Timing, as they say, is everything. But try explaining that to a premature ejaculator. Sometimes, things come gushing out before the time is right. And then when the big moment comes, you’re already spent. Finished. Pau. Kaput. Like today’s tale for example. If I’d been paying better attention to the calendar I woulda figured out how to tie this one in to Groundhog Day. Not an easy task to accomplish. Other than to note there are some things better off left to dwell in the shadows. But then this post isn’t about Sunee Plaza, and instead I’ve got a salute to Valentine’s Day on my hands. And Cupid’s big day is still two weeks away. No problemo. It’s not exactly a Harlequin Romance anyway.
Not that those have ever been big on the Boy Meets Boy brand of story telling. A bodice being ripped off as part of the cover art never looks right when the exposed chest is flat. And hairy. But with two weeks to go, maybe I can convince Dave – who’s been busy learning what it means to be a gay man – that he needs to try drag. Dave as a ripe serving wench ready to be plucked might work. But then with my luck, he’d look good. And then I’d have to start hanging out at the ladyboy bars in Nana instead of on Soi Twilight.
Boy Meets Boy Meets Boy has never been done by Harlequin either. Romance novel wise, it’s uncharted territory. And even in the slightly more traditional Boy Meets Boy love story, by chapter four that Boy Loses Boy is pretty much a given. Throw in a third boy and you can be fairly certain things are not gonna end happily. But that’s a love story, that’s a fictitious tale. In reality, when Boy Meets Boy Meets Boy happens, things don’t start off happily either.
“I don’t think Noom likes me very much.”
“No, no, I’m sure he likes you. He’s still just getting to know you, that’s all.”
Dave and I have been friends for years. Decades in fact. All of which passed with us being buddies instead of lovers. Now that’s changed. What hasn’t is that even though we’re new to being a couple, we act like an old one. We don’t exactly finish each other’s sentences, but then words are seldom necessary. A familiar look is usually all it takes. And the one he’d just shot in my direction distinctly said: Dude, you are so full of bullshit.
“Okay, so maybe he’s not all that fond of you.”
“You know why?”
Huh. An invitation to list all of your boyfriend’s faults is always fraught with danger. At least it is when you are stupid enough to consider actually voicing those thoughts. My not-so-pregnant as much as six months overdue pause may have clued Dave in on where mine were busy dancing. Another significant look thrown in my direction put a stop to that rumba. And I punted.
“No honey, those pants don’t make your ass look fat at all!”
I didn’t even earn so much as a semblance of a smile for my witty effort. Dave was being serious. Which is not something he does often. When he does, it gets my dick hard. He looks so cute when his face composes itself into one of thoughtful contemplation. I considered reaching over to help get his dick to the same state of arousal as mine. ‘Cuz a look of thoughtful contemplation combined with an erect penis is just that much more cute. But that wasn’t the ending – happy or otherwise – he was going for.
“I’m the competition.”
“And it’s all your fault.”
No matter how cute a guy looks, when he’s assigning a dish of blame to your table setting, erotic thoughts go straight out the window. My dick went back to doing what it does when it’s not hard, or getting hard: thinking about how much fun it would be to be hard. Which still allowed enough blood to flow to my other brain so I could participate in a conversation I didn’t really want to have.
“What did I do now?”
“I fell in love with a bar boy? Really? You know better. And now look where that’s gotten us.”
Having done so myself, that so many men fall in love with a bar boy in Thailand has never surprised me. The circumstances that places men in a position to fall head over heels in love with a complete stranger, one who they often times meet under commercial circumstances, vary greatly. The reason, is almost always the same. A hot, younger, exotic, and seemingly willing man who whispers sweet nothings in their ear that even their mother wouldn’t believe. But this is Bangkok, a world where fantasy reigns supreme. And in that world that the lust of your life could also be the love of your life makes perfect sense.
The problem arises when a farang mistakes Bangkok for an innocent world in which inarticulate people can tell one another adequately of either their pain or the yearnings of their heart. A world where they can momentarily be someone’s knight in shining armor, no longer just tilting at youthful windmills, accepted for all their faults and even, perhaps, loved despite them. They come to Thailand with the same sense of excitement and expectation generated in pigs when they get a downwind sniff of a trough brimming with swill. If they sufficed with the pleasure of a few nights of rutting, life would be good. Instead they convince themselves that theirs is not just some tawdry, temporary affair of the loins but a grand passion. Even a great love.
