The Foot-High Club
Forget flying. As Barry Lowe discovers, you’ll get more bang for your buck aboard an intercity train.
In all my years of plane travel I never even came close to joining the Mile-High Club. I remember those heady days of the 1970s/early 1980s when I first discovered foreign lands, Wazza and I tried to do the patriotic things and use the ‘national’ airline, Qantas. Not for long. Sure they had incredibly good-looking male cabin crew who were the butt of rejigged ‘blonde’ jokes – “What’s the difference between a Qantas steward and a bowling ball? You can only get three fingers into a bowling ball” – but what a snooty lot they were.
On the few excursions we took with the Big Q to and from the US, service was terrible – the cabin crew were too busy fawning over any male passenger from America who was over the age of consent and under the age of geriatricity. None of them invited me into the toilet with the new ‘Out of Order’ sign stuck to the door until deed done, it miraculously disappeared along with two men’s erection problems.
Other airlines never seemed to have the same proportion of male to female staff, or the same ratio of youth and good looks (or Out of Order flying dunnies for that matter). As we got older we didn’t expect anyone to take much notice of us two queens seated in Economy. With gay age comes invisibility but, damn it, back then I was slim, blond, clonish, with a twelve-inch dick (maybe that last bit is a slight exaggeration) – why wasn’t I being buggered senseless ten miles above the earth? And why wasn’t it called the Ten-Mile-High Club? Perhaps because I was the one who was more accommodating than a bowling ball and the cabin crew were all bottoms?
I did manage to join the railway equivalent, although telling people you’ve joined the Foot-High Club really doesn’t have the same sense of frisson as the aeronautical equivalent. Not sure why, as our trains rattle and roll with the same nausea-inducing turbulence as aircraft, the toilets are as cramped and damp, although they have modernised to the extent that it’s no longer forbidden to use the facilities while the train is in a station. Thank goodness for those new-fangled dunnies that suction your waste then jettison it into space or wherever it goes. No one wants to stand on the country train platform at Central and see a giant turd sunbathing on the gravel between the tracks.
Last week I journeyed to Melbourne via NSW’s ‘premium’ rail service, the XPT. The carriage squealed like Minnie Mouse for the entire journey, the First Class toilet swayed like a drunken sailor so that when it came time to wipe your arse, the jolts meant you smeared your butt cheeks rather than cleaned the crevice.
A previous train toilet experience was much more interesting and didn’t leave my arse cheeks looking like something that should have been on exhibition at the National Gallery next to Jackson Pollock. Bored and uncomfortable at something like two in the morning, I’d gone to the dining car, a fancy name for laminated tables with bench seating, to read. I was joined about half an hour later by a chunky man who had struck up a conversation with me earlier on the journey. He was eager to extol the virtues of an extended stay in Broken Hill.
Our conversation this time was limited as he was keen to show me his own extension which I’d kissed in appreciation before he inserted it where the sun don’t shine. The train rocked from side to side which actually helped him penetrate farther than he might otherwise. We came to a mutually satisfying conclusion.
The best I can say for last week’s excursion is that we were only stuck outside Goulburn due to track work for an hour.