He who postpones the hour of living is like the rustic who waits for the river to run out before he crosses.
The word ‘FARANG’ as used in this article is unisex unless I write specifically man or woman. Where the reader sees AN: it indicates that I am adding a personal comment to my summary of a scientist’s theory. Further, where I use the word ‘LOVE’ it is the expression of that emotion and in itself does not express sexuality.
Love is at the very core of my existence. I am an absolute fan of love for without love I am empty. Love can be enduring or fleeting in accordance with reciprocity, or lack thereof.
I do not subscribe to the Theory of Dr. Helen Fisher though I respect her work and endeavour toward understanding the relationship between the fleeting contours of colour that her encephalographic experiments produce which indicate an area of stimulation of the brain’s surface through the flow of serotonin that has been secreted by one or another endocrine gland in response to an external stimulant, and the behaviour of human beings with all of their complexity and intrinsic humanity.
Many notable scientists are not comfortable with Dr. Helen Fisher’s tri-pointed mono-theory on love, so what else is there to go on?
Since Plato defined what we now call ‘Platonic’ love many philosophers, psychiatrists, psychologists, neurologists and sexologists have studied love. Many question Plato’s definition of platonic love, and some say it does not exist at all.
The quest to understand the nature of love continues across the world as I write now in August 2006.
Later in this article I will draw your attention to a couple of the other notable professionals that have achieved recognition for their work on ‘love’ that do not wholly agree with Dr. Helen Fisher’s Theory, even though it appears to be reinforced with the output of a modern gismo called an encephalograph machine
For now I will press on with my own views on love, and in particular the love of Thai women, or perhaps most relevantly of the farang that fall in love with them.
Many factors come into play when a man and / or a woman are falling in love. Of course I recognise that lustful feelings (Limerence) are often responsible for lighting the fuse that burns down to the inevitable copulation and fulfilment of the emotion that we call lust. But this is not always the end of the love story, sometimes, for the lucky ones it is the beginning of a beautiful and caring relationship between two warm and willing human beings.
Every time that I have fallen in love (no I’m not giving you a number) it has been magical and memorable. The women that I have loved are part of who I am. They are my dreamtime, my memories and my pride and will always be so.
When I consider my own emotional experience of love I bear witness to an amalgam of emotions that converged to make my loving so fulfilling that each of my lovers were a life changing experience for me.
These emotions of course included Limerence (lust) overlain with care, consideration, respect, hope, humility and ambition for both of us. However fleeting the ‘love affair was’ I lived it as though it were eternal and sat at the very core of my being.
Being in love is a deep emotional experience which has a lasting effect of the psyche of those in love. This holds true even if the ‘love’ is lustful and fleeting, as it is for most whoremongers and prostitutes. The fact is that when a couple make love each gives to and receives something from the other.
In the case of the fleeting relationships these exchanges are not just physiological, they are emotional too. That is why persistent whore-mongering or prostitution cause psychological damage to the participants.
Whilst most people are aware of the physiological risks of promiscuity like sexually transmitted disease, or in the case of the woman a prolapsed womb or cervical cancer, few are cognisant of the fact that mental and physical exhaustion from long term promiscuity can cause impotence or the inability to ever settle into a normal relationship again.
Conversely many are unaware of the psychological damage that accrues from persistent promiscuity. It this psychological damage that makes it almost impossible, for a farang to settle down with a bar girl, that has worked in the business for a long time. Likewise, few if any long term whoremongers will ever maintain a stress free monogamous relationship during the rest of their lifetime.
What can we conclude about the farang that fall in love in Thailand? The fact is that we cannot generalize about the wisdom of farang that fall in love in Thailand. There are so many different genres at work in the game of love. All have their own level of legitimacy and all are fair game. Each MO of love profile can have wonderful benefits, and for that matter devastating consequences too; for either the farang or his Thai lover. At this point it is vital that although I speak of love as a male relationship with a female the core theories on love should not be regarded as gender specific.
It is my observation that all of the theories on love apply equally to same sex relationships as they do to mixed sex relationships. It is this observation that has had the most impact on my own negative response to homosexual relationships and is beginning to help me understand why men find lesbianism more acceptable than homosexuality. As we toy with these issues we begin to realise that we men have a long way to go before we are fully developed from a humanitarian point of view.
AN: Now I take time out to look at some of the noteworthy scientists that have spent their lifetime helping us to understand the human condition that is experienced when we fall in love.
In 1977 psychologist Dr Dorothy Tennov coined the term ‘Limerence’ which she described as being a ‘state of love’ personified by the blending of passion, intrusive thinking, longing, uncertainty, and hope.
AN: Limerence is the kind of love that farang find in the bars. His bar girl at this stage is the farang’s moral equal. That you both meet there draws a line in the sand from which you will both have to struggle away from if you want to share your lives together.
A state of ‘passionate love’ as described in Stendal’s 1822 classic ‘On Love’, wherein the concept of ‘crystallization’ was developed. Stendal argues that passionate love evolves from the crystallization of the many facets of the personality of the lovers, not just from Limerence.
