Friday, October 16, 2009

In Thailand Mr Gray Gets Play

Come to Bangkok and you’ll notice it right away, older White guys with much younger partners.  To my eye the White guys have a much younger woman Thai woman on their arms but sometimes the older white guy is being accompanied by a much younger Thai man.  This situation was much less noticeable in Singapore.  So what’s going on here?

Just as the US has different ethnic groups that have been drawn at different times to different areas of the country (such as Blacks leaving the South for the opportunity in the industrial cities of the Northeast and Midwest) the same is true for Thailand.  Darker skinned country people are drawn to the wealth, glitter and jobs in Bangkok, leaving the farm, poverty and traditional Thai village life.  Thai men get traditional Thai male jobs and women often find their fortunes administering traditional Thai massage, which, depending on the situation may or may not be prostitution.  I’ve been approached over and over for “massasse”.  I didn’t pursue which propositions were for massage and which were for the world’s oldest profession.  But some looked like country girls and some looked like workin’ girls.

So what about the farang men (I suppose it happens but I’ve yet to see an older Thai man with a young white woman on his arm)?  They’re often gray haired, bald, bubble bellied and/or gimpy.  Back in Europe or Australia he’d be Grandpa and no chance to be in the company of a much younger man or woman, much less live with and sleep with them.  Back at home there’d be no play for Mr Gray. 

It’s also a great opportunity for the woman to play Thai social leapfrog.  Darker skinned northern Isan women seem to be at the lower levels of the Thai social pecking order.  Skin color seems to be very important in Thailand, skin whitening and lightening creams are advertised on billboards and in TV commercials that end with a woman finding love only after she finds lighter skin.  With an older white man in her life she can dress better, wear cosmetics and have lighter skinned hapa children.  It seems to be win/win for everybody.  And everybody deserves the chance to be happy.

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