Monday, June 17, 2013

Sex and the Trailing Spouse

When men think of Bangkok they think about sex. Easy sex. Quick sex. Paid sex. Long time. Short time. No problem.  Sex is everywhere in the city of angles (angels?) And its outward signs, the neon strips and go-go bars, are aimed exclusively at men from the West. Good boys go to Heaven, but bad boys go to Thailand.  


(It says so on the t-shirt)

Farang Sexpat and Exploited Indigenous Female

Prior to posting, back home in London, I used to enjoy a quiet drink down the pub.  In Bangkok, this proved difficult in the bars and dives of my Soi 22 locality. A male trailing spouse on his own is easy prey for Mina Harker and her posse of vampires.  Before you know it, you are ambushed by them rubbing your shoulders and outflanked by their tiny hands crawling up the leg and circling your groin. You rarely get this in a London pub. What’s more, the apostrophe eyed bloodsuckers don’t even care if you are married. 

“I will be your girl, if I see you and your wife I will say nothing.”  

Harpies come in all shapes and sizes. I was once propositioned by an acne-faced, toothless hag straight out of Macbeth.



“I want to be your mistress,” she said. But, sensing her own gnarled ugliness, and the utter pointlessness of her pitch, she immediately burst into laughter. 

A Bangkok bonk comes cheaper than one in the basement knocking shops of London. You don’t have to be Joseph Stiglitz to do the math and bag a bargain. For £10, I could get one Thai take away; for £20, I could get two. Though prostitution is illegal in Thailand most bars and massage parlors operate this black economy industry -- one that is heavily reliant on tourists from the West and businessmen from South Korea and Japan. 

East is East, and West is West, but the victims of the sex trade are always female. Country bumpkins with bleached skin from Issan province, sent to the big city by their families -with no questions asked - to earn a living and send money home. Others are working off family debts (usually gambling). Quite a few are indentured refugees from neighboring countries like PDR Lao and Burma, forced or coerced into the business. The lucky ones escape into marriage or a stable relationship with a farang (foreigner of Western origin) The less fortunate lose their looks and die of lonely alcoholism. 

But what of us, what of the catch? Come to think of it, we are not much. Thailand attracts blokes who are balding, misogynistic, overweight, boozy and broke. The ambassadors of excess, and, invariably, the worst kind of amateur diplomat.  The age demographic is wide (between 30 and 75). If they are not making a living as a local businessman or an unqualified English teacher, they are on a pension.  If they are youngish, single, solvent, they hunt bars for fresh skirts. Like my old pal from Liverpool, Suntory Simon.   

“I have had more ass than a toilet seat,” he once boasted. "I don’t pay for sex and I never wear a condom. Only poofs wear condoms. Let's face it, a day without shagging is a day wasted.” 

When the clock strikes Five, Simon trawls the happy hour bars for ladies. Despite the high statistics for AIDS in the South East Asia region, Simon is content to relive the same night, over and over again. 


"I don't care about AIDS," he said, "that's a disease for faggots." 


The homophobic sexpat was on a mission "to have as many girls as a rock star".  This would be nigh impossible in the UK. Simon is 40 plus. Five foot three inches in height. Bald. And bears a striking resemblance to a garden gnome. 


Suntory Simon: Happy on his Patch

Unshackled by marriage or western standards of behavior, in Bangkok he is a "handsome man," who can do as he wants and live as he pleases. 

"I'm living the dream, doing what I want, and fucking when I want. What's the alternative, grow old, miserable and drunk down the pub in England? No thanks, mate. I think I'll pass and live in Thailand."

Marriage, to a farang lady or a local one, however, does not stop men, expat or indigenous, from taking on a “mia noi”.  A “mia noi” is a woman with whom a man has a continual relationship with outside marriage, IE a mistress.  

Take Dennis the Menace, a Seventysomething Aussie pensioner with six kids and a Catholic wife of 30 odd years. He had three mistresses on the go in Thailand.  The wife back home in Sydney wasn't bothered. She knows full well: just as long as she doesn’t hear the gory details. 


"Like the Philippines, Thailand is one of the only places in the world where the women chase the men.   Having a mistress in Thailand is as normal as having a cup of tea in England. It’s an old Thai tradition for a man to have a mistress, like the French.” 


(You can always find an OK for immorality. In any culture)

But some of these Thai women, bless their hearts, are out to fleece their farang men. Getting boosted by your girlfriend or wife is a regular occurrence in the land of the smile. One American friend was robbed by his and reduced to a state of penury (albeit temporary). She had a Thai fella on the side. But my friend loved her so much that he forgave her.   


A former Royal Marine (with a dishonourable discharge) had his car and credit cards stolen by his Thai wife. Like the American, the poor sap forgave her. One alcoholic unfortunate from Leicester was pushed to certain death from his bedroom window and almost crippled. The first day out of hospital he was propping up the bars of Soi 22. There were tubes and blue pipes running in-and-out of his midsection. Not that he cared He was too busy knocking back high strength Thai rum, singing his tale of cautionary woe


“I knew she tried to kill me,” he said, “but I love her.” 


The main reason idiot men seem to fall so easily for these women is because they have never known, nor liked, any women. But just like any other human sexist, they are lonely and lovesick. And remain in the region because they don't have a girlfriend back home. In fact, dozens of sad blokes that I knew in Bangkok confessed to NEVER having a girlfriend in their country of origin. 


"Back home, I was considered a bum," said Captain Cirrhosis, a flesh spot regular from Oz. "No woman looked at me, let alone wanted me. Out here, well that's another story. I'm Mister Handsome. With my own bottle of whiskey behind the bar and a different girl every night. No complaints."


During my long posting to Thailand, I was often asked if I had a "mia noi." It was a question that I found distasteful. And, given that I was married, unwarranted and even disrespectful! In the company of men, and in the course of focused inquiries into the sex trade and its relationship between the punter and the lady, I was often taken for one of their kind -- a loser sexist who did not know how to get a woman in his own country. 


Get your jive ass to an Aids test


Cracker, please!  


More tales from the sexpat gutter can be found here.