If you became famous, how long would it take for you to tire of it?

Well, see my two posts in this thread.

A married couple from Colorado who used to live here came back for a visit one time. They’d had a son and brought him along, about two or three years old and very blond and blue-eyed. The kid never touched the ground. Waitresses would scoop him up immediately, and the entire staff play with him.

They had been living in Indonesia, where the husband was working on an engineering project. The wife’s sister had gone over for a visit, and the two ladies made a journey up the Malay peninsula to Thailand with the son, the husband flying up to meet them here in Bangkok. Before he arrived, the ladies and son had gone up to Chiang Rai province, the northernmost province, bordering both Myanmar and Laos, the Golden Triangle. They stopped in a bar one afternoon for a small drink. Yes, that type of bar, but it was near their hotel. She said the bargirls went wild. Disappeared with him in the back, and she was just about getting concerned when a bargirl reemerged with him. He reeked of cheap perfume from being smothered in bargirl hugs. As they were leaving, one bargirl reportedly waved bye-bye to him and said to come back when he was older and “buy her out” (meaning “take her short-time”).

It depends mostly on the location. In a big modern city like Tokyo or Taipei, a blond Caucasian might not raise many eyebrows, but in a rural/remote village, it might make for instant fame.

But the world is getting more globalized, and 30 years from now that may not be the case anymore.

It would depend on what I was famous for, heh heh. I imagine people like George Clooney or Ellen DeGeneres are going to be pursued a lot by paparazzi which would suck, but meets with the regular public would be interesting as they have such a wide range of subjects to talk about. Apart from the “ooh, it’s YOU!!” dimwits who you can flash a smile at and move along, the ones who engage you in a conversation will probably have something to say, even if it’s just “I loved <movie/TV show/interview/book>” you have either the option to say “Thanks” and move along or “Thanks. How come?”

Being a famous serial killer? Not so much.

I have a theory that there is kind of an uncanny valley for attention. In places where there are lots of foreigners, people are used to it and it is no big deal. In places with no foreigners at all, you are just so out of people’s realm of experience that they don’t really think to treat you different.

It’s places where there are a trickle of foreigners, or at least enough media about foreigners, that you get the non stop attention. It’s like people develop a sort of script for how to treat foreigners.

I can never really know until the experiment is tried.

I’m wiling to give it a go.
[Tevye]May the Lord Smite me with it! And may I never recover!"[/Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof]

I can remember when a farang (Westerner) like myself was still considered somewhat exotic here in Bangkok. But there are so many of us now. It really does seem Thais are getting tired of us.

My friend up in the Northeast has lived in his city for more than 20 years now. Apart from the odd Peace Corps Volunteer or two, he was the only farang. Now there are all sorts. There’s an Italian who’s opened a nice Italian restaurant. A German with a nice German restaurant. Scads more. Farangs are everywhere here now. Must be happening elsewhere too.

I would hate it.

I have worked with militaries that don’t allow women in uniform. I thought, after being there a few days, people would get used to seeing me around. I was wrong. Everywhere I went, life would just stop, everyone would stare. No one would speak, and if I spoke to someone, there would be a long pause with an open-mouth stare, before I would get an answer. I had marriage proposals, countless come ons and just always being checked out felt so uncomfortable. I couldn’t go anywhere alone (when the Major and I would go for a run, personnel carriers would slow beside us to watch us a while).

If that is anything like what it feels like to be famous, you can have it.

I will happily take the rich though.


Everywhere you go there will be friends you haven’t met yet. I would go to Vegas alone and just hit it up with strangers and hang out with them at the tables or strike up a conversation with people on the street and then go see a show with them. It would be so interesting to learn about them and their lives and what makes them happy. Granted telling my story over and over and over would get tedious but it would be worth it.

After Robin Williams passed someone mentioned that one night he and his family had just come from a funeral and were at a café or doughnut shop or something and how Robin saw them sitting there all sad so he bought them doughnuts and sat with them and just chit-chatted about life and stuff. That’s what I would do all the time with random people.

I want to say immediately because I don’t even like people talking to me when I’m trying to read on the train (I’m friendly and everything, but come on), but I dunno… it might be kinda weird being able to do whatever the hell you want because people like kissing famous people’s asses. I’d abuse it for a while and probably have some fun with it.

But yeah, after a few months I’d probably decide that being rich is great and everything, but leave me the hell alone!