Domestic Matters

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PeterUK
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#1 Domestic Matters

Postby PeterUK » Fri Sep 29, 2017 3:41 pm

Only once since moving out to Thailand in 2005 have I had a live-in boyfriend. I met him in Throb on his second night as a bar boy and was his first customer. I took that to be a promising sign. He was eighteen, good-looking in a slightly rough-edged way, and keen to please. He would sit watching TV with me for quite some time after we had done the deed, very affectionate in his manner, and I took that to be another promising sign. After taking him off a few times I was fond of him without being smitten, but decided to invite him to move in with me anyway to see what would happen. It was in the nature of an experiment. He agreed without much hesitation.

Things went very well. I had been a bit worried that the arrangement might disturb my quiet domestic routine of reading, writing and internet browsing and worry briefly turned to alarm when I discovered that he was a big fan of pop music, especially hip hop and rap. BUT... headphones are a wonderful invention. With those clamped firmly over his lugholes, he would spend endless hours downloading tracks and arranging them in playlists. Not a peep out of him. Every hour or so he would jump up to give me a hug and kisses. I rather liked that. When the mood took him, he would go out onto the balcony to sing Thai songs, complete with arm gestures, to an imaginary audience in the palm trees beyond. I found it touching, even if he sounded about as tuneful as a rusty hinge in need of oiling.

Sexually he was totally available to me. If (on rare occasions!) I fancied sex three times in a day – hey, no problem. If anything, it was me who had to put my hand to my brow and feign a headache. Over time I came to the conclusion that he was one of those young men, more common in Asia than in the West, who actually prefer sex and intimate relationships with much older men (hmm, not a necrophiliac – ah yes, a gerontophile, that's the word). He hated it when I sometimes took him to a gogo bar of an evening. It was just something to do for a change from my point of view, but he saw only a roomful of potential rivals. He was never happier than when we got back to the apartment after a night out and had shut the door on the outside world. Just the two of us alone. I really think he was in love with me at that time.

When I gave him his weekly allowance he would diligently store it away in his wardrobe. He didn't smoke and drank very little alcohol. The family back in Korat was hardly ever mentioned; certainly there was no request to send them money. Occasionally he would speak to his young sister on the phone and double over with laughter at the Donald Duck quack of her voice. It amused me too. He dropped gentle hints that a motorbike would be nice and eventually I decided that he had earned one. He could barely contain his excitement when he took possession of his shiny black Honda Wave and was forever customising it. (Inevitably, he fell off the damn thing in due course and I had to collect him from the hospital, swathed in bandages).

We made several trips in Thailand. He tagged along gamely round the ruins of Ayutthaya and Sukhothai, pretending to share my enthusiasm. He liked punk fashion and had constantly-changing, dyed, spiky hairdos. In places we visited he would ask me why so many people kept looking at him. 'Because they think you're an alien from outer space,' I would reply. We went cycling, elephant-riding, rafting. I have quite a few snaps from that period. He looks sweetly and contentedly out at me against a variety of backdrops. In my favourite one we are sitting together on a terrace, forest trees below us; his head is inclined affectionately against my shoulder and I am smiling faintly, looking relaxed.

How idyllic I make it all sound! Memory can do that, of course, conveniently blotting out the more aggravating parts of life. But, all things considered, I still feel that our first year together was the happiest I have spent in Thailand, where one-way roller-coaster infatuations have usually characterised my romantic involvements. There was an unaccustomed calmness and sense of security with him which I liked. What was clear to me, though, was that I had not fallen in love with him. I wanted it to happen, I willed it to happen, but it never did. In fact boredom was gradually setting in. At mealtimes, in particular, there were longer and longer silences. It was a case of the old problems familiar to many of us Westerners in Thailand: the age gap, the education gap, the culture gap. (Language wasn't much of a problem, however, since we spoke mainly in Thai). He was quite immature for his age. This had had some appeal at first, bringing out my paternal side, but eventually it grew tiresome. I had the unpleasant sensation of being constantly dragged backwards emotionally instead of going forwards. The sex was becoming a bit of a chore.

