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Older German men, younger Thai women: An Inside Investigation

“How old do you think zat man is?” Hans hissed at me, pointing to his equally white-haired, equally German chum. “Um, fifty?” I guessed politely. Hans threw his head back and cackled. “NO!” he hollered, “Fritz is seventy-five! And he is living viss a twenty-eight year old Thai girl!”

What else could I do, being the only young, female, American guest here at this party, but smile and coo: “That’s wonderful!”

I had accepted Hans’s invitation to his Thai ex-wife’s massage parlor party with a peppy journalistic spirit. “Lillie–” warned my Muay Thai boxer buddies from the hotel, “You realize this is going to be a bar packed full of seventy year old German men and their young Thai girlfriends, right? You realize you are getting yourself into a really creepy situation, don’t you?” I smiled and hopped on the back of Hans’s mo-ped, clinging to his puffy waist as we revved off towards the massage parlor slash cocktail bar.

Arrival: multicolored lights, balding silver hair, long dark hair, smiles. Hans’s ex-wife, Nok greeted me warmly, her tight red dress sliding along her curves. She showed me to the free Thai food buffet in honor of her daughter’s birthday and poured me a Coke. Plate heaped high, I squeezed between Hans, Fritz, and Peter. Just one of the middle-aged German men! That’s me.

German jokes flew fast and furious, as did hugs with the Thai women, and refills of “bier”. Hans glowed increasingly red, and began belting out every song the Classic Rock guitarist strummed. “Brown sugar, how come you taste so good? Brown sugar, just like a young girl should!” I sang along too, because really, who can resist Classic Rock?

The story began to trickle out. As a young German sailor, Hans had seen the world, and all its women. Thirty-seven years ago, he decided to settle down and wed a German woman. They had a son. Two years later, he could no longer stand the endless quarrels, and fled the country. “I don’t know what happened viss my son,” Hans admitted, looking away. “Maybe his mother told him that I am a bad person, but now he will not talk to me. I try to call him always but even though he’s grown now he won’t think for himself to forgive me. I could have taken him around Thailand, shown him so much, but he won’t forgive. For this I say I have no son.”

So Hans arrived in Thailand, wealthy and unencumbered, and soon made his way to one of the massage parlors infamous in Phuket. “Behind zee glass,” explained Hans, “were women paid to sit for twenty four hours to offer massage. They got paid for massage if they got hired, but if no massage zey still have to sit behind the glass all day for no pay.” Here, Hans met/hired Nok, and started to love her. At last he said, “I don’t want you to do massage here. It’s not a good place. I want you to have your own massage parlor, viss your name on it.” Nok, one of many children from a poor rural family, was overjoyed.

In just a year, Nok’s life was completely transformed. Hans found and bought a tract of land in Nai Han beach and ordered construction of a clean new massage hall, with a roofed outdoor restaurant/bar adjacent. Nok’s name appeared on top in blazing red letters, and glossy business cards went with it. “Soon I say to her,” Hans remembered nostalgically, “I love you, I love your young daughter, and I have a big house. Why do you not both live viss me?” And so the wedding and move-in occurred. “Two hundred thousand I paid for the party,” said Hans, shaking his head. “And I pictured us growing old together. But she had other ideas.”

Hans had lived a jolly long life of excess and hedonism, so he told Nok, “I am sixty-eight and you are thirty-five. I cannot always keep up with you, so if you want to stay out late and enjoy, do it.” But this began to spin out of control. Nok got home later and later, drunker and drunker, and began to say she was sleeping at the house of a female friend. “Just tell me,” said Hans. “Don’t give me stories. I just want to know.” One night Nok came back late and drunk and revealed that she had just bought a bar in a town fifteen miles away without consulting Hans. Hans knew he was losing her, and in a few months she asked for a divorce.

“Here is zee stupid thing,” Hans growled. “I married her because I loved her, but also to give her my pension. When I die, vich is ten years, fifteen years, maximum, she would have gotten 60,000 Baht every month, just for doing nothing! She gave all that up when she divorced me! That is so stupid.”

“And now this idiot,” Hans laughed, pointing at the white-haired German gazing worshipfully at Nok across the room, “Now he thinks HE loves her and zat she loves him. HAH! I give it less zan one year before she takes all she can from him and it is still not enough. You cannot blame either one of them. Zey are both good people, but this is what happens.”

Suddenly the smell of gasoline filled the air. “Fire show!” squealed the audience, and five Thai boys sprinted in with blazing torches, spitting gasoline out of their mouths and bursting them into flame balls. The spectacled German man near me slid his hand down the back of his Thai girlfriend’s skirt, and she stared at the twirling fire.

These fire dancers spin torches along their young skin. These German men love and pay. These Thai women love and exchange. Fire play, flame dance, and the glow of possibility and risk!

At this point a German voice shouted, “Oh no! The motobikes!” and we all realized the pyramid of fire-twirlers were inches from the thirty gas tanks. But the show went on, and ended with a flourish and a hat out for money.

“She has found a new sponsor,” said Hans, sipping his Tiger Beer, “and for me, I say never again. Now I make sex viss the young girls each night, and zen live the rest of my life alone, happy. Vee all stay friends, and vee all still love each other, but for me and her, never again.”

