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January 2, 2008

Female sex tourism video on YouTube

Anyone wanting to see the terrain explored in the film Heading South and the book How Stella Got Her Groove Back in documentary form -- albeit brief -- might want to take a peek at this video, Rent a Dread, on YouTube.

This shows some of the action in Negril Beach, Jamaica and on Dominica.

What I notice is that we have the local men willing to participate in the video, as well as expatriate white women, but not the female tourists themselves, who, to date, have only been interviewed in any depth by UC-Santa Barbara's April Gorry, who devoted months living in Belize to an interview project for her doctoral dissertation.

Rent-a-Dread video, click arrow to play

During the time from July to December of last year when my blog was broken, I wasn't able to keep up with my occasional roundups on news in sex tourism and dissociative mating. Let me try to catch up a bit now.

• The big tidbit is probably the marriage of a 51-year-old English grandmother to the 27-year-old son of Osama bin Laden in wake of a holiday romance. Here's The Times version of the story, and a photo of the couple:bin_laden.jpg

Mrs Felix-Browne, who has been married five times previously, met (Omar Ossama) bin Laden in Egypt in September while undergoing treatment for multiple sclerosis. She says that their fairytale romance began when her future husband saw her riding a horse near the Great Pyramid. They were married in Islamic ceremonies in Egypt and Saudi Arabia and are awaiting permission from the authorities in Riyadh to make their marriage official.
This touches on a number of themes in Romance on the Road, including how Arab men, emulating Mohammed, often find older women attractive, as well as an examination of the possible role of sexual frustration experienced by young Arabs with few mating options in contributing to world terrorism.

• From the U.K.'s Daily Mail, the world champ on chronicling tabloid-y travel romances, we have a related story: "Our nightmare daughter: The teenage girl who keeps running to Egypt for her men."

I have no idea if any word of this is true, but for what it's worth:

Holed up in a £60-a-night hotel room in the Egyptian resort of Hurghada, 17-year-old runaway Amy Robson cuts a rather forlorn figure.

Her pillow is wet with tears over what might have been and she doesn't know what to do with herself.

This desolate scene, she tremulously explains, wasn't how it was supposed to be. When she secretly sneaked out of her home in the Cumbrian village of Beaumont last week, her pretty little head was filled with romantic images of being reunited with her 29-year-old "fiance" Mohamed El Sayed.

During the arduous 24-hour journey to the Red Sea resort - involving three flights via Gatwick, Amsterdam and Cairo - she'd been sustained by the thought of being swept up in her handsome lover's arms before dashing off to get married and live happily ever after.

• From Mangalorean.com, "Goa Tourism: Love knows no borders," comes an article noting that Indians from elsewhere and Nepalese men are flocking to Goa for jobs -- with marriage to a foreigner considered the ultimate success. 
Love they say knows no boundaries and what better way to epitomize the feeling in the case of Raj, Prabhakar and Bharat. The trio's love for their partner's and now wife's has transcended the boundaries of colour, religion, nationality and religion. 

The former waiters present the other side of the Goa shining example materialisng through the tourism platform. Goa, which served as a spring board for them, a life beyond taking orders from hotel guests. Love and marriage has opened new doors for the trio as they now live and work in Europe along with their wives.

Raj would not agree with anyone who argues that holiday romance, remains an affair confined to the holiday season and no further than that.  Typically in most cases the holiday fling and Goa included, the romantic liaison is all over after the holiday ends. As one of the partner packs his bags and leaves to head home to his home country. 

But for Raj and for two of his colleagues, working at  Dominic beach side seasonal restaurant in Benaulim, in South Goa, the holiday romance was not just fleeting moments, but a long lasting relationship which has been solemnized in marriage. 

• From the International Herald Tribune: "Letter from Thailand: Variations on a Theme: Thai Women and Foreign Husbands:"

About 15 percent of all marriages in the northeast, a study published by Khon Kaen University found, are now between Thai women and foreign men. Most of the men are Europeans, but there are upwards of 300 or so Americans, many of them veterans of the Vietnam War who were based in Udon Thani in the 1960s and early 1970s and are living here, most of them with Thai wives as well.

