…And It Quacks Like A Duck
A recent posting raised the subject of a relatively new phenomenon in Thailand – the ‘sexpat’. A self-confessed sex tourist initially, he then married a Thai girl and settled down to live happily ever after in the Land of Smiles. I suppose that makes me a sexpat, he says.
No sir, it does not. You can relax. Just because a sex tourist marries his bargirl friend doesn’t make him a sexpat. Actually, the fact that he is willing to tie himself to one girl makes him the virtual opposite of a sexpat.
The definition of a sex tourist is spelled out in the name. A tourist who comes to Thailand for sex (nothing to do with being old, bald or fat) is a sex tourist. End of story.
The definition of a sexpat is also in the name – a combination of sex and expat. A sexpat is someone who lives in a foreign country for the purpose of sex. End of story.
That’s not me being judgemental. I can call a person a paedophile without being judgemental. It’s a description, nothing more. It seems to me that the ones being judgemental are the ones who try to avoid being described as a sex tourist because they see it as having negative connotations.
If a guy marries and settles down with a girl in another country, then he’s doing it for love and not sex (trust me, sex cools down pretty quickly once you’re married!) so I guess you’d have to call him a ‘lovepat’. But let’s not.
The sexpat is actually quite a recent phenomenon. Even ten years ago most men living in Thailand had a genuine reason for being here, more often than not tied to their careers.
These days though, the primary motivation for men who relocate to the Land of Smiles is sex. They are the sexpats. What jobs do sexpats do? Generally crappy jobs that don’t pay well. They work as English teachers, website designers or they run bars. They set themselves up as estate agents or offer to supervise construction workers on newbuilds in Pattaya.
Again, it’s nothing to do with being old, fat or ugly. A lot of the new wave of sexpats are in their twenties. But they do fit a pattern – they are usually from the provinces, not university-educated, and had dead-end jobs back in their home countries.
That’s not to say there aren’t high-end sexpats in Thailand, because there are, including financiers, film producers and writers. But they are a very small minority. The bulk of Thailand’s sexpats are former sex tourists, and are generally working class, not very bright, and, frankly, not much to look at. Why is that? Simple – they came to Thailand in the first place because they weren’t getting laid back home. That’s why they became sex tourists.
They came here, found that they could get laid cheaply, and decided that they wanted to stay. So they make the switch from sex tourist to sexpat. Some go on to get married, and most that do get married end up marrying a bargirl. By then they really are on the slippery slope.
Sexpats generally can’t afford to run a car, and they live in small apartments close to where they work. They have to watch every penny and soon discover that life as a sexpat is a lot less fun than life as a sex tourist.
At the risk of being labelled as judgemental, I’d have to say that I have more respect for the sex tourists than I do for the sexpats. A sex tourist is taking a break from a boring life back in Farangland and living like a king for a couple of weeks. The memories then tide him over until his next visit. It’s what makes his drab life worth living. I can empathise.
But a sexpat really is allowing his dick to rule his life. Relocating to Thailand, especially during your prime earning years, is just about the most stupid decision a person can make. Most sexpats earn less than 50,000 baht a month. That wouldn’t even pay my rent in Bangkok! Hell, it wouldn’t even pay my monthly drinks bill!
The jobs they do are mind-blowingly boring with zero prospects. The Honourable Stick has told us all how difficult teaching English can be, and how it can’t in any way be described as being financially rewarding. And running a bar in Thailand must be about the most soul-destroying of occupations. Loud music, boorish customers, prostitutes and pimps as your co-workers, and all for less than a shelf-stacker would earn in a UK supermarket.
Working in Thailand, unless your company transfers you here, generally means a huge gap in your CV and an even bigger gap in your bank balance if you should ever decide to return home.
Sexpats opt out of the home pension system, fail to get on the housing ladder back in their own country, and generally spend what they earn. Most of their money goes on drink and getting laid (because the sexpat is still paying for sex – everyone does in Thailand, one way or another). That’s fine while they’re young and fit but it doesn’t take a psychic to see what lies ahead – most sexpats are going to end up penniless and alone. In fact, there are lots of similarities between sexpats and bargirls, which is why they get on so well together!
Maybe I’m wrong. If there are any sexpats out there who are earning good money, write in and let us all know. Good money? Let’s say the average UK wage, which I’m told is now about 130,000 baht a month. All you sexpats out there who are breaking 100,000 baht, write and share your success stories! I won’t be holding my breath.
PS If anyone is interested in the definition of a sex tourist who marries his bargirl friend and settles down to a life of domestic bliss, my dictionary has them down as ‘sad, deluded half-wits.’ Okay, that is judgemental. Sue me.
If the naughty stuff wasn't available, Bangkok would be home to far fewer Westerners.