In Defence of Thailand, Nostalgia and Older Guys
The words floating around the forums and in Stick submissions recently have stung the ears of everyone associated with Thailand. “It’s fucking unbelievable how things have deteriorated,” said an astonished contributor, loudly sung backed by older farang residents whose 2G technology had somehow logged on to the same frequency as the younger tourists.
Whatever else is said by ex-pats in Thailand these days, one thing is for certain: a trip from the outside rarely disappoints. Not in terms of the nostalgia, which is never as it was, but in terms of what a visit is really meant to deliver: debauchery, drunkenness, antipathy and apoplexy. The experience is rather like going to a Bob Dylan gig: you give money to hear things you love murdered, if you can decipher what’s actually being played, but it matters not at all; no one should go to see him expecting singing just as no one should go to a Thailand expecting to see that things are the same as they always were. If, by chance, it happens to be good, so much the better – but the point is, whether in person or in spirit, simply to be there.
Yes, a Bob Dylan gig. The allusion means there is no need to say how old I am. Which brings me back to the point. For many years, there have been intermittent, but increasingly persistent contributors pointing out that, because they are so young, slim, handsome and fit, Thai women (I mean any Thai woman) must naturally prefer them to us older dogs because that is the way things are all over the world. I dispute this because we are not all over the world. This is Thailand and the women clearly prefer us (and I mean any Thai woman).
Without listing the antonyms of the above adjectives we most certainly are not the men we were. In compensation, we have experience, tolerance and … money? Yes, that’s it! We have good pensions – our disposable income is implicitly recognised by the discerning and choosy Thai female. Not only that, we will make fewer demands on their bodies, and as long term partners we will soon drop dead. And as for the occasional submission from jealous farang women pretending to be a Thai woman; the natives always prefer farang men over their Thai counterparts in spite of any disparity in age, shape and fitness level. A real Thai woman once told me that. (That was a digression but I wanted to have a swipe at farang women too – they won’t get any sympathy on this forum.)
‘That’s all a bit of generalisation isn’t it?’ young people (and farang women) will no doubt rant back at me. (Young US citizens will incorrectly rant, ‘a generalization.’) I concede that in the inductive sense of the word it is an extension of a concept to less-specific criteria. I mean, I have a few anecdotes which I am going to extend to every situation that has ever existed. Opinion, and this is just my opinion, rests on grounds insufficient to produce complete certainty, and the opinions of everyone are equally bollocks.
I’m not here to talk about a meeting between fading mongers and down-at-heel behemoths in bars of a seedy red light district designed for also-rans, but … no … hang on … I actually am. But even for me, usually happy to prolong even the flimsiest of arguments simply for the love of arguing (I once spent more or less the entirety of a ten-hour binge in a Soi Cowboy bar debating the relative merits of hairy and shaved vulval clefts only for us to finally nod in agreement, to the astonishment even of ourselves, that the finest anatomical attribute is to be found in the rusty sheriff’s badge at the back) that would be too difficult to sustain for long.
‘Move over, you’ve had your turn and let us younger guys have a go?’ A recent whipper-snapper impertinently suggested. My first inclination is to not give a flying one. My second is to concede that he is spot on. I thought so too at his age. The question is, not is it true or not; but, why is he saying it? And the answer is staring me in the wrinkly face: jealously. It must be jealously because it is we who are pulling in the women (or whatever euphemism they now use for dating birds). No, we are not yet finished – you can have your turn after us. We are not going to move over and die. Not yet.
May I just conclude with a final anecdote that I believe will swing it for me? As I waited for my beer at the new Hooters Bar, I gazed out to the adjacent car park and saw a fellow traveler limping gamely up to a group of young ladies, with one hand on his wallet and the other on his colostomy bag, who were standing by a stone pillar that was inscribed, ‘The Nana Hotel’. The rather immoderately dressed waitress who brought my beer looked out on the same scene, and said nostalgically (though she seemed too young to hold sentimental yearnings of former happiness), ‘They don’t make them like that anymore.’ At least, it sounded like that. Maybe it was just an echo form my own thoughts and she just said something like, ‘That will be 300 baht.’ Whatever she said, I think it still supports my hypothesis.