Thursday, October 16, 2008

clichés of gay bangkok - 1

I have now been here in Bangkok for about 6 months and have met many, many, (too) many people (mostly gay men). Some of them have gone on to be really close friends (not that many), some are friends (some), others will remain acquaintances (many) and some I will never see again (most).
There are some patterns and experiences that I would like to share with you as something like a first resumé of the gay aspect of my stay here in Bangkok.

"gay paradise"
wooow, you live in bangkok, it is a gay paradise isnt it? If I talk to about 10 gays from all over Asia, Europe or wherever, about 9.999 of them would say this sentence. yes, bangkok - or thailand in general - has the wonderful reputation of one if not THE gay paradise of the world. surely, these reviews focus on the general acceptance of gays (of all colour, age and shape), the rather vivid night-life, the availability of sex and possibly the general culture of thailand where beauty and the exterior are highly valued, somewhat corresponding to gay values.
let me assure you, for me personally and for many others, it is NOT a paradise. surely, we dont get shot or hanged for being gay and there are gays literally around every single corner of this city. but let me assure you, if you are into anything a bit longer-lasting than a quick fuck, you will struggle in this place. Now I dont know about other big gay cities in the world such as San Francisco, Sydney, London or Amsterdam but I find it damn hard to find people that are a) serious, b) smart, c) reliable d) attractive and e) funny. And please dont tell me there are no cultural barriers and it's all just because of the language. the language IS an important factor and it is easier to talk to someone who has a decent command of english. (but I dont really blame them if they dont, I might as well blame myself for not speaking Thai just so well yet) I met plenty of hot guys, plenty of funny guys, plenty of smart people, but a combination of these virtues are rare! And if he DOES have all these virtues, then he will 100% not be interested in me.

"why dont you have a boyfriend?"
Everytime I start talking to someone they will ask: "do you have a boyfriend"? And everytime I will answer: No I dont. But by then, the person talking to me would be shocked and in disbelief and asking: "why (dont you have a boyfriend)?" I normally reply: "why should I?" The notion of "boyfriend" has really been destroyed in gay Bangkok. I have not met one couple that is steady and where both parts do not cheat. On the contrary, I have slept with quite a few guys that would later tell me (or not) that they already have a boyfriend. If it is their conception of having a boyfriend to just fuck one guy a bit more than the others, then I'd rather be single. for me, boyfriend is a serious word and concept. Then, there is this somewhat odd creation of a culture of"gig". A "gig" describes basically everything between friends and relationship. As a rule of thumb, Thais dont sleep with their friends. that is no problem however, you will just be elevated onto gig-status and then you are allowed...all in all there is a striking ease with which people can change their status with others.
But when people ask me: "do you have a boyfriend?" I havent found out if they actually mean having a boyfriend - or just a gig.

"...ok lets just be friends"
In bangkok, the second question (after: "do you have a boyfriend"?) will be: "are you top or bottom?". This is very very important here. In general, most gays here play only one of the two roles. Either they are a bit effeminate and are the bottom or they are quite masculine and play the top. There is a considerable minority of guys who can do both and who are most of the time a bit of mixed character too. Now for thais, having sex means having anal penetration in 90% of the time. Some guys would ask me where I keep the condoms after not even 5 minutes of foreplay. Since I am more of a bottom, and I often talk to bottoms too because I find them more attractive, I get this answer 90% of the time if we are both bottoms and it becomes revealed: "ok, we can be friends". and immediately after that: "can you introduce me to someone?". Basically, two bottoms or tops doesnt work in the thai gay mind and you instantly fall from grace and even get asked if you can provide them with someone more fitting. I think that's both tasteless and silly. two bottoms and tops can also have great fun and no one deserves to be dropped like a hot potato for releasing their sexual position or role.

"fridae vs gayromeo type"
This is an idea that I only just had today due to recent experiences. In online-dating, where I met most of my acquaintances, people can roughly be divided into the "gayromeo" and the "fridae" crowd.
"gayromeo" gays are more likely to be from the countryside, are likely to speak quite a bit of english, have a lower level of income and are quite used to dealing with farang. this is the bunch of gays that actively target foreigners, either because they just like them or often also because they think that the farang can be a source of money.
The "fridae" type of guy has higher education, is a bit older, is mostly thai-chinese, often doesnt speak english, is mostly interested in meeting other Asians and is often not used to contact with farang at all.
Most people I met from gayromeo since it's easier and since I didnt take fridae seriously until a few months ago. Gayromeo guys are used to contact with foreigners. they would know the countries and ask rather specific stuff. Mostly they are quite easy and basically want to have sex. A hug will do the job to break the ice and in no time your underwear will be off. sadly, the ratio of guys that want to get money out of me as opposed to actually be attracted to me, is sadly rather high on gayromeo. I find them rather easy to recognise however. They always want to meet right now, have that "moneyboy" look and have many clicks as well as guestbook messages by gentlemen of older age.
Fridae guys are much much more to my taste. I prefer the urban thai-chinese look and often these guys are really smart and have good careers and amazing looks. I have only talked to one moneyboy on that site (I think at least). However, as a foreigner it's not easy there. farang have a bad reputation among Thai gays it seems (and perhaps rightly so) as sex-crazed butterflies, hopping to inseminate whatever partner we can find. On fridae, many guys have never talked to a farang and are very shy to do so....with these guys, even though they have a similar social and educational background and they are less "exotic" the misunderstandings can paradoxically be much bigger - mainly because I am often the first foreigner that they meet. Some of them freak out, others though want to become my boyfriend after meeting one time (and I am not talking about moneyboys) ....


TAO said...

You know, finding someone who is "...a) serious, b) smart, c) reliable d) attractive and e) funny..." is an issue no matter what the locale!

Then you have an issue that you are WAY too young to face: Are you really relationship material?"

After 25 years I have to accept the fact that I have "given" all that I can and at least 90% of all the "giving" that has occurred in the current relationship....

I would have been much happier being able to spread the "giving" around!

In the USA they now have "f**k buddies" which is kind of a "gig"
Not real sure how it works but from what I hear you can have a boyfriend/girlfriend and then friends, of which some are just "f**k buddies" other words you call them when in need and the sex is great but other than that.....

So, enjoy the moment and quit trying to assume that you should expect more and that you should be seeking more from life than what it is....

BB said...

tao thanks so much for that rich advice here.
i partly agree with you. at my age, I may be too you for the "forever" thing. I have been a "giver" too. I know I should have less expectations and enjoy the moment more. but hey, that's not all that I want. let me think about this a bit...

TAO said...

BB...don't think so much as you are letting precious moments pass by...

I remember my youth and wondering if their would ever be someone to share my life with...

There was and we have shared 25 years, but as it all crumbles now I realize that we didn't "share" as much as I "carried"

But I also realize that the grass always looks greener on the other side! Which cuts both are in the "quicky" fleshpot of the world looking for a long term commitment and I am in the ruins of a long term commitment looking for a "quicky" :)

Actually, thats not true...I am looking for peace and quiet, for solitude....for the drama free zone!

Right now my ideal job would be as a lighthouse keeper!

So, enjoy the moment while you keep your eye on your long term goal...

Oh, and never lose your sense of humor as it is more important than your sanity! Crazy but funny is better than sane and depressed!