Stickman's guide to Bangkok
How To Be With A Thai Girl Without Being Her Sponsor: Part 2
Part 2: How to be with a Thai girl without being her sponsor or: Life is just a game of inches.
WARNING: READING AT YOUR OWN RISK
(S & W disclaim all liabilities for consequential emotional damages or gains. “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it. ~Voltaire”)
QuŠ mens est hodie, cur eadem non puero fuit,
Vel cur his animis incolumes non redeunt genŠ? --Hor. Car. iv. Od. x. 7.
Why was not in a youth same mind as now?
why beares not this mind a youthfull brow?
(Statler’s translation into everyday Globish: Why didn’t I enjoy my life when I was young? Why do I now, as an old fool, need to catch up?)
Note: This submission was written under the critical observation of Yasmin, a young Thai anthropologist who works for an international NGO (which does not imply that she also has to be ‘ngo’ too ok?)
Picture comment: “Give a Thai girl an inch and she will call you Pra-yong. ”
Actually I wanted to write an essay called “What is Thai?”. But after receiving mails for my submission “Why we should not give money to our Thai girlfriends” telling me something like: Yeah, you can say that easily, but better show us how to get a normal girl in the first place, because we always end up with freelancers. Okay, let’s change that.
Remark: First of all, ‘normal’ girls you find at home in your country, (and I am sorry that they do not smile at you 24/7 and do it like the rabbits, but I must admit, they have some other qualities). If you are looking for ‘normal’ girls here, why come to find them Thailand? Yes, here in Thailand you will some well educated girls who can be a equivalent match for you – but I am sorry to tell you this: You have to look quite hard for them, something like to look for a needle in a haystack. Just much, much harder that in the west where you just can date the girl next door if you are brave enough to talk to her. In Thailand, the girl next door might just have the general knowledge of a 10 year old in your home country and will earn about 200 dollars a month. Great expectations for a interesting relationship, but I fear that you end up as her sponsor as well as schoolmaster and no submission can change that.
So honestly, I think you are much better off in a real long term relationship with a Western girl than with a Thai girl. You come from equal backgrounds, you don’t have to worry about financial issues, you have a partner you can talk (and not have to use sign language) about everything, her education is similar to yours. If I say Western girl, I would extend it to: Girls raised with Western values. When I was working in Africa I met a wonderful Kikuyu girl who was working for Air Kenya. Her father was an official at the Kenyan embassy in Germany and she a truly sophisticated young lady. I am sure there are in every country girls like her and would look at them in the same way as a girl the west. But in Thailand? Even they are raised in a semi-western style and visit the top Universities in BKK they remain very much embedded in their society. Look at the “best guess” University of Bangkok. Most of the girls there have been raised in the described semi western way. But the girls I met from there were first of all the greatest snobs you could find on the whole planet earth. Furthermore, all these girls would kill you in an instant if you say anything against their country. The only university which is totally relaxed in these things is the one who is known for its liberal undercurrents. If you can, go for this Uni girls. I have had very nice encounters with various faculties there.
In Richter scale dimensions taking Switzerland as the epicenter:
A girl from your own country: 0.5*
A girl from a neighboring country: 1.0
A girl from West-Europe: 1.5
A girl from England, United S.A., Australia (non-indigenous): 2.0
A girl from Eastern-Europe: 3.0
A girl from Japan 4.0
A girl from South America: 4.5
A girl from China: 5.0
A girl from Arabia 5.5
A girl from India 6.0
A girl from Africa 6.5
A girl from Australia (indigenous) 7.0
A girl from Papua New Guinea (non-cannibal) 7.5
A girl from Papua New Guinea (cannibal) 8.0
A girl from Thailand: 8.5
A girl from Area 51: constant out of range
*(0.0 impossible, remember she is a girl and you never will fully understand her)
So I don’t understand why men would like to find a wife in Thailand. It does not make any sense to me. The cultural difference is simply too big. Okay, let’s do this in ‘Union Hill’ style: Hands up if you can name a more stubborn culture, people more reluctant to adapt to other ways of life, than the Thai. None? Ok. Good.
