A Plaster For 10,000 Broken Hearts
By Michael Miller
Statistics vary from source to source, but at any given moment there are approximately 10,000 western men in Thailand on any given day.
Some are tourists, some retiree's. Some are on business, some are just on vacation.
A large portion of these men are Americans. I believe that their behaviors in Thailand should not be considered as "bad" or "wrong" or "perverse" and I also believe that any persecution of these men would only make our country weaker and not stronger.
The behavior of American men in Thailand should be considered as a "barometer" of our American social condition.
It could be argued that American society is in good condition because of the relatively low number of men engaged in some form of sex with prostitutes.
It could also be argued that a giant portion of American men would like to be in Thailand paying for sex with prostitutes and this would clearly signal a large social problem in America.
I believe that regardless of whether you believe the glass is half full, or half empty, there is a situation that needs to be addressed.
Traditionally the U.S. government would address men seeking the services of prostitutes in a punitive and destructive manner. Remember that prostitution is a criminal offence in virtually all of America and this criminal offence is dealt with by the courts and the police. I believe a more creative and cleaver approach is warranted at this point in our countries history.
Men that have travelled to Thailand with sexual tourism even in their possible travel itinerary are suffering from loneliness and often from broken hearts at home.
You can't cure a broken heart with a bloody nose.
Men that are in Thailand in consort with a prostitute often feel distanced from their country or from their cohort groups at home.
If a man finds himself in Thailand without friends or family, he will be lonely and vulnerable. It is natural at this point for him to seek comfort in others, and "others" often means "hookers".
There are many different phases a mainstream tourist to Thailand or a novice sex tourist must go through before finally becoming a "dyed in the wool sex tourist" .
I believe many American men who go to Thailand ultimately have some form of encounter with a prostitute and that the novelty of this type of sexual encounter quickly wares off.
But the problem is, what is the man to do with his time and his emotions after the initial "thrill" of sex with a prostitute is gone?
Not every man that goes to Thailand is an amateur social scientist and a novice journalist like yours truly. Some men are caught up in the process and never even understand that there is a "process" that they are caught up in.
I believe that the U.S. government should sponsor a low cost restaurant and social club for male American tourists only. No French, No Thais, No Women, No Europeans, just for American male tourists. It could be called THE MAIN STREET BAR AND GRILL.
This social club should orchestrate mainstream tourist fjords and trips to non-sexual destinations that are exciting and stimulating and economical.
This club should have a bar, pool tables, comfortable couches, and be staffed by friendly American volunteers that "have been there".
American men need a place to go in Bangkok that isn't hooker oriented, or expensive. They need to be assisted to come home to America in their minds.
It would also be helpful for these American men if there were internet dating counsellors available to help these same men construct singles ads and post their photos on American singles sites for the purpose of finding American girlfriends and wives and helping them to find romance and sex in their own country.
I believe this club should also have a large TV that plays a regular schedule of American Comedy from Seinfeld, to the Simpsons, and also plays American Movies that are comedies.
I think that we as a country can "bring home" a large portion of our men who have made decisions to experiment with the Thai sex scene. We can bring them home to our offshore club in Bangkok , and we can help them to come home in their minds.
I am not advocating large scale counselling for men in Thailand, but I am advocating that if there were a well advertised "club" for American men to go to, many of them would have their experiments in the Thai sex scene greatly shortened.
There needs to be trust on the part of the American male population that this club is not going to be used in some kind of governmental sting, and that their identities are going to be protected there.
This club should be well advertised around large prostitution zones and it should be proximal to central Bangkok so the American tourist could easily find his way there when he is ready.
The staff should be friendly and conservative, possibly including ex-military chaplains that have dealt with the emotional issues faced by men abroad.
I believe that the U.S. government could change the involvement of American men in Thailand in relation to the sex scene by addressing the underlying emotional needs of the typical male tourist in Thailand. IE- the need for security, comfort, love, acceptance, friendship, etc.
Moreover, our US Customs and immigration should prominently place placards around U.S. departure zones notifying American male tourists that there IS an alternative to vice and sin in Thailand, and that he will be welcome there and protected and assisted, not judged.
I envision this to be sort of a cross between a military E-club, covenant house, and neighbourhood bar and grill.
The purpose of this type of club should not be to decrease American involvement with Thai hookers. The involvement of Americans with Thai hookers is a SYMPTOM of our American condition, not the problem itself.
The purpose of this club should be to help Americans in Thailand to remember that their country loves and values them, and that there is a better world waiting for them at home than there is outside Patpong or the Nana, or wherever.
We need to help our men to come home to America, we need to help them fix their lives, and then you will see a giant decrease in American involvement with Thai hookers.
If we Americans take this first important step to apply a plaster to the lonely and broken hearts of our brothers abroad, many other countries will quickly follow our lead and while the Thai flesh trade will never die, at least we will have taken steps to limit our own national emotional caries that make some of our men its customers.
In my opinion it doesn't matter that tonight 3,000 American men are spending their money and time with hookers in Thailand.
It does matter that these same men are salvageable and viable and they should be spending their money and physical energy building lives and love with American women here at home.
Lets not worry about stopping the "Sin" in Thailand. The "sin" in Thailand is really no big deal.
Let's worry about stopping the "Sinful waste" of our fellow American men not loving our fellow American women. Because that is the "real sin".
Michael Miller Indianapolis, February, 2007
Hmmm, not sure what to make of this…