The result is the often posted threnody that appears on the gay Thailand message boards with monotonous frequency. A tale of love lost, heart mangled, emotions trod upon until they are a bloody pile of refuse smeared across the floorboards. It’s the sustenance of the disgruntled, the air the disenfranchised sexpat who swears no bar boy should ever be trusted, that every moneyboy’s sole goal is to empty your bank account, breathes. Because that’s what the inculcation of a false romance does to you. It’s a self-induced siren’s song whose jarring notes are seldom heeded until too late. And then those small notes of discord are lovingly gathered and embraced, a symphony of proof of some Thai boy’s lies, untrustworthiness, and greed. ‘Cuz that’s all the farang has left of his relationship. Whether it was weeks, months, or years of happy endings, that relationship often ends unhappily. Because one person’s love alone is never enough to sustain a relationship. Especially when even that love was never anything more than a hymn to a false god.
It’s funny how people never really see each other. They invent each other in their minds. And then see what they’ve invented. It’s an image born of needs, often one-sided and inevitably unrealistic. But their boy, of course, is always different. The farang tells himself: No, no, He does care. And then to keep that fantasy alive the farang start attempting to remake that boy in the image of his own dreams.
The relationship begins its predestined downward spiral. And even though he knows it’s a house of cards built on lies, he keeps the faith anyway so he can stand to live with the way he’s being used. Looking smack dab at the snake-cold indifference the boy shows so openly in his eyes, he thinks: No, he does care, really. I know it. That’s just his way. And instead of facing what that boy has become – a cheat, a traitor, a user, a broken dream – he will instead believe that boy is striving to escape his circumstances, to get away from his upbringing. With him. To be with him in some future time. Some future relationship. Where there will be no more loneliness, no more abuse.
It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy that requires no crystal ball. The record is rife with the shattered debris of those relationships. Farang Meets Boy, falls in lust, calls that love, and then begins emptying his bank account in pursuit of his dream. ‘Cuz everyone knows it’s money that buys happiness. Harlequin ignores that standard tale too. Not because it’s a gay storyline. But because even with fiction the plot still has to be believable. And if you haven’t been to Thailand, haven’t meet a sweet Thai guy,his eyes brimming with love and desire, haven’t ignored that the gleam in his eyes was merely a reflection of the needs of your own soul, that story is as believable as a Bush dynasty extending into a third course.
Years ago I started posting these I Fell In Love With a Bar Boy tales on SGT, which in those days was a thriving community of sexpats, sex tourists, and occasional visitors to Thailand’s shores. Regardless of the subject of a thread, sooner or later some, or several, or a bunch of sexpats would chime in with their oft repeated warnings against falling in love with a Thai. They took great delight in heaping ridicule and predictions of doom and gloom on any stupid farang ignorant enough to trust a bar boy. Or ridiculously claiming he was in love. Or that he now had a boyfriend in Thailand.
Newbies to Thailand’s bar world often turn to the internet for useful, knowledgeable, advice. Instead, many find the message boards. Forewarned is good. Hearing only one side of the story, not so much. So a big part of sharing my tales of Noom was in opposition to the preponderance of bad bar boy stories. The ‘I Fell In Love’ part of was meant as tongue-in-cheek. Because I’d been taught better than to be so unmindful of my own well-being. And I had not fallen in love with Noom. I just enjoyed our times together. Immensely. And thought sharing that relationship might show there was a different possibility, an alternate path, another option that didn’t end in misery. That even in Thailand you can in fact have your cake and eat it too.
Now, years later, looking back at those initial times I realize that I did fall in love with Noom. Possibly at first sight. Although to be totally honest I still don’t think it was love. Affection, for sure. Love, not so much. If anything, my initial feelings about him were of admiration. Which hasn’t changed. As for love at first sight, I’m not enough of a romantic to believe in that fairy tale. Or possibly it’s that I am too much of a romantic to fall for that one.
Noom, however, knew better.
Years younger, with the flush of youth still glowing seductively across his skin, you’d think what I would remember most about those first few days we spent together would be his gorgeous body. And the things I did to it. But instead, it’s his eyes. No, not so much his eyes; the expression in his eyes. The childlike softness in his eyes. The boy sitting behind them and laughing with the world in delight. There was a certain ingenuousness about the way he looked at me. An uncorrupted sincerity, honesty,integrity. It was a look you could rely on. It was a look I wanted to rely on.
But I’d been properly schooled on the message boards and compartmentalized any messy emotions of love deep in some unreachable corner of my soul where they belonged. Locked away to rot in their own miasma of the road not taken. I embarked on a fling instead. One that kept lasting year after year after year. Gradually, that ‘I Fell In Love’ part of the equation became less and less tongue-in-cheek. Not that I wasn’t still on guard. There were tests. Many of them. Spread out across those years.
But evidently I passed each one of those.
That’s the part the Bar Boy Done Me Wrong crowd seldom mentions. There are as many Thai guys who have been burned as there are farang. It’s not one-sided. They are often as guilty of failing to realize that what they see in our eyes is only a reflection of their own needs too. Bar boys don’t have an internet message board to turn to. They don’t need one. Gossip on the soi is much more immediate. And Bad Farang stories abound. When I met Noom he was not a newbie to the soi. He’d heard those stories, had even experienced one himself. So which of us was more wary of the other is still debatable.
