Lessons In Lust
Looking back on 14 (going on 15) years of interaction with Thailand and 20-something years of associating with Asian women (some Thai, some Chinese and some Japanese), I have come to the conclusion that some of us are unable to change from who we basically are, without some catalytic event. Today, I was reading through some text that I had written way back before 2000 – some as far back as 1987 – detailed accounts of the things that shaped where my inclination would take me. Here are a few short, condensed recollections as a set of three random circumstances to paint the picture. I will try to tie it all, together as an exercise to take me away from the negative thoughts that have been crowding me, concerning the unstable conditions in Thailand at this present time.
Bangkok March 04, 2003: Natalise and I have come to sort out legal issues with the Thai Family Court so she could obtain sole custody of her two young girls from the ex-husband. The last few months have been ones of soul searching for us and filled with anxiety over not knowing what will happen with Immigration as well as the Court procedures in Surin. I feel particularly apprehensive as I know that Natalise’s former husband (I'll call him Buggerlugs) will be in Surin at the same time and I don’t know what to expect from him as I know him to be a worthless creature from his past actions. Because I feel my absence will make life easier for Natalise to deal with him, I have decided to stay in Bangkok for the time that she is in Surin – and that doesn’t rest easy with me but I feel it is the best thing to do under the circumstances, as one needs to be diplomatic when dealing with a difficult situation. I'm just as likely to punch his lights out – and that would be a bad move. The flight was a little earlier arriving than we had expected and the time is around 4.30 a.m. Driving in from the airport to the city seems a lot different to the other times that I have arrived before midnight – there seems to be very little traffic on the roads so the driver takes us in via Phahonyothin and doesn’t need to use the Vibhavadi-Rangsit tollway. I can recognize some of the familiar landmarks as we drive along – the most obvious is the Baiyoke Sky Tower, off to the left as we approach Patumwan.
Turning right into Rama I at MBK but the driver is not sure where The Pranee Building is located and we have driven past the corner where it is (tucked in behind Muangphol Mansion) and he must do a “U” turn (thank God it's not yet morning peak traffic) before coming back and turning left into Phyathai / Phahonyothin again, then left into Soi Kasemsan I. Still can’t find it and he asks directions from the night porter of another hotel where we have turned around. Of course he wouldn't ask the Farang in the back seat. We are now outside the Pranee Building and have paid the driver. Inside at the desk the night man is a young Thai who is waiting for his shift to end. He checks our booking and grabs a couple of towels and a blanket for us and shows us to our room. It is small and Spartan but we are glad to shower and try to grab an hour or two of sleep with the bit of darkness remaining outside. Natalise goes to sleep on my arm, cuddled up beside me on the bed.
March 08, 2003: The last few days have gone by so quickly and it is Saturday already – the day I have been dreading, as this is the day when Nat leaves to go to Surin to attend the Court proceedings for the child custody. Although brother-in-law and sis are going on the bus with her, I am apprehensive as that little shit, Buggerlugs, is also going to attend at the Court hearing on Monday. All day I have had this feeling of loss with me – fretful at the coming of late afternoon and the evening. I wish I could go to Surin with Nat but I know there are things she must do there and I would just be in the way. There is nothing there for me to do anyway. Perhaps I could sit drinking beer with Papa and hear how dreadful Mama is. No – I'm better in BKK. It seems strange but I never want to be apart from my wife Nat and I hardly ever am. We seem to have become closer than we were now that we are in Bangkok. The two of us share so much of the past together in this city. It’s like Bangkok ties us together.
March 09, 2003: The phone woke me in my room at 7 am and it was Natalise to tell me she had arrived safely. That’s a good start to the day, so I had breakfast at McDonald’s and found a Bangkok Post on the way. After finishing breakfast, I decided to walk up Phyathai / Phahonyothin, past the Asia Hotel and turned left down a soi and right into another short soi and found a massage shop that looked open for business. I had a lot of aches all over my body so I went into the shop to have a Thai massage.
The young lady who worked on me was very good and smiled a lot. Her name was Shan on a card pinned to her jacket – so I figured she was Burmese – very pretty – and, a little way into the massage, she indicated that she wanted me to have sex with her as she pointed to her pussy and smiled at me. I was very tempted and declined but she gave me a "hand job" then she lay on top of me for a while, in any case – stretched full-length along the top of me with her warm body feeling very sensual? I could have stayed like that all day. Oh, my God, I was so tempted to ask her for the full service after that – but we showered, I gave her a tip and left after paying the cashier. Half of me was saying to myself "You did very well there, my son" – while the other half of me was saying "You bloody great pillock – what a fxxxxxg idiot you are". See that's what the legacy of being brought up a Roman Catholic does to you (you end up with a split personality) – not that it bothered me at other times in the past – but I pride myself on the fact that I had always been faithful to Natalise (a hand-job doesn't count, does it?).
