It's been a year since my last visit to Thailand and in that time I've read all of the submissions on this site. Its a form of therapy for me, I guess, and helps with the endless longing to return to the beer bars and bar girls that have somehow come to represent a form of 'home' to me. If home is where the heart is, then the beach deck-chairs of Pattaya, the bars of Nana, and the sweaty walks along broken streets as I make my way from hotel to restaurant to bar are 'home' to me. It's where I'd rather be, no matter where I am.
The first time I went there I swore I would never pay to have sex. I took a bus from KL to Krabi and paid to have sex in Hat Yai. And I never regretted it (working in nightclubs for 10 odd years kind of dulls the conscience when it comes to sex). In all I've spent about 5 months in Thailand on holiday over a 4 year period, and the other 44 months I was waiting to go back. And the anticipation is not half of the pleasure, it is precisely 0% of the pleasure. All of the pleasure is in the having.
This is of course a common theme among these submissions – but rest assured, I couldn't be bothered writing this if 50 other men had written the same thing. My situation at home is quite different to the majority of those who frequent this site, and I am sure there are many out there in the same boat as me (I know plenty of them), but I haven't read anything here that really speaks of this type of 'longing' so I figured I'd make a contribution. Perhaps it would have been more aptly titled 'and you think you're messed up?'
I think it is a fairly safe assumption to make that in as much as many different types of men frequent this site – young/old, fit/over-weight, professionals/battlers etc – most all of us have been tarred by the same brush. There may be controversy and dissent at times, and some of you may have made a life in Thailand, married local and moved on to higher moral grounds than the rest of us bar girl chasers dwell upon, but at one time or another we all thrilled at the chase. And even if the quarry is assured the hunt is thrilling. Even if you know you will hand over 1000 Baht in the morning you still feel the thrill of victory at having gone out alone and returned to your hotel with a sexy companion.
Well, I do.
And I want that experience again and again and again. I know I think of other things – surely I must – but nothing with the cold, hard clarity of the intense longing to return to the chase. To get very drunk night after night and crawl from bar to bar looking for Miss Tonight. Occasionally I remember the times I have had in Thailand, but usually it is the future I am concerned about and how I will do things like let a throw of the dice determine what type of woman I will pursue each night so I stop ending up with subtle variations of the same woman, or how I won't take my credit cards to King's Castle ever again. Once, I tipped the woman in the men's room of a go-go bar $100 for turning the tap on for me to wash my hands (it was US dollars and looked like 20 Thai Baht to my Aussie eyes after 15 drinks from the mamasan 'on the house' which eventually appeared 'on the bill') so I have spent considerable time evolving a plan to ensure that never happens again, even if it is one of my favourite memories. Or what about the time I spent 20 minutes scrubbing myself with soap on the head of a very sensitive part of my anatomy trying to remove what I thought must have been ink (seemed logical, lack of pens withstanding) until I realised I had been given a love-bite that was a kind of calling-card for the next bar girl I went home drunk with?
And I want it all again. All of that, and all of the countless other little funny, sad, erotic, exciting experiences that came with it. I obsess over it. I tell myself night after night to stop thinking about it and go to sleep. Why? It would make sense in a way if it was so far removed from my home life that it was exotic and mysterious and dangerous and fun and impossible to experience at home. Surely that would be a good reason to spend almost all of my time wishing I was in Thailand? Works for better men than me. But that is not the case. I have friends and business associates sitting right here in the very same boat as me and it is not true for them either.
Thailand is simply not all that different to my every day. I can walk out of my apartment here in Sydney and I am instantly surrounded by bars and strip-clubs and neon and fun and danger and working girls and parlours and cheap thrills. Maybe it is the lack of Thai women? Nope. They are here too. There is one in my apartment, others work for me, I socialise with others, others are my customers, others run businesses beside mine, and countless others pass me as strangers in the street. Sydney is a very Thai city (which is a bloody good thing). So, maybe they are unattainable? Not interested in it? Nope. Others I have dated, had one night stands with or secret affairs with, others I have paid to have sex with, others have been girlfriends of mine, and I know a dozen other men living the same life, and just like me, still wishing they were in Thailand and planning the next trip over there (I know because it is about all we ever talk about). And then there are the Thai men. I have mates who are Thai, live with Thais (surprise) and are dating or married to Thais, and all they ever talk about is how much they want to return to Thailand for a holiday and how much fun it will be to go to Nana again. I went there with some of them once and we went straight to Nana from the airport!
It is a strange condition to be constantly longing for something you already possess.
But, it is not as simple as that. It can't be, of course. But then what is it?
It is just better in Thailand.
I guess for guys who come to Thailand on holiday, it always seems so much better than home. For me (and for a lot of others) it is quite the opposite. When I dream, I'm not in Thailand. I'm strolling through the rolling green hills of NZ, just me and my camera, alone with nature. I guess it is a case of the grass always being greener.