Darika answers your questions from those looking for love

Dear Darika:

I am a middle-aged Canadian living in Hong Kong and have been a very frequent visitor to Thailand over the past 25 years clocking up more than 200 round trips. In spite of this, I cannot honestly say that I have any true Thai friends. I thought about this paradox the other day and put it down to incompatibility - different languages and cultures as well as a massive difference in salaries/income. But at the same time I have discovered that Thai guys always have problems and when they think the time is right then they throw these problems at you. Invariably they are all about money. I take the view that we all have problems but we should take responsibility to solve those problems as mature individuals.

Have I been unlucky or do all foreigners have a similar fate?

Darika has tried her best to take no umbrage at being thought of as caustic.

Perhaps your answer lies in the fact that you visited the Kingdom an average of eight times a year, presumably for the kind of sanook that is difficult to find in Hong Kong. Sadly, you are here only as a visitor. You come and you go, thus you attract people who can find nothing enduring in a relationship with you. You have become an "eating friend," or someone who is not a friend at all, but comes in handy when a meal is available. Thais are not immune to broken hearts, and nobody wants a boyfriend who is not around for the bad times as well as the good unless, of course, they provide some alternate comfort during their absence.

Darika cannot be sure where you are looking for friends during your visits, but suspects you may be spending your time in popular drinking establishments and places where towels are worn, which are also popular with Thais looking for the aforesaid meal. While you might find a rising star in the world of finance, medicine or rocket science in such places, they are probably not looking for you. Most such young men want someone who will be around for a while. Perhaps you should look for a position as a visiting lecturer at a prestigious university here which would give you access to a more affluent group of Thais.

While it might seem that Thai men consider you little more than a bag of money with legs, it is probably unfair to paint all of them with this brush. Nevertheless, many young men here are needy and have come to learn that their good looks and special skills have intrinsic value. Historically, those who are older and financially secure have become patrons to those younger who want to advance their lives.

Such a tradition is not exclusively Thai. Sadly, many thousands of foreigners over the decades have been all too eager to open their wallets at the first sign of a sad story. The family cow dies and a visitor gleefully enriches the Thai economy by buying is own personal boy. We share the blame for this pervasive and naughty behavior by encouraging it, so let us not blame local folk who learn all too quickly.

If it is any consolation, Darika has visited Hong Kong many times and enjoys evenings at Game Boy and Wyndham Street bars, but has never cemented enduring relationships. What good would a boyfriend in Hong Kong do me anyway?


Dear Darika;

This has been driving me crazy!! I've been living here for a year and eight months now. This has been happening lately and again this past weekend: I approached a cute young one who was immediately and obviously interested in me... we chatted only briefly... he was all smiles... then he went back over to his gaggle of friends... as I approached the cloche, one boy whispered something to "my" boy... and he turned away... would not talk to me or even acknowledge my existence anymore...

What have I done? I know I've been a butterfly... but how is one to meet "the right" one without kicking a few tires? Or could it be that I've frequented (a high end sauna)? Or that I'm no longer a "rich falang" on vacation... but just a poor English teacher... Am I scarred for life? On a blacklist now? I've heard that once on a Thai boy blacklist you can never get off (pun intended)! I know DJ Station is "just lookin for luv in the wrong places"... but still furious and curious.

Close your eyes for a moment and imagine yourself as a piece of jewelry (Darika is fond of bracelets)--not the kind of fun diamond bauble you would find at Harry Winston, but a bangle dripping with dangling charms from the kind of low-end chain store that offers its own credit plans. Imagine that you are bracelet from Zales (a chain of stores that sell lower-priced, tacky jewelry and watches). What Your Boy did was wrap you around his wrist and display you to his group of friends as if to say "how does this look on me?" Since none of the other boys have a nice bracelet--cheap or otherwise--they probably said something like, "Looks really tacky to me. Can't you get something a little nicer?"

