Thailand, And The Stereotype Of Male Visitors
Do stereotypes still exist in the west? Definitely yes. They not only exist, these stereotypes gave me the idea to visit Thailand even if my journey of research and planning turned into a complete different direction at the end.
I have to admit that the information highway, the internet, gave me all I needed to come to this point I am at the moment. You once said it's sad you can get any information from the web and there is no more “need” to explore the (Thai) world on your own, because in the past the exploration itself was the exciting thing, not the destination. I fully agree when it comes to expats, but for tourists the internet is a goldmine. I am the kind of guy who plans every step and learns from the mistakes others made. I really don't know how often I would have been scammed without the internet even if I think it will still happen but not as often as unprepared. So it is possible to get past these stereotypes if you really want to inform yourself, but believe it or not, most people don't.
I plan to visit Thailand in 2 months for 6 weeks. When I told my friends I am gonna fly there (at a time when I had all my knowledge together) I got the same stereotype answers based on their stereotype thinking. The girls said, “What? Are you looking for a Thai bride?” or “Can't you get laid?”. The boys were more straight and comments came with a big grin like “Oh, you make a ‘cultural exploration’ huh?” or “Enjoy, but play ‘safe’!” And for some spiritual people trapped in a way of Christian moral western thinking, living a family life where it smells like dwarfs, a man travelling alone to Thailand is still a f***ed up poor pedophile.
But I understand. What people (think to) know comes from the mass medias, like television or newspaper. And their business is not information in the 1st place; it's profit. And since brutality, devastation and reports about human trafficking and child prostitution sells so much better, why should any of these institutions deliver another message? Even if people could get the “truth” from other resources like internet, why should they look for it. Thinking they know everything and morally deny to accept even the option it could be different they would never come to the idea to dig deeper to find out how it really is.
Only one girl, a waitress in my favorite disco, was excited about the idea and told me that she will travel to Thailand too and will be there at Christmas and new year to party all night long. We chatted a little about our expectations and plans and I often found myself about to laugh because of the mistakes she had already made and knowing how many will follow. She paid twice as much as me for the flight ticket for the same airline, she will definitely be a target of scams. I am pretty sure it will start at the airport when she will pay 1500 THB for the taxi ride. She is the typical “unprepared female mainstream party tourist.”
But on the other hand, Stick, you showed us that people in Thailand, even the expats not only expect us to think stereotype, but think stereotypically about us too. Remember your interview with the “Bürgermeister”, as he asked you whether guys like me don't get laid at home, thinking that's the reason why young guys hit Thailand and how they see it. Is this not also a kind of stereotypical thinking?
You see, Thailand is so far away making it hard to lose its stereotypes here in the west, but there are signs of changes and more and more people will see Thailand in a different (not ever the right) way in the far future, but only these who want to see. Before I start my story of why I travel to Thailand let me introduce myself.
I am a 35 years young man, look much younger (girls guess I am 25), single for many years and live in one of the richest countries in the world in middle Europe. I am healthy, in good shape, have a decent job and even for such a rich country my savings funds are above average (people with a sharp tongue could mention I have all this because of my single existence 😉 So I am a prototype of a young western tourist, huh? Let's see.
When it comes to the motivation for a Thailand holiday we first have to separate women and men, because the reasons for a holiday in Thailand are different regarding the gender. Girls wanna have fun and like to party. You could say that's also what boys want. True, but there is a saying, "The reason why girls and boys go to party is the same; they wanna have fun. The difference is; for girls the fun starts when they enter and meet a boy, for boys the fun starts when they leave with her. For boys everything between is just hard work." I think you got the clue.
When I see these girls, jetting from one continent and party destination to another, from Ibiza to KaZantip and now to Thailand I often ask myself what's wrong with them. Don't they have other problems? The answer is NO. From rich countries with rich parents they never learned to take life seriously. This also has a huge and negative impact on their attitude, because reality is a foreign word for them. With this in mind I agree with you. They are definitely the "now now now and everything" generation. Or to use another saying, "If you wanna know what girls want just learn one word, 'MORE'".
But what about guys like me? To answer the question from the “Bürgermeister”, do I travel to Thailand to get laid? I hope it will happen from time to time, but that's not the reason in the first place. Could I get laid at home? Yep, happens regularly even if it's not what often I want, but which man does not have this problem? For me, and I think I speak for most of the young guys hitting Thailand, the motivation is not the trip to Thailand itself. It's more the wish to escape the "correct" western society which I can't stand any longer without a break. And I see Thailand as a perfect destination to escape. From my point of view that's the main difference between girls and boys; they flee from reality, we from society. That's not the same.