Noom likes to remind me that before I met him I was a butterfly. That now I am no more. And that he knew that was the way it was going to be from the first night we met. He also likes to reminisce about how our meeting was part of a set of circumstances that turned his life around. That made him happy. Note that I don’t get full credit, only a minor acknowledgement based more on presence than on intent, value, or worth. Which I’m completely cool with. I have too many of my own needs to ever be the total answer to someone else’s. It was years before either of us used the ‘L’ word. But by then, it was evident. Both of us had passed the tests the other threw out, together we’d managed to avoid the pitfalls that so often crop up between a Thai and a farang, we’d moved past the roadblocks of cultural differences, financial inequality, differing needs, and distance. Begrudgingly, out of concern and the need for self-preservation, we allowed our relationship to grow.
Between us there was trust. Respect. And yes, even love. Life was good. We were good. Boy Met Boy, Boy Got Boy, and both boys were destined to live happily ever after. Even if thousands of miles apart. Then: Enter Dave.
Dave was not the first boyfriend I hauled along to Thailand. In fact, it was becoming an annual event. Phil was last year’s model. Phil was a good guy. Is a good guy. And he’s hot. Noom liked Phil. Not at first. It took about five minutes. But they quickly became friends. And still are. Both looked at meeting each other with some trepidation, both concerned that jealousy would ensue. Noom looked into Phil’s eyes, proclaimed Phil was gay (as he is wont to do) and then immediately embraced him as part of the family. There was no rivalry in Noom’s opinion, there was no concern that what Phil and I shared would have any impact what Noom and I shared. Sometimes that little bastard’s worldly wisdom just blows me away.
With meeting Dave, not so much.
The two had met once before. And had slowly warmed up to each other’s existence. But that was before. That was back when Dave was just a good buddy whom I lusted after. Back then, the night they met, Noom too had done his eye stare thingy and proclaimed Dave gay (as he is wont to). It just took several years longer for Dave to reach the same conclusion. With the change in relationship status – and sexuality status – I looked at the two meeting again with some concern. As did they. That night, Noom didn’t even take the time to look into Dave’s eyes to read his entire soul. He just edged his chair closer to mine, got busy attending to my every need, and made it abundantly clear to anyone and everyone who may have cared that the third wheel in our triangle was – clearly – Dave.
Boy Met Other Boy. And wasn’t pleased. Neither was Other Boy. Who seemed to think it was all my fault. Noom, on the other hand wasn’t interested in assigning blame. He was too busy protecting what was his. The two didn’t hit it off so much as they immediately begin attempting to score points off of each other. Which was amusing. Okay, so a better man would not have enjoyed the emotional discomfort of those he loves quite as much as I did. But then the better man moniker has never been one I’ve ever claimed. Besides, in case I haven’t mentioned it before, Dave looks cute when he’s pouting too. And that look too gets my dick hard.
So the days passed, the two eventually called an uneasy but ever-vigilant truce and tried to get along. And Dave eventually found a moment away from Noom to voice his concern. And demand I do something about it. As if. He really should know me better by now. I’m no one’s knight in shining armor. And if you are foolish enough to have me drop to a knee to be knighted, your best bet would be to put that sword to it’s originally intended purpose. I don’t know if honestly is always the best policy, but it is a convenient excuse to stick with your faults.
Noom on the other hand has never had a problem in identifying my faults. When you live in a world based on fantasy, reality is the only thing that keeps your head above the water. He has dreams too, but they are in black and white. He knows that I love Thailand, but not enough to ever live there. He realizes that while the dream of moving to America is a heady one, he wouldn’t be happy living anywhere other than in his home country. He knows I will always be there to help him, but that he has too much pride in himself for my help to ever be anything more than the occasional leg up. Just like I know that I love him, for everything he is, and everything he’s not, but not enough to sustain that love throughout a full-time relationship. I did fall in love with a bar boy, but the mercurial nature of our relationship is part of what makes it work. Ours is not a grand passion. It’s a warm friendship in which both equally provide for the other’s needs. Out of love. Without any attempt at changing the other into someone he’s not. Because we both love and respect each other for who he is.
And yes, timing is everything. Dave should have waited another day before addressing his concerns. ‘Cuz Noom – my bar boy friend and current love of my life – did it better.
“I tink Dave lub you.”
“I hope so.”
“I tink you lub Dave.”
“Yeah, I tink you’re right.”
“I tink maybe you lub him more.”
“More than he loves me?”
“No. More dan me.”
“Noom, how I feel about Dave,” was as far as I got before his hand pressed against my lips.
“It okay. He good for you.”
“I tink now I lub Dave too.”