I was extremely surprised to receive several requests to send my pinkest panties to an address in south India.
Do I look like someone who wears pink female underwear?
(Don't answer that.)
The mystery was solved when I realized I'd been caught up in a campaign by people belonging to a new Asian women's group called "The Consortium of Pub-Going, Loose and Forward Women". That’s is not a joke. That's what it is called.
It's hard to think of a more attractive-sounding organization to join, but sadly I'm not eligible, not being a woman, loose or otherwise.
I thought about setting up "The Consortium of Pub-Going, Loose and Forward Men", but since that would include almost every male I'd ever met, it would lack the exclusivity factor.
Here's the story. Religious police can be heavy handed in several parts of Asia, including Malaysia and Brunei, but the main battlefront this year is India.
Nasty groups of Hindu extremists have been attacking pairs of friends in major cities in that country. One of them, Satish Mann, told reporters: “Our culture is the greatest and we can't allow youngsters to ape the West and indulge in indecent acts like dating.”
The attackers were particularly incensed that Asians now celebrate Valentine's Day.
The consortium of loose women is fighting back by encouraging people to post pink knickers to extremists as a sign of protest. I learned this from reader Vic Krishnan of Hong Kong. (Hey, Vic, I support this, but I'm keeping it carefully hidden from my wife. Do you have any idea how much Marks and Spencer knicks cost?)
The really weird thing about all this is that the extremists have totally misunderstood Valentine's Day. Here's the TRUE story of St Valentine, or at least one which is as accurate as it can be considering that it concerns events that took place 1700 years ago.
Once upon a time there was a guy called Emperor Claudius Gothicus. Now consider the Asian theory that your name governs your fortune. With a name like that, the poor guy couldn't really have been anything but an evil tyrant despot, could he? Can you imagine him with a name card saying "Emperor Claudius Gothicus, Florist" or "Emperor Claudius Gothicus, Kindergarten Teacher"?
Anyway, Emperor Claudius Gothicus thought up a cunning plan to halt a small sect called Christianity growing in his empire. He made it illegal for anyone to conduct wedding ceremonies for Christians. The plan was brilliant. Since Christians refused to have sex outside marriage, his law meant the entire religion would die out in a single generation.
But Gothicus's plan came undone because a man named Valentine broke the law to perform marriage services for all the desperate loving couples waiting to get married. The religion survived.
So you see, the message of the story is really about doing the whole love and sex thing in the usual order: 1) love, 2) marriage, 3) sex, 4) babies.
This is the same order that Hindu extremists favor. The only difference is that the extremists tend to devalue the first part, which is love. They don't realize that if you get the first bit right, the others work better.
In the meantime, if any extremists receive M and S undies they don't need, just forward them to me.