Thursday, July 26, 2007

"Nice, Clean Girls"

My life at my former company began as a temporary worker who picked up the slack during the annual busy season between November and March. There were 4 full-timers and 5 of us temps. The full-time workers were John, Jolene, Doug, and my former boss Darryl. Doug and Jolene were both married but John was single. I sat in a cubicle next to John so I got to know him first and best.

Even though I'd been in Japan for two years at that point, I had limited experience with the types of gaijin Lotharios who treat the local women as potential harem girls for their sexual entertainment. To those who don't know, there is an unflattering but sometimes accurate image of some western men who come to Japan for the potential to score and are able to romance women largely based on the fact that they are foreign. These are typically the kind of men who couldn't get women back home for one reason or another and who like to carry on about how western women are inferior girlfriends/wives compared to Asian women. I guess it's easier to say you don't want something because there's something wrong with it than to say you can't have it because there's something wrong with you.

Before all the nice and well-adjusted men who have Japanese girlfriends/wives initiate their hackle-raising maneuvers, I'm not talking about you. Note the use of the word "some (western men)", not "all". Well, maybe I am talking about you if your dander is fluffing at the mention of this topic. If the very notion that there are some predatory foreign men out there who are losers who can attract Japanese women because the culture and communication gaps mask their more repugnant character attributes then you may be one of them. Otherwise, why would you get all worked up about it? If it doesn't bother you then you likely aren't one of them and are confident in your appeal to the opposite sex in any culture.

Anyway, John was my first experience face-to-face with one of these types of foreign men. Previously, I'd associated with men who were pretty decent (mainly married to Japanese or foreign women already, gay, or plain decent fellows who were open to women they encounter but not hunting them down as sexual trophies). He would come in some days looking like he'd slept in the clothes he wore the day before because he actually had done so. He slept with any girl he could and, since he looked like a pint-sized Bruce Willis, he didn't seem to have too many problems locating some accepting women who didn't mind a guy on the short side. He didn't respect Japanese women at all and in fact sometimes called them "honey" when he was teaching them on the phone as a sort of snide joke. His attitude toward them was as something he could use for sexual pleasure.

At some point, John, Doug, and I were having a conversation about John's dating habits and, of course, he wasn't shy about talking about how many girls he'd slept with in Japan. I can't recall the precise number but it was not some ridiculously small or large one. The topic of birth control came up and John said that he never wore a condom. When Doug and I expressed that we strongly felt this was very dangerous, particularly from a disease point of view, John said, "I only sleep with nice, clean girls."

Doug and I tried to convince him that STDs don't distinguish "clean" from "dirty" but he had no plans to start wearing his raincoat when he went splashing in the rain with his "clean" playmates because he was certain they wouldn't splatter any mud on him. Unfortunately, his attitude is not uncommon among either Japanese or foreign people who feel that Japanese people, and the women in particular, are too "clean" to carry or transmit STDs. This was a fact that I was reminded of when I read an unhappy story on Stippy related to this topic (which I recommend others read as well).

The irony is that many foreigners are aware that Japanese businessmen frequent the sex trade in Thailand and other Asian countries they pass through. While I'm sure most of them wear condoms, some of them do not and they are still at risk of contracting STDs from visiting prostitutes. If the knowing gaijin puts two and two together, he'll realize that it's only a matter of time before such men return and infect unsuspecting women and diseases will start making the rounds.

The fact of the matter is that HIV and AIDS are viewed as "foreign diseases" and doctors will lie to patients about their diagnoses if they feel the truth is going to be too hard on the patient. The shame associated with dying of AIDS as a cause of death may result in the cause of death being listed as the disease that the person succumbed to as a result of his suppressed immune system rather than as a death because of AIDS. This misleads people about infection rates and the possible risks that come from having unprotected sex and continues to contribute to the myth that Japanese people are, by and large, too "clean" to spread (potentially fatal) STDs.

Update: There's a thoughtful article on AIDS on Stippy which analyzes statistics in Japan which everyone should read as well.

8 comments:

Roy said...

A loaded topic indeed.

I think I will refrain from commenting further. ;-)

Shari said...

I believe there are two kinds of people who will take issue with what I said.