The only way I understand if you want to have a Thai girlfriend is when you already live in Bangkok for some reason (and the primary reason should not be Thai girls), and you don’t wanna stay alone all the time. I can understand that you would like to have Thai girlfriend and not a western girlfriend. Sure, as you know, Thai girls are tenfold more playful as western girls, but hehe also this comes with a downside. If they are tenfold more playful then they are also tenfold more likely in cheating you. But let’s look at it from another, more positive angle: a Thai girl can be the link to the culture of the country you live in, she can be your translator sometimes, she can be helpful to you in many different ways. I always justify that I usually pay for dining out/cinema etc. in the way that I benefit from the girl’s ability to make my life easier in Thailand. But don’t go over the top and just use her as your PA – don’t exploit her! Or she will soon exploit you! In general, a girlfriend should make your life easier, not more complicated. But apart from supporting you in your daily fight with the incomprehensible Thai way of life, she can surely be your companion and also be your best friend. How to have a Thai girlfriend (or various girlfriends if you wish) of without ending up as her or their sponsor is the topic of this submission.
First of all I would like to spoil your mood. I used to ask my grandmother, 'How can I find the right woman for me?' and she would answer, 'Don't worry about finding the right woman- concentrate on becoming the right man."
Yes, that is right folks. Concentrate on becoming the right man. Well, we don’t have to reach for the stars. But if you still date prostitutes and freelancers, you will never get to a decent girl. You sure have to quit that habit. Don’t mix freelancers and decent girls. If you are hooked on bringing back freelancers every night and dating prostitutes during the day, take a break for a couple of weeks, start to drink green tea or do yoga, stop eating meat or get electro convulsion therapy and if all previously mentioned methods have not worked for you, go get Nick Drakes “Way to blue” from the small CD shop next to the BTS escalator at the Siam Square, listen to it a few times and when you start to feel like a normal person again, go out and try to find a decent girl for you. By the way, my favorite song on that “greatest hits” album is Hazy Jane:
Do you curse where you come from,
Do you swear in the night
Will it mean much to you
If I treat you right.
Do you like what you're doing,
Would you do it some more
Or will you stop once and wonder
What you're doing it for?
Do you feel like a remnant
Of something that's past
Do you find things are moving
Just a little too fast.
Do you hope to find new ways
Of quenching your thirst,
Do you hope to find new ways
Of doing better than your worst?
I always hear that it is essential for western guys to date a decent Thai girl should dress up clean and elegant. Sure, it can help, but it also can be contra productive. If you meet a girl for the first time in a suit and tie, she will tend to think of you as rich and she will try to get you as her sponsor (or she think you are some uninteresting office geek – that is what I would think if I would be her). Also the problem is: You can not present yourself better than that. So you can only go down in your appearance, at least in her eyes. She will claim that when you first met, you looked so groomed and now, after three months of dating, you only walk around in shorts and T-shirts. It is good to have a suit on when you approach girls from the street, but I will talk about that later on.
First I think your need to change your mind set. Most men come to Thailand, for holiday or for work, with the idea to buy the girls. Yeah that is right. Before they even set their feet on Thai soil. Most people don’t come her with the idea of having an average decent Thai girlfriend. They want plenty of cheap sex and they don’t care how to get it, they just want it fast. I don’t think I can turn them all into Rodolpho Valentinos here with reading this little article, but I sure can try to give a lot of people an alternative to prostitutes. Nothing less is the aim of this submission. No fancy quotes today (only some na krap), just an easy guide for getting a decent, well educated Thai girl.
I think it is very important to let go first. After sowing your wild oats, you have to position yourself in Bangkok. And I mean it quite strategically. Don’t take a flat next to Nana, no average girl likes to pass ten thousand prostitutes before she visits your place. I personally would not recommend the Sukhumvit or the Khao San area, but you know that I am fussy already. Go somewhere else. Let us think together where could you go? Maybe a place with little foreigners. The less foreigners in your neighborhood, the better for you, you may think. If you are the more or less the only foreigner in your neighborhood you think you can define how your neighbors see the westerners. It would be a hopeless undertaking to make a good impression around Nana. If you really want to live among Thais I recommend to go to an upper class neighborhood. Why? Living among Thais has some advantages and much more disadvantages. Maybe you get to know average girls easier and you enjoy the benefit of being “exotic” for them, but – and now the downside of it: You are, as an alien, also very much exposed to their malicious gossip. This can harm you if your residence/work permit is not waterproof. A friend of mine, who is living among middle class Thais had the immigration sent to him, just because a neighborhood girl was jealous because to her opinion he brought too many Thai girls back home. You will not have these problems if you live in a serviced apartment or a multicultural condo. The negative side as you can imagine is: You are not somebody special anymore. But then, who wants to pick up the girls in the neighborhood? Somebody said you should not poo in the place you eat. It can backfire. I once dated a girl of my building, a Japanese who works at the embassy. When I brought in other girls I was always on the lookout if she was not in the lobby or the facility areas. The same thing with work: Don’t pick up a girl at work or you can pack in your job the same time. But we will discuss work relationships later.
