Maybe not so much a manifesto as….a winge.
Happy Sunday to you, reader. If you’ve perused my previous blogs, you already know that I’ve forsaken all Western norms for a life of debauched singlehood in Thailand. And while I’m ecstatic about this decision, I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t wondered from time to time whether a more traditional life would be better. I have. But I’m happy to report that as of last month, all doubts have been removed. I got a healthy dose of reality by way of my mother, who came to visit me for the first (and hopefully last) time. Ho-ly shitballs, ladies and gentlemen. It was a nightmare, and it reminded me that 1—relationships aren’t worth the stress, and 2—if you let them, women will take up every ounce of your time, effort, and energy. Or maybe that’s just farang women. Let’s explore…
First, a quick history of my failures with relationships: I spent my youth as a friend-zone white knight, largely unlucky with women save for a few that deigned to date me, at which point I grabbed on with both hands for fear of an abandoning that always came, usually after I’d spent mounds of cash trying to keep them happy. Then I moved to Thailand, and completely flipped the script, becoming a whoremonger with a heart of gold, amassing a harem of lovely, accommodating, grateful bedroom playmates who put a smile on my face daily and who never, ever displease me. Meanwhile, all my friends back home struggle with one or more of the following: divorce, alimony, overbearing wives, sexless marriages, and spending all their hard-earned cash on their partner and/or kids. Eesh. That’s not what I’d call living. It’s what I imagine hell to be like.
And just when I started to take my life of freedom, boozing, and endless sexual dalliances for granted, my mom came to Thailand and reaffirmed everything I hate about being beholden to another person. Now, I know the relationship between husband and wife is not the same as that of mother and son, but there are some staggering similarities that I only began to see during her visit. She rode in like a cyclone, giving me orders from the moment she stepped out of baggage claim, defying my instructions as if I was the one visiting a new continent, and she was the one who’d been living here for a decade. She unleashed an endless string of needs that had to be met. I didn’t shit for the first three days because I literally couldn’t find time to work one in. I stopped counting the times she said “Well, you told me (this or that), but I didn’t listen” creating a huge extra problem I then had to solve. I stopped keeping track of the times I slowly, methodically explained why she couldn’t do this-or-that because it’s simply not done that way here, but being pigheaded means never having to say “Thanks, I’ll do it your way.”
Throughout my life in Los Angeles, I suffered from chronic back pain and constant stress knots beneath my shoulder blades. When I relocated to Thailand, that pain disappeared completely. But within a day of my mother’s presence in Bangkok, the pain and stress knots returned in full force, removing all doubt about what caused them in the first place.
Out of generosity, she allowed me six hours of sleep each night, but began harassing me from her hotel room via text messages and Skype as soon as the sun came up. She told me what to order at breakfast. She told me to swim in the ocean. She told me when to do my laundry while handing me a pile of her clothes. She critiqued my weight, my outfits, my haircut, my apartment décor. Suddenly I was having flashbacks to my last and final farang girlfriend back in Cali. To her, I was an uncarved block of stone, and every criticism was her attempt to chip away at my crude self until it resembled what she thought I should be. She saw it as her right, nay, her responsibility to change me through open disdain and condescension. I know that’s not what my mom was trying to do, but the familiar feeling of someone else foisting their ideas upon me was uncanny and horrific.
Unlike the farang women who’ve flitted in and out of my life, my Thai girls never inconvenience me. Occasionally they’ll borrow money or flake on an appointment. But those small annoyances are a drop in the bucket compared to the deluge of demands made on me by American girls. Now, I know that as a son my responsibility to meet my mother’s silly needs and put up with her out of love. What I’m saying is, I’m glad she’s the only one who gets to rain on my parade, and only once a year.