Old butterfly urges began to stir. I misbehaved once or twice when opportunities presented themselves. Then one day I came unstuck spectacularly. It was my boyfriend's fault! He had told me on the phone that he would be back from Korat with his cousin at about 5pm, but they turned up at 3pm. And what was I doing at 3pm? I had just finished having sex with a cute guy from a Sunee bar and he was emerging from the bathroom after a shower when the sound of the door being unlocked was heard. One of the bad, very bad, embarrassing moments of my life! In a scene reminiscent of theatrical farce, I paid the boy and told him to get his clothes on as quickly as possible, then rushed over to the door to usher my bemused boyfriend and his cousin into the spare bathroom and shut the door on them. The bemusement didn't last very long unfortunately. They emerged in plenty of time to see the half-dressed Sunee boy hurry out of the room. Oh, what a veritable shit-storm followed! I had never seen my boyfriend so angry. I seem to recall (it's a bit fuzzy) that my apologies became rather repetitive. Unimpressed, he went off with his cousin to stay elsewhere. Soon enough he forgave me, or said he did, but things were never quite the same again. He had my number.

Then, as if to confirm my fall from grace, I met a very good-looking guy on the beach who was undoubtedly first in the queue when they were handing out bubble butts and he quickly became my new infatuation. I would sneak out to have trysts with him whenever I could manage it. The boyfriend became suspicious and, unbeknown to me, followed me one day. As Bubble Butt and I were eating together in a restaurant, he marched up to the table and gave me a piece of his mind (fortunately, nothing worse). Well, I won't dot all the 'i's and cross all the 't's. You get the picture. The relationship with the boyfriend dragged on for a bit longer but was clearly doomed, amid acrimony on his part and guilt on mine. We parted company after, I think, about 21 months together.

Some eight years have passed since then. We are still in touch, mainly by phone. He tapped me for 1000 baht only a few days ago! Sometimes there have been quite lengthy silences when he has become hitched up with another farang. Occasionally he has stayed with me for a few days. I have long since lost all interest in the sex side of things with him, though he hasn't, the randy little devil. A couple of times I have been to visit him in his home (which I never did when we were together) in response to a savage knife attack he and a friend suffered at the hands of local boys. He comes from a not uncommon Isaan background: a ramshackle home with corrugated metal roof, heavy-drinking parents, an older brother he doted on who was murdered many years ago in a case of mistaken identity, a sister pregnant before marriage. He drinks a lot himself nowadays. I can't bear to let him stay with me any more because I know he will roll in drunk at three in the morning. His face is totally transformed when he is drunk, the usual cheerful liveliness replaced by sullen, vacant ugliness. I can't bear to look at it. He also lies like a cheap watch. I've told him endlessly that I'd always rather hear the truth, however bad, than lies, but it's no good, it's second nature to him now. He drifts from job to job, mainly back in Korat. Shop assistant, computer repairer, DJ at a local radio station – most mind-boggling of all, teacher of English, without any qualifications at all, at a local primary school (true, independently verified). Currently he's unemployed, thinking of going to work at a local flour mill, so he tells me. Always short of money and needing a bit of help.

I'm sure a more scrupulous accountant than me would say that he has long since exhausted the credit balance he built up in our time living together. I've often thought so myself after giving him yet another bollocking about his various failings. But then he phones again and at the sound of his voice a residual fondness flickers back into life within me, perhaps an uneasy sense of my own failings too. Can't bring myself to turn my back on him completely. A small donation gets promised. TIT, as they say.

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mahjongguy
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#2 Re: Domestic Matters

Postby mahjongguy » Fri Sep 29, 2017 4:51 pm

Thank you, Peter.

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windwalker
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#3 Re: Domestic Matters

Postby windwalker » Fri Sep 29, 2017 5:00 pm

More than a bit depressing but true to life, Peter.

bobsaigon3
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#4 Re: Domestic Matters

Postby bobsaigon3 » Fri Sep 29, 2017 5:09 pm

Thanks, Peter, good one. Helps to keep us all in touch with the reality of these relationships.

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Gaybutton
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#5 Re: Domestic Matters

Postby Gaybutton » Fri Sep 29, 2017 5:12 pm

It really was quite idyllic until you got caught "cheating." Of course, you had no way of knowing whether he was also "cheating" on you. Either way, you're the one who got caught - twice - and that was on top of dragging him to go-go bars when you knew he didn't want to go.

