Posted by: facetothewind | January 19, 2007

My Midlife Crisis Foam Party

After another day of sweaty temple touring in Bangkok, I returned to the hotel to find that a foam party was the centerpiece of entertainment for the evening at the gayer-than-gay Babylon hotel and bath house complex. Forgive me my naiveté, but I’ve never been to a foam party. I figured if nothing else, it would be good blog-fodder. But first, I had to deal with something a little unsavory. I know you all know what it’s like to be, how shall we say, a little out of sorts…

You see, I’m still trying to convince my bowels that we’re in a different time zone now and that we have to work together if we’re going to be good traveling companions, ready to be charming and receive guests. You sleep when I sleep, deal? None of this silent treatment, okay? I mean I know you don’t like flying and white rice, but five days without a peep from you and I’ve had it up to here with you. So Mrs. G and the bowels had a frank talk last night before the foam party. Shaking my finger at them, I barked, “Look, either you put out or I’m leaving you by the roadside. We just can’t do this any longer.”

The conversation came to a head and I think we both felt so much lighter afterward. That $7 half-kilo of cherries I bought at the market seems to have gotten us back in the same time zone. Anyway, it was a productive conversation and after a few flushes we were ready for the foam party.

The lack of feeling attractive has to account for the reason I have never attended a foam party. It conjures up images of men from the circuit scene – white parties – sterile gym rats on ecstasy and Viagra slipping around on a dance floor flexing their muscles and stepping on me. Here at Babylon, it consisted of about 150 Asian men and a few admirers from Germany and the US. I discovered the term: UCLA – Ugly Caucasians with Lovely Asians. Hmmm. Perhaps I’m getting a graduate degree at UCLA. But I can’t say that any of the Asian men I encountered saw it in those terms. In fact, it seems pretty damn symbiotic. We bring them hair and body mass and they give us smooth and creamy attention.

The foam scene: a giant courtyard under a tropical sky surrounded by the 6-story concrete gay men’s hotel called the Barracks. There’s a typical disco light show and a fountain of foam pours out onto the dance floor from an overhead machine, covering the dancers in about 5 feet of foam contained at the edges of the dance floor with a metal corral. In Asia, that’s enough foam to lose your diminutive date. I, however, stood with my head sticking up about a foot as the foam erupts like lava out of the suspended dispenser.

Somehow everyone at the foam party managed to be dressed in shorts, underwear or a bathing suit. I dunno, I guess I’m a little panty-challenged, and arrived at the foam party clad only in a towel. Modesty is not lost on Thailand (I had to rent a shirt and long pants to visit the Grand Palace and temple – even though it was 93 degrees and there are only dead kings in the palace.

The poster advertising the foam party encouraged nudity and yet no one partook. But since my decidedly unfashionable 10 year-old K-Mart 50/50 blend boxers were tucked in locker #593, on the other side of an MC Escher trip across the complex in the dark without my glasses, I figured I would so partake in their invitation to nudity. I hung my towel over the edge of the foam corral and shuffled my way in like one would enter a pond – with arms up. All right I confess, I did take a Cialis – you know, “the weekender,” which was furthering the spectacle of being Caucasian and naked. All eyes were on my lower half. In America – I’m just one of the guys. In Asia, well, I’m a rock star. And isn’t that what everyone wants to be?

The thing I love about a peak experience is that when you’re having one, you know you’re having one. But never being one to completely lose myself in indulgences without at least some small degree of self-regulation and some vestigial Jewish/Catholic guilt (even though I was not raised either), I had just a moment of doubt about this scene. What am I trying to prove? Will I ever grow up? For crying out loud, I am 42 years old, writhing naked, on a dance floor in Bangkok with one foamy Thai guy in front of me and one behind me. Their combined ages probably equaled mine. My hands did slip into their shorts a few times to discover that their interest in me was in fact, genuine. Contrary to what most people say about Thailand, money was not the aphrodisiac in play there – at least not at the foam party.

Ah forget about the self-regulation! The inner critic had already slipped off my foamy shoulder – in fact, I think I stepped on it with my flip flop.

In this teeming metropolis, so deeply disconnected from anything natural, it began to pour down rain. I leaned back into the slippery body behind me, pulled the one in front of me close in and there under the tropical sky of Bangkok, took my vows to become the best little dirty old man that I can be…something so completely…natural.

I’ll save growing up for when I’m dead.

Thailand pix are posted:
http://www.nineteenthparallel.com/gallery/main.php

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