I never expected to find myself in a relationship in Thailand. In fact I didn’t expect there to be much romantic action at all, given my former disinterest in Asian men. But the longer I’ve been here, the more my disinterest has turned to interest and here I find myself in some sort of relationship with Beer.
As my interest grows in Thai men, however, of course I wish to explore that interest. I don’t want just one under my belt, as it were. So I resolve to finish things with Beer and free myself up for more adventures.
I go see him at Richard’s one Sunday evening after work. He’s behind the bar so I plonk myself down and order a beer. He’s pleased to see me. This is the first spanner in my plan. His working is another. It’s difficult to chat to him.
Instead I chat to two Thai guys sat next to me – Nom and Bird. Nom is a big queeny man with limited English but an undeniably bitchy sense of humour. Bird is buff, charming and handsome with a winning smile. I soon realise I’ve met them before – at the party where I seduced Beer – and they regale me with tales of my drunkenness. Brilliant.
Occasionally Beer captures my attention. I tell him I’m gonna go home at one point. Maybe, I think, I can extricate myself from this ‘relationship’ by showing increasing disinterest. God, I’m lame. When I tell him this though he looks at my quite forlornly, a bit like the cat from Shrek in fact. It works and I change my mind. He then tells me he wants to take me to the village in Thailand where he was born. Dear God. Luckily I work weekends so have a solid excuse to get out of it. Though part of me does wonder if that wouldn’t be quite a good experience.
I chat to Bird a bit more. He becomes increasingly attractive as I do so. I’m totally distracted by the size of his arms. He and Nom tell me they’re going to go to DJ Station next door for a bit, and do I want to come? I figure why not and leave my stuff with Beer, telling him I’ll come back at one when he finishes.
It’s packed in DJ. We get some drinks and hang out, people watching and chatting about men. There’s a lot of older men/young pretty boy action going on in here. Bird says he usually goes for older Western men as well. I feel a bit gutted. Does that mean he doesn’t fancy me? But our conversation becomes increasingly flirty until it becomes clear that this is not the case at all.
We go and dance. Nom stays behind. He wants to find someone to take home. Bird takes his top off. I grin at him. We dance a bit, getting increasingly touchy feely. Eventually I make a move. He’s a TERRIBLE kisser, all mouth and no lips. But I’m drunk and enamoured enough not to care too much. We snog like a couple of teenagers for some time, before deciding maybe we should go find Nom. He’s approaching the stage just as we’re coming off. He’s grinning like a Cheshire cat. He’s totally seen us. Ah well.
I’m surprisingly unfazed by my own bad behaviour. I know I’m being a bit of a cunt to Beer but I feel no commitment towards him and therefore no guilt. Fuck it; I’m here to have fun so I will. This night sets the agenda for my remaining time in Bangkok.
Bird, Nom and I head back to meet Beer. He’s eating some noodles by a shop, out of the way of the rain. I feel like I have guilt written all over my face but of course he’s none the wiser. At least for now. I go back to his.
It’s Saturday night and I’m going on a date. It’s not with Beer either. So begins my initiation into the world of the player.
I meet Bird at some Irish pub. It’s really busy so we go to another one. It’s also busy but we brave it anyway. There’s some football game on – Man U vs. Chelsea – so the ex-pats are out in force, as are the Thais who love English football as much as the English.
We chat. Bird orders some food. The waitress is loving that we’re on a ‘date’ and laughs and jokes with Bird in Thai as she serves us. I’m not at my best – I’m dead tired from working and partying with Vicky (see separate entry) and find it hard to keep the conversation going. But, quite frankly, I ain’t here for conversation, and after a couple hours we head back to his.
Amazingly he’s living at an apartment block I’ve been admiring since I got here for its beautiful balconies and unusual design. He’s got a weird set-up here – he shares the one bedroom (with double bed) with a female friend. Thankfully she’s away with her boyfriend and we have the place to ourselves. I admire the view as soon as I get in there – you can see right across Bangkok and it’s beautiful. I smile at my luck.
But there’s more…
Since arriving in Bangkok I’ve been getting messages from various Thai boys on MySpace, all wanting to meet up and ‘get to know me better’. Whatever, I think to each one, until one messages me that catches my interest. His name is Ark and, not only is he a massive fan of British indie music, but he has an arty leftfield sensibility that intrigues me. That, and he is unfeasibly good-looking.
