T.I.T Episode 9: Rank & Status

Welcome to Episode 9!  I’m going to have to apologize first because I didn’t prepare any show notes at all for this episode.  I thought I would do things a little different and attempt to ad lib this episode, so have a listen and see how it turned out.  Also, was just to plain tired and I mostly just talk about personal stuff like my ordeal with the doctors this week, work, and one cultural difference between Thai and western cultures that  seems odd to the western mind.  At least my mind anyways, so please have a listen and  I will put out another more organized episode this weekend.  Please!!! send me your emails and comments as i really value each and everyone of them i receive.  Also feel free to send along an audio message if you feel so inclinded and I’ll play it on the show.  Much love to you and talk again soon!

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The Stereotype of the Sexpat…

Good morning, afternoon, evening or night where or when ever this finds you in the world. It is just before 10 AM on a lazy overcast Sunday morning here in the Big Mango, and I thought I’d sit down and bang out another entry for your reading pleasure…or not as your tastes may be. Last night my partner and I departed from our usual routine and went out for a nice Saturday evening dinner. We visited a nice Thai restaurant called the River Bar for a nice meal. We drove across the impressive Rama 8 bridge/monument and had dinner on the Thonburi side of river. It was a very nice romantic dinner of baked fish, spring rolls, and sweet&sour pork. We don’t get to do those very often, unfortunately, due to my partner’s work schedule so it was a really nice thing for us to do together.

Anyways, I want to get to the topic in my head before it floats away into nothingness as things often do when they cross my mind. There is a ugly brush that is used to paint most foreigners living in Thailand that I’d like to address today with you. You see, there are a few assumptions or myths perpetuated by many if not most people ,both Thai and foreign, about us western men living here in Thailand:
1. The main motivation or factor for Western guys to move here to Thailand is sex and we only come here for the easy access to sex.
2. Western gay men are unable to be faithful and commit to monogamous caring relationships with only 1 partner.
3. Western gay men over certain age are only attracted to young dark skinned guys or girls.
4. Single western men have sex many times a week with random different partners for the purpose of one-night stands.
5. The sex industry in Thailand is caused by and used exclusively men from western countries.

So, firstly I for one did not move to Thailand for sexual reasons. I met my former Thai partner in the US while we were in school. We were together in the US for 7 years and I decided to give moving here a chance when the time came for him to move home. Also, I have another very close friend that moved here for a previously established relationship as well, and we have both agreed many times how these sort of racial stereotyping annoys us. To be perfectly honest, I really couldn’t even find Thailand on a map when i first met my partner, much less know about the sordid international reputation. Secondly, I know gay couples that have been together for decades and are just as happy being monogamous as some heterosexuals. The desire to step outside a relationship for sexual fulfillment is not limited to sexual orientation or race.

Thirdly, this idea in Thailand that all western men are attracted to very young dark skinned boys and girls is the biggest bunch of krap I think I’ve heard here. Everyone has different tastes in the world or else Baskin Robbins wouldn’t bother with 31 flavors. You don’t get to decide what your eyes find appealing so it is not fair to assume everyone of a certain age and race has the same tastes. Fourthly, I did not and have not ever engaged in a constant stream of one night stands on a weekly basis. This would apply here, home, or anywhere else in the world as my sex drive just isn’t high enough and perhaps I’m to picky. The randomness of meaningless one night stands has never appealed to me but I certainly wouldn’t throw stones when it comes to this point. To each his own, but my point is that it is just not me or my western friends.

Finally, I have heard many times over the years that the sex industry here in Thailand is perpetuated by the western male. This silly myth is easily dismissed by the presence of the massive structures used as “massage” parlors here in Bangkok around the ratchada area that cater almost exclusively to Thai clients. There is also a street called soi Thanaya here in Bangkok filled with “karaoke” bars that cater exclusively to Japanese clients seeking female short term companionship. However, I think westerners are more open when the frequent these type of establishments as it is not uncommon to see a westerner sitting in an open air bar with a “friend” on their arm for the evening. I think many Asian cultures are more private about such things, and thus the myth has been perpetuated that only westerners partake in such carnal activities.

I don’t know why I felt I needed to get that off my chest, but it is a conversation I’ve had with close friends very often. I wonder why it seems to be human nature to stereotype our fellow man? We are so quick to label one another as we pass in this world, but the world is a much more colorful place than we give it credit. There is a lot more depth of character out there passing you by, so next time you make an immediate assumption about someone I hope you pause to consider your thoughts again. Obviously, there are going to be those that fit your stereotype but not everyone wears the same size clothes, right? Anyways, I hope you enjoy your Sunday and will speak to you again very very soon. I’m thinking the next entry will be a video blog so make sure you stop by again soon!

Songkran Exiles…

Hey folks!  Well, i’ve been sitting here and have tried for the better part of the afternoon again and again to get onto the youtube website without any success at all.  I know I had promised you guys a video clip of the insane holiday madness that is called ‘Songkran’ here in Thailand, and I’ll just have to try again later.   As you are already aware, I’ve no wish to participate in the 3 or 4 day holiday event going on right now when the whole country descends into an anarchy of drunkenness and  water gun fights filled with stagnant klong water.  However, I cannot simply chose to abstain from the festivities going on around me if i venture out in public.  Those of us wishing not to partake in water fights must bunker up in our homes till Sundown when the water fights and festivities end each day.  After that most revelers are to drunk to accost anything but a porcelain throne, but not that I’m bitter old queen or anything.  Do i sound bitter?  :-)

No, I actually don’t mind staying in as I can quite happily keep myself occupied inside all day with writing blogs for you wonderful people, watching movies, or playing WOW.  It is EXTREMELY hot here since April is the height of summer, so you are sweating within seconds of merely walking out the door.  Speaking of movies…I’m sitting here writing and passively watching the movie “Castaway,” with Tom Hanks simultaneously.   I actually watched the tail end of the movie last night  and thanks to the repetitive  nature of movie channels it is on again.  It is ok though, as I really enjoy this film.  I relate to the main character in a way much the same as i relate to Bill Murray’s character in “Lost in Translation.”  I live out my life here in Thailand isolated from the world around me and thousands of miles from my loved ones at home.  Now i know what some of my readers are thinking, and especially one reader in particular.  You would say, “but Tom! remember you choose your life” and “you choose to live in Thailand” and that’s true to some extent.  However, life isn’t that cut and dried.  Do you really think we choose all the important things in our lives such as who we love?  Do you make the conscious decision at some point in time to say to yourself…”Hey, I think I will love this person starting now, at this point in time.”  No of course not.  What would you do if i shrugged my shoulders and said you had to between love and geography?  You should ask yourself how good are your empathy skills?  :-)

So…I sit here in my semi-self imposed exile somewhat by choice and somewhat by fate.  I do miss my home with all my heart, but I also love my partner very very much.  So what choices do I have then?  The U.S. isn’t going to welcome me home with partner in hand anytime soon, despite the progressive nature of laws in other western countries like Australia, Holland, or the U.K. that do treat ‘all’ their citizens equally.  So, until my country reaches a place that grants me equal rights like heterosexual citizens, I will do my best to live positively in the country here that I’ve adopted as a second home.  There will always be things about Thailand that i don’t like or find annoying but who’s to say it wouldn’t be the same anywhere.  Gosh, where did all that come from, huh?  Anyways, much much love to you and thank you so much for stopping through to have a read.  I appreciate the little bit of time you’ve spared and please please don’t be afraid to comment.  Till next time I hope this finds you well, wherever this finds you!