In my opinion: Get a nice apartment in a good area like Lang Suan. The money you save with not hiring bargirls is very well invested in your new place. Sure, it is allowed to impress girls a little bit. There is nothing wrong with that. But only to live in a nice place is not enough to get to ordinary Thai girls. Disregard to lease a fancy car. This sends out a wrong signal. I always see the expensive cars in front of the bed and supper. That is nonsense. You don’t wanna be a poser. You only don’t want directly to pay for sex. One can say now, well if you get a nice apartment only for the girls, you pay indirectly for sex. I would say, yes it is a bit true. But you also benefit from it, since you live in the nicer place. (Sure, it is true, you should not choose your place primarily for your guests, but for yourself, but I am just telling you: Not many women want to visit you in trashcan. But like all negative things also living in a trashcan has its positive aspects: Then you can be really sure, she likes you just for what you are and not the materialistic bullshit around you) When you only give all the money to the girls, you stay in your ramshackle. A good apartment building has the advantage that the people working there should be more or less reticent about your lifestyle. My ex-girlfriend (submission Nadja, John and me) used to have the habit to question the guards if they saw me bringing other girls to my room. They never gave her an answer, they just ignored her. This is very nice, in a good apartment in a good area you are protected (more or less) not only from the gossip but also from the immigration and roaming police. They will not make an immigration raid in your building. I never have been stopped by the police in Bangkok (I live in the Chidlom area). While an Austrian friend living in Banglampoo always complains about corrupt policemen trying to get money out of him. I am not so sure if he is telling the truth, unfortunately he has a very vivid imagination – he is a former ski instructor. Once he told me that he was just walking down the street and a policeman just reached without warning inside his pockets. On an other occasion he had to line up for a urine drug test. I just know: Thai policemen are total punks and I would not want to deal with them without rear cover. But the things he describes never happened to me and if they will ever happen to me, I will consider my departure from Bangkok to be overdue.
So that much for your location. Now, the next question is where to find the girl.
At work: Only fools mix work with private life. If you really come across a girl you like at work, you or her should be prepared to change the company. Disregard flings with employees, they only create bad gossip about you. I would go even further: I would not tell the girls I meet in my spare time, where my office is. I would simply come up with a good cover story. Thai girls usually just wanna know what you do just to check your social status. If you give them no concrete answer, they may think you are a shady person. So you unfortunately have to lie to them to protect yourself. I don’t like lies, but in this case, you have no choice. You don’t want that one of your gig’s (playmates) goes on hunger strike in front of your workplace or terrorizes your co-workers. Remember: Anything can happen in Thailand.
Getting introduced to some girl by friends: Your first impression might be, wow, that is a good thing. It maybe is not such a good thing and I will tell you why. Let’s start like this: Would I introduce a Thai girl to one of my acquaintances? Yes, I would. Would I introduce the best of my Thai girl friends to one of my acquaintances? No, I would not. I would have no idea how he would treat her. I would be scared that he just uses her for a one night stand, promises her the whole world and then drops her like a hot potato. I would introduce him to some girl I hardly know and I would not need to feel responsible. Imagine, I would really introduce him to one of my best Thai girl friends!! She would make me responsible for everything bad he would do to her. No, I don’t think I need that. So, as you can see, Thais are not as stupid as you think. They may be introduce you to some girls, but you don’t know what intention they might have to introduce you to them. For the majority of Thais, foreigners are just playboys anyway – so why introduce them to decent people? If you don’t have very high aspirations, then you can be happy with a girl being introduced to you. But you never know what went on behind the scenes and especially that girl was introduced to you. Maybe she is known for being an easy girl or she wants desperately know an affluent foreign guy i.e. you. Maybe I am painting this all too black, I just want to remind you that not all what glitters is gold.