Oh, and then there was the talking. The incessant, nonsensical, inane, insane, infuriating prattling about everything and absolutely nothing. As she babbled, I could feel it sucking the life out of me, the years shaved off my longevity as a result of listening to her wacky soliloquy. Here’s a snippet from our taxi drive down to Hua Hin: “Look, there’s a cow. What do they do with the cows, eat them? Hey, that looks like corn. Is that corn? How big is Hua Hin? Is there a school out this far from Bangkok? Where do these people send their kids? What do they do for jobs out here? Oooh, look at those hills, Oh I guess they’re too small to be hills. Wow, this road is bouncy. Is that jungle? Would you call that jungle? Ooh, look at the hedges. Such pretty flowers. Why do you suppose they put flowers there? What do you think is on the back of that truck? Is that fruit? Oh, it’s manure. What’re those little houses called? Do they pray to those houses? That’s weird, why would people do that? When’s rainy season? Where’s the beach, I thought we’d be close to the beach. Is that an elephant? Oh wait, it’s just a bush.”
It went on like that non-stop for two hours, and reminded me why I appreciate my harem. None of my girls say anything unnecessary. They’re blessedly tight-lipped except when asking me what I want, thanking me, or making a joke. The rest is silence.
Full disclosure: her visit wasn’t all bad. I got to do a lot of kitschy stuff that I’d normally never do. Hua Hin, for one. I never would’ve gone there on my own. Also, we fed elephants, took a river cruise, visited temples, went snorkeling, took cooking classes, went to museums, shopped in Chinatown, and stayed in a couple hi-so resorts. It was fun to pretend to be a regular tourist for once, though honestly these bland activities don’t cut the mustard for a deviant lothario like myself–something I had to pretend not to be while my mom was here.
This raises another aspect of being beholden to another: the compromise. Or to put a finer point on it, the expectation that I would abandon anything I want in favor of everything she wanted. If love is doing what you don’t want to do and bowing to the whims of another, then the only people I love are my family, and even then only finitely. Three weeks out of the year. And I can see how that kind of sacrifice would work, as long as ones partner sacrifices equally as much. I’m sure that’s how it was for my mom and late father. But it’s 2019. The entire Western world has lost its mind. Are there farang women who give as much as they take in a relationship? I assume there must be, but I’ve never found one.
And to add insult to emasculation, I came away from her visit racked with guilt at not making her holiday better. Even now, I obsess over the things we didn’t have time to do, or that I didn’t think to do at the time. I do her job in her absence of criticizing my missteps and dwelling on what didn’t go right. This is how deep a woman’s scorn can go.
Don’t misunderstand me. I love my mother. But she is, after all, a woman—a farang woman. And so in addition to loving her I’m also aggravated by her. And I know I’m selfish for choosing this life, and for taking her and my lack of responsibilities for granted. But two things can be true at once. I’m a self-centered a**hole, and also other people—especially Western women—are annoying and make me miserable.
In the end, I’m not sure if this is an anti-marriage tirade or an anti-ladyfarang one. Because none of the Thai women I know cause the kinds of headaches mentioned above, although maybe I’ve just been lucky. I’ve never let them get their claws in. Never committed, as it were. Never given them an opening to make unreasonable claims or demands. And that’s why my days are filled with bliss, serenity, and contentment. Now, I’m willing to entertain the idea that the truth is not that relationships are terrible, but that’ I’m terrible at being in one. It’s possible that I’m better-off as a loner. That solitude is my natural state, and any attempt at a relationship will end in failure. History sure seems to support that. But whether by nature or circumstance, I have turned out as the type of guy that cannot and will not give up my freedom and happiness for the sake of another. And while monogamy and devotion might be as pretty and boring as the photos in this blog, I personally prefer the danger, deviance, and debauchery of a life less ordinary.
Now that my mother is safely back in the United States, things have returned to normal. My agenda today is lunch, followed by a visit from one of my harem who will walk in, remove her clothes, and gladly do anything I ask, without backtalk or criticism. And I can shit whenever I feel like it. Which is how things should be, and why I’m a Bangkok bachelor for life. Props to all the men with enough fortitude to take on monogamy and commitment and all the shit that comes with it. You’re better men than me, if not happier. I will continue to live this solitary life, eating what I want, going where I want when I want, doing what I want. And when I get lonesome, I’ll pick up the phone and order in a 20 year old who will partake in some bedroom Olympics and then clean my apartment. This life might not be for everyone. But it’s the best one I can conceive.
Tune in Friday for a frowback, and until then keep your beer cold, your choices bold, and cheers to a life free of burdens in the greatest country on Earth—Thailand.