That is the title of a recent article in the Financial Post 12th February 2008 by Karen Mazurkewich. Her
aim is on the sexual indiscretions of expat men posted abroad. She writes:
“Infidelity happens around the world, but for expatriates on assignment
in Asia, the combination of cultural isolation, career-obsessed spouses and a
pervasive sex industry adds further pressure to a marriage. The city of Hong
Kong has been called the "graveyard of marriages" and exclusive Bangkok
nightclubs targeting foreigners, such as Pent Exclusive Club, have been dubbed
"weapons of mass destruction for families" by local journalists.
specifically about the night scene, Mazurkewich observes:
temptations in Asia are greater than elsewhere. In cities like Taipei, Beijing,
Hong Kong and Bangkok, the sex industry centres on business districts and
hotels. A single man will almost always receive unsolicited calls in his hotel
room, and local bars like Pent Exclusive Club in Bangkok have developed an
exclusive clientele by inviting university-educated women seeking foreign or
"fareng" (sic) husbands to flirt with the men at the bar.”
The article has churned up a number of controversial views on
Thaivisa forum The consensus on the forum was the author
didn’t do her research.
Mazurkewich’s article is nicely balanced against
a recent review titled One Man’s Odyssey into ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ by Elizabeth
Gilbert. Rolf Pott takes aim at this best-selling trans-global travel.
What Pott’s does is switch the gender of the hero in Eat, Pray, Love from a woman to a man, and asked whether such a book would
have received the same acclaim. In other words, if the books had been written by
a guy about a guy (rather than the woman) who dumps his spouse, and takes up
with women as he travels through Italy, India and Bali, there would have been
massive outrage. Assuming anyone would publish such a book in the first place.
Potts then asks: “Do you think American women would embrace this book
and turn it into a bestseller? Or do you think American women would react with
hostility at such a self-absorbed, culturally oblivious and vaguely sexist
narrative? No doubt it would be the latter reaction—and I would be reduced to
dodging rotten fruit at book readings.”
There is a lively comments section that follows Pott’s article.
Also have a look at the reviewers comments on amazon.com as they review Eat,
Pray, Love. The reviewers show widely different takes on the book. A woman’s
spiritual quest that includes much bedroom time is somehow viewed as
self-discovery. If it were a man, as Pott’s suggest, then this narrative with
its theme of searching for a woman is by its very nature exploitation, not
discovery. Abusive rather than self-revelatory. A corruption of a tormented soul
as opposed to soul on the road to enlightenment. There is a double standard. One
jury for men, another for women, applying different rules and standards, and
reaching vastly different outcomes.
Having read both Rolf Pott’s piece
and that of Karen Mazurkewich’s article, you can’t help but conclude that the
gender divide is alive and well and each side selectively chooses their targets
of opportunity. In The Risk of Infidelity Index, Vincent Calvino enters the world of Bangkok expat housewives
and by so doing takes the reader into the anxiety and fears experienced by many
such women. It is interesting that Mazurkewich’s research missed RISK in her
research into this field. Not that it would have necessarily changed her mind
but it might have broaden her perspective.