I was sorry to read your report of 24 January. Part of my sorrow is, perhaps, petulance. Part of it is compassionate remorse. But a large piece of it is disappointment and defensiveness at being (once again) blamed by proxy for the social ills of the LOS, when I haven't even been to Thailand.
My introduction to offshore mongering came after I turned 50, decades after I'd given up on "love and romance" in my homeland (the USA). I found my sexuality "resurrected" by a visit to a privado in Paraguay, and I've managed a few more trips there (and to Uruguay and Argentina) since then. I found Southern Cone to be sweet indeed, but I am also attracted to Asian women and have been tempted to visit Thailand some day.
Now here comes your story that, in effect, blames my fellow mongers for "a major blight on (Thailand's) image. " That is, the mongers' market. I feel enjoined to be ashamed of wanting P4P, and I feel blamed in my own turn for visiting that evil on these "poor, innocent girls".
Okay, my nose has been rubbed in it good and hard and painfully. The Land of Smiles has no smile for the likes of me. Selah. It is written.
But is there any compassion, in Thailand or elsewhere, for the males of a culture that has wrenched maleness from their hands, as it's happened in the USA? For males who have been fired, blacklisted, even prosecuted for getting romantically interested in a female colleague; or their fellow male colleagues who get the story from management, and see the empty chair? For daddies who have been thrown out of their children's lives by a divorce court, but who must pay ruinously for having fathered the kids? For men who have seen and heard these horrors, have seen and heard the remarks of the feminazis that have taken over their workplace, and who have just plain given up on ever finding love or romance or even a sweet stolen kiss?
I grew up being shamed-and-blamed because I was a boy in a household of women. I grew up seeing my mother and aunt going "out on the town" Friday and Saturday nights, and hearing them come home and talk so contemptuously of the men who had "gotten fresh" with them. I was introduced to a very few of those men, and one or two of them might have been "a good daddy for me" but no such thing ever happened. And when I grew up and got job enough to support myself, I brought my mother out of her mother's house to move in with me – for her sake, and the sake of all it had cost her to bring me up. She lived under my roof and my care until she died, leaving me still single, childless, and very very alone.
But I'd seen the contempt that American women have for men. I'd grown up with it, in the years before Betty Friedan and NOW. I'd seen it gather strength, harden, get teeth in the law, and I knew the modern American woman wanted NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with the likes of me.
What effects did that have on me? Did it leave me coarsened, bitter, blunted emotionally? Did it, perhaps, render me unfit to find love or romance in my home town, in my neighborhood, in my "village"? Seems so to me.
So now, let's put this embittered, emotionally-blunted product of American feminaziism into a place where some young, pretty – or even relatively-young, relatively-pretty – local girl makes her "willingness to play" evident to him. Might this not be an epiphany? I remember the girl in the old Puerto Madera whiskeria, by the port of Asuncion, who gave me the first "kiss as if she meant it" I'd experienced in nearly twenty years. She might remember me as the guy who fainted dead away in the middle of the dance floor!
But my story counts for nothing because I am a man. My pain counts for nothing because I am, by sexual construction, an exploiter and a rapist. My just deserts are blame, shame and contempt.
Your article does a clear and complete job of illustrating your main point, "that not a lot of good comes out of the industry for many of the women involved."
It's a sobering picture, and certainly I can't refute what you've seen; rather, I need to learn from it.
Your affection for your neighbors, and your adopted country, is obvious and laudable. The little that I've seen about Thailand, in photos and movies, does indeed attract me to see more – and FAR more than just the "seamy side." And I can't ignore the harm that's done; certainly not if I want to minimize, or mitigate, any harm I might do by my ignorance and my pursuit of my desires.
But, yeah, I cannot but admit that I'd like to enjoy the pleasures of the flesh as well.
If, some day, I do manage to visit and explore Thailand, I certainly would want to leave more good than I find there.
Thanks for adding to "the white man's burden." Enjoy your Thailand, Stickman.
I do not blame anyone for what has happened in Thailand.
Many American readers – and it does seem to be almost exclusively Americans (as opposed to Brits, Aussies etc.) – tell me how bad the situation with women is in their homeland. It is not pretty in my homeland – not the States – but neither is it as bad as Americans tell me it is in their country. I cannot comment on that because I am not familiar with the situation in the US.
Many of us who live in Thailand have an affection for the local people and want the best for our adopted country. When we, those of us who live here year round, interact with Thai people every day, and can discuss issues with them in their own language see some of the problems it causes, it gives us a different perspective to those who travel here.