97 Client n° 2 a divorced


97 Client n° 2, a divorced Frenchman, claims that he no longer wishes to start a new life with a woman from home since he is convinced that they are all too demanding and complicated and he now prefers the feminine company of Thai prostitutes, more easy going and less argumentative. N° 5 says he has developed a preference for the Asian women and when he is not in Asia he misses these girls, which may mean that he does not have, or want to have, sexual relations with Europeans.

98 The sociologist, Daniel Welzer-Lang offers the theory that the sex trade in western countries is.

[. ] an expression of masculine resistance to change, a sort of vengeance for some men unable to find the kind of women they need via normal sexual relationships. It could also be an outlet for those men unable to accept the change in attitude of some women who are willing to enjoy free sex but still negotiate the terms. For some men, the “macho” types who can no longer live the way they think they ought to, sex commerce can be an outlet for their masculine drive. When the everyday violence of their marriage and ordinary encounters can no longer supply these men with submissive women, they will pay women to do the job. (Welzer-Lang 2003: 2.)

99 Some men use Asian prostitutes in Asia because they make them feel attractive, powerful, rich and desirable (n° 5, 7, 21, 22, 28). Intuitively they know they appear superior and so they themselves feel superior, coming from rich developed countries. Most Asians place the white man at the very top of the social scale and there is no question that they represent a means of social promotion for many women. For the short or long term, being with a western man offers the illusion of being in a better world, of reaching some dreamland, some better place. When he realizes how the prostitute fantasizes about him and puts all her hopes in him, the western man can only feel flattered and reassured.

100 Other clients, more down to earth, feel that it is too much hassle and a waste of time to go to a club, flirt and pay for drinks without any guarantee of succeeding. To avoid this uncertainty they prefer to use a prostitute. The stakes are clear from the start, the client doesn’t have to prove anything, or doubt himself. N° 33 and n° 36 are pleased to be able to say that in Asia they never comes home “empty-handed”, while n° 27 a sailor, says he needs to have uncomplicated encounters since his short stays in port do not leave time for a long courtship such as an ordinary woman would require. In short, some of the clients opt for this type of contractual sex encounter because it is easy and there’s no stress.

The Client as Seen by Some Indonesian Prostitutes.

101 Before concluding this analysis it would appear worthwhile to present the viewpoint of some prostitutes since their close contact enables them to have some first hand knowledge of their customers. All fifteen of these interviews were done in Indonesia in 2003. The six prostitutes from Dolly and Tretes (East Java) work in a brothel with an exclusively local clientele. The prostitutes from Jakarta and Bali have a more cosmopolitan clientele, probably foreign, picked up in bars and nightclubs.

Fig. 4. Sketches of customers in the Dolly Red-Light district of Surabaya.

From Tjahjo Purnomo & Ashadi Siregar, Dolly , Grafitipers, Jakarta, 1985.

19 A study conducted in Thailand in 1999 (Yamarat et al., quoted by Baffie in the present work) shows (. )

102 For all of these women the client, in contrast to the boyfriend or husband, is first and foremost someone who pays, either in cash or gifts, for a sex service rendered. Idja (n° 46), Vena (n° 47) and Tuti (n° 53) remarked on the diversity of the clients. Indeed there is a vast terminology to designate these clients including: uncle, father, big brother, host, little husband, friend, John, son, regular,19 butterfly (occasional), “the dogs or the princes” (Tinah, n° 48), the “good numbers” (Daisy, n° 52) and the “bad tricks” (Lenny, n° 45), etc.

103 Whatever term is used to refer to the client he clearly remains in charge, and has the power to choose and to purchase (Titih, n° 41; Ani, n° 43), to beat or reward (Wati, n° 51). Yet he is still after all only a “normal” human being, neither “good” nor “bad”, someone who can be manipulated to get him to wear a condom, behave properly or pay well (Rita, n° 39; Ani, n° 43).

104 It is also apparent from these interviews that no matter what the origin or status of the client he is someone to be taken care of so that in the short term he will leave a good tip and in the long term come back again and maybe even fall in love with the prostitute (Rita, n° 39; Tuti, n° 40; Titih, n° 41; Dewi, n° 42 and Lenny, n° 45).

105 These clients, and in particular the western clients, are considered as potential boyfriends or even husbands (Lenny, n° 45; Vena, n° 47). Three of the girls insisted on how fierce the competition is amongst them (Titih, n° 41; Dewi, n° 42; Tinah, n° 48).

106 The publication by Jammot and Rocheteix cites a testimony from a French prostitute which fully corroborates the attitude of Asian professionals practicing open-ended prostitution.

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