Posted by: facetothewind | January 4, 2014

Lovers, Dreamers, and Rice Queens

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As Bangkok braces itself for a shutdown and hints of civil war are whispered about the streets here in Thailand, I find myself out of synch in some sort of farang dating dreamworld. If you’ve not been paying attention to half a century of my romantic pinings, you might have missed that I’m crazy about Asians. Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs, actually. There was one big exception to my Eastern palette in the form of a little German guy who might very well have been Asian because of his prettiness, his gentle manner, and his petite stature. I have tried to figure out where this attraction to Asians comes from, not that one ever really has to. Sometimes desire is just desire.

Burmese-musician

This Burmese musician in Mandalay sent my heart singing.

But for me it all comes from repressed consumer demand. When I was in high school, I was wildly attracted to a Samoan boy named Dil. But because he was always out of reach, my desires kind of went into a frozen state of suspension. Add to that having had the proverbial sand kicked in my face as a 90 pound weakling, I became attracted to others smaller than me. No one would ever kick sand in my face again, especially here in Asia where I’m bigger than 95% of everyone. There it is plain and simple: I must always be the big guy and when you’re 5’10” and only 138 pounds (as I am this very day), you have nowhere to turn to but Asia. You go to the source where they churn out petite people by the billions. America, the land of giants, is not populated with my kinda guy. One other factor at play in forming my desires was being the oppressed minority. As a quite sensitive young man, witnessing the big white dudes dissing the black and Hispanic guys in my hometown, I became suspicious of big white dudes…really most any white dude. I sided with the oppressed as if they were maybe a little more tender on the margins. As if. What I later discovered is that marginalized people don’t become tender as a result of oppression, they become unlovable. But that’s getting off track.

David Gilmore photography gay Thailand

Click to enlarge. This is M(ark). I photographed him last summer. He’s spectacularly gorgeous. Poor guy was just hospitalized with typhoid fever but is doing OK now.

So anyway…lumberjacks, football jocks, hairy daddies, muscle bunnies — keep ’em. Delicate creatures with almond shaped eyes, black hair, creamy smooth mocha skin — mine all mine! Oddly in America it’s hard to find a good Rice Queen and so there’s not much competition (should we actually find an out gay Asian man). You might bristle at this term for white guys who like Asian guys. But let me tell you, the Potato Princesses use it themselves. Yes, that’s what an Asian lover of white guys is called. And while I’m on the subject, there’s one more: it’s called Sticky Rice. Can you guess what that is? I’ve never heard about Sticky Potatoes though…the very thought makes me nauseous. Sticky Potatoes is just the norm and so it doesn’t have a term — not until now!

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The only trouble about dating Asians purely based on aesthetics is that pesky thing called culture. I just don’t get Asian men raised in Asia. We are not only on the opposite sides of the planet, it’s as if we were raised on another planet entirely. East rarely meets West with any sense of harmony unless there has been some serious incursion from one side to the other. Take for example this guy, M(axim):

Maxim

In my “auditions” for an Asian husband that I’ve been hosting at my hotel every afternoon, M(axim) is the only one suitable for a callback. He speaks perfect English, French, Thai and is from the Karen hill tribe of Mae Hong Son. Get this — he got his degree in chemistry at the University of California Santa Cruz (where I lived) and did his post graduate botanical research work at Edison College (where I went to school!) in Fort Myers, Florida. When we met I was so shocked at all of this that I could barely keep drool from accumulating around the corners of my mouth. We had the nicest time together. Truly a lovely time and a great connection. And then I never heard from him again. He doesn’t respond to my texts. Big sigh as the auditions continue.

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This sleeping beauty is N(eo). Skinnier than me, he rolls up in the bed covers to stay warm because it’s 65 degrees out. He speaks perfect English (always a treat). But he’s terribly flakey making appointments and promises and then breaking them. What is it that he wants?

