Love & Lust On Sale -Thai Style


Love & Lust On Sale -Thai Style
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For decades Thailand has been attracting scores of foreign tourists who enjoy the beauty of its islands, tasty cuisine, bargain priced shopping opportunities alongside availing themselves of the attentions and affections of its nationals.

The beaming Thai Smile has developed into a trademark representing hospitality at its warmest- The Land of Smiles.

The French author Michel Houllebecq’s novel Platform asserts that Western Men and Women are fundamentally disillusioned with the roles they are expected to play in relationships. Hence the push of Western Men travelling to places like Thailand seeking the companionship of Thai women, who they perceive as being more feminine in traditional roles and less demanding partners.

The Thai Revelation – Many a boorish overweight, middle aged Western bloke is stunned to discover how ‘sexy’ he really is shortly after landing in Thailand. And the recently superannuated possess an even greater sex appeal to the calculating Thai Temptress .

An indexed European Pension Plan can provoke aphrodisiacal responses from even the most jaded of hardened sex workers. Women who have been pawed and groped by countless boorish punters can pull off sincere sounding, “You handsome,” or “You so big sexy man” ever so convincingly.

Western Men are prized catches for scores of Thai women [ especially divorced ones with dependants and limited financial means]. The stereotype which does the rounds is that the average Thai bloke is a philandering gambling boozer who won’t mend his wayward ways, and Westerners have a reputation of being more pliable. So scores sign up to Internet Introduction Sites matching up foreign men to Thai women. And there are swags of internet sites and forums to navigate dealing with the cross cultural issues which these couplings- relationships present. One advisory site run by a Thai woman called A Rough Guide to Finding the Right Thai Wife offers advice to men seeking partners and tries to steer blokes through the cultural divide posed by such unions. On one forum she raises the issue of intellectual compatibility and how the majority of these women come from a very different world and uses the following dialogue to highlight cultural divides.

“Charles Darwin who ? He your friend ? He want Thai wife ? My niece very beautiful.”

Houellbecq’s take on it is, ‘You have several million westerners who materially have everything they could want but no longer manage to find emotional or sexual satisfaction in their countries. As opposed to the poor in places like Thailand who have nothing to sell except their bodies and sexuality.’

‘People are suspicious of single men on vacation after they reach a certain age. They assume that they’re selfish and probably a bit pervy.’

Ouch Michel, that one’s a little too close for comfort.

I met Klaus, a German married to a Thai at a bar in Chiang Mai where he was having some time off while his wife and kids were visiting her family in their village. Over several beers he was eager to give me his take on The Land of Smiles and shed light on what lurked behind the facade of all those friendly faces. He spilled the beans on the excessive demands and blackmailing tactics which his wife had subjected him to over many years of marriage. Whenever he baulked at unreasonable demands for money or footing some bill presented by her family she threatened to take the kids and leave him. He’d consoled himself to her antics with a philosophical “Was kann man tun, ich muss tief in die Tasche greifen- [ what can I do, I‘m always having to dig deep into my pockets].”

He told me that they never ceased to amaze him with their endless demands for money. His favourite line was, ‘ Water buffalo sick, we need you send money urgent.’

“I don’t know how many times they’ve used this story since we married, these people are incredible.” I didn’t ask Klaus if he’d read any Houllebecq but I reckon he would have scoffed at his claim that ‘Thai women are less demanding’ with “ Quatsch- my ass.”

Thai massage is an ancient practice whose skilled practitioners are capable of easing and contorting bodies into previously unimaginable positions. It also happens to be very popular with tourists. Many Thai women from rural areas travel to the tourist hot spots and take crash courses in massage. Thus increasing their earning capacity alongside improving their chances of meeting foreign men in this new work environment. A more pro active initiative to just signing up to a few Web based introduction agencies. I was lucky to come across a skilled masseuse in the lucky dip options of selecting which door to enter in Chiang Mai’s smorgasbord of Massage Shops.
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A stern-no nonsense middle aged woman who didn’t smile and whose English was limited to not much more than “turn over please” served me. It was obvious that she was experienced practitioner and I was given a very good and professional massage. After paying I was casually introduced to her daughter, who the manageress assured me was also a good masseuse. And she suggested that the daughter give me a massage on my next visit, which I agreed to.

Now the mother was a professional at her trade, whereas the daughter sorely lacked her mother’s all over body awareness. She fell into the camp of specialization.
Her area of specialization was the inner thigh region, precariously close to the groin. Where an inordinate amount of attention was given I thought. Well especially in comparison to her mother’s massage on my previous visit. She spent the last fifteen minutes of the allotted time slot moaning about her poor strike rate in attracting suitable foreign boyfriends.
At the time I thought it a pity she hadn’t picked up her mother’s massage skills and that her English was also limited to “turn over please”.

“You have wife or Thai girlfriend ? ” Is an often heard question posed to blokes to sort out potential candidates. A foreign husband is a prized catch not only for a Thai woman but also for her extended family. Many a small town building contractor owes his livelihood to the salesmanship of his calculating-cunning country women.
Blokes like Klaus having discovered too late in the bargain when they belatedly learn that they’re expected to foot the bill for a favourite cousin’s new motor scooter or the in law’s home renovations. That beaming “Welcome” takes on an ingratiating quality for the Farang- Foreign Husband whose cash reserves have been extensively depleted by the avarices of all those beaming Thai relatives.
Hence the reason Klaus was hanging out in ex pat bars and not visiting his in laws when I met him. He may have become an unwilling cash cow but he had no desire to check up on the welfare of the family’s water buffalo.

What goes on in Thailand is just another facet of the workings of the Global Economy.
A market place where free trade and creating efficient supply chains to exchange goods and services are central to keeping the wheels in motion.
A market of service providers willing to exchange what they have to sell- their femininity and sexuality to eager buyers in search of these qualities. In a country where social security safety nets are virtually non existent women invariably have to become resourceful and entrepreneurial to provide for their families.
“Charles Darwin, he your friend ?”
What goes on here is just an extension of Darwin’s evolutionary theories where species adapt to their environments to survive !
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And the Land of Smiles offers Choice. Whether it’s consenting to marrying men like Klaus to secure their families financial future to offering far less complicated transactions. Like the street worker familiar with the ways of her more cunning countrywomen ,who offers her no baggage services with touts of,
“ Hello, you like lady ? Me no problem mister- When you come, I go.”

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Fabrizio Marsani

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