In 1986 psychologist Robert Sternberg published his famous ‘triangular theory of love’ in Psychological Review, which postulated a geometric interpretation of love. According to the triangular theory, love has three components; Intimacy; Passion and Commitment.
If all three of the factors can be attributed to your love it is ‘consummate love’. The “amount” of love one experiences depends on the absolute strength of these three components; the ‘kind’ of love one experiences depends on their strengths relative to each other. Often in a relationship only two of these ‘Sternberg’ criteria will be present. This is no big deal if the two combined criteria are strong. Sternberg summarizes his theory like this;
1. Liking or Friendship Intimacy
2. Infatuation or Limerence Passion
3. Empty Love Commitment
4. Romantic Love Intimacy + Passion
5. Compassionate Love Intimacy + Commitment
6. Fatuous Love Passion + Commitment
7. Consummate Love Intimacy + Passion + Commitment
• Liking in this case is not trivial it is an intimate friendship, ‘True Friendship’.
• Infatuation is what one experiences in a love at first sight situation. (Limerence?)
• Empty Love is what is left when the Intimacy and Passion have died away.
• Romantic Love is where lovers are bonded emotionally and physically.
• Compassionate Love exists in a marriage when the passion is gone but intimacy and commitment remain. It is also the kind of love that should exist between you and your family. NB. Intimacy is about closeness and the absence of secrets, not sex.
• Fatuous Love is the kind of love that comes from a whirlwind romance and quick marriage without the presence of intimacy.
• Consummate Love is the complete form of love, where there are now doubts or jealousies. One is in a continuing affair with someone that has a common objective with us in the relationship; something that very few of us ever achieve.
AN: Dr. Robert Sternberg is perhaps one of the most respected psychologists of our generation among his peers.
Susan Hendrick and Clyde Hendrick developed a ‘Loves Attitude Scale’ based on John Alan Lee's theory called ‘Love Styles’. Lee identified six basic theories that people use in their interpersonal relationships:
‘Eros’ (romantic love) a passionate physical love based on physical appearance and beauty.
‘Ludus’ (game playing) in ludus love is played as a game; love is playful; often involves little or no commitment and thrives on "conquests".
AN: This is the correct definition of a whoremongers behavior, perhaps they should call themselves ‘Ludusites’, sounds better don’t you think?
‘Storge’ (companionate love) an affectionate love that slowly develops, based on similarity (AN: of personality, race or religion) and friendship.
‘Pragma’ (pragmatic love) — inclination to select a partner based on practical and rational criteria where both will benefit from the partnership.
AN: Pragma is the type of love that a whoremonger (Ludusite) experiences when he retains his bar girl (Pragma)
‘Mania’ (possessive love) A problematic highly emotional love; unstable; the stereotype of ’Romantic Love’; its characteristics include jealousy and conflict.
AN: Mania is an all too common characteristic of early farang bar girl affairs.
‘Agape’ (altruistic love) is a state of selfless altruistic love; which is spiritual, protective and caring. One could say that agape is an almost charitable form of love wherein the man or woman may even feel sorry for their lover.
AN: Agape love affair is the type of love that exists between very wealthy farang (or well paid farang) that have taken a predatory bar girl into their life. Agape relationships tend to be very shallow and usually only continue for as long as the farang is financially stable.
In his later summarization Hendricks found that men tend to be more ludic and manic, whereas women tend to be storgic and pragmatic. Relationships based on similar love styles were found to last longer.
Me again; so there you have it, any one of our many and diverse emotions can trigger the release of the serotonins in our brain that Dr. Helen Fisher observes in her contours of color produced by a spectrographic analysis of an encephalography.
Daily here in my community in Pattaya I see Thai farang families and their children. The pride and joy apparent in both the Thai mother and the farang father are refreshing to see.
Do bar girls really and truly fall in love with farang. Absolutely, and many progress to become ‘consummate lovers’ of their farang until his dying day if he is an oldie, whist if he is a young buff they’ll still be at his side when he is drawing his pension.
On the way to meeting a long term partner a farang may have many negative experiences. Sometimes it will be his lack of acceptance of Thai culture and its affect on his brief encounters.
It may also be that he cannot distinguish the difference between the girls that come to Pattaya to find a partner and those that are hardened business girls (Pragma) watching out for farang that are inebriated and have their pockets full of cash.
Farang men and women in Thailand, man on woman, woman on woman, man on man and man and women in third sex relationships abound here in Pattaya, there is so much love, fun and happiness that it is almost overwhelming to try and take it all in.
The age of either partner is an irrelevance, their size, shape, colour or creed is not important either. Here in Pattaya you are just as likely to find a lover if you are an adult thalidomide victim, a paraplegic, an amputee or even just ugly in you own view.
Therefore I say to you, if you are lonely and want fun and love to fill your days come to Pattaya wearing a smile and bearing and open heart and mind. For sure you will be fulfilled, if you can cope with the bumps and disappointments along the way.
It might help you if you read Rudyard Kipling’s poem ‘If’ over and over on the long flight here.
Reading your third to last paragraph, it is perhaps surprising that Pattaya is not busier than it is.