dirty old men are not

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You know those dirty looks you give them, the old white male and his young Thai/Vietnamese/Filipina (fill in as appropriate) companion? I understand why you can’t help it. Human beings, we’re conditioned to look for the story, and some of us the perverse in the story. There’s a part, that lower baser self, that likes the sleaze. Experts say it makes us feel good about ourselves.

A Frenchie I met back in Hong Kong doesn’t judge the woman in our story because she assumes, on the woman’s part, this is done out of necessity. And yes too many times this is the case. There’s usually a family back home in the boonies– that takes a day and a half to get to– and any financial support the woman gets from her gentleman patron goes to someone’s education, hospital bills, setting up a sari-sari store (grocer’s shop), and her extended family’s day-to-day survival. My acquaintance let off her Asian sister because she was being PC.

But the men, ah it’s those dirty old (and sometimes young) men, she can’t stand. She thinks they choose Asian women because they can “manage” them, better than they can someone from their own background. (She also finds it offensive when white men say Asians are more adventurous in bed. But let’s not go there.) Sure I’ve seen white guys boss around their Asian girlfriends– and I usually give them the finger– but that’s not all there is to that story either.

Mature white men come to Asia for all sorts of reasons:

They come because they’re broke and it’s cheaper to live in Asia.

They are escaping the ennui in their lives out West.

They come looking for adventure. In Lawrence Osborne’s Bangkok Days, McGinnis, an Englishman with no past, says “I wanted a place where I could wander about in and where nothing would add up…I wanted a city with no streets. A script I couldn’t read. Total oblivion.”

They are artists and they come to write, paint and achieve transcendence through Tantric sex.

They come looking for love. The lure of Asian sirens they find impossible to resist. In Hong Kong, they call this the yellow fever. While I was living there, a mate from London came to visit and he was dumbstruck by the fragile beauty of the Chinese. “Do they all look like that?” That’s what I think he said.

But what I find most…touching, yes, that’s the word, is that they come here to die. They come here because in the West they are shifted out of their homes into a home. Or they are forgotten because they’ve lived too long, outstayed their welcome. So they cross continents with loneliness tucked into their back pockets where once they pulled out hat tricks. Here they find if not love, then companionship.

Old men don’t die well in solitude. Because solitude digests you slowly.



13 thoughts on “dirty old men are not

  1. I like trying to look at people through empathetic eyes. I don’t always succeed, but it’s kind of humbling when I do. I think everyone just wants to be loved at the end of the day… at the end of their lives. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Depending on their age, I’ll bet not many of those guys are actually fucking their companions. Still trying to figure out something else you wrote: they’re going to Asia rather than be put in a nursing home? Huh?


    1. Those I met moved late in their years to age in Asia, preferring to be nursed by companions than by homes. Some of them are genuinely in love with the region of course. But the women and the care they receive is a big part of the attraction.


      1. Is it OK if they’re genuinely in love with the region? Now we get into this unanswerable OCD soul searching along the lines of Do I love him for his money or himself?


  3. This was incredible. Might share this with some other expats I know who are kicking around here. I feel this piece could provide conversational fodder for hours, seeing as we’re young white men living in Asia who may well become old white men living in Asia. Well done.

    Liked by 1 person

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