Thursday, May 24, 2007

age, love, and relationships...

I dont know if i have readers or so.. but i just would like to share this article from icon magazine with you.. this really does make sense.. and this is so relevant to me right now.. :)

--Sugar Daddy Manqué

Well, I have been supporting a tall handsome and slender Ashanti in Ghana for six years, having started when he was beyond innocence and 19. I have periodically helped out a medical student in Manila and a legal student in Batangas, though both in very small doses. I have slept with all three, but not with the last two in several years. That's about it. My Ghanaian friend is a bit far for my support to be a good sexual investment, and I think the reader will know what I mean, sex with him is in fact physiologically dangerous. Since I didn't want to feel I was paying for sex on my illusion that I've never paid for sex--and since my marriage of 14 years was to one of the richest gals of America—and I have a weird insistence on this, I stopped sleeping with the two Filipinos when I started supporting their studies. Thus I could feel I certainly wasn't paying the Ghanaian or the Filipinos for sex.

But am I a sugar daddy? I certainly know a lot about the phenomenon. I know guys in Manila like 'Val' who sit around comparing the allowances they get from their European 'lovers,' and I laugh because I know it'll never last for very long. My sometime friend Ross Collado owns a condo he delights in telling how he 'swindled' out of a departing rich European 'boyfriend' seven years ago. My acquaintance Val seems to have had a four year string of allowance-paying regulars. I have friends who talk for months about their 'boyfriend' whom they are meeting up with in Bangkok, and I only finally realize they haven't actually yet met them. At my principal residence, in Bali, I endured the pleadings of a smart (yes, and stunning) graduate student in psychology from Aceh telling me how much he needed my support, but then I overheard him speaking on his cell phone to a Swiss admirer, telling him to 'add a zero' to the seven hundred euros that was to be transferred from Zurich to Yogyakarta. My friend knew well that, for a Swiss banker, the change really wasn't going to affect his standard of living, but it would certainly change the Indonesian's. The banker added a zero.

Money is involved in all relationships. When I was growing up in America, before women's liberation hit full, a marriage involved a contract where an income earning man turned over much or all of his salary to his wife in return for her housework, the sex, and a small allowance for him. Was he paying for sex? Female birds even look for good providers. It's inherent in the behavior of sensate creatures. Nowadays when there's a substantial imbalance in the property of two people going up the aisle there's likely to be a pre-nuptial agreement. So it's my view that money is always involved in sex and relationships. People who say it isn't are liars.

So what's the big fuss about, if a struggling Filipino student in Tondo asks for financial support from an older gentleman who has pensions or investments from a rich country? There can be plenty that's wrong and that can go wrong.

Let's look at it on a scale of one to ten, ten being simply purchase of flesh for sex. My then boyfriend and I in 1992 were motoring through Eastern France and at a market encountered a seventy-ish man with a twenty-four year old stud, a driver staying at discreet distance. The older man asked me if I knew where there were any bars—any bars for men, as if I were in any doubt. Especially then, I didn't think I looked very bakla, but the presence of my 23 year old boyfriend left little to his imagination I guess. We had lunch with them and while the older man bragged about his good time with the body of Michael, the younger Michael squirmed and talked about his own life—and more to the point used the occasion of the older man's pit stop to whisper that any time he spoke of a man he meant a woman. That was a ten.

Then in Boracay my boyfriend and I were sitting on a terrace and saw another older gwm and younger Filipino chatting, literally the most handsome guy I'd ever seen. Their conversation seemed not too amiable. Again the older, a fat-jawed and paunchy teacher from Detroit was animated and excited about the impending visit to Phuket. This two week annual trip to Asia was his only chance to be himself, away from his wife of forty years. The young one made clear that Phuket came only after the camera had been provided. That was an 8 or a 9. At least he was civil to the man taking him around, though when he followed me into the comfort room and proposed action there I was tempted to give him a ten. I was well advised when we subsequently had a short affair in Manila and he told me 'this time it's real love,'--but only if I provided a weekly subsidy. I thought a four instantly became a seven, but I know some readers will find this self-serving.

In Bali I know a man who seems like the pied piper he has so many boys around his neck—despite his girth and constant drinking. 'What,' I ventured to ask one of his attachments, was his attraction? I tried to pose it as if there were many of these and I wasn't at all jealous. 'He's so nice,' a beguiling young man said, who'd been living with him for a month, but wasn't to much longer. 'And he gives such nice presents.' I'd say this was about a five or six.

In the three or four category are those couples I've known where a sharp difference in age parallels that of income and however much love is present there is a division of roles that tends to follow the division of income: one drives a nicer car, buys good liquor for himself, and, in one case I know, expects his much younger boyfriend to tie his shoes. There isn't equality, but there certainly is love. Customarily, the younger doesn't ask for prebends, allowances, or doles. He works, can provide for his own basic needs, but expects his lover to pay for just about everything else.

