourists who have returned to the US, Canada or Europe, there is the monthly visit to Western Union to collect ‘donations’. The more girlfriends, the more donations. It isn’t just a male phenomenon – females are politely called sankettes and impolitely called hookers or putas in Spanish.

The tourist who suffers from lack of male attention in her home country is dazzled by attentive sanky charm. She has found love! Sometimes at 50+ years of age with the sanky a mere 22. The sanky on the other hand has found a donor. What’s love got to do with it? Usually the sanky already has a Dominican wife or girlfriend and several children. He certainly has a mother and siblings. The ‘donations’ will go to support all of them.

One morning it was very overcast, but still warm, of course. I went to the beach. It was deserted. I helped myself to a sun bed and proceeded to read my book. In splendid isolation until …………….lone sanky appeared. No pickings today I thought. Wrong! With consummate self confidence, nay even arrogance, he proceeded to try and chat up the one and only pebble
on the beach. Me!

‘No many people today,’ he said. Well at least he was observant.
‘No,’ I said curtly, head in book.
‘Where jew live?’ (ys are pronounced as js in Spanish)
‘Here.’
‘No which country jew from?’
I didn’t answer.
‘Jew from United Estates?’
‘No.’
It went on a bit like that with either monosyllabic or nonexistent answers from me. When he couldn’t get any responses from me he decided to fill the silence by telling me about himself. But that interfered with my reading.
‘Please go away,’ I said.
‘Why? Jew no like to talk?’
‘No I’m busy.’ Most would have given up at that point but not lone sanky. He droned on about being a masseur in one of the Playa Dorada hotels. I didn’t believe it for a moment. Had he had a job he would not have been at the beach during working hours and certainly not as frequently as I had seen him on days when the pickings were better. Since he wouldn’t take the hint, unsubtle
though I was, I had to take further evasive action. I contemplated getting up and moving but that would probably not have been successful since he could have followed. And I was blowed if
some punk was going to interfere with my morning. I got out my ever present wax earplugs and inserted them.
‘What for that? Jew have ear problem?’
‘Yes, you. Please go away.’
He fell silent. But he didn’t move away. Instead he desultorily flicked the sand with a stick. This was in my line of vision from the corner of my eye. I shifted position so that I could read without the image of ‘flicking’. The overcast morning had slowly been brightening up and now the sun came out. Fiercely. I looked in my bag for sun lotion and found it. Cue lone sanky.
‘I put that. I masseur.’
‘No thank you.’ I put lotion on my face and arms and started to reach for my shoulders.
‘I help.’
‘NO!’ slightly more volubly and less patiently.
‘But I good masseur.’
‘No scumbag. What don’t you understand about no? Now bog off!’ All said in my most impeccable BBC accent. But there are some who will never learn. Lone sanky could obviously spot a patch on my shoulder which I hadn’t covered. He lent forward and put his hand on my shoulder to rub in the lotion.

He had crossed the line. He had touched without invitation. Smartly I brought my right hand up, grabbed his two middle fingers and bent them backwards towards his own hand with as much force as I could muster. He couldn’t have been expecting it. Maybe it hurt. He jumped back cradling the ‘injured’ fingers in his other hand and walked off to the far side of the beach, where he sat and sulked. Diddums!

Minutes later an American friend Tony, an even newer resident than we were, arrived at the beach, clearly hopeful that the better weather was set to stay. I regaled him with the story of lone sanky. He offered to ‘see to’ the lad. But I thought this unnecessary. I asked him to laugh loudly while I pointed in the direction of lone sanky. He did. I joined in the laughter. Soon Tony, too, was pointing. And we were both rolling with laughter – what had started off as contrived became infectious. Lone sanky got up and left the beach. For Dominicans losing face is far more painful than two hurt fingers. Although if he was a masseur he may have needed some time off.

We christened him Fingers after that. Two weeks later I returned to the beach and found that my reputation as a sanky buster had preceded me; particularly among the young female tour reps. some of whom had found Fingers a pain in the posterior. Thus we had a new musical mantra for the beach to the tune of Ghost Busters: ‘Who ya goin’ to call? Call Ginnie!’

And Fingers was nowhere to be seen……………….
 
 
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