We chatted for awhile and eventually arrange to meet up one Wednesday night. That morning we were chatting online and he’d become even more interesting to me. He’s the first Thai I’ve met that criticises the highly revered royal family, in particular the heir to the throne – Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn. We chat lots about Thai culture, a lot of which he feels frustrated by. He seems to have a very Western, particularly British, sensibility and the more I talk to him, the more I like him. We arrange to meet later. His friends have organised an indie night and he invites me along. I wonder what on earth a Thai indie night will be like. It’s in Club Culture, where Jess and I saw Eclectic Method, which intrigues me even more.
I go to muay Thai. I go to my lesson with Nop, who’s late home and leaves me alone for a bit so he can watch the news coverage of the impending result of the constitutional tribunal (see separate entry). I get home and get ready to go meet Ark in Ratchathewi. After leaving I’m walking down the street when I realise I’ve forgotten my passport. By the time I leave again it’s absolutely pouring down and I can’t go anywhere. I sit outside my apartment block and wait for it to stop.
This doesn’t seem to be happening any time soon but luckily I manage to wave down a cab. Then I have to get crazy lady to explain to the taxi driver where I want to go. She understands me as little as he does, but eventually we get the message across. I think.
He takes me to the wrong Skytrain station but at least I’m on the Skytrain, and eventually I get to Ratchathewi. I don’t spot Ark at first; then I discover I’m on the wrong side of the road. We shake hands as we meet but there’s immediately obvious sexual tension. He’s checking me out quite unashamedly. I do so him a little more discreetly.
His dress sense might be described as ‘kooky’ if you were feeling a little bit lazy and couldn’t think of any other words. Skinny jeans and a basketball t-shirt are complemented by some bloody awful shoes. We go for food. His personality matches his outfit as he’s quite goofy, and full of nervous energy. But he’s as cute as a button and I’m fascinated by him. His English is very good, if a little skewiff at times. Funnily he learnt at ECC as a kid – which is not long ago; he’s only 20 – but picked most of it up from hanging out with farang and watching movies.
Eventually, to my dismay, Ark confesses to having a boyfriend: a 36 year old American man. He’s keen to point out he’s not a sugar daddy, and that he’s very independent. He then counters this by telling me the boyfriend has paid for a studio to be built for him where he can conduct his work as an art student.
We get into a cab to go to the club. Ark continues talking abut his boyfriend. Maybe moaning is a better word. I ask if the guy speaks Thai. He doesn’t, despite having been here for some six years. I find this astounding but Ark says he just relies on him to translate.
We walk into the club night – it’s called Soma Education, for reasons I can’t really fathom. Oasis’s Rock ’N’ Roll Star is playing, which is a little incongruous. I’m so used to Thai pop and R&B and hip hop being played anywhere I go that it’s quite a shock to hear an English guitar band. What’s even more astonishing is the bouncing crowd of Thai people and farang (apparently students, given their attire), all rocking out to said music. I grin with pleasure.
Ark introduces me to some of his friends. They are all arty student types. One guy – a little Thai fella called JoJo, the gayest man I’ve ever met – knows every single word to ever single song that’s played. And what a playlist – everything from The Killers and The Strokes to Placebo and Garbage. It’s like being back at uni.
Ark doesn’t know any of the music but dances like every single tune is his favourite song ever. “I just wanna dance!” he explains. His enthusiasm is infectious and before long (and after we’ve started on a bucket of whisky and coke) I’m up there with him, rocking out like my life depended on it.
I ask Ark if he likes the music. He tells me “it’s not boring!” A Thai pop indie tune come son. Ark knows this one, and loves it. I dance like I love it as well. It, also, isn’t boring.
Later on we’re drunk and sweaty and grinning at each other like idiots. Away from the dancefloor we chat and I start to make move son him. He’s resistant at first. Maybe he’s thinking about the boyfriend that I’m not thinking about. But I keep at it – I can tell he’s into me.
We leave the club to ‘go for a walk’. We don’t get very far before he asks where I live. I tell him. He says can he come back. I tell him yes.
Walking down my soi he tells me that he thinks there’s a gay sauna round here. I tell there can’t be, there’s a school right there. He replies that this is Thailand – you can have a nightclub next to a school. He does have a point.