Away We Go...
Jacqueline Massey Paisley Passey suggests:
I realize that some of you will find this post depressing because you’ll realize that you don’t qualify as a high quality man and thus won’t be able to get a high quality woman. You have a few options: [...]Cryptic Ned observes:
2. Look in the developing world. If you’re literate with a home computer and an internet connection you are very wealthy compared to the rest of the world. Citizenship or legal permanent residency in a rich country makes you more attractive to women in poorer countries. Your value on the dating market is thus much higher there.
I thought her second suggestion was a good reminder. It's amazing that virtually anyone who's struggling in America could move to a town in the developing world and instantly have wealth and power w.r.t. everyone around him, and yet nobody does. Where's our conquering, settler spirit?Some people, however, actually do do this:
Years ago there was a series of long posts on the Thorn Tree by an ex-pat in Alma Ata. He was amazing because he was completely upfront about being a despicable person. He was entirely aware that he was living up to the worst of himself; he’d resigned himself to the trap of living well in a third world country. He hated Alma Ata, thought it was an ugly soviet concrete city. He hated Russians and Kazakhs alike for being racist peasant gangsters. He was bored shitless at his do-nothing job for some aid agency. He despised himself for whoring, couldn’t remember the last time he’d fucked a girl who liked him or could have refused his relative wealth and power.Food for thought? Sounds like a bad dude. Surely this is the main theme of one of the many well-known vaguely contemporary novels I haven't read. If so, let me know, I think I'd like to read that one.
And yet, he knew he would stay as long as he could. He couldn’t resist the advantage he got just for being American; it was all too easy. In Alma Ata, he was important enough to include in the nightly drinking with the big boys. He was fucking more and more beautiful women than he thought he could even approach at home. He could live cheap and have a maid and a driver and eat well (except that he hated Kazakh food). He had no demands on him, no civic life in a land where he was an irrelevant stranger, no family to demand his attention, not even the daily chores of living.
August 20, 2006 | Permalink
If I option his story, whom do you see playing the lead role?
Seriously, that guy is going to die with multiple terminal STD's.
Posted by: apantomimehorse | Aug 20, 2006 4:54:53 PM
"Prague" by Arthur Phillips is sorta like this. I imagine that's the one you're thinking of--American (and a Canadian) expats in post-Cold War Eastern Block generally screw around and sometimes act like assholes. And "You Shall Know Our Velocity" by Dave Eggars deals with the relative social and financial power middle class Americans can have in the third world.
Posted by: justin | Aug 20, 2006 5:09:27 PM
I actually read Prague but it's not really the same.
Has seriously nobody written a novel about an American loser who goes to the third world and whores it up incessantly?
On my Blog (from the UK) I'm asking who will take the White House in 2008? What do you think? who's your favourite? http://lukejyoung.blogspot.com/2006/08/america-decides-08-who-will-win.html
please join in
Isn't the JMPP's original post the most pathetic thing you've ever read.
Posted by: Ted | Aug 20, 2006 6:04:40 PM
Some years ago I spent a few weeks in a central American country. I didn't whore and I didn't treat any locals badly - I was very well behaved in point of fact - but I did notice a couple of things:
1) I was relatively rich. The contents of my wallet, while pathetic at home, were enough so that I could go anywhere I wanted, eat at a decent restaurant whenever I wanted, and have a roof over my head whenever I wanted at a price I could afford. I never once worried about money while I was there.
2) I was tall! Although I'm below average height at home, I was well above average there. It makes a huge amount of diffence in terms of how safe you feel in a public square at night, for example, if you're a good four inches taller than the next fellow.
Posted by: PDJones | Aug 20, 2006 7:01:14 PM
I think what you are looking for is a Michel Houellebecq novel like Platform.
They are about French losers who whore in the third world. The novels even win prizes, IIRC.
Posted by: otto | Aug 20, 2006 7:54:26 PM
No offense to Otto, but I'd advise against Houllebecq. He is a simply vile man.
Both of Gary Shteyngart's books - The Russian Debutante's Handbook and Absurdistan - deal with a lot of these issues, but both from the perspective of a Ruso-American Jewish kid raised in the States from age 10 (as Shteyngart was), who then finds himself back in the Eastern Bloc, living absurdly well but imperiled. They're a total stitch, too; and if you can ever find Shteyngart's profile of T.A.T.U. from the New Yorker a few years back, it's one of the funniest and best magazine profiles I've ever read.
Houllebecq is truly hateful and vile. Platform is nothing but a racist, misogynist thought experiment rigged by its creator to arrive at a pre-determied result.
I would recommend Tod A's blog about his travels in South and South-East Asia, where he fled cause he couldn't put up with the States after Bush's reelection:
Isn't the JMPP's original post the most pathetic thing you've ever read.
Thanks for saying that first. I feel like a bitch, but after reading that post, I can't imagine why anybody sane (I assume a prerequisite for "quality") would want to date her.