At this point I thanked Hans for the kind invitation and bribed one of the Thai women to drive me home through the pouring rain.

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Sue

Monday 21st of May 2018

cambodia has a new law that prevents foreigners over the age of 50 from marrying cambodian women. this is to help prevent the country from turning into another thailand. i think at one point thailand was also considering such a law.

Lillie

Monday 28th of May 2018

Thank you for this update!

Jessica

Sunday 15th of October 2017

As a woman, as a feminist

I don't like this "old 50 something" arms in arms with "young 20 something". Because it's just TOO DISGUSTING. And it goes to both way "I hate cougars" those women have no shame it's hurting my eyes and disgusting. Having sex with someone who have the same age as your father or mother is like having sex with your OWN father or mother. For me a real healthy relationship should be between a man and a woman with 2-10 years difference (maximum 14) I do think, the man need to be older because men need to take the lead, to be respected as older in age (I came from a culture where the younger have to respect the older. The older brother will be seen as leader and responsible of his youger brother....)

But those girls are starving, their family are starving (I mean it's hard to find food to put on the table when you have many sibling, parents, grand-parents...)no job with good income. So they are desperate to be OPEN to this sick and crazy relationship for the sake of money just like prostitution. They can't have any pride. The only way to end this nonesense it to make the standard of living in Thailand higher just like what Japan, SKorea, China did. You won't see young japanese,skorean, chinese arms in arms with old western men for few thousand $$. But if Thailand is not available for this market, I'm sure those desperate oldmen will go to pollute and rape others people life because they have the money.

But those millions $$$$$ sent from all those oldmen from all over the world (Usa, Australia, UK, Germany.....) to Thailand for those young girls and prostitutes is making Thailand richer. It's like INVESTISSMENT. Money from abroad to invest to build, buy houses, cars, create companies, jobs...more and more thailandese have high standard of living which will give them more chance to not to have to prostitutes nor to marry an oldman.

It's a bad thing, but it bring a lot of money to many families. We can't ask them to have pride and reject those oldmen but I hope they see it as "using those oldmen" to make their life better so their children won't have to suffer from this again.

Lillie

Sunday 15th of October 2017

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Jessica.

Diana

Monday 4th of March 2013

Loved your article which actually covers a theme all too familiar to me having spent many years in Asia. The question is, if a young Thai girl had a liveable salary and social security to fall back on, would she 'prostitute' herself with these ageing desperadoes? I'm not saying the men are necessarily bad people all round but I do feel they get what they deserve. If they genuinely think they have the ability to turn on a young girl with anything other than their wallet, then they deserve to be taken to the cleaners. Most of them have failed in their own culture and are now taking advantage of the power they wield over these young and exotic objects of desire by virtue of the financial security they are offering. Poverty can make a girl accept huge compromises. We western women think we would rather starve than share our bodies with such seedy old codgers but, thankfully, most of us have never been put to the test. The fact is that these cashed up self-styled Valentinos do alleviate the financial suffering of their prey and that is a good thing. As for the men, though, my advice to them is to get real and see the whole transaction for what it is. If young women from their own culture don't find them attractive or life-partner material, then probably nor does a young woman from any other culture. So, go ahead and lavish the girls with gifts and free meals and enjoy the pampering she'll give you. But don't complain when you find out she only wanted you for one thing. After all, you are really only after one thing, non? Something I always want to ask these Peter Pan's is, if an old man were trying to seduce their daughter, who is probably older than the girl they are about to bed, how would they feel? Or is it OK if the girl is poor and brown?

Lillie

Monday 4th of March 2013

Powerful points!

TS Bray

Thursday 5th of April 2012

Thanks for the great post; it is an interesting window into the human side of the sex trade. My wife and I love traveling in Thailand, but one of the things we continually turn a blind eye to are the couples -- elderly Western men and a much younger Thai women. Life in the developing world can be cruel and I never fault the women (or ladyboys) who make their living off of these men, but the entire situation is hard to stomach. I often wonder what these men would think if elderly Thai men were wandering the streets of their hometowns with lovely young Western women. Thanks!

Lillie

Thursday 5th of April 2012

Thanks for your comment! So much to ponder and say about it!!!

Imported Blogger Comments

Wednesday 26th of May 2010

Lynne said... I propose a new Schneider/Shane-coined term as a reaction category: Intersgusting (In-ter-skust-ing). It helps to describe situations at the nexus of interesting and disgusting. We used it to describe bull fighting, but you have clearly found other ambiguous territory!

August 28, 2009 3:43 PM

Anonymous said... This is an interesting story. Your constant mocking of the German accent is pretty ignorant though and it makes the article difficult and annoying to read. How many languages do you speak fluently with the perfect accent of a native speaker? Your scorn for these men would carry more weight if you did not seem so culturally ignorant.

November 16, 2009 6:45 PM

Lillie M. said... Anonymous, You bring up a very good point! I wrote this three months ago and have since been struggling with how to accurately write dialogue with accents without being rude. I'll bear your comments in mind.

Thanks, Lillie

November 16, 2009 6:48 PM

Luddy Sr. said... Fascinating story. You truly have a craving for unique experiences and adventures!

For the record I didn't find the tone of the German accent mocking in the least bit. If anything I thought the story lacked judgment when it clearly could have.

December 5, 2009 2:37 AM

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