Once upon a time, in an Internet cafe in Kiev, in a nice neighbourhood by the metro station “Palats’ Ukraiina,” a middle-aged Englishman, unshaven and full of bile, was having problems. The cafe attendant, Slava, could not help, despite his pretty good English. Slava knew my mother, and, therefore, knew me and the fact that I lived in the States, and probably spoke fluent English, so he tapped me on the shoulder and asked for my help.
I rode over in my rolling chair. Yuck. The Englishman was surfing a pseudo-pornographic “dating site,” complete with naughty pictures, and trying to get directions to a “meeting spot” with a “Ukrainian lovelie.”
He grew embarrassed when he saw my eyes widen, told me that he didn’t need any help, paid, and scuttled out.
Next time I ran into him there, I wasn’t so lucky. Suddenly, he wanted to know my name, what I did, why my English was so “excellent.” Even in the air-conditioned enclave of the Internet cafe, sweat (slime?) oozed out from his pores. I imagined a young girl fucking his tubby body for money, or a chance to go to England, or a nice meal, or even a half-way decent meal. He pouted when I told him I went to an American university. He said he wanted to meet my friends, “go out with the young folks sometime,” and winked and reached out to pat my hand.
It was absurd and degrading, the idea that he would automatically think me and my friends to be sexually available or even remotely interested in his fat ass, because we were Ukrainian (and poor and desperate and foolish) and he was English (and clever and cunning and wealthy by our meager standards).
There was the aging asshole, also English, who sat next to me on a plane from London to Kiev. This one came with the intention of “marrying” a woman he met through a dating site. I kept in touch with him through e-mail and quickly learned that the “marriage” did not work out, and that he was moving on to “other beautiful girls.” I caught myself hoping that these “beautiful girls” pumped him for every single pence, but what was that going to change?
These apes walk around with their hairy arms around young women, drunk with all the power their money can buy, cock-sure and yet pathetic, some of them seemingly timid, others that look like the pictures of serial killers from lurid true-crime paperbacks. I don’t see them very often in Kiev, but then again, I rarely inhabit their haunts. An English-language movie at the cinema, however, will lure them out of their holes in droves, the latest blonde/brunette/redhead accessory dutifully resting her head on their shoulder in the semi-darkness.
People will say, “oh, but NATALIA! You judgmental skank! Perhaps some of them have real relationships.” Perhaps. But if you come to a place with the notion of purchasing love, whether consciously or subconsciously, how “real” is the bloody arrangement going to be?
Others might say that the women and girls are empowered through this. Well, if they are extremely calculating and in no way emotionally involved, then there is a chance that yes, they are. In Kiev, I have spoken to a number of younger and older women who felt like “making use” of a foreigner’s money, coupled with his blind desire for sex, was no big deal. But they also talked about the fact that this is a practical arrangement that requires a lot of sacrifice, and that they, more often than not, secretly despise these so-called suitors.
Hearing that some Western women are also engaging in these practices irks me to no end. All these fake “empowerment” issues are just excuses to treat poorer people like bathroom tissue, and then sit back and talk about how “progressive” we are. Doood, exploiting people for personal enjoyment? – Not progressive. Not cool. Get another hobby. Find a real relationship. Join a book-club. Hell, I’d rather have people watching Bill O’Reilly, and yes, I am typing this with a straight face.
4 thoughts on “Slimy Sex-Tourists and I (…not a musical)”
very nice blog!mary
I agree with you completely, Natalia. As a regular midwestern American guy sincerely trying to meet a nice girl (and of my own age) from Ukraine or Russia (I’m even teaching myself Russian), this stuff upsets and angers me no end. All these fat, rich, old perverts make me sick – I’d like to hunt them like the vermin they are. Or see them end up in “The Zone” in Moscow, like I saw on NatGeo, then we’d see who gets fucked! LOL
natalia – i have a genuine (not “snarky”) question for you. if you support the right of people to do sex work, why be against sex-tourism?
Hi Ryan – I would suggest just ignoring them (prison rape is a sad, sad topic – in Russia and elsewhere; I know you’re just making a joke, but it’s one of those subjects that really gets to me). They’re not much different from the creepy guys back home who try to look for a “submissive wife” from, say, the local immigrant Latina population (one dude like that used to frequent the coffeeshop where I worked, and literally stalk a co-worker, because he naturally thought that a Latina woman would could not withstand his charms and even the wedding ring on her finger made no damn difference). The consolation? Most of them get played anyway.
Cranky, that’s a perfectly fair question.
I think I view purchasing sex and purchasing love as two very different things. This isn’t to say that I believe that the sex industry is universally empowering, safe, etc. I think there is a lot of work that needs to be done to ensure the safety of sex-workers, both male and female. Sex-workers are leading the charge on that front (and people should stop and listen to them, instead of throwing platitudes their way).
My problem with sex-tourists is that the majority of them believe that their relatively superior economic status means that they can pay someone to love them. Their definition of love usually involves having a submissive wife or girlfriend, someone who will eternally kiss their ass for marrying her or being her boyfriend. I think this stems from a subtle (or not so subtle) desire to emotionally abuse someone over a long period of time. They want to stick these women in a gilded cage, or the closest substitute thereof, and lord over them.
Of course, since writing this post, I’ve encountered even more women who had made a living catering to these dudes’ fantasies, and it’s not my place to judge them or claim that I know what’s good for them.
The thing is? Most of these ladies are in it for the money, and they have every right to be in it for the money. The dudes, on the other hand, feel entitled as hell and get horribly offended and indignant when they realize that nobody loves them for their controlling character or the airs and graces they put on when they’re traveling in a foreign country.
I’ve had a few of these specimen and their sycophants stop by this site to rant and rave about all of the “unfair” treatment they have gotten, over the years. Not only is it sad, it’s profoundly creepy.