It is time for me to write my view on the subject of gay men entering into relationships with men in, shall we say, economically challenged foreign countries. Is this subject a complicated one? Yes and no. How complicated can it be for you to read your spreadsheet and check how much foreign (or local) aid you have been providing?
The belief in a capitalist system is that there should be a free exchange of goods and services. Viewed as this, all human emotions would have an economic value assigned to them. Certainly, one of the most sacred institutions, marriage, has an economic value assigned to it. Otherwise, why some parties have prenuptial agreements? Otherwise, why divorce is one of the most rewarding fields for law professionals?
Likewise, the plain simple view of such same-sex relationships is that they are mainly relationships based on economic benefits. The older richer man gets the emotional needs that is lacking in a youth-oriented, looks-dependent, society. The younger poorer man gets help in advancing through life. Shades of ancient Greek or Chinese traditions?
If so, then why it is that in today’s gay society, most people whisper about such relationships. “Oh, did you hear that Harry is keeping that young thing from Senegal?” “…and how much did you send this week?”
It is my opinion that this is more a reflection of what we view as egalitarian love. As Anthony’s article pointed out, our brains have the notion that the impulses of our loins are connected with the impulses of our brain. We view the attention being given by the other person as an assertion of who we are. Like the title of this essay, we think it is “us” and not the “ATM card” that what our partner wants. We are therefore hurt when our wallets are constantly being pulled out. We start thinking of him as a thief.
But if you view the situation from the other side, what you may see is nothing really that evil. There may be actual affection hidden in the overall cries for economic help. When he calls you “daddy,” he may actually and figuratively think of you as a father figure. He may view you as an anchor in an otherwise hostile society. It may be an illusion. Still, in societies who are hostile to same sex relationships, the idea of having stable friend/partner/husband/wife from a foreign land is quite alluring. It may provide some stability.
So, what shall we do then? Is it love? Is it an endless drain on your ATM card? It depends on what we are seeking. If we are seeking someone who “loves” us unconditionally, then, we will stumble and fail. If we are seeking companionship with mutual benefits, then, it may work. It may work so long as you know how to budget yourself. It may work so long as he knows and respects those limits. Like all relationships, it may work if we understand them better.