Bend Over, I’ll Drive
I've noticed at least one other writer, other than Stick, who has pointed out that it is not very desirable to them to raise another man's child. Not only would I not mind raising another man's child, I think that I'd prefer it. Perhaps it has something to do with feeling less responsible for the outcome, or my tendency to avoid excessive responsibility, but I'm not sure of my motivations. Or the motivations of the other fathers. Likewise, people seem to me to have surprisingly strong opinions of what they want to happen with their mortal remains, their carcass, their corpse, their shell. I've been surprised at how adamant and important it is for people as to whether they want to be cremated or buried. I'd prefer to be dumped in the desert and let the rodents and mammals and ants have a feast. But that's people for you, infinitely different. Opinions about everything, of matters of great importance and trivial matters. But then people cannot agree on what is of importance and what is frivolous in nature.
The French philosopher / author Sartre is noted for his comment translated into English as "hell is other people" and on many different occasions, I've had to agree with him. But as a human being and thus a social animal, I'm well aware of the downsides and risks to isolating myself from other people. Certainly one of the advantages of being a reader of Stickman submissions, I can avail myself of the more literate and articulate farangs in Thailand while simultaneously avoiding the noise of the tavern, the man who doesn't show up on time or at all, and the less-than-desirables who have made themselves a home over here.
In the last few weeks, there has been an abundant number of submissions dealing with the morality of mongering and the P4P situation in S.E. Asia. And overwhelmingly, the writing has been considerate, thoughtful, tactful and heartfelt. Living in a world that has lost the art of letter writing, in which emails generally consist of no more than three sentences and where reading books is a dying pastime, I'd have to say that reading Stickman has become a not unimportant part of my average day. In an internet environment that has an abundance or rude, inconsiderate and inarticulate opinions, Stickman, even living in the middle of Bangkok, is a breath of fresh air. I might be tempted to say that at some level, lonely as I am, I think of these other authors as my family. But I'm not much tempted because I always think of the guy who is moving to Hua Hin for family reasons. When his friend notes that he didn't know he had any family in Hua Hin, the man replies, I don't. But since my intent in creating submissions for Stickman is to generate laughter, thoughtful reflection and diversion from reality, family is not a subject that is appropriate for me to tackle.
So instead I'll chime in with another perspective on the morality of mongering from what ultimately I believe is an ethical perspective, which I'll try to differentiate from a moral perspective.
I'm an ex-monger, never having been terribly prolific as I have a strong propensity to eat the same meal when I find something that tickles my taste buds. I don't think this is necessarily a more moral approach to mongering, merely a recognition of who I am as a person. When I was a teenager, I dabbled with cigarette smoking more so because of my latent pyromania, not for the joy of inhaling poisons into my body. As an ex-monger, there are certainly things that I miss from that lifestyle. But then I recall the Dalai Lama's comment when he was asked about his celibacy and didn't he think he was missing something. To paraphrase his response from an interview: When I look at the female body, I do feel that I am missing something. But I'm also missing the inadvertent pregnancy, the spread of sexual transmitted diseases, jealousy, anger and complications galore.
What I mostly miss from mongering is indulging my desire to spend time with attractive women. And for better or worse, I can find ways to indulge this desire without the associated risks noted in the last paragraph. Mostly, I believe, it is better and of great importance to me that I can fulfil this drive because it is a passion. I've no interest in professional sports, little in politics, don't consume alcohol, drugs and in many men's eyes, I'm just a boring twit. To each his own. I don't want this passion to die. I've found other ways to partake other than mongering.
I frequent a massage shop full of young and attractive women, although admittedly I'm more generous as to what I consider younger than the average monger. It is only massage, although I suspect I could get some manual relief if I were so inclined in that direction, which I'm not. I might have two or three massages in succession with different women. I might find some good and inexpensive street food to take to these ladies and sit around and enjoy their company while they eat. I'm surrounded with beautiful smiles and people generally happy to see me.
Being the recipient of a mouthful of teeth (not merely a single 'sweet tooth') that delight in sweet pastries, I've stumbled into a go-go where the hostesses and maybe a few of the dancers like to indulge with me. I order a cup of tea, pull out the pastries and enjoy the surroundings. I might even barfine a hostess or dancer and take her home and enjoy my giving her an oil massage on her back, bottom and torso. I almost always avoid touching her breasts and again, my motivations aren't totally clear to me. It clearly isn't devoid of sexual desire, but genitals don't come into play and neither does orgasm for either of us.