The streets: Difficult to say. I never tried to pick up a girl from the streets. I think it has the touch of being a bit off color. I heard that many people are doing it, I know one guy, an English ‘actor’ who goes around and picks girls from the BTS etc. He looks quite good and he tells me that he is quite successful in doing it. But also he has to shave and put on nice clean clothes for that. For my part, I would use all other options I have first and just for a very desperate measure go hunt girls on the street. To be honest, I played with the thought, but then I was just too lazy to do it. Also I don’t want to advise it to you in this submission because I don’t want that now a bunch of randy westerners assault decent average Thai girls on the street. It is just not nice. How would you feel as a girl if some lunatic starts to talk to you when you just pass on the street? As a girl, I would just continue to walk, hold my books tighter and hope the idiot will give up. I guess it all depends how you do it. If you see that the girl is interested in you, give her a smile and if you want start talking to her. It does not matter what you say, she will not remember it later anyway. Just be very friendly and soft and polite. Just talk a lot of rubbish but stay relaxed and remember one thing: The tempo of your attack is dictated by the woman, and the woman alone. So don’t push it, idiot. I tell you what happened to me last night. I went down to the supermarket of my condo and wanted something they just ran out of. So I had to go to the 7/11 around the corner and I had to hurry, because Yasmin was waiting for me in the lobby. I turned the corner and came across two normal nicely dressed girls in skirts. Both were in their early twenties. One was giving me a smile to light up a whole Christmas tree. What did I make out of this situation? I smiled back and continued my journey. It is a nice moment in your day and I just don’t want to spoil it by chatting up these harmless pedestrians. But what I do sometimes, I give my name cards (private ones of course) to some girls I meet in my daily life in the supermarket, in some shops not! around my apartment etc. Many girls actually call me back, but I mostly realize that their English is not very good. Also, these girls are very Thai. Let me explain what I mean: I was passing a clothes shop several times in nearby area, so I got the attention of the owner of one clothes shop. She was a wonderful looking being, even she was already 30 years old. Tall and toned, with a very exotic, interesting face. One day she stopped me and asked for my name. I gave her my card and within and hour she called me. We went for dinner and movies, of course we kissed in the cinema and played around with each others body parts, but that was it. She claimed to be having her red days and told me to wait a few days. I thought, well fine, whatever, I did not weight that girl too heavy, because she could hardly speak English. After a few days she SMSd me and said she could not see me for another week. Two weeks later she told me she was falling in love with me. Of course I did not reply back anymore. With this I want to say that you maybe find girls on the street who are not usually going with foreigners or westerners but they maybe behave like they have hit the jackpot and play hard to get. The language barrier is another aspect. They may try to manipulate you and come up with things like: This is not Thai culture to sleep so quick with a man or this is not Thai culture to do this and that. They may think they get away with this nonsense since they think you are so gullible. I met a girl who really tried to sell me that she is a virgin and I had to marry her before I even would be allowed to kiss her. I also met her on the street. See, that is the advantage of online girls: They are free, they want fun and if you find the right one, you can be almost happy in Bangkok.
Going out: When I came first to Bangkok, I always went out to places like Dance Fever and Hollywood. It is very easy to meet girls there. Unfortunately they don’t speak English. Normally I just stood around and made an unhappy face, it took me about 15minutes to get an invitation from a table. I think I had some great times there, but as I said, the price comes in you consumption of alcohol and the hangover the next day. Also by going out you will only meet party people. It can be tiring to be in a relationship with a party girl like that. Usually party girls sleep with a number of men and I am not so sure how safe their sex is when they are drunk. As I said for me: I don’t like to go out and drink anymore. Three years ago I had meningitis and since then I more or less stayed abstinent. When I drink, I usually don’t remember what happened the night before, which can be quite tricky. Anyway: I assume that drinking alcohol is the precondition of meeting someone on a disco battlefield. But let’s just think I would like and be able to drink. So what would happen? Sure I would meet zillions of girls, but what kind of girls would I meet? Let’s rule out freelancers. I have stayed long enough here and I can spot them quite easily. Normally they are the ones with the curly hair, the high heels and the black dresses... At least the higher priced ones. They hang around in every hotel bar and all the places westerners go to. I can not scan the girls for you. You have to do that and I am not sure how good you can do it if you are drunk. What I also don’t like about the going out girls is that I would only choose them by their appearance while meeting them online I can estimate how good their English will be and how polite, intelligent, charming they are or can be. Online girls I meet from the inside out and when we meet there is normally just one thing left to do:... Girls who often go out are usually the showing off/poser type, even more shallow than their online friends and quite exhausting to be with. Of course you can be lucky and get someone simpatico from going out. I just never did. Poor me.