Before you wallow in any self pity that you have been treated ruthlessly by this band of sissy thugs, ask yourself if they might have imagined themselves not as a piece of decorative jewelry, but a big, raw slab of red meat displayed on someone's platter. Or a tire that has been kicked one too many times. And just what kind of treatment do you expect at a place like the disco you mentioned?

Honestly, there is a far finer class of people out there who do not hang around places like said discotheque and are not burdened with lofty standards that they somehow believe they are entitled to. Darika has not set foot in a disco in twenty years and is now dating a lab technician, a security guard and the sommelier in fashionable restaurant that she would not otherwise be able to afford. We are all having fun with meat and jewelry of our own.

Love, Darika


Hi Darika,

So sad to know that what I am going to ask you falls under the subjects you may decline to answer. However, I am still trying to contact you with a hope that you can help me in some way.

I am an Asian guy and my friend is an Aussie guy. We unexpectedly met each other once in BKK a month ago when we were both on holiday. Things coming in naturally between us were astonishingly wonderful. We had a wonderful time together. I was heart-broken when saying goodbye to him (and subsequently I know he had similar feelings). We are still writing, texting and talking over the phone to each other. I said I love him a week ago though we are currently oceans away from each other. He is a bit conservative as he had bad experience in gay love with a thai guy before. So he rarely uses the word LOVE with me. I feel sad indeed. My question is: Do you really believe in gay love? (I have never loved anyone else though I am 28 now and I have heard that gay love is fragile in nature). Was I too impulsive to say I love him? What could I do to help him overcome this fear and help him live with his true feelings for someone?

While reading your letter Darika was about to press the "delete" button until she came to the end. Normally I do not get involved in the inevitable drama of foreigners and their long-distance relationships with Thai men. However, something you said you irritated the hell out of me, so you have earned an answer.

Where did you get this idiotic right-wing Christian notion that gay love might not exist? Who is to say that gay love is any different than straight love? Who taught you that one kind of love is any more or less fragile than the other? If you have a capacity to love--and to define what love means to you in the first place--you are no less entitled to hold someone in your heart than anyone else.

To use the "L" word is not very Thai. That fact that you are 28 and have never before shared your feelings with anyone verbally may not be unusual but is obviously a big step for you and something you should be proud of. Considering your friend's past experience and his "conservative" nature, however, this might have come off as a sales pitch rather than a genuine expression of your feelings. (Young Thai men are somewhat stigmatized. A few cold-blooded young Thai lads have rather spoiled things for the rest of you.) Now that you have said the magic word, however, it's best that you concentrate on showing him what you feel rather than telling him. Can you help him overcome his fear? Probably not. He needs to work on that himself, and men his age loathe working on themselves.

In the mean time, go to the Australian embassy and get a visa application. Miracles can happen when you are in love. At least you will have something convenient to rip to shreds when you figure out that he is just an opportunist and/or far more complicated than you are prepared to deal with. That's why Darika has a dog. They are stupid and love you unconditionally. What could be more perfect? Want a puppy?


Dear Darika,

I have just recently returned from holiday in China. While on holiday I felt closely attracted to a national tour guide we had. I felt in my heart he was gay & that the attraction was mutual, but because of his job and me being with other people, it was hard to try to get to talk to him I felt very frustrated because I was unable to show my true feelings, even though in my mind I know he felt the same way. We did exchange emails & address's AND he has offered me and my other friends to stay with him if we ever go back. It's been 5 weeks now and I have sent a number of emails to him but of yet have had no reply. Am I just being impatient or am wasting my time & dignity?

Thank you for bringing your dilemma to my doorstep.

First, is the guide gay? Who knows? Maybe he doesn't even know himself. In most of Asia, "gay" is an idea you bring with you. While sexual encounters between people of the same sex are not unusual, the idea of two guys living together, sharing a dog, going to brunch on Sundays and playing canasta with other gay couples is a concept from a different world. Things in China are changing at lightening speed, so gay as a lifestyle concept is bound to catch on quickly. Why don't you just ask this guy which side of the toast he likes to put his butter?

