The Asian Mystique – Part 2

 | Wed 29 May 2013 08:52 ICT

Apologies for my absence of over a month. Reason is I’ve been in Bangkok. Not for pleasure so much as work-related activities – so been incredibly busy. 

Don’t you just love Bangkok? Or do you hate it? Or maybe you cannot make your mind up. I have that love-hate relationship with the place. Love the vibe, the buzz and the sheer excitement of the city; hate the speed, the noise, the endlessness of it all. Two weeks and I want out. A couple of months in peaceful Chiang Mai and I am ready for another dose of Bangkok Bedlam.

Have you noticed how Thai drivers in Chiang Mai pootle along at around 10mph, speeding up to 20mph down the highways, hogging the outside lane? Try that in Bangkok and you’ll get horned if not shot!

Anyway, back to my subject matter of this blog – The Asian Mystique: Part 2.

This is for all you expat blokes out there, straight or gay. Whatever your sexual pleasures, the same rules apply if you play with Thais.

What turns us on to Thais?

1.    Their bodies. Mostly slim, lithe, beautiful, well maintained, balanced. By comparison, have you seen the bodies of British and Yank tourists recently? I caught sight of two typical specimens in Pattaya a week ago and frankly they looked totally disgusting. Think they were Brits. Not old, a couple, man and woman. But they looked awful. Extremely obese, badly dressed, slouching along the road together not realising how out of place and ridiculous they looked. Or maybe they did realise. Even the Thais looked at them (Thais see this thing all the time so no longer are surprised at the depths to which some Westerners have plummeted, physically and culturally).

2.    Their smiles. Yes, I know it’s a cliché – the land of smiles – but mostly its true. The Thais are taught to smile at all times and to all sorts of people. I love it. Its so different to Preston, where I used to live. Walk down Fishergate any time and look at the sad frowns of the local Lancastrians. In Thailand the locals will smile at you even as they short change you – which happened to me in Don Muang airport restaurant only last Saturday. Beautiful smile from the waitress, but I still wanted the other 100 baht.

3.    Their allure. What is allure? Its that impossible to define essence of the person, the people, the culture. Its every element mixed up, shifted around, shaken and presented to the outside world. Thai allure is bewitching, enticing, magnetic, and very different to Chinese allure (is there such a thing?); Singaporean allure (no such thing); Filipino allure (yes, they have it too, though more aggressively presented); Japanese allure (impossible to explain this one).

4.    Their seductiveness. This may have nothing whatsover to do with how a personal physically looks. I have been seduced by some really ugly women over the years. And its been great. As an aside, my 20 year old son, living in Taiwan, has the looks of a male model and will only date similarly beautiful young, Taiwanese women. Me, I will date any woman if she has that element of seductiveness. I long ago learned that youth is no prerequisite of great sex. On the contrary, the two do not usually go together. Give me a 40 year old lady, average looks, any time. Given that the Thais generally have great looks and great bodies (male and female both) then, yes, Thailand is a particular paradise for people like me.

5.    Their mysteriousness. Look, I don’t care whether you speak Thai like a native or can only manage Sawadee krab; live in a fancy high-rise condo in Sukhumvit or a house boat in Chainat, have been out here since the Vietnam war, or landed last week, the truth is you don’t fully know Thais and nor will you ever. Thailand will always remain a foreign land to us expats and so will its people. You can get close up and personal (I know, I have been married to two of them), and still they will be a mystery to us. And that is a big attraction. The Brits I understand only too well. Which is why I don’t fancy them any more, nor want to live with them.

So here are just five of the key attractions which go to constitute The Asian Mystique.

Wonderful. Who could ask for more?

Well, you do for one. 

So now lets go through the problems of The Asian Mystique

1.    Their culture: If you could bottle it you would become the world’s wealthiest person overnight. Alas, no one can nor ever will. Its too complicated. Too contradictory. Too damn confusing. Its like Chanel aftershave. A little is great. Too much and you smell like a bad brothel owner from Patpong.

2.    Their language. Here I claim a bias. I cannot speak it, nor am I trying to. I am an expert in English. Nothing more, nothing less. I can just about manage the Thai numbers (helps when I am paying for anything to know how much I am paying). But forget the conversation. Having been married now five times (twice to Thai women) I have a further motive for not speaking Thai – my Thai wife and I can only argue for so long, then she runs out of words. That’s a bonus.

3.    Their economy. Well, actually this works both ways. Despite the recent rise in the baht, a 60 year old ugly bloke from the West can still be a king here on just a reasonable pension income from home. Its true – I know some of them personally. The downside is that its just too tempting for poorer Thais (which is most of them) to see us as a bank – the proverbial walking ATM. Get into a relationship with any Thai and remember the functionality behind the love. And least you forget, you’ll see it on many t-shirts worn by sexy young things on Loh Kroi Road – “no money, no honey”.

4.    Their education. There are more universities in Chiang Mai than the whole of Manchester. Yes, its true. But would you want your child to go to any of them, aside from Chiang Mai University? No. In most cases their standards are lower than a wretched inner-city UK further education college.  In Thailand ‘university’ means ‘play pen for teenagers’, somewhere they can learn the facts of adult life. While still dressing like children. The average educational age of the average Thai adult? Equivalent to 8 years old in Western European terms. So when you tell the young Thai lady that you come from Germany, remember she couldn’t find it on a map.

5.    Their conservatism. One thing I am not and that is conservative, or traditional, or even very modern. I am a postmodern male (want to know what that means? Then read my latest book – Gender & Identity: key themes and new directions. Just published by Oxford University Press). As a postmodern man I am light years away from the innate conservative, traditional attitude that continues to permeate, indeed validate, Thai culture. I can live with it. I have made my choice. I want to meet like-minded postmodern men and women – then I have the internet. Without which I doubt I could live here at all.

So there you have it.Five big pluses, and five big minuses. Maybe some of these are not so important to you. Great. We are all different.

But next time you fall in love with a Thai, or indeed any other person who personifies the Asian Mystique, remember this:

What you see is what you get. But what you get is not what you’ll expect.