Making friends online: Bangkokchat is out, Yahoo chat I have not checked lately but what it does, it just takes a lot of time away from your life. Thailandfriends is not a very bad option. Pretend that you are new in town (all girls prefer ‘uncorrupted’ westerners) and you get many replies, stay polite, don’t talk dirty stuff to the girls and your chances to get laid for free are very high indeed. Thailovelinks is more for older guys who like to meet up with upcountry girls who can’t speak English. The kind of girls who give you a missed call and except you to call them back. I actually paid a membership there (it has no limited free options like Thailandfriends) but I can not claim to be very happy with it. The girls give away their phone numbers very easy, but they can’t speak English. I have the impression Thailovelinks is a bit for gold diggers who target a na´ve group of westerners. The Thailovelinkgirls are always totally surprised when they realize that I am in Bangkok and get angry when I use some of my harmless Thai with them. My 20 year old ex-girlfriend found her 50 year old Irish prince on Thailovelinks, so that is why I was curious about it. In short: Thailovelinks is more “Thai” Thai, Thailandfriends is more urban. Thailandfriends has a lot of students (it has also some freelancers) but I would clearly favour Thailandfriends over Thailovelinks, since at Thailandfriends the education and the level of English is much better. The only thing what I don’t like about Thailandfriends, it has got this community thing – if you play around too much they will know you and you have to find another hunting ground. But this is the same at Bangkokchat too. I have not tried Sanook etc. I always want to try it, but then I am too lazy to get someone to create my profile, since everything is in Thai there. Yeah, when I run out of girls, I will go there. First I have to use up all other oil fields.
Sports clubs etc: Yeah, why not, do Yoga or learn Salsa. Choose a course where you think you can get to know a sophisticated girl. This is what Yasmin, my sociologist friend advises. I am not too fond of it, but you can try. I simply would refuse to learn Yoga just for meeting one girl. But then, if you prefer quality over quantity, you might get lucky in one of these places.
Meeting abroad: That is another thing she suggested. To meet in Europe, Australia or America on a university campus. Sure it is a good idea, only I don’t want to fly back to Europe to get a Thai girl. It is well meant but a bit unpractical.
My answer: You only can fall asleep, if you don’t think about sleeping. There is no miracle formula and there should be no miracle formula how to meet a decent girl, otherwise I would be bored and disappointed in the world’s order. The government of the world I live in was not framed, like that of the United S.A., in after-dinner conversations over beer, pretzel and football games. Don’t search too hard or you will just lose yourself on your hunt. If you are about to lose your patience and if you are ready to go back to the prostitutes again, Dr. Statler gives you some doping now for your resistance: There is a solid bottom everywhere. We read that the traveller asked the boy if the swamp before him had a hard bottom. The boy replied that it had. But presently the traveller's horse sank in up to the girths, and he observed to the boy, "I thought you said that this bog had a hard bottom." "So it has," answered the latter, "but you have not got half way to it yet." So it is with the bogs and quicksands of Thailand; but he is an old boy that knows it.
How to successfully court a Thai girl when you eventually found one: Have you ever seen the movies “Pillow talk” or “Lover come back”? They are my favorites. I just love to see Rock Hudson playing a gigolo. Why? Because you can learn a lot from him. Especially in Thailand, where the role of the women is very conservative, similar to the 1950’s i.e. the era these two movies were shot. Girls were real girls back then and men were real men (or gay like Rock Hudson. But he was the best choice to play that part. Why? Because a real playboy understands women in the way “I read women but I embrace books” (all right slightly wrong quotation, but I just wanted to give you some Tucholsky for your quest) and needs to have a touch of gayness in his veins. When the Thais call you narark, you would be considered gay in the west. But that is one reason why I like it here.) Even the dresses Doris Day wears in these films remind me of Thailand today and I see them every day around lunch when the sidewalks are packed with flamboyantly overdressed office girls. I would think that if you are funny, charming, polite and a bit of a rascal you will have the best cards. But then I would say, you can not learn it. You can also not buy a packet of charm from the supermarket. But you can see the Rock Hudson movies with your girls. They will just love them.