I hope that some reader out there takes my bait and says that I am a monger, perhaps one with a prudish bent, or with an impotence problem, or merely a cowardly pervert. Because this is where the question of morality / ethics comes into the discussion.
If you were shown a picture of a formal chair next to a three-legged stool, it would be easy to identify each of the items. But when you gradually remove the different parts of the back of the chair and perhaps one of its four legs, when does it become a stool? Similarly, when does an interest in the female body or an interest in the company of women become unhealthy, abusive or immoral? Am I immoral if I return massages given to me by women? Am I immoral if I touch the bare skin or a female torso, of a woman who is half my age? Does it require contact with the genitals, or like Bill Clinton maintained, oral / genital contact isn't really sex? I think no answer is available here because the questions themselves are misguided.
If I eat in an expensive restaurant and am abusive to the staff, am I immoral? Is it immoral to eat lavishly expensive food while outside the window people go hungry? If I indulge in this meal but refuse to toss money into the cups of beggars on the way home, am I immoral? The point I'm trying to get at is that most of the submissions regarding the morality of mongering seemingly separate sexual activity from all other human behavior. Not all, but many of the anti-mongering submissions come from individuals who come from a background where all sexual activity is suspect and they can view sexual activity only from a very limited perspective. (This is where I think that Marc Holt differs when he says "It's only sex".)
BangkokReal's submission "Is It Moral – A Reply" contributed the important point that 'the financial rewards in prostitution were significantly greater than the income they would have received in a more regular job.' Certainly most of the jobs I held during my working life were distasteful to me and at times loathsome. I was aware of the fact that I would do even more repulsive tasks, such as cleaning toilets, if I were more adequately compensated. And I tend to believe that it doesn't require abusive management for people to suffer serious damage from their conventional job in a bank, restaurant or office. Life and the world is inherently unfair and will always likely be that way. It's the human condition. Even given unlimited resources and the time to allocate these resources, humans will be unable to decide on an allocation. And if they miraculously can today, they'll backtrack tomorrow. The next day, they'll be at war once again.
This isn't my rationalization or justification for mongering. It needs no explanation as history does that adequately calling it the world's oldest profession. I willingly and gladly submit that it is unfortunate that people cannot fulfil their sexual desires and their financial desires in other ways. But here I cross the line from morality to ethics. To me the real question is to whether or not the women engaged in P4P have made the choice to do so. If I think I know what is better for them, then we start down the slippery slope of trying to legislate morality. Eventually we get to the repugnant state of political correctness that many of us have found intolerable where we came from. WE MAY DIFFER ON THE AGE OF CONSENT, BUT AT SOME POINT, PEOPLE HAVE TO BE FREE TO MAKE THEIR OWN WAY, THEIR OWN CHOICES, THEIR OWN MISTAKES.
I've known a couple of women who partook in the P4P trade. One was a massage girl whose sister made a lot more money in a bar. Eventually Dtom found the temptation irresistible and joined her sister in the bar. But after a few months, she left the bar because as she told me "I didn't feel good about myself doing what I was doing". She didn't blame it on the men, although I assume many mongers are repulsive, vile creatures. She took responsibility for her choices and her actions and modified her actions accordingly. Both of these women left the P4P route and got on with their lives.
Unquestionably I find it sad that an awful lot of the working girls in Pattaya squander their earnings. And I find it pathetic and tragic that they work in such despicable working conditions, by which I refer to the blaring music, the unending tedium and the unbalanced atmosphere permeated with raw sexuality, groping hands and alcohol. But I think it is unethical for me to say what is best for another mentally capable adult. I sure wondered about my choices many times when I sought a pay check. Life is always a series of compromises.
Pattaya isn't a place full of art and beauty and conventionally redeeming values. By and large, like anywhere in the world, people generally got what they went there for. And as anybody who has spent time there knows, the BAHT is number one in Pattaya. There is an old adage that 'Capitalism makes whores out of all of us' and like most adages, there is a lot of truth in it.
I don't like reality all that much either, but I choose to live in it and try to see it as accurately as I am capable of doing. Of course I don't always agree with how people choose to live their lives, or what they eat, or what they do on their vacation. Maybe you think you know what's best for somebody else. I'm not that presumptuous.
For me, the whole issue goes back to the effects time in the industry has on the women. For some, it is horribly damaging. With that said, some do escape seemingly entirely unscathed and infinitely better off than when they entered.