"Women Are Like Milk": Inside The Head Of A Sex TouristS

Need a vacation, gentlemen? This website offers "introductions" to Czech women, proudly describing them as "NON-Feminist, very healthy and interested in the outdoors and most sports." Which reminds me of the time I accidentally hung out with a sex tourist.

It's not new to suggest, for commercial purposes or otherwise, that men in privileged countries look outside the country to escape the horrors of the liberated women at home. But it's rarer to find it so blatantly stated, as on this site (which also isn't new, but was passed on by a helpful tipster). Then again, this site also suggests that customers look to Donald Trump for hints on how to be classy:

It's not an accident the DONALD TRUMP married a Czech woman for his first wife and a Slovakian woman for his current wife. He did not marry a Russian or Ukrainian, showing his good taste and quality judgement [sic] in women.

This is something that's always fascinated me in my travels and those of friends. The Jamaican men who told me their rotating, much-older Canadian and German girlfriends bought them cars. The Western expat men in Moscow with local girlfriends kept on allowance. The young, dark-skinned girls who were the only Cubans seated in Havana restaurants. You see it at home and abroad: the messy spectrum of sexual and emotional desire as set against economic exploitation and cultural difference. There are the complex set of motivations and choices made by the women and men who are the economically or geographically disadvantaged party. And then there are the people — mostly, but not all, men — who create the demand, who get on a plane or go online to exercise the privilege of choosing something they can't get at home.

All this is why I was reading, on a flight back from the Dominican Republic last year, this excellent book on sex tourism in Sosúa, near where my family had been staying. The book focused on the diffuse, long-term, quasi-commercial relationships of Dominican and Haitian women there with mostly German men.

"So why are you reading that?" It was my seatmate to the right, a white man in his late thirties.

I answered simply, that I was interested in the topic. He asked what it said about sex tourism in Sosúa, and I said something vague about how I'd gotten to the part where it discussed how the rise of the eastern coast for tourism had meant there was a lot less sex tourism in the north.

"Oh," he said. "I wouldn't say there was a lot less of it."

He didn't admit to being a sex tourist, exactly. But he said quite openly that first-world men had no choice but to go to the Dominican Republic to find real, ladylike types who hadn't been ruined by feminism. As American women had. Myself included, as he freely added.

A successful Seattle small-business owner who enjoyed outdoor sports, this fellow also said Dominican women really loved him for who he was. I suggested, trying to be diplomatic, that in a country where almost half the population lives below the poverty line, possibly there was more going on than just his irresistible personality. He said I was insulting the women by calling them whores.

Okay, so maybe engaging in a conversation with a real-life Internet troll wasn't necessarily the best use of my time. But all the sociology I'd been reading — and in a captive situation, on an airplane — I wanted to keep asking questions without transparently judging. Could I avoid a flame war?

That's when he told me women were like milk and men were like wine. I was 25 at the time, and about to go bad, he said, ending up like so many women who thought they could have it all.

"Get on Match.com and you're going to see a whole lot independent women saying they're looking for a solid relationship now," he said. "Guys don't want that. And I'm being really honest. We don't want it. Because where's the upside?"

He'd been griping about his divorced parents — his mother taking his father "to the cleaners," and his own divorce. "The upside is, you're no longer just the paycheck," I said. "She has her own paycheck."

"Men don't mind being just the paycheck," he said.

By this time, my brother, sitting on the other side of me, had joined in. "You think it's better that all relationships stay transactional," he suggested.

"No, that's just grotesque to say that."

Nominally Jewish, he said he'd been raised by Jamaican housekeepers, and that was why he only dated black women, except his ex-wife is Asian-American. He said my brother — who lives with his Jewish feminist-activist girlfriend — would never marry a Jewish woman because Jewish women are "domineering and will bust your balls. Guys don't want to have their balls busted."

"Yeah, but maybe sometimes they deserve it," I said, sociological distance out the door.

"You know what, they can deserve it," he said. "But let somebody else deserve it. I don't deserve it. I deserve to be able to come home to affection and not to a power struggle. And it's a power struggle. And you're a powerful woman, so you better meet a weak guy." Like him, I guess.