About the right girl: You know life is this game of inches. How many girls do you think you have missed just by an inch? Did you ever wonder what could have happened if you would have met the girls who just went out of the disco when you entered? Ovid says: Everything comes gradually and at its appointed hour. I hope he is right. So forget about the girls who just have left the disco.
There is a movie called “Every given Sunday” and the coach of the team losing the game is holding a speech to motivate the players. It goes something like this: "I don't know what to say really. Three minutes till the biggest battle of our professional lives. It all comes down to today. Now either we heal as a team, or we're gonna crumble. Inch by inch, play by play, till we're finished. We're in hell right now, gentlemen. Believe me. And we can stay here, get the shit kicked out of us, or we can fight our way back into the light. We can climb out of hell. One inch at a time.
Now I can't do it for you. I'm too old. I look around, I see these young faces, and I think... I mean I've made every wrong choice a middle-aged man can make. I pissed away all my money, believe it or not. I chased off anyone who's ever loved me, and lately, I can't even stand the face I see in the mirror. You know when you get old in life, things get taken from you. That's part of life. But you only learn that when you start losing stuff. You find out life's this game of inches. And so is football. Because in either game, life or football, the margin for error is so small. I mean... one half a step too late or too early and you don't quite make it. One half second too slow too fast, you don't quite catch it. The inches we need are everywhere around us. They are in every break of the game, every minute, every second. On this team, we fight for that inch. On this team, we tear ourselves and everyone else around us to pieces for that inch. We claw with our fingernails for that inch. Because we know when we add up all those inches, that's gonna make the fucking difference between winning and losing! Between living and dying! I'll tell you this - in any fight, its the guy whose willing to die who's gonna win that inch. And I know if I'm going to have any life anymore, it's because I'm still willing to fight and die for that inch. Because that's what living is! The 6 inches in front of your face...
Now I can't make you do it. You've got to look at the guy next to you, look into his eyes. Now I think you're gonna see a guy who will go that inch with you. You're gonna see a guy who will sacrifice himself for this team, because he knows when it comes down to it, you're gonna do the same for him.
That's a team, gentlemen. And either we heal, now, as a team, or we will die, as individuals. That's football, guys. That's all it is. Now, what are you going to do?"
Life is this game of inches he says. It is actually true. Since I apply this philosophy in my daily squash games with the ten year younger staff here I am winning again, after losing almost every match for the last half year. I break down the whole game in small pieces. Before every rally I am determined to win it. I concentrate, because I know, the whole game is the amount of every single rally.
The same thing can be easily applied on girls. See, I am sitting outside on my balcony now at 4 o’clock in the morning and I am writing down all this nonsense for you because of a girl. Never mind how I met her. She is not a bad girl, she is just a bit young and a bit untamed. The general question with girls you have to ask yourself: Is she making my life easier or is she bringing problems to my life? Okay, let me tell you what went wrong with this girl and why I am sitting on my balcony writing on this submission instead of lying in my bed and dreaming about snow (I hate it but I miss it). Anyway. Two small things happened today: You know Thai girls always want water. Water without gas of course. I never drink water. In my country it comes out of the tab in a better quality (really the measured it) then in an Evian bottle. But alright, I keep always a big bottle of water somewhere in my room for the girls. Unfortunately they are all a bit lazy and never put back the bottle in the fridge. Actually now I am starting to think of getting a lot of small bottles (to avoid Stick’s comments about practically arranging my household). So this girl of today, she puts the warm bottle which was standing next to my bed right into the deep freezer. Right. She forgets it there of course. I realize the problem when I open the normal fridge which is below the deep freezer. There was water all over. I first thought my white wine ran out, but then I remembered seeing her putting the water bottle in the deep freezer. Not only she forgot the bottle in there, no, she also did not close the bottle well. The water ran out and ice built up in the deep freezer, so we had to defrost the deep freezer and clean up the water. Sure it was no problem and it is not the reason why I am sitting on my balcony. The reason why I am sitting on my balcony is: My room has a constant temperature of 20 degrees Celsius. I never change the air condition because I know one or two degrees more, I will be sweating in my bed, two degrees less, I will get a headache. I am not really a sensitive person, but this air-con was making me crazy when I came to live here in this building. I spent weeks figuring out the right temperature and I caught a cold several times. I even bought a ventilator at the big C, but it did not work also. Well, finally I found the right temperature and I lived in peace with my air-con ever since. Now today this girl goes to the toilet, sees the air-con switch and plays around with it because she thinks it is too hot. Fine. She goes back to bed and after half an hour, she realizes that it now is too cold in the room. She grabs all the blankets from my bed because she is too lazy to get up and set the temperature back to normal. So I am lying there in my bed and waking up with a headache, realizing the room is too cold. Well, it is nothing. I am not angry at the girl, she is just a kid – but what I am saying is: Life is this games of inches. Observe well. Focus on details. Sum up the details and see if she is worth your company or only giving you headaches. While I am sitting here on the balcony I hear her phone going off with around 100 decibel. At 4 o’clock in the morning. I don’t know about you guys but I switch off my cell phones at night, because I know some crazy lunatic girl will call me in the middle of the night because she is drunk and horny. But for this girl tonight: She just wanted to make sure I am keeping the dead-line for the submission.
Let’s shift into second gear: Have you ever heard the saying: “All is fair in love and war?” People in love and soldiers in wartime are not bound by the rules of fair play. Is this really true? When I first thought about it, I was kind of shocked. I asked myself, can I support this “philosophy” or not? Let us first talk about war. Is everything fair in war? Like so many times I was unsure of something, I asked Michel de Montaigne. He says in chapter 5 of his first book: “Whether the Captaine of a Place Besieged ought to sallie forth to Parlie”:
“LVCIUS MARCIUS Legate of the Romans, in the warre against Perseus King of Macedon, desirous to get so much time, as he wanted to prepare his army, gave out some motives of accord, wherewith the king inveagled, yielded unto a truce for certaine daies: by which meanes he furnished his enemie with opportunitie and leasure to arme himselfe: whereof proceeded the Kings last ruine and over-throw. Yet is it, that the elders of the Senate, mindfull of their fore-fathers customes, condemned this practice as an enemie to their ancient proceedings, which was, said they, to fight with vertue, and not with craft, not by surprises, or stratagems by night, nor by set-flights, and unlookt-for approches, never undertaking a warre, but after it was proclaimed, yea many times after the appointed houre and place of the battell. With this conscience did they send backe to Pirrhus his traitorous Physitian, and to the Phalisci their disloyall schoolemaster. These were true Romane proceedings, and not Grecian policies, nor Punike whes, with whom to vanquish by force is lesse glorious than to conquer by treacherie. To deceive may serve for the instant but hee only is judged to be overcome, that knowes he was not vanquished by craft or deceit, nor by fortune or chance, but by meere valour, betweene troupe and troupe, in an overt and just warre. It appeareth manifestly by the speech of these good men, they had not yet received this sentence.
Dolus, an virtus, quis in hoste requirat? -- VIR. Šn. 1. ii. 390.
Deceit, or vertue, either, in foes, it skills not whether.
(comment Statler: i.e. all is fair in love and war)
The Achaians, saith Polibius, detested all manner of deceit in their warres, deeming that no victorie, where their enemies courages were not quelled. Eam vir sanctus, et sapiens sciat esse victoriam veram, quŠ salva fide, et integra dignitate parabitur. 'A wise and religious man will know that is victorie indeed, which shall be attained with credit unimpeached, and dignitie untainted,' saith another.
Vos ne velit, an me regnare hera, quid-ve ferat fors,
Virtute experiamur. -- CIC. Offic.
If fortune will have you to raigne, or me,
And what chance brings, let vertue's triall be.