...Not, of course, that I really understand why anyone wants to date anyone. I like fucking and I like interesting relationships (and I'll settle for the first alone if I can't have both), but dating is such a hellish way to get to either of those desirable outcomes.
Posted by: flippantangel | Aug 20, 2006 11:28:15 PM
That's pretty much the theme of Mark Ames' Moscow-based webzine The eXile:
But Gary Brecher's War Nerd columns in The eXile justify the existence of the Web.
There was a time in my life when I would've been attracted to Jackie Passey on the basis of that post. Of course, at that point I was so hard up that I was relying on David Lewis' theory of modal realism to get myself a non-actual but real girlfriend in a faraway possible world.
Former Soviet countries? Everybody knows that the SE Asia sexpat is the ne plus ultra of the type. You want bad dudes, meet my former neighbors, Carl and Clint.
Posted by: Wade | Aug 21, 2006 5:13:33 AM
Kildar did this in Eastern Europe - http://www.webscription.net/chapters/1416520643/1416520643.htm?blurb
with a bunch of S&M & right wing stuff - such that even the author wasn't entirely comfortable with it:
Posted by: Stacy | Aug 21, 2006 5:26:17 AM
Try Lermontov's "A Hero of Our Time" - a great book, way ahead of
its time. Or William Boyd's "A Good Man in Africa".
Posted by: Richard Cownie | Aug 21, 2006 7:39:47 AM
The Quiet American by Graham Greene has some elements of this sort of thing, although it's far from the central theme of the book. On the other hand, it's a great, great book despite the relative paucity of third world whoring.
Posted by: Doug T | Aug 21, 2006 7:49:59 AM
There was a time in my life when I would've been attracted to Jackie Passey on the basis of that post.
Saddest sentence ever written on the Intertubes?
Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Aug 21, 2006 9:12:46 AM
Hey, neat, a subject I'm qualified to comment on!
Well, I have actually done it. I was a struggling tech worker in Silicon Valley in the ugly beginnings of this century. After several months of unemployment followed by retreat to a job in the public sector paying less than $20k, I bade farewell to the only country I had ever known, and moved to Chile.
It was a brilliant decision. Being a tech worker here, or even being able to act like one, practically guarantees you a good-paying job. And since I'm a cut above the Chilean high-tech worker, I make more in real-dollar terms here than I did in the United States. (Yes, I'm paying off my massive American credit card debt on a third-world salary. And the exchange rate keeps getting better!)
My purchasing power extends much farther here than it ever could in the U.S. (For one thing, if I owned a home in the U.S., I'd be farther in debt that I can even imagine.) And it is certainly a fringe benefit that I don't have to think about what awful things my tax dollars are paying for.
(Oh, but I got married before I came here, so Miss Passey's point is somewhat peripheral. But I can assure you all that she is not un-correct: if you're looking for a woman who is attracted to you for your money, then you will be more attractive in the third world. QED. However, I add that if you're this sort of person, you probably won't be happy in the third world.)
If anyone wants to ask me any followup questions (for instance: can you get me a job even if I don't speak Spanish? Answer: Probably) then email me since I might not check this blog again.
Posted by: neil | Aug 21, 2006 11:23:46 AM
There is a section (probably the funniest part) of Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections that touches on this theme (although really the point of the section is a satire of Late Capitalism, particularly the dot-com hype era).
I liked the book as whole, though.
Didn't you spend some time in Eastern Europe, MY? Were you big ballin', smashin', makin' your ends?
Posted by: J | Aug 21, 2006 3:10:16 PM
Let me throw out there that this depravity may be accomplished without actually leaving the states. I moved to El Paso for a couple of years for professional reasons and suceeded in knocking the back out of just about everything.
Posted by: MP | Aug 21, 2006 3:51:37 PM
Don't worry, Tim, I'm a lot better now.
Say what you will about Platform, but the Elementary Particles and Whatever were pretty decent. He's gone downhill since then; the Possibility of an Island is much less interesting than his earlier work. But his themes of disillusionment and nihilism seem pretty standard in french literature.
Posted by: mwl | Aug 21, 2006 4:33:19 PM
Jackie is in *extreme* need of a major dose of humility. What an ego.
Can we please please please set Jackie up with this guy? We could make millions, nay, billions on the reality-tv rights.
"Seriously, that guy is going to die with multiple terminal STD's."
I always think this kind of statement is the last refuge of those who are jealous of somebody else for getting laid a lot.
As Sailer said above, check out the Whore-R stories in the Exile. I think one thing about Russia vs. Asia is that the women in Russia actually look like the physical type of the unattainable high-status woman here in the U.S., while Southeast Asians are a different race.
Houllebecq is pretty brilliant, though depressing. Keeps writing the same novel over and over again though. The first is probably the best.
Posted by: MQ | Aug 21, 2006 11:02:35 PM
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