Darika answers your questions about homophobia....
I am a straight white male, fully shaved except eyebrows. I love to show it off. I'd like to go to a gay bathhouse with my girlfriend, who likes to show too. Is that possible? We're both gay-friendly, including touching anywhere.
At first Darika was mortified when she read your letter. After further contemplation, however, I would love to know when and where you plan this adventure so I can be there to witness it myself. The thought of 100 screaming queens escaping from a darkened maze with towels flapping behind them is indeed exhilarating.
"Gay-friendly" means "tolerant." I do not find the idea of being molested by a shaven heterosexual and/or a naked female to be particularly tolerant of my pursuit to indulge in same-sex pleasures in a steam room. Your visit would not likely engender the tolerance of those who you touch.
Darika knows of only one successful female foray into the one of the few places gay men still have entirely to themselves. Years ago, a gay friend was able to smuggle his skinny Japanese woman friend into Babylon. She wore a robe and kept her hands to herself and was thoroughly bored by he entire episode. Unless your girlfriend is Bette Midler, she will probably not get any farther past the front than Darika could unless she is flat-chested and can slip out of her clothes and into a towel without anyone detecting that she lacks a piece of equipment that is essential to enjoying a visit to a bath house.
Unless you go alone, which would make you a gay-touching bisexual exhibitionist, your fantasy is not particularly practical. It might be better for the two of you to rent a gay porno movie, stay at home, and show off to each other.
Dear Pa Darika,
Recently I returned to my home town to spend some time with my mother. On my last afternoon there I visited one of my aunts. Her next door neighbor was also visiting her. The things this woman said to me were very shocking. She said she knew I had afarang boyfriend. (This is true.) She said this made me a prostitute and that I allowed him to have sex with me (actually she said some words that were much more crude) for money. I do not know if my aunt was embarrassed or not because she said nothing. I was so stunned that I had to leave. Ever since then I have been very angry. I really love my boyfriend and I have a job and my own money. I feel like I need to do something or say something to make these bad feelings stop, but I am confused about what to do. -Natt
I am very sad to hear stories like yours. Almost all of us have an experience like this some time in our lives. Some of us have many. It is a painful lesson about stupidity and hate. Nobody, especially an ignorant village woman, can understand your life and your relationship with the one you love. Darika's advice is for you to talk with your boyfriend about this. I know this is very difficult but you will feel much better if you share your pain with someone who loves you.
Since you are very close to your family one of the most important things you can do is to take your boyfriend toyour home town to meet them. Obviously they already know about him so you have the opportunity to show them you that he is a good man and that you take good care of each other. As for your aunt's neighbor, the world is full of ignorant old women with bad mouths, so do not make her more important than she really is. If it will make you feel any better, you can imagine her on the front page of Thai Rath, naked, riddled with bullets and laying in a pool of blood. That always works for me.
I (Thai, good looking 31 yrs.) have been dating 25 yrs. Aussy guy for one year and 8 months. He's from italian and strict catholic family. The issue is he admits that he has homophobia and commitment-phobia. I've found that very difficult to deal with this/his situation. I decided to leave him but soon enough I find myself back into his arms again. He's a nice guy except that 2 issues and more thing: he REALLY hesitates a lot about having us. What should I do?
-- Nid Noi in Chiang Mai
Dear Nid Noi,
During her many years of experience Darika has dated her share of Italian Catholics, Egyptian Moslems, Thai Buddhists, Canadian athiests, and even the Princess of Dade County, a breathtaking Jewish boy from Miami. (His middle name was Troy and he had at least twelve pair of loafers but only one pair of socks.) While culture and religion play a role in forming attitudes and patterns of behavior, Darika has found that screwed up people come from virtually every background, religion and caste. It seems you have found one of your own.
First, Darika is curious what your young man wants from you if not your love. Is it companionship? Money? Or just sex? You have clearly identified what you want from him that he is not giving you? Have you also identified what he is giving you that you have not asked for yet enjoy? If your relationship is more than just a horizontal tango he may be loving you the only way he learned how. Or he could just be using you as an easy dance partner.
Your most troubling comment is about your friend's admitted homophobia. This attitude is not as rare as you might think and it is practically impossible to change. The sad reality is that if he can not love and accept himself he can not love or accept anyone else, including you.
This guy sound far too complicated and challenging for my taste. As I grow older I am far less interested in repairing damaged people as I was when I was your age. Playing daddy, mommy and psychiatrist to screwed up boyfriends never got me anything except tears and debt. Honestly, the prospects of you getting what you want from this man seem pretty small. Maybe it is time to move on. Perhaps if you find yourself in some else's arms instead of his, he will look at circumstances differently. Perhaps not.
I suspect that your friend is also uncomfortable with your relationship. But before you dump him, I want you to try one last thing. For just one hour pretend you are him. Try to think like him and react like him and reason like he does. And while you are in his place please write Darika a letter asking for her advice about his relationship with you. If you do this from your heart you will have the final answer about the future of your relationship.