I’ve been trying to figure out why Thai guys are so capricious and emotionally flimsy. I try to put myself in their flip flops to understand why they flip flop so much with their big declarations of love and then their mysterious disappearances. Their childlike jealousies drive me insane…always asking leading questions like, “Hi how are you? You not write to me last night. You out with other Thai guy. Ok you be happy with him. Bye bye.” Wait a minute! When in that first date did I propose marriage and monogamy? And honey, do you think I don’t know that you’re playing the field as much as I am? It’s as if these men want to secure their future by getting some agreement that you are their one and only but aren’t actually willing to show up for that…they just want to text.

My friend (whose name I won’t say) calls them “pets.” Yes, pets. You’re getting an earful of culturally insensitive monikers now, aren’t you? Pets are the Thai guys who are essentially kept boys. They have their Western boyfriends who provide them with a car, an iPhone and a fancy apartment. They all cheat on their farang boyfriends using those iPhones to set up dates behind their backs. Can we blame anyone on either side of that equation? Aging Westerners with a belly get no attention in the West. And for every one of these undesirables, there is an eager and willing Thai guy who will be happy to have a joint bank account and keys to the Mercedes. And while financial security may be appealing, having a giant guy heaving on top of your tiny body probably isn’t. So they play the field.

Let me show you a chat session that is so dreadfully typical of what I experience playing the Asian dating game. Let’s call this Exhibit A for Asian…

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This torso approaches me to say hello. I let guys approach me rather than waste time hitting up every cute Thai guy. If they’re into farang, they’ll chime in. So he writes me and then the disconnect begins. But in the end I had him mooing.

So what am I doing wrong? Having the ability to marry and import my man to the US with the possibility now of citizenship hasn’t gotten me a home run. Perhaps I need a bigger belly? Maybe I need to flash more money around? I’m discreet with money here for good reason as I don’t want to be one of those unlucky farang who gets a BF and then suddenly falls down the stairs to his death just after a joint bank account has been opened.

So here’s what I think is going on: the inequality is what keeps them playing games because they know they are not the ones with power. And power wants to distribute itself evenly. There is a distinct them and us-ness to these cross-cultural relations with big economic divides. (I suspect that the game would be entirely different in an industrial nation like Japan or Singapore, for example.) I also think the undeniable fact that they are smaller in size is a contributing factor. I think if I were attracted to giants with inconceivable amounts of money and freedom I will never have, I would probably always be scampering underfoot not to get stepped on and crushed. But there’s also just the culture of the Thai people that I’m up against. It’s not an intellectual culture that values earnestness or discourse on things. It’s about feeling and looking good. It’s about eating good food, getting a massage, sleeping late, drinking, partying, blowing things up, playing loud covers of old American songs. It’s about sending emoticons and cyber stickers to each other instead of communicating fully your thoughts. For those of us from the West —the land of connoisseurship and cultivation of perfection — it’s always going to be a clash. I want to get to the bottom of something while Thai people want to play at the surface and so we never quite meet for a good swim together.

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I have to add this important disclaimer. We Westerners are no better than they are here in the East, but how can one ever completely stray far from your own cultural norms? It does happen. It’s just not happening with me. So the auditions continue, I continue to play the game, knowing pretty well that I will be going back to the States with nothing more than a suitcase of new clothes and a lot of memories of whacky Asia.

Drink up dreamers, you’re running dry.

                     

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Responses

  1. David. Your Awesome! 🙂

  2. Interesting. I loved the text exchange — it really shows me what you’re up against, so to speak. (Mooing, indeed. Put some pants on, boy! show us your face!) There’s so much going on here, emotionally. I see you struggling to make a real connection, a true exchange of thoughts and feelings, with even a bit of real intimacy, but it seems to me that you’re trying to make that connection with people who are more interested in mooing at your private parts than in communing with the David above the beltline (and pants pocket, including wallet). Could it be that you’d have better luck forming solid relationships if you were to go off Grindr and try to form real friendships based on things in common (music, photography, beauty, English…?) Or am I being lesbianly idealistic?

  3. You’re not doing anything wrong but trying too hard!

  4. Oh, my… that is pure cheeky honesty striking down the core of a pulsating lust for Life.
    Thank you!
    rtm


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