Recently I received a ‘please don’t post’ comment from a semi-regular reader that was well-intended but nonetheless questioned my sanity in being in a relationship with a bar boy. Even if it is with Noom, my bar boy friend and current love of my life. His concern was that at worst I was being taken advantage of, at best I was mistakenly trying to buy love. I explained my views on the subject, he wrote back with his concerns. I’m not sure if either of us convinced the other of our respective stances, but it was a polite exchange and I was touched that he’d taken the time to address the subject, worried about someone he doesn’t even know. Plus, it gave me a subject to post about. Win-win in my book. So for the record, yes, I did fall in love with a bar boy. And yes, my wallet has never been the same.
Still, while money is an integral part of my relationship with Noom, I’m not buying love. I’m buying sex. The love is just a frequent flyer milage bonus. When I met Noom, I wasn’t looking for love. I wasn’t looking for a relationship. I wasn’t even looking for friendship. I was looking for sex. In Bangkok, one of the best places to look for sex is a gay gogo bar. Conversely, a gay gogo bar in Thailand is the worst place to look for love, friendship, or a relationship. A gay gogo bar in Bangkok isn’t even a good place to go for a drink.
Friends keep reminding me that it really isn’t all about me. So let’s suspend disbelief and pretend they are right for a moment. When you work in a gay gogo bar in Bangkok, it’s all about money. You may make friends with your co-workers. You may, if you are gay, find a relationship there too. With a co-worker. Guys new to the gogo bar world might think they will find love with a rich farang who will take care of their every need, but after a week, after some farang has promised them the moon and then not even forked up with a decent tip, they learn better. Bar boys quickly get schooled that farang lie. A lot of farang learn that bar boys lie too; farang just aren’t quite as quick on the uptake.
Noom was not an newbie to the bar world when I met him. And I can guarantee you that when we met what he found attractive about me was my wallet and my willingness to open it. Often. So yeah, it was love at first sight: he saw a fat wallet filled with baht and fell heads over heels in love with it. Just his luck, it was attached to me. Country song writers love to tell you that love hurts. It doesn’t. It costs. And when Noom met me, his intention was to be the one collecting those fees. So he was looking for cash, I was looking for sex. And we fell in love. Noom fell in love with my wallet. I fell in love with his hot body. Romance was not part of the equation. Cupid was elsewhere busily screwing up someone else’s life.
Fast forward a hell of a lot of years and Noom is still in love with my wallet. And I’m still in love with his hot body. The difference between now and then is that our roles have grown beyond those two initial attributes that we each respectively found so alluring. It’s no longer just about sex and money. Now, in his words, “It real.”
A particularly vile little creature who has since disappeared back into his lonely life once started a thread on one of the gay Thailand message boards taking men to task who had ‘paid’ relationships instead of ‘genuine’ relationships, as though he’d ever actually experienced either. That’s a nice distinction if you ignore the fact that all relationships at some point involve money. And a one night stand, such as picking a guy up at a disco – whether paid for or not – does not a relationship make, a truth that had him confused. But then neither does a one-time off from a gay gogo bar no matter how much your boy du jour tells you he loves you. But trying to claim that a relationship entered into on a paid basis is not genuine just doesn’t work. At least not if that encounter grows, evolves over time, and becomes something the extends beyond the dictates of its original parameters. Which is the even trade of cash for sex.
If you are lucky – or unlucky depending on how you view it – that business transaction may become something more. At some point the cash for sex transaction may turn into a genuine relationship. Both money and sex may still be a part of your dealings with each other, but they fade into the background. It’s no longer just about money or just about sex. Real human emotions come into play. And the next thing you know, you’re in a relationship. And a genuine one at that.
Ours may not be the type of relationship that society approves of. And maybe my perspective is distorted. But I don’t see a big difference between what I have with Noom and the relationships of my friends. Not when you boil it down to the basics. Both are a mutually beneficial loving relationship based on trust, respect, and a concern for the other person’s well-being. I think there are a hell of a lot of people out there who’d kill for that. I only have to pay for it.
And there’s the rub.
Money makes the world go around but it also defines people’s views on a lot of things. When it’s coupled with sex, it means prostitution. Which carries a lot of negative connotations. People have a difficult time wrapping their mind around the idea that anyone could have a genuine relationship with a prostitute. And I get that. That may not be a relationship for you. Cool. But anyone entering into a healthy relationship does so in the pursuit of happiness. If your relationship makes you happy, does it really matter then how it began? Does what either of you do for a living really matter? And why is who is getting what from whom of anybody’s concern?
I think the questionable part of our relationship isn’t that Noom is a bar boy but rather that we live worlds apart and only spend a quarter of the year together at best. The distance not the dollars bothers me the most. But then I would not be happy living in Thailand, even with Noom, and he wouldn’t be happy living in the U.S. either. But it’s the money that others tend to zero in on.
And I get that too. There’s far too many stories out there about foolish farang who were taken for a ride by a bar boy. And not the kind they wanted. It’s far too easy to put blinders on when a hot young guy shows you attention. The streets of Thailand are littered with the bloody mangled carcasses of farang who fell in love with a Thai bar boy only to find out the boy’s sole interest was in the size of the farang’s wallet. Entering into an extended relationship with a bar boy and not being aware of the risk is foolish. So I understand the concern. And appreciate where it is coming from.
On the other hand, maybe its a question of how you value money. I like the stuff myself. But its an ends to a means. In and of itself money has no value. And the paltry sums I’ve thrown Noom’s way add up to little in perspective. What I’ve received in return has a much higher value. I’ve been spending my money on sex. And getting love, respect, and friendship in return.
I no longer tip Noom. I take care of his financial needs, those out of his reach off of what he can make from his normal intake of tips. Within reason. At least so far. When I switched over from tipping him based on the number of nights he spent with me, we did not discuss the change. He didn’t question it or ask where his tip was. He trusted that whatever it was I was doing was to his benefit, that his needs would be taken care of out of the respect and love I have for him. Noom too understands the true value of money. Which is pretty amazing, or at least unusual, for a Thai bar boy. He knows the payoff isn’t about what I have in my wallet, but what I have in my heart.
The cost of love isn’t about the impact it has on your bank account. It’s expense is valued by what it costs you as a person. If you are emotionally savvy, financially you’ll be in the black. And if at the end of the day, regardless of the cost, you are a happier or better person it was worth whatever currency you paid in.
Related Posts You Might Enjoy: