Gawthrop, Daniel. “The Rice Queen Diaries: A Memoir”. Arsenal Pulp Press, 2005.
The Nature of Sexual Desire
For those of you who are not familiar with the term “rice queen”, it is the very politically incorrect term used to describe men who are into Asian men. With that clarified, let us have a look at Daniel Gawthrop’s new memoir. “The Rice Queen Diaries”. Gawthrop writes about the politics and pleasures of being self identified as a “rice queen.” As he roams the major cities of the world in his quest to find Asian men to satisfy his lust as well as exploring the hidden recesses of his mind, he gives us great insight into the multicultural world of sexuality. In doing so we learn of the manners and the contradictions of his desires and where those desires take him—Vancouver, Bangkok, London, Viet Nam. Here is an intimate look at the culture and “otherness” as well as gay desire. His diaries span three continents and explore his personal thoughts and ultimately arrive at what propels the nuances of love and sexuality that all of us possess. It is more than just a memoir; it is a polemic on sexual desire. The insight is amazing and the information provided is fascinating, informative and based upon the ultimate test—truth.
It all began when Gawthrop had a childhood crush on Bruce Lee. While at private school, he chose his friends from the Chinese immigrant students in his school and in the twelfth grade he was brutally hazed and raped by a group of them. The impression that this left upon him is probably what was the main reason that he continued in the pursuit f Asian men. As he dwells on the history of the Chinese that came to Canada, he allows us to peek into his world of sexuality as he worked his way seducing many of them.
He relates a trip to Bangkok, we learn of his adventures there and how he was constantly on the hunt for the right Asian male. This part of the book saddened me a great deal because it appears he was never satisfied and constantly on the prowl for new “rice”. His sexual appetite seems insatiable and he is constantly looking for the next man. His life has consisted of only a few short lived romances, several of those men with whom he was involved became involved with him because of their own poor financial status
The book is provocative to say the least but even more than that it is titillating and full of conflict. It turns to promiscuity often and in many ways the author seems to be self-destructive. However, the book succeeds. There is a good deal of scholarly research here and there is a great deal to be learned about the nature of sexuality and desire. It deals with a subject that is obviously very close to the author and therefore it is very personal. Gawthrop manages to balance the scholarly with the prurient and that is no easy feat. More than anything else, if you want to learn about the nature of male sexual desire, “The Rice Queen Diaries” is a great place to begin.