The first group are those who are so insecure that they will read into what I said instead of reading what I actually said and concoct some sort of generalized insult of all men with Japanese wives and girlfriends. I went out of my way to make it clear that this is not what I was talking about but you can't stop someone who is determined to find an attack even when one doesn't exist.

The second are the actual predatory losers who are stupid enough to have unprotected sex in multiple casual relationships with Japanese women because of the illusion that nationality shields them from diseases.

The former are a waste of time arguing with because they persist in making arguments with phantom statements you never made because deep down they have some sort of inferiority issues they are trying to act out on. The latter aren't worth worrying about as they are living in such an intense state of denial that you can't reason with them.

Miko said...

Oh darlin', the stories I could tell you. :sigh: Remind me to post about this topic one of these days (and believe me, there's a lot to post).

Coincidentally, just yesterday at the station I happened upon a group of young gaijin male tourists who were talking *very* loudly and exaggeratedly (in English, of course) about all the Japanese girls they were hoping to nail during their brief time here. (I'm privy to quite a few of these disgusting conversations because oftentimes they don't realise that I'm a gaijin myself.)

What's it called - "zero to hero syndrome," or something like that.

Shari said...

Miko, I would very much enjoy any post you decide to make on this. I bet you have a lot of interesting tales to tell! (and I love the "zero to hero" phrase - it's so apt)

CMUwriter said...

I have a friend who lived in Japan for two years and constantly told me about how easy it was to sleep with Japanese women. He would talk about it all the time, and said they are attracted to americans. So I know these people exist, and i know his perception of Japanese women, but who knows if it is true. I couldn't say.

Barry said...

Haha! Quite right quite right!

There is a notion that the gaijin men in Japan are pretty much dirty little dogs who couldn't get no action back home.

Indeed, we like something new and unknown, and there are plenty of people that like a one-off shag (both Western and Japanese).

I think that Japan is seen as a sex playground for many gaijin men, and the younger Japanese generations are wonderfully playing their roles dutifully in this scenario.

I once had to listen to some gaijin chatting up a girl at 7am in the morning on the train... I wanted to scream in laughter at his method of approach. But hey - it takes two to tango as is said. Another one was when I was back in London... a gaijin and a Japanese lady walking down the street... but the way he was holding her (a hand on each shoulder), as if she was his oriental trophy or something.

For me, the point as to whether or not I got together with my wife because she is Japanese wasn't an issue. People that go in search for someone from a particular race - first need to go in search for themselves.

Regardless of the race or sexy body... there is no sex in the world that can beat making love to someone that you are in spiritual harmony with. And yes yes... lets all use condoms for crying out loud...unless you plan on making a baby of course. :D

tornados28 said...

Your post seemed to center more on the risks of STDs for people such as this John person. I think your post should have spoken more about what a loser John is with his type of attitude of Japanese women.

Just my two cents worth.

Shari said...

cmuwriter: I'm pretty sure it is true. There're a lot of stories around the Internet from too wide a variety of sources for it not to be true. Roppongi is apparently a hotbed of gaijin/Japanese pairing for those who go in for that sort of thing. It's not that Japanese girls are easy but just that the sort who are and are interested in foreign men know where to go to get what they want (and vice versa - foreign men looking for easy girls). I'm sure there are such places in other big cities all around the world.

Barry: I think you hit the nail on the head when you said that searching for someone based on superficial criteria (such as race) is really part of the problem. The "good foreign guys" in Japan are the ones who are genuine and seeking a partner regardless of race. They often find Japanese wives because they are surrounded mainly by Japanese women but their choice of partner wasn't based on nationality but on personality.

The ones who are looking to parade a Japanese girlfriend or wife around as if her physicality were a reflection of their desirability as mates are the ones who likely couldn't get a girl back home as such insecurity is often all too obvious to those from the same culture.

tornados28: Some things are pretty obvious (i.e., what a loser he was). ;-) Fortunately, I don't know enough of his type to speak with authority on the issue of these types of men or to provide more information. Anything more I couold say would take the form of a rant about my distaste for such people and I try to avoid ranting as it's relatively unproductive (not that I always succeed, mind you).

Also, I think the message that you should wear a condom no matter who you sleep with when you are not in a monogamous, committed relationship is a more important one.

Thanks to all for the interesting comments!