There is a sort of calculated redemption on both sides of these marriages. Many of the women have painful stories, of working as prostitutes, of abandonment by Thai husbands and boyfriends, of children they couldn't afford to take care of. They make no secret of the fact that marrying some nice, older foreign man saved both them and their extended families from poverty and unhappiness.

• Here's a blog entry from Koren Shadmi, who came up with a delicious illustration for Bust magazine for an article, "Ticket to Ride," mentioning me and Romance on the Road:BustMagazineCover.jpg

I was asked to do an illustration for BUST magazine for an article about sex tourism, from a female point of view. Apparantly there are over 25,000 women in the US who travel abroad on a regular basis to have sex with some of the locals. Its not often that you get such a fun subject to work with. I got the job a day after I landed from my visit to france, so the whole intercontinental atmosphere combined with the jetlag created good grounds for an illustration.
Koren, like Lamont, apparently graduated from New York's School for the Visual Arts.

• From the Associated Press, as run in USAToday, "Interracial marriages surge across the U.S.:"

NEW YORK — The charisma king of the 2008 presidential field. The world's best golfer. The captain of the New York Yankees. Besides superstardom, Barack Obama, Tiger Woods and Derek Jeter have another common bond: Each is the child of an interracial marriage.

For most of U.S. history, in most communities, such unions were taboo.

It was only 40 years ago — on June 12, 1967 — that the U.S. Supreme Court knocked down a Virginia statute barring whites from marrying non-whites. The decision also overturned similar bans in 15 other states.

Since that landmark Loving v. Virginia ruling, the number of interracial marriages has soared; for example, black-white marriages increased from 65,000 in 1970 to 422,000 in 2005, according to Census Bureau figures. Factoring in all racial combinations, Stanford University sociologist Michael Rosenfeld calculates that more than 7% of America's 59 million married couples in 2005 were interracial, compared to less than 2% in 1970.

The 1967 Supreme Court decision mentioned is significant. Lamont's parents could not get married in Maryland -- it would have been illegal -- so they went down to Howard University in D.C. to tie the knot.

• And finally, here's an article, again from the Daily Mail, that links highly intelligent women to low emotional IQs that lead to romantic failure, a possible reason for some women to explore travel sex as a pick-me-up, Anna Pasternak writes:  Why are intelligent women such fools in love?

However, recently it has struck me that I am not alone in my ability to have made the right career choices - but hopelessly wrong choices in love.

I know of at least seven girls in my year at school - I went to St Paul's Girls' School in London, one of the most academic schools in the country - who are single mothers, while my female friends from Oxford, who are also divorced or single mothers, runs into double figures.

The most high-profile casualty of those is Earl Spencer's ex-wife, Caroline Hutton, who was famously left with two children by her first husband, PR guru Matthew Freud, and then left again with two more children by her second husband, Earl Spencer. Not, it seems, the perfect judge of men.

So what does all this mean? Well, I believe that at the root of all this is the fact that many women with a high IQ have a perilously low EQ (that's their emotional intelligence quotient). Put more prosaically, this would explain why bright girls are often fools in love.

Last year, American writer Michael Noer created outrage when he wrote a piece in Forbes Magazine warning men off marrying career girls. He claimed that recent studies had found that clever, professional women were more likely to get divorced, more likely to cheat and less likely to have children.

Simultaneously, the American Journal of Marriage And Family cited studies that claim the divorce risk rises when women out-earn their husbands. Evidence, everywhere, seems to point to the fact that thousands of bright women can't sustain meaningful relationships for a plethora of reasons: they are too controlling, they can't tolerate less successful men and equally, men resent higher-earning partners.

This similarly is examined in Romance on the Road, which notes the presence of female university professors in sex tourism zones.
Jeannette Belliveau

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