Assumptions and Conclusions: A Response to Korski
There are several contentions in Korski’s response to my article which he summarises in the title “Projections and Half-truths At Best”.
I stated clearly and Korski accurately quotes me, that I admit to being a hypocrite. But then he appears to interpret this admission as if it were a claim for universal hypocrisy on the part of those who partake of the industry. I made no such claim. In admitting to hypocrisy, I am simply making the point that hypocrisy does not in itself invalidate the argument that the industry is damaging to the parties involved. That a person who points out that smoking is generally considered by most medical authorities to be damaging to one’s physical health, also happens himself to be a smoker, does not mean he is wrong. Indeed one could argue that a person who struggles with his nicotine addiction even if unsuccessfully may be on one level still a hypocrite but his struggle nevertheless evidences an honestly held belief.
About what mongers really want – Korski may be right and I may be wrong. But in some ways I rather think he makes my argument: he talks about those who just want sex, with different partners and then to escape quickly…but then he asserts that “They’ve had enough with marriages, often dry and boring and long dead, marriages they stuck with as often as not for economic reasons, or because they wanted to be with their kids. Or both.” That is also my point, and it too I think is sad. It’s not as if a world full of young men started out wanting solely emotionless anonymous sex with multiple partners, but that they ended up that way. Why did they get married in the first place? So they could just have sex and then get away from their wife to a bar or to another girl? I don’t think so….it seems to me that their disappointment with unhappy and unsatisfying marriages lead them in that direction. There are too many relationships that begin with great aspirations that end up this way…and these experiences are damaging also in numerous ways to all of the parties, economically, psychologically. A loss of trust, and an inability or unwillingness for real intimacy are I think symptoms of some of the emotional damage…and it’s sad.
I was certainly not so harsh as to call those who are not aware of a hunger for real intimacy “fools”. That is not the way I think at all! For some men, as I think for many longer term bargirls, shutting down the intimacy drive seems the only practical way to go on in the circumstances. But as many of the stories on Stickman attest, the kisses and hugs do have a way of unlocking that drive. The feelings of course are real but the disappointment that usually follows shows the GFE to be a pale imitation of genuine intimacy, and that disappointment often then leads to more emotional protection and emotional denial. That works both ways – I agree with Utley that the girls have real emotional feelings and aspirations also that disappointment and time in the industry walls up. For every disappointed punter there is a disappointed bargirl somewhere. As my ex-bargirl friend Dtoy once said to me, ‘every girl in the bar has a broken heart”.
One of the most common threads I find in many of the advocates of mongering in the column is an apparent hardcore cynicism and disdain for marriage and Korski is no exception. I said that I have had the best sex not in a one night stand with a hottie but within a deeply loving real relationship: and to I do think there are compelling arguments why in the longer term that makes sense: because when two people genuinely love each other and know each other and trust each other then the probability of mutual sexual understanding and fulfillment is surely enhanced. I didn’t say that a mind blowingly sensational “fuck” with a prostitute was not possible. Nor did I claim that this has anything at all to do with the kind of relationship where sex is always boring because she isn’t into it, doesn’t care, or has no interest in mutual satisfaction – such a relationship is self-evidently the opposite of what I am describing so completely irrelevant to the argument. While Korski doesn’t quite go there, he runs perilously close to denying the possibility of a great regular relationship…the fact that many men have had miserable marriages doesn’t mean there aren’t good ones, desirable ones, any more than the fact that I and my buddies can’t afford a Ferrari means Ferraris don’t exist. But now I’m indulging in Korski’s own tactic – it’s not really fair, is it?
About the girls and their choices or perhaps perceived lack of choices – because while it seems an undeniable proposition to me that most of the girls did in fact have the ability to choose something other than the bar – almost without exception those I have talked with perceived no real choice. Here again, Korski puts words in my mouth. But there is no fundamental misunderstanding. I am not ignorant of the facts of existence, the grinding poverty, the child or two to support, the family pressure. I live with people who struggle with these every day and who have not chosen to become prostitutes. But most of those I know who did perceived that they had no choice and perception is the only reality. I am not condemning them, nor do I propose regulating their choice and it is outrageous of Korski to suggest that I am expecting the prospective bargirl “to think about the long-run consequences for her mental health and social well being”, even if his argument of only a sixth grade education had any relevance to those entering the trade now! If you are an outright materialist then you will accept Korski’s contention that the economic benefits to the girls are more important than the damage done to them. I don’t accept that. I will simply continue to hope for the day when the economic disequilibrium between farang customer and Thai bargirl is diminished.
I don’t buy the flow through argument either. Despite the money they earn in the industry few of the girls seem to achieve the aspirations they went into it with: to buy a house, to buy land, to provide a better education for their children. Some do …but more get caught up in vicious cycles – yaa baa, or gambling. Others find their money is sucked into the great Isaan void financing, not housing, health or education, but conspicuous and short-lived consumption. I am no fan of this or past governments neglect but I won’t accept that the mongers dollars are more valuable than if the government was to invest similarly in education and a fair minimum daily wage.
Korski’s concluding paragraph is unworthy of him. In the same breath as he condemns my “loaded” vocabulary he indulges the same kind of loaded language but directs it personally. I won’t respond in kind. I accept that human behaviour is highly variable both individually and culturally, but I also contend that there are commonalities that make us human, and that these include the need for love and for relationship, even when we are not always conscious of them.
I still think the industry is damaging to those involved in multiple ways (and Korski might not trivialize the addiction that some men experience were he to reflect more on how many mongers end up here broke and miserable having left their job and spent all their money in pursuit of the next pussy). I don’t claim that all or even most of the customers or the girls feel sad, but I do feel sad about where the industry takes them and I don’t apologise for that. My submission is not a tract offering any fix, let alone mine as Korski assumes, it is an invitation to readers to reflect. If it doesn’t resound, you don’t need my permission to read something else that might.
Again, you really struck a chord with me.