September 1979: The band had just finished the second set and I sat the Fender Jazz Bass in the stand and jumped down off the stage – my tongue dragging along the floor, parched as a dead dog's donger and needing a cold beer. I'm still married to my first wife but blind Freddy could see the writing on the wall. There have been a string of casual dalliances in the last couple of years – a couple that lasted a year or more – one with a Maltese girl and the other one from Ukraine (along with a few more) – but my wife preferred to turn a blind eye and pretend all was OK. Still, I'm playing one of the last jobs with this band tonight so I head for the bar to find Alan (the owner) who is trying to choke the living shit out of some obnoxious bastard who seems to be a waste of good oxygen.
“Good on you, Alan. Break his bloody arm off and hit him over the head with it!”
I’m trying to get the attention of Duncan, the barman, when I see her. I’m tonguing for that beer and she’s just behind me at the narrow bar.
She refuses my offer to buy her a drink.
“I always buy my own drinks, thank you.”
I look at her – the long, blonde hair, streaked and cut in a stylish manner – tall and fairly slim – I’d say about 35 or 36.
She looks at me and gives a hint of a smile.
“I liked your last set. I’m here with a girlfriend but you’re welcome to join us at our table!”
She shakes my hand.
“Hi Karen – I’m Ishiro – everyone calls me Ish".
That's how it began – we shared the night together and I went back home the next morning to my wife and told her I "crashed" at a mate's place as I was too drunk to drive home. I don't know if she believed it or not – to tell the truth, I didn't care. That afternoon, I called Karen and asked if I could come over to see her and maybe grab a take-away. She said that was fine – and I stayed the night again with her and, the following day, we moved in together and stayed together for 15 years – 12 of those married. Of course, my wife and I divorced then Karen and I went on to have a successful period building and renovating houses and re-selling them. Karen went on to gain senior positions in her profession, while I let go of most of the music and concentrated more on a couple of business ventures.
Our relationship was based on trust. She always said to me "I always admire your honesty and integrity" – and I did have those qualities when we were together – but it all went pear-shaped when we moved out of our comfort zone and left the city for country life.
Chiang Mai 2005: Now separated from my Thai wife, Natalise (not my choice – her idea) but living with another Thai lady (Malee) – not something I planned to do but it happened anyhow. Mostly it was good – we got along well and the sex was amazing, yet I was still very restless. My thoughts were back in Australia with Natalise or else in Bangkok – the place where I wanted to be more than Chiang Mai. Malee and I talked about moving to Bangkok and taking an apartment there and we agreed that I would go down and check things out. The truth was that I called Nat more than I looked for apartments – and I ended up in Sukhumvit, striking up a friendship with Yaw. She was from Khon Kaen and I met her in a bar, sharing long-time together on a couple of occasions. There was also this really lovely girl at Lisa's Massage – early one morning as she was opening up the shop. I don't remember her name but she took me up to the top level, where it was very private, and we made love. She told me she would come to my hotel and gave me her number – but I didn't call her.
There seems no logic for why we do these things when we have a perfectly-good relationship already going. Sometimes we try to justify it by saying "That's just what men do – we chase ladies". That doesn't make it right to do it though – well that's just the way it feels for me. Whenever I think of the times I have done it, in the past, I feel less of a person in the present. I thought about Malee in Chiang Mai and there were feelings of guilt present – but I told myself that she was probably out enjoying herself, the same as me, while I was away in BKK. Self-justification to soothe my guilty mind – the truth being that it really was Natalise whom I wanted to be back with again. I had always regarded my marriage with Nat as properly legal and spiritually correct – married twice in the same day – Western marriage and Buddhist marriage. It always felt like it was the only time I have truly been married to someone and I never wanted that marriage to end. It did, of course, but not for want of trying to save it – the one saving grace being that we have remained firm friends even after the divorce. Even though Nat had asked for the separation, I feel that I let her down by finding Malee so soon after our separation. I also feel that I let Malee down because she gave me no reason for doing so. I do feel comfortable with my relationship with my BKK lady as I have never let her down or tried to look for anyone else while we have been together. She is the catalyst, instrumental in making a major shift in how I now look at things. I am a better person because of her.
Sometimes I try to prioritize relationships into order of importance – but it is never a successful operation because I truly do believe that they were all equally important. All of those ladies had dreams and needs – none more important than the other – but all part of a learning curve for both partners at that time. I do not believe that I was ever suited to being a "monger" because my basic instincts were always to marry and stay together for the rest of life. So, what went wrong? The answer probably lies in not knowing yourself in those early years and marrying too soon for all the wrong reasons with the wrong person – and with not enough life experience to know where you hope to go. Peer pressure also plays a part – but the nut of the issue is in not compromising your belief system – and, by marrying at such a young age, you have not had time to build that belief system into a lasting set of principles. I remember Karen saying to me "When in doubt, do nothing". I have not always been successful in living by her advice but I believe the problem lies in the fact that most decisions made in youth are not based on logic or grounded in principles – they are more often rooted in lust and self-interest. In some of us, that often stays with us for the rest of life – unless we see a reason to change – and living in Asia certainly doesn't make things any less confusing.