Wednesday, May 06, 2009

A Take on Gay Dating in the Land of Smiles

While we are on the discussion of dating in Thailand, which was started in the previous post, I might as well comment on how it's like to be gay in this country (especially as a foreigner), or at least how I see it.

Disclaimer: True to the spirit of blogging, this post includes my interpretations and observations, and do not in any way represent everyone's experience (God knows that's impossible).

Also, I'm certainly going to make a few assumptions, but these do not necessarily speak for everyone I refer to, so please excuse whatever generalizations I may make.

Most of my observations are either from my own experience or that of the many foreigners (both Asians and Westerners) that I have the chance to talk with about the matter.

I also read quite a number of blogs and forums, which are mostly written by BKK-based Westerners (solely because of language limitations). My references are definitely limited.

Moreover, I do not know enough non-Westerners in Thailand, except for Pinoys, so my impressions might have a cultural bias.

Dahling, you don't expect me to be comprehensive and totally impartial, do you?

Lastly, I do not claim that my observations are unique to Thailand. I'm describing what I see IN Thailand and if something similar exists in other countries it'd be nice to get inputs from the people who stumble into this blog.

There, I put these things out in the open at the onset coz I want to minimize bitching in this blog. Dahling, I'm the only bitch in this blog, ok?

Let's move on...

For most gay men, Thailand has this allure as a "gay paradise" because of its relaxed, if not tolerant, attitude towards homosexuals. Many gay tourists and retirees are attracted to Thailand mainly for that reason.

However, the country also pulls in a sizable number of gay men in their 20s and 30s to live and work here, probably because they know that they can have a relatively free gay lifestyle in Thailand.

Given their expectations, many of those who first come to Thailand are still overwhelmed by the numerous opportunities to meet and date men. The supply of willing men is nearly boundless.

Many foreign gay men go on a virtual feeding frenzy, particularly the sexpats and the sex tourists. One can simply go to Soi Twilight for instance and you'd be greeted by a profusion of charming, lithe boys.

Sexpats and sex tourists aside, the general relaxed and fun-loving attitude of Thais make dating fairly easy. And I'm defining "dating" here in the broad sense, although most of the time it's oriented towards the sexual kind. We all know how stunning Thai men are. It helps of course that many of them do not have reservations on flirting with any one they like.

I've heard from many gay foreigners who are supposedly hit on virtually incessantly... everywhere. One could just get an account or two in gay dating sites or visit a club to see your "market value".

Many are even surprised at the surge of attention they suddenly get, which implies that they do not usually get the same from where they come.

With so much temptation before them, many fall into a long string of one-night stands and other forms of sexual adventurism, perhaps at the cost of forging nurturing relationships with any of these men they sleep with.

Why settle for one when you can have as many as you want, chai mai?

I suppose many gay men the world over adopt the approach above. And clearly Thailand is no different and both locals and foreigners are caught up in the same hunger for more, more, more.

I have the impression, however, and I hope I'm wrong, that the insatiable sexual promiscuity in Thailand (again, among both locals and foreigners) is a little too wide-spread for my taste. But clearly, gazillions of gay men in this city are into it.

I've heard of people saying that foreigners come here only to take advantage of the naive locals, while some argue that locals are the ones preying on the naive foreigners. Which brings me to assert that there are no "victims" in the gay scene in Thailand (ok, I'm not talking about the realm of prostitution here coz that is a totally different topic).

That's a simplistic way of putting things though, and for sure there are many layers to the foreigner-local relations. There are for instance nuances in morals, values, income, education, culture, and general approach to relationships that come into the picture.

But at the end of the day, most gay men just play along with the game. Dahling, we are all grown men here, are we not? Again the prevalence of the game-playing is something I'm still trying to understand.

If anyone asks me what it's like to be gay in BangCock, I always tell them that it's very convenient to be gay in this city. It's all about accessibility, ease, and availability... sounds like Seven-Eleven!

Just like Seven-Eleven, you get the same junk food day-in and day-out. Forget about quality, mi amor.

As such, I'm perturbed that I rarely (meaning, "not often" but not exactly "never") see "normal" relationships in BangCock at least. Or perhaps my definition of "normal" is way too limited, even too fundamentalist (a.k.a. heterosexual). Hahaha.

Also, I'm aware that I do not know enough people, especially locals, who are, again, in a "normal" relationship. Or perhaps I simply know the "wrong" kind of people ("wrong" meaning a relationship that do not conform to my definition of "normal", and not as a moral judgment).

(Gosh, clarifying my terms is soooo taxing ha. Jing jing!)

Ok, for now all I need is someone to prove how wrong I am with my description of dating in Thailand.

Because I'm on a roll, tomorrow I shall write about my approach to dating and relationships in Thailand. Stay tuned, bitches.


BB said...

Nice to see you took on the topic, kawadjan. I think people lust for such accounts of gay thailand.

Can not wait to read part deux tomorrow.

seven eleven is a very nice comparison...the frequency, the in-and-out syndrome, the quality, the junk, the conformity, the abundance.

lastly, i have never seen such a huge disclaimer in a post...darling, no one is gona sue you!!! ;)

The Zen Bitch said...

andami ng disclaimers ha! can't wait for the next post!

Kiks said...

this is simply amazing, dahling.

i have pushed my friends in bkk to read you.

and i, ever the reader, am pushed to do my own take. on hong kong.

you're sucha.

alex said...

omg! mala margarita holmes na observation hehe...

can't wait for the next post

kiel estrella said...


it's funny how you tried to qualify everything you said. i suppose despite changing your mind about writing something on the bangkok gay scene, vestiges of your earlier reservations are still very apparent.

it's your opinion and as somebody who is living there i think you have earned the right to have one and express it. after all, this is your blog.

neil said...

I have read Thais don't care about age differences either. Same here too. When someone half may age hits on me in a bar, bells go off in my head. I wouldn't date a man of my (Dads) age when I was that young. I wouldn't even do it now? If I want to see love handles and wrinkles, I'll look in the mirror. But for some reason the young one come at me. Flattering as it is. I step back. Lot of hustlers here. Don't need my heart broken or my bank account. What can you offer to explan the age difference interest?

Lyka Bergen said...

Well, Thai men are just being men... loving sex with no strings attached. Especially when they are young.

But this could be societal too. We, Pinoys are more like Italians.. emotional and melodramatic. Thais are Scandinavians.

Just an opinion.

neil said...


kawadjan said...

bb and zenaida: gosh, the disclaimer was crucial for me coz i'd rather do preventive damage. but surely, that disclaimer is fucking annoying. sigh.

kiks: thanks, sweetie. that's so kind of you. i cannot wait for hk post though. asan na? demanding!

kiel: mismo. i cannot help being daunted with the thought of people bitching in my comments section. besides, i don't like making or hearing generalizations my self. you're more courageous than me, dear.

neil: that's a good question. i haven't given it much though. i wish some "older" bloggers would write about it. i suppose they have a more accurate insight on the matter.

lyka: oh dahling, tell me about pinoys being emotional. tse!

neil: my thoughts exactly.

Boonie S said...

Fascinating analysis. Thanks for sharing this.

happy holiday, Boonie


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