Does the guide remember you passionately and dream of you in his arms? Even if he is not "gay" by your definition, the chances are slim. Darika makes no secret of the fact that she paid her way through Stanford's MBA program on her back. In these days long ago I was not the pathetic old dump I am now. Using the name "Steve Stunning" in my ads in sleezy San Francisco pulp throw-aways, I had the men lined up with money in their hands. I loved and occasionally even enjoyed every one of them, and promised each my undying love. They liked hearing that. If I happened to pass one on the street by accident, though, I would surely smile but probably not remember meeting them.

While your friend's product is obviously far different than mine was, the process is practically the same. He may been an exemplary host and even hoped for a nice friendship with a foreigner. However, the queue has moved along and new visitors are demanding his time and attention. Don't blame him for that, or yourself for wasting or losing anything.

You had a magical experience in China and that should be enough to keep your dignity intact. Hoping for anything more is not very realistic.


Pa Darika,

Nui and I are best friends since we were eight. We went to the same schools. We both knew we were gay from the start, so we always depend on each in many ways.

We have never been in serious relationships. We like sex a lot. Even with each other long time ago. But now we like farang, and we usually dating two or three guys at the same time. When one of us meets a guy and we begin to spend time together the other does his best to steal the guy away. It is a fun game we play with each other and we always laugh together when we are finished.

Now I met someone new and the game started again. Nop slept with him already on the first week and they are still having sex sometimes. But I am in love with this guy and I feel really serious that I want to marry him. My problem is that Nui has feelings for my boyfriend also. I can already see big problems between Nui and me. How to get out of this?

Love, Bop

Your story is missing some crucial facts. Does the foreigner know that you and Nop are friends? Does he know that you know you are both sleeping with him? You also say nothing about how your "boyfriend" feels towards either of you. If he is still screwing Nop I doubt that he has the same serious feelings about you that you have for him. Assuming the worst, he is playing his own game with both of you. (Karma, darling.)

The first sentence of this reply was originally "Dump him." But now that I have thought about it I really do not see why you need to change anything except your attitude, which is competitive and greedy. Mr. No-Name seems to be happy with both of you and you both seem to be happy with him. Why not share? And considering your history, my dear, you will both probably soon tire of him and move along to the next foreigner anyway.

When you feel the time is right to settle down, you should marry Nop. You are perfect for each other. You are indeed faad Siam (Siamese twins).


I have been saving myself for the right guy, but I have not find what I have been looking for? I even go to sauna many many time without finding someone I like. What am I doing wrong?

-- Somboon

Khun Somboon,

You did not say much about yourself or why you think you think you are unsuccessful. Unless you are very unattractive or you are boring or not so interesting in bed, it is difficult to give you good advice. However, let me answer by telling you about my friend "Best."

Best is 36 but still looks 24. Because of his movie star looks, girls follow him and boys ask him for his telephone number. He has a very good education, a good job and more money than he needs. Although he sounds like the perfect man Best has complained since he was twenty that he can not find a boyfriend. He sometimes meets handsome guys at places like Sake or Plern Harbor but they never seem to last. I have to confess that I was one of his conquests ten years ago and still remember vividly how pleasing he was in the bedroom. It did not take much time, however, for him to lose interest in me.

After knowing him for many years it has become clear to me that Best does not have a boyfriend because he really does not want a boyfriend. His brain and his heart are saying two different things. In Best's case, he is simply too picky. Nobody is good enough for him (including me). He finds imperfection in everyone he meets.

Although I do not know enough about you to solve your problem, I do want you to know that "Mr. Perfect" died in a plane crash in 1996. We all miss him. However, the world is full of wonderful people who have a lot to offer and are also looking for love. One more thing. Do you really think you can find the love of your life in a sauna? If you are not getting enough attention in places like that, maybe you should leave your towel in the locker.