I have a thing for older men.

Yes it’s true. I have a thing for older men. Not in a creepy way, but just in a, “they’ve always had a very special place in my heart” kind of way. Maybe it’s because I have been blessed with wonderful grandpas. Maybe it’s because whenever I talk to older men, they always pull out their wallets and show me pictures of their beautiful wives and I can tell how very much in love they are after years of marriage. I don’t know exactly it is, but it has hit me hard here with the older men in the bars.

At first my love for these men caught me off guard because they are the very men buying the Thai women and using their bodies night after night.  They are the ones seemingly causing so much brokenness, but it’s because they themselves are so very broken. For the past 2 weeks, I have met about 10 men, all 50 and older, that are vacationing here, or have retired here.

At first, when meeting these men, I would just smile and nod and kind of sugar coat what we were doing here, so that they didn’t have to feel too uncomfortable. But yesterday, I could no longer stand my own apathy.

Enter the man from the Netherlands. We’ll call him Dutch. We never actually asked him his name…and he’s Dutch, so there you go! Anywho, me and some girls from my team were sitting at a table in the bar as Dutch was finishing a game of pool with a girl that worked there. After the game was over, Dutch came up to us and struck up a convo.

He asked us what we were doing there, and I told him we were there spreading Gods love in Chiang Mai and to the girls in the bars. He said, “God’s love? Well that seems good.” Then we asked him what he was doing there and he said vacationing.  We then somehow got on the topic of Buddhism and he asked what we thought of it. I said, “I think it’s kind of empty.” Dutch looked confused because he thought I meant that the temples were literally empty (which they definitely are not.) But I said, “No, I feel like the people in them are pouring into something empty.” He still looked a bit confused and a bit offended, because he thought Buddhism was a beautiful religion, so he changed the subject.

Then we started talking about him, his job, and his family. He has a son that is studying to be a neurosurgeon at the Mayo clinic in America. He also has a daughter that is a nurse in the Netherlands. Then he said, “Well with being a journalist and traveling so much, my marriage went to sh**,” as if trying to play it off as a joke. He said something about how it was happier that way, and I looked at him and asked, “Are you happy?” He was caught very off guard and said, “Well…I don’t know…how do you know…does anyone ever know…I guess I’ll know when I’m dead.” Bottom line, he’s not happy.

After I had made him sufficiently uncomfortable with my pressing questions, he excused himself and wandered back up to the bar.

I don’t know his real name. I don’t know if our conversation had any impact on him. I don’t know what he did later that night. I don’t know anything about this man.

But I know that God loves him and sees him as one of His cherished sons. And I pray that someday Dutch, and all the men in the bars, will realize God's love for them and will walk in a real relationship with their true Father.