I can’t help it – it is just there. I think it is something to do with my pheromones.
If you are jealous of this, don’t be, and you might think I am lacking in modesty, tough, but I have more than enough proof of my magnetic charms.
There is a character in one of Verdi’s operas who shares this problem with me. The Princess Eboli in Don Carlos, possibly my favourite opera, just can’t keep out of trouble in the attraction stakes so she curses her beauty: “O don fatale, O don crudel, che in suo furor mi fece il cielo!” (Oh, fatal gift, cruel gift, which Heaven bestowed on me in its rage!).
Well in Eboli’s case the attracted party was King Philip II of Spain and her only solution is to get herself to a nunnery.
In my case the attracted parties are so many that I couldn’t possibly list them all by name and I would still be pursued no matter how secure the monastic institution I chose.
They all have something in common though, my tormentors.
They are all female and they are all pregnant.
Yes, I am not an unwilling target for Spanish royalty, my allure is, uniquely I fear, for mosquitos.
I once played a ferociously competitive game of doubles at tennis on a languorously hot English Summer’s evening.
We didn’t want to give up as the sun began to set as we all had that Wimbledon fantasy in our heads. You see this all over England in the weeks after the Wimbledon Tennis Tournament – tennis courts are fully booked by lumpen wannabes oblivious to their own lack of skills.
Well we were like that on that beautiful evening.
I forget who won so let’s say I did – well no one will know the truth.
The next day, which was a particularly busy one at work, found me feeling more than just a little bit feverish and more than just a little bit itching all over. In fact I felt very ill.
In the privacy of a locked cubicle I examined the damage – 279 mosquito bites. So many that I had to cancel a nude modeling job I had booked for Cosmopolitan magazine.
No, the last bit is a lie but the bites were real enough.
I checked with the other three tennis players, assuming that we had all fallen victims to some mosquito phenomenon. One said he thought he had two bites and the other two reported none.
So there you have it. Proof enough I think of my mosquito magnetism.
Well they are back and I am now the man who smells of mosquito repellent. It seems to repel some human beings as well but maybe they are really pregnant mosquitoes in disguise planning to take over the World.
When I went to China in February 2008, I spent an absurdly large amount of money on a course of anti-malaria drugs. People thought I was over-reacting as Fujian Province in Southern China reports no mosquito risk at that time of year.
I was taking no chances.
In the taxi from the airport, within minutes of arriving at Fuzhou City, there she was. A fat, bloated and obviously very pregnant mosquito and she was heading straight for me.
Luckily, I and my fellow travellers were there on a Kungfu trip, so she had no chance. One well aimed “spear hand” and it was curtains for her and her satanic brood. She was a bloodied mess on the car window.
These sole mosquito attacks continued throughout my stay even though no one else was ever targeted.
So it is with some alarm, not just for me, that I hear today that there are signs in Cambodia of the mosquito’s malaria virus building a resistance to the drugs which have, up to now, been effective in controlling this potentially fatal disease. The drug used to wipe out the virus in a day or two but now it is taking up to five days. This is a worrying sign according to those clever people in white coats.
Malaria, unlike my tennis playing, is no joke.