Don't get me wrong; I love my country and really don't wanna live anywhere else. But “family” is the cradle of society. And if you see how families are nowadays, killed by abundance, law, feminism and stifling morality you can imagine how f***ed up our society is and you only wanna be far away.
So I disagree if people mention the information highway paired with YouTube, Facebook & Co as a “reason” why more and more people travel to Thailand. I say these technologies only do what they do; they give you the information about this option, but they are not the reason why people choose it.
What about my personal enlightenment about Thailand? Let's talk about how I threw my stereotypes about Thailand overboard. Two years ago I didn't know anything about Thailand and have to admit that I got quite the same stereotype thinking about this country even if I judged people travelling there not so hard (maybe I understood them a little; from my stereotype point of view about Thailand comparing our society regarding feminism). I also have never seen movies like “The Beach” or “Hangover 2”. So how should I have known? At least I haven't found Thailand. It found me. It all started with a little hype on TV shows about people traveling to other countries, mostly Eastern Europe, to find “a good wife”. But these shows are not serious documentaries and success stories, but rather funny examples about men failing in the east as they did at home.
But I understand the motivation behind these men. Since the Fall of the iron curtain and Europe moving closer together we have many foreigners from the east. With them also came my experience with their girls and I don't wanna sound stereotypical, but from my own experience our “western girls” are no match for them; my best relationships have been with Eastern European girls. The main difference? Girls from the east take life more seriously, also relationships. For Western European girls, living in rich countries and having rich parents, life is a big party and reality does not exist in their vocabulary.
Most of these men in the TV shows made the 1st contact to a girl over internet portals and agencies. Internet portals are an absolute no-go. From my point of view not more than a bunch of people pushing their ego by comparing who got more mail in a shorter time, achieved with fake and almost no intention to start a serious relationship. Agencies are not better, caring about their profit and your situation with them comes down to nothing more than luck.
However the shows were enough fun that I started looking for more of them. Thanks to YouTube I not only found similar shows, but also serious documentaries. One of them was quite interesting; about institutions called “matchmakers” in Singapore, my 1st informal contact about South-East Asia. With the power of Google, it was a short way to more serious documentaries about real stories of Asian women marrying foreigners, and soon Thailand was on the table. What began as fun a fun TV show led into grabbing a red string which I had to follow and was unable to release. It was not the marriage or partnership things what was interesting; it was the different way of life and culture. But I was just in the middle of my journey, and I jumped from one stereotype to another; from “Thailand the sex country” to “Thailand with women to marry”. When I look back I still have to laugh. But it's clear why it happened. The new stereotype was spread by the same institutions which spread the old one; TV channels and news medias. They suggest what they can sell; death and destruction or love and success stories. Reality? For our “modern” society? No way!
Digging deeper in to the jungle of information I found out that these documentaries were produced around 2007 – 2009. You will admit that things in Thailand changed in the last 5 years. So I tried to find the newest stuff and found it in blogs, forums and streamed media with the newest upload date.
Now I have over one year of research under my belt, planning and reading behind me and still see myself as practically a beginner! I really can't understand how any tourist can survive in Thailand without the basics I gained without losing much money.
Today I see Thailand with different eyes. I laugh about my past ideas stereotyping people who visit the country, be it “sex traveller” or the “find a wife” thing. If I say Thailand, I talk about tourist spots, no question. But I think I will never make it any deeper in this country, language or culture. I only want a break and have no intention to stay in Thailand (yet). My holiday is planned and booked all by myself, no agencies needed, the top 20 scams well known, and I think I will do just fine.
But I also feel sad. Sad that Thailand becomes more “western” from year to year. I cannot shake the feeling that I am 5 years too late. I will never see Nana Plaza like it was before. Everything is changing with the advent of mass tourism. I would rather like to see Thailand how it was meant to be from my point of view; an escape spot for the naughty boys or beach holiday for the family with a little extra fun for daddy, not a copy of the west.
I can understand how one wishes to plan every detail of their holiday (or other aspects of their life) but I have to say that Thailand is a place where a little flexibility in your plans won't go amiss. The unexpected is more likely to happen here and a willingness to go with the flow can help. And sure, while there are scams out there, just use commonsense and don't do things in Thailand you would not do at home and you should be ok!