While I respect and appreciate you telling us what happened, I think you probably are well aware that it was your own fault.

Many farang like having a boy live-in, but most of the time those relationships end in failure. While I'm sure some will respond by telling us their own live-in relationship with a Thai boy is, and for a long time has been, working beautifully. Unfortunately, the relationships that actually work are rare.

When you consider the age difference, the cultural difference, the interest difference, the language difference, and whatever else, I doubt very many people reading this need me to tell them the odds of a live-in relationship working well for both over the long term.

The lesson to be learned is be as certain as possible that it is going to work out well for both you and the boy - long before you have him pack up and move in.

I know many will disagree with me, but I still prefer to go by what I call the Richard Burk Philosophy - which I've posted many times before and think it is appropriate to post it again now:

"If you want love in Thailand, rent it."

fountainhall
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#6 Re: Domestic Matters

Postby fountainhall » Fri Sep 29, 2017 5:34 pm

Another wonderful story, beautifully written even though it is ultimately depressing.

I sometimes wonder how some of my farang friends manage their long term and still close relationships/partnerships with much younger Thais. None has lasted less than 13 years, one now 20, and most have gone through formal marriage overseas. Is it, I wonder, the fact than none of the Thais in such relationships ever was near a gogo bar - or indeed any other kind of gay bar? One met his then student partner in DJ Station. Another two from the earlier days of the Internet.

Back in 1996 I did meet a Thai in Heaven (sic), the sauna at the river end of Silom. We had dinner afterwards and quickly became lovers for a short period. Although I did not live in Bangkok then, I was here every month or so and a relationship blossomed - for a while. But I had learned from experience - some of it far from happy - that I can rarely make a long-distance relationship work. I know others can and do. It's just in my DNA that I can't. And so after six months or so, we split up. But I am happy that we remain good friends to this day, he became the first in his family to get a university degree and we continue to meet up for a gossipy lunch every month.

Since moving here, I find I am much more comfortable in a relationship with a young man who has his own good job, his own small room near his work but who happily comes over for the couple of free days he has most weeks. I took him to Hong Kong for his first trip outside Thailand which he loved. He has his own circle of friends who I sometimes meet over dinner. This way, though, we both maintain a commitment without always being on top of each other. No matter how passionate the feeling, I have the impression that always being with a much younger guy with no job and precious few interests must require too many compromises that I cannot make. I'm sure others are more tolerant!

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Undaunted
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#7 Re: Domestic Matters

Postby Undaunted » Fri Sep 29, 2017 6:02 pm

Thanks Peter,
It is human nature to want to love and be loved in return but when you have a relationship with a young man not only separated by age, but all the other things you mention, failure is almost inevitable.
"In the land of the blind the one eyed man is king"

bobsaigon3
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#8 Re: Domestic Matters

Postby bobsaigon3 » Fri Sep 29, 2017 8:33 pm

In hindsight, I see that I would have been much happier with an arrangement like Fountainhall's. It's probably the best way for most of us. The challenge is finding someone with his own good job, own room, etc.

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Jun
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#9 Re: Domestic Matters

Postby Jun » Fri Sep 29, 2017 9:48 pm

A nice story Peter. You've certainly made it read like this is all your own fault, which is much more credible than trying to blame the other party, as people often tend to do.

PeterUK
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#10 Re: Domestic Matters

Postby PeterUK » Sat Sep 30, 2017 12:11 am

I write these little pieces chiefly for my own amusement, but it's always gratifying to know that people enjoy reading them, so thanks for all the comments.

Gaybutton wrote: I think you probably are well aware that it was your own fault.

Absolutely! I don't see how anyone could read the piece and come to any other conclusion. For what it's worth, I still squirm inwardly when I recall that first occasion when I was 'caught with my trousers down'. I don't know if Americans are familiar with the name Samuel Pepys. He was a 17th-century English naval administrator who kept a famous Diary. He was also an inveterate womaniser. On one occasion he was caught in the act with one of his floozies by his wife. He describes the embarrassing scene thus: 'I was with my main (ie hand) in her cunny. I was at a wonderful loss upon it, and the girl also.' Now there's a response that I can identify with.


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