Saphan Loy’s Cocktail Party Etiquette

Circulating, as Saphan Loy does from time to time, among the elites, defined here as urbane, sophisticated, and worldly, we occasionally find ourselves in an awkward position. To profess an interest in Thailand or even Asia for that matter is inviting the kind of curiosity that is not easily dispelled by an avowed affinity for the temples, the culture, the spicy food, the weather, the blah blah blah. It is fairly rare, therefore, that we mention it at all. Spying a young woman across the room, for example, and desiring to make her acquaintance, it is not possible to discreetly sidle up to her and ask, “Have you ever made use of a fucksaw before?” Or, “How much would you pay to bar fine a ladyboy?” Or, my personal favourite, “Have I told you about the time I needed an intravenous injection of antibiotics in Pattaya?”

Usually, such conversations would appall the various people that Saphan Loy, because of his prestigious and cosmopolitan connections, encounters on a daily basis. So, more often than not, we remain silent about our reading and writing diet. It makes for an easier evening. It is much simpler, say, to merely imagine a woman at the cocktail party making enthusiastic use of a fucksaw, or envisioning her husband on a barstool in Pattaya beguiled by a passable ladyboy.

This partly explains why for many men, the temptation is too great to simply abandon one’s country of origin in favor of a like-minded social milieu in which such frank discussions no longer are out-of-place, or out of line. Congregating in the bars and online fora that are dedicated to sex tourism in Asia, these colourful, sometimes dangerous characters reenact a kind of verbal horseplay that is redolent of adolescent lust and obsession which can also turn to hatred, envy and villainy. A casual perusal of the Thai nightlife fora will reveal the lengths men go to in order to display prowess and success. The colourful avatars, the ranking systems, the various levels of posting rights all attest to this.

Which brings us to the outward symptoms of the Thai fetish. This is a variant of the Asian fetish, obviously, with some critical differences. First, someone who suffers from a Thai fetish is also intimately addicted to certain and outdated concepts of third world sex relations. There is a clear typecast of sex tourist that emerges. They tend to look the same, dress the same, and speak the same language.

For example, Dean Barrett, one of the foremost apologists of Thai brothel and prostitute consumers, has two such locations to fetishize: China and Thailand. Further, he has written of his enjoyment of bondage and dubious kinky sex acts with Asian dominatrices, women whom he pays to crossdress and whip him into submission. It is clear that the simple fulfillment of the first fetish led, as a result of, say, boredom or having run out of more traditional choices, directly to the second one. Also implicit in the arrangement is the supposed reversal of power and role: the dominated woman (the Thai bargirl) becomes the dominant, exotic Mistress (after receiving adequate payment, though substantially less than one might receive for similar services in the West.)

You, handsum man, bad man jing jing. jai rai! You be dog my.” 

BDSM in Thailand is a curious thing. In a country that still has a systematised endemic form of slavery, the sex play that constitutes slavery is a fairly recent option on the Thai menu of sex services, no doubt expedited by Western desires. It represents the third world outsourcing of developed world fantasies. I wonder what the statistics would reveal about this subject in Thailand itself? Is this a viable form of sex play? Are there exclusively Thai dungeons in Bangkok? Are the whips, instruments and furniture evocative of the Marquis de Sade, or a simpler rice farmer beating his water buffalo with a bamboo switch? Insofar as it is part of the human sexual imagination, such slavery and discipline scenarios likely exist among the Thai middle and upper classes. Hard to say for sure, though. What is sure is that the overwhelming majority of Western writers and bloggers about Thailand’s red-light districts link directly to the fetish clubs in Bangkok (there are two well-known public locations, and at least one private club).  

Whatever the case, Saphan Loy will certainly bring the matter up at the next cocktail party. 

The View from Above

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One Response to “Saphan Loy’s Cocktail Party Etiquette”

  1. Well there will certainly be a new dungeon in Bangkok soon, if I have anything to say or do about it!

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