The Man is King

A couple nights ago, I met an older Canadian man named Robert. At first glance, I seriously thought I was looking at Sean Connery’s twin brother. He had the same body type and facial appearance, was the same age, and had the same kind of tough, man’s man kind of attitude that Connery commonly portrayed in his movies. Even when he spoke to me at first, I thought he had a Scottish accent (but it was just my mind playing tricks on me).

Robert, like most Western men his age in Thailand, was retired and living the good life. He had a beautiful Thai wife, a big house, a nice ride, and was living like a king. And, just like the other older Western men in Thailand, Robert was a bit of a chauvinist.

Robert and I talked for maybe an hour about various subjects, ranging from politics, to women, to Thai beers, and he definitely made for some interesting company. He was also a bit drunk, so his inhibitions weren’t exactly intact, but he made sure to apologize for his impolite behavior. At one point, we were discussing the differences between the man’s role in Thailand, and the man’s role in the West.

“Here, the man is king,” he repeated distinctively. “None of that equal rights crap, eh?” he said as he took a swig.

“So it doesn’t disturb you at all to see an old, fat European man with a young, pretty Thai girl?” I replied.

“Well, the whole scene in Pattaya, I don’t agree with.” [Side note: Pattaya is infamous for having tons of sex tourism, and a lot of Nana couples—older Western men with younger Thai girls.]

“Yeah, I think it’s pretty disgusting… but if the relationship is mutual,” I shrugged my shoulders, “then who gives a shit, eh?” finished Robert, as we both laughed.

I could tell Robert had a good heart, but I still thought some of his opinions were a bit misguided. He had been living in Thailand for over five years now, so he was pretty used to the way things were around here. I, on the other hand, was still used to Western ideals.

“Gold-diggers are nothing new,” I said. “But they are looked down upon. It’s shameful.”

“As long as the man doesn’t mind, what’s wrong with a woman wanting to be with a man who can provide security?” he replied. “It’s just the way of life, a symbiotic relationship.”

I couldn’t disagree with his view, because it all comes down to personal opinion. But that didn’t mean I was going to adopt it as my own, anytime soon.

Later on, we migrated our conversation to the subject of being American. Being Canadian, he was familiar with American culture, but he was still an outsider.

“Americans are myopic,” he said. “It’s like they all have blinders on.”

“It’s the way we’re raised. It’s drilled into our heads that everywhere besides America is dangerous,” I replied.

“And that’s ridiculous! America is just as dangerous, or even more dangerous than most other countries,” he said.

And I agreed. It is ridiculous that most Americans are afraid to travel outside of their own country.

After some more talking, Robert eventually had to go, and we parted ways. Despite our differences, I still came out with a positive perspective, and definitely some new ideas to think about.

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