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Profile for Mr Mann:
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Tired of London.

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» Clubs, gangs, and societies

The Rosy Cross
This is not my story, but it concerns my best friend.

My friend and I met at university. He was a Roman Catholic (as he was quick to inform me), but during the first year he went through a crisis of faith - a sort of long, dark semester of the soul, if you will.

Anyway, after breaking from Rome, he was always searching for something to fill the spiritual void that the church had left. He investigated the Freemasons and the Martinists; he even toyed with the Scientologists for a while. But what really drew him in was the Ancient and Mystical Order of the Rosy Cross - The Rosicrucians.

The Rosicrucians are a theosophical society, dedicated to uncovering the mysteries of the universe through ritual, chanting, meditation, and the reading of long monographs about astral travel. It is completely bonkers but seemed harmless enough, so I let him get on with it, although obviously taking industrial quantities of piss out of him.

There aren't any Rosicrucian lodges where my friend lives, and whenever he come to town for his monthly meeting (or seance, or ritual, or whatever they're called) he stays with me. We cook a curry, listen to music, play Go and get absolutely shitfaced drunk. (Yes, friend is a massive pisshead, in spite of the fact that the Rosicrucians discourage poisoning one's body.) Anyway, he is not a very discreet fellow when he drinks, and one night he started talking about the rituals they'd be doing next day. I was only half listening to him crapping on about the chanting and Ancient Egyptian symbolism, when suddenly I heard the phrase "vestal virgins".

"Are you joking? You don't have vestal virgins do you?"

My friend insisted that they did - 12 year old girls in white robes who assisted at the rituals (with what, he didn't say). "Yeah, these girls are the children of lodge members," said my friend, "so it's not like there's anything dodgy going on. Funny thing was that last month, about two hours into the rituals, one of the girls started crying." He tilted his head to one side and mused for a bit. And then, with a total absence of irony: "Must have been having problems with her homework."

Sure. Not the fact that she was spending all Saturday in a darkened tabernacle among flickering candles, images of eagle-headed Gods and a load of chanting, apron-wearing weirdos.

Well, that was my no means the worst of what he told me. The worst was the ritual of the mooncake. This is a piece of dough that is scattered with menstrual blood, baked and then eaten. It symbolises...oh Jesus Christ, I don't care what it symbolises. But where do they get the menstrual blood from?

The vestal virgins.

Can you imagine being twelve, having your first period, and your parents asking you to collect it in an egg cup because they want to do a bit of baking?

Honestly, this is the sort of thing that makes Christianity and Islam look almost sane.
(Fri 22nd Jun 2012, 17:29, More)

» Call Centres

I'm not proud of this
In a fit of post-university optimism I moved up to live with my girlfriend in darkest Suffolk in the rather naive hope that we'd both get jobs, save up some money and go "travelling, man". The only job I managed to land was working in the mother of all call centres. Instead of working for just one firm, we were the call centre for 80 disparate companies, from car insurance to those TV shopping channels.

Early attempts to amuse myself started with answering the phone thus: "Hello, Horatio / Zebadee / Lucifer speaking, how can I help?", but this quickly got boring.

Then I realised that one of our clients was a cosmetic surgery company. I'd get around four or five calls a night from men asking for penis "enhancement". We were supposed to take down names, contact details and what procedure clients wanted so that the surgeons could call them back in the morning. But I took my job much more seriously than that.

Me: "And what procedure was it that you wanted?"
Poor bastard customer: "Err, well...it's...it's penile surgery."
"Fine. And was it to make your penis larger or smaller?"
"Um...larger."
"Good, good. Now, can you tell me your current measurements?"
"Err, is this strictly necessary?"
"Well Sir, I'm sorry; but the surgeons have to know what they're dealing with before they can give you an estimate."
"Um...OK...well it's about 4 inches..."
"Would that be erect or flaccid?"
[sotto voce] "Erect..."
[in booming, yet procedural voice, audible to everyone in the call centre] "OK, so you have a penis which is four inches erect; and to what size would you like it enlarged? Medical science can do wondrous things these days, you know."

They stopped giving me shifts after three weeks. Must have been monitoring the calls...
(Tue 8th Sep 2009, 10:25, More)

» Conversation Killers

First impressions
At a party once in my younger days, when I thought I'd pluck up the courage to talk to the prettiest girl in the room.

"Hi, I'm Rob," I said.
"Hi, I'm Zilla," she replied.

I stood there for about 10 seconds feverishly thinking of something to say before blurting out:

"So Zilla, have you ever seen a film called Driller Killer?"

She gave me a look like she'd just trodden in dogshit, and wouldn't even be in the same room as me for the rest of the evening.
(Fri 13th May 2011, 16:53, More)

» School Naughtiness

Got fucked by my headmaster.
I was 12 :-(
(Thu 8th Sep 2011, 13:04, More)