Posted by: facetothewind | December 13, 2008

Why West loves East

Here’s a little video of the sleeper train to Chiang Mai. It cost $24 and was pretty bare bones. The breakfast consisted of Oreo cookies and tea. 😦

Had a great time in Bangkok, surprisingly. I don’t like the city much – the cars, traffic and air pollution are just inescapable. BUT, there is a growing sense of community there for me. I have several friends and we all convened for lunch yesterday. Massaya from Japan, the expats John, and Peridot & Zen from Thailand, and Beat from the US. I met a very charming, smart and lovely man from Bangkok named Yo at Babylon…which is where one goes to meet professional gay Thais. He and I spent my last night and day there together. He’s a fashion designer who has travelled the world, so we were able to have some meaty conversations.

I’m so curious about the attraction of Farang (Westerners) to Thais. You see the combos everywhere here. In the gayer parts of town you see them walking down the streets holding hands…both seeming so happy to have found each other. Of course I project a lot onto this mysterious attraction of opposites as I certainly can understand the appeal. The aesthetics of the men are certainly a big piece of the appeal, though not all. There is more to it than the smooth, petite bodies.

Yo smiled at me the instant we met in a dark and steamy hall of Babylon. Without glasses, all I saw was shortness and gleaming teeth. This of course, was enough for me to follow him down a descending staircase into a nautilus of cool water. (I’m not speaking in metaphor.) OK, so it’s physicality that sparks the connection. But then what?

Over dinner and drinks later, I asked him if he had ever had a Thai boyfriend. “NO, absolutely not!” was his response.
“Why do you only like Westerners?”
“Farong are special to me and make me feel special.”

I nearly burst into tears.

Yes there’s the obvious physical beauty of Thai men. But what I come for is the same thing he feels. I feel special here. In America, I exist mostly on a slowly disappearing hope that someone will find me special and would be eager to see me and be with me. And I rarely find it in America.

A man over 40 (or even 30) in America is yesterday’s news. And here we’re front page, above the fold.

I come to Asia to feel special. You see that feeling in the men walking down the street with their Asian boyfriends. You KNOW that in America, England, Germany they’re ignored and ordinary. You KNOW that the Thai guy is delighted that he’s found one of those blue-eyed, hairy beasts who has wealth beyond anything he will ever know in Thailand. Yo can’t stop smiling at me in restaurants and he hardly ever lets go of my hairy arms. Yes, I pay for the meals. When a nice sit down dinner for two cost only $8, who cares?

On the train to Chiang Mai, I had many hours to stare out the window and contemplate missing Yo and this feeling of being magnetic. I figure the inevitable will happen to anyone who repeatedly comes to this exotic and strange place seeking to feel special for a change. It has to happen. Maybe it already has. And maybe one day I will choose not to return to the ranks of the ordinary.

More to come.

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