One relationship I was involved in was with a successful professional half my age where the only

way we could take trips to Europe or even to neighboring countries was if I paid. High Filipino salaries for thirty-something guys won't cut it for international travel but I certainly didn't want to travel alone. He had the usual monthly transfers any young working Filipino from modest family has, to his mother, and all the usual expenses at home whether he was traveling with me or not. In four years he never asked me for a peso, which is one of the reasons I guess I tried to treat him with serious generosity.

On a spectrum of sugar-daddydom, I thought that was a 'one.' I believed he loved me, at least for the first four years we were together, and he plainly wasn't in it for the money. The only times I ever had even an inkling of doubt was when he reminded me he didn't want anything from me. He didn't need to say it.

At a crisis time—when my boyfriend had found a new boyfriend but after seven months wanted to come back to me, a medical professional age 27, who wanted to replace him, suggested that friend #1 was just in any case looking for a sugar daddy, to which friend #1 replied 'well, let him have your money, I just want you.' It would be hard to have found a more telling answer. Nonetheless, things had crashed and for the period of my absence he had used my car, house, and other possessions to entertain another man, (along with his many friends) an unemployed reputedly HIV-positive and chubby guy who is now an accused felon running international scams and whom I despised.

What happened subsequently invoked the 'Cromer of Cairo' principle. Perhaps apocryphally, lord Milner reported to his boss, the great Lord Cromer then the resident-general of Britain in Egypt, that a pasha was plotting to assassinate him. 'But pray what have I done for him lately?' was the famous reply. I think that this is what happens eventually in any financially unequal relationship. There is just an overwhelming desire to bite the hand that feeds you; in my case he clawed off the arm that had fed him. Filipino culture has strong strictures of utang na loob but these simply don't exist in gay culture here, in my experience. In Filipino gay culture, walanghiya is the war cry and operative symptom.

In my case my boyfriend I fear had taken my support for granted, (and I had taken him for granted.) When we went back together it had to be on a basis of equality: we no longer ate at Greenbelt II every night with me paying—we ate only at places that he could afford, and we alternated. I insisted that, since he had managed to pay for gas to go use my house on Lake Taal for all those months with his paramour, he could afford to share that with me too. Since he had managed for the first time in five years to scoop up guests by the dozen to show off his new love—at my house—I thought that in any future entertainment we should share that burden too. He agreed to pay a substantial amount over a period of years to cover the entire legal, monthly, car repair and house maintenance expenses that proceeded from and were occasioned by his steamy affair behind my back. I went to court to get back the damages all the others had caused—stealing from me, slandering me at my very house, etc. At the time of writing many subpoenas have been issued, and I think many of these guys have had second thoughts about the wisdom of ripping off an absent host, in this case one who had entertained all of them over the years one-sidedly. Walanghiya was proving expensive.

Obviously in the new stage I still paid the big-ticket item of our two houses in the Philippines and my villa in Bali, but now we shared the cash-flow. There could be no doubt that it worked much better. It meant my boyfriend had to value what we were buying, and I was learning about street food and a lot else in Filipino culture. I was pretty sure he'd never feel the need again to bite the hand feeding him, since he'd be biting his own this time.

In American gay culture, it is commonly said that, if an older man has a younger boyfriend, it isn't an 'if' question but a 'when' question of the younger's departure; his options are so much greater. Differences of wealth are overwhelmingly, in gay culture, differences in age. But age isn't such a discriminant in Asian gay culture. It really is possible for young men to love older men, and not solely—or not even much at all, in my own case, I believe—because of their greater financial options. But the lesson I've learned is, if you—the older and richer guy--really want it to work, don't insist on living at your customary standard of living. Live so your boyfriend feels comfortable, so it's not out of his own reach. Sure you'll save a lot of money you don't really need. But if you really love him, he'll inherit it anyway. Ask yourself: which will you enjoy more—his presence and love until you bop off, or the money that you 'can't take with you' in any case?


really nice article, isnt it? well for me, age really is not an issue.. the focus should be maturity.. being 60 doesnt always equate to being mature you know.. as does being 24 or so...


The boy with the tambourine said...

The big difference between sex for money and sex for free is that sex for money usually costs a lot less.
Brendan Behan

Anonymous said...

I personally know the guy who wrote the story and even the name that was mentioned, "ross collado."I was disappointed how ICON used the name that was not a generic (Juan Dela Cruz) thus damaging the reputation of an innocent guy.
The writer, Williard Scott Thompson is a dirty old gay guy feasting on minors in Makati and on his villa in Balas, Talisay, Batangas.
I got one hundred stories to tell about him...

normalgayguy said...

oh gosh..what are those stories? :)