In the Kingdome of Ternates, among those nations, which wee so full-mouthed, call barbarous, the custome beareth, that they never undertake a warre, before the same be denounced; thereunto adding an ample declaration of the meanes they have to employ therein, what manner, and how many men, what munition, and what Armes either offensive or defensive: which done, they also establish as a law, that without reproach or imputation, it shall be lawfull for any man, in their warres, to use what advantage soever, may in any sort further or help them to vanquish. The ancient Florentines were so far from desiring any advantage of their enemies by sudden surprises, that a moneth before they could bring their Armie into the field, they would give them warning, by the continuall sound of their common bell, which they called Martinella. As for us, who are lesse superstitious, and deeme him to have the honour of the warre, that hath the profit of it, and according to Lisander, say, that 'Where the Lions-skinne will not suffice, wee must adde a scantling of the Foxes;' the most ordinarie occasions of surprises are drawne from this practice, and as wee say, there is no time, wherein a Captaine ought to be more warie and circumspect to looke about him, than that of parlies, and treaties of accord: And therefore is it a common rule in the mouth of all our modern men of warre, that the Governour or Commaunder of a besieged place, ought never to sallie forth himselfe to parlie.”
So the answer is typical Montaigne, it can be one or the other, it depends on the case. That is why I love this guy. He leaves us the freedom of choice. For me, talking of the love side of the proverb I would tempted to say: In the west, not all is fair in love (and war). Why, because we are more civilized? Yes! Here, in Thailand: All is fair in love (and war - if we are talking about the daily little war we have with them). Why? As you might have realized, we live among a nation of pretenders (or swindlers if you insist.) You know that they never give you a true answer, even if you just ask them in a restaurant why their coffee machine is broken for the fifth time this year (yeah that is right-I am getting no coffee at the moment). Of course, not many girls would tell you if they are dating other men besides you to get some pocket money from them (submission Nadja, John and me). So, if you are in almost falling love (and only then!) with a girl, please take the opportunity to go through her phone. Best time is when she is in the shower, you hear the water running for half an hour... Hey, apropos water running: The longer the girl uses my shower the less I trust her. You may ask why. Actually, it is just my gut feeling speaking here. Let me try to back it up. First of all the “Thai” Thai’s shower all the time. In the morning, before sex, after sex and at night time. I would say nearly four times (it depends how much sex they have) a day. I hate when girls shower before sex. They can wash their private parts if they like, but when she is not totally sweaty, why the hell shower before sex? Sex is something totally animalistic and you will exchange body fluids and whatever not. So to shower before sex is like the “I am so innocent” swindler Thai way. But fine, I can live with it. Or not? I am not sure. I always get the impression if she showers before sex means she is not really in the mood for bedroom activity. Prostitutes shower before sex. I think sex is something quite spontaneous and when a girl tells me – sorry, shower! I think – what? Is she suffering from an obsessive-compulsive disorder? Compulsive acts or rituals are usually performed to reduce the anxiety associated with obsessive thoughts. For example: The person who continually fears contamination may shower many times a day, even to the point of breaking the skin down. Compulsive acts and rituals are sometimes performed to ward off some undesirable event. Maybe the sex she is going to have with you? Then the absolute turn off is when she sends me to the shower. I don’t remember when this happened the last time. Honestly, if I girl tells me to shower before sex I would think she is super “Thai” Thai and I would not be sure if I would date her again. Well, it is hard to draw the line in this case between a national obsessive-compulsive disorder and a cultural characteristic. But let’s leave it here.
Also Check her Emails if you can. There are some nice ways to get it from her: Like installing a password memory on your PC or even better a program that records every keystroke. I know, it is not fair, but sorry, the girls leave us no choice. I was having an affair for 15 months with a girl who was totally dishonest and pretended to be an absolute angel. Believe me one thing: I am not a na´ve fool. But the deceiving skills of that girl was extremely remarkable. I actually admire her ability to disguise herself. What I learned from it, and we should always learn from our previous relationships is that: Check out as much as you possibly can. Go to her family. Talk to her friends. Don’t leave no stone unturned. Go with your gut feeling. If something seems not right, step back. If you see she is sending another guy: “I love you’s”. Pull the plug. Yeah, that is right. You have the information you need, but please also do use it. It is like you hire a private detective and he comes back with photos clearly proving that your girl is shagging another bloke, then why don’t you think it is time to break up? Don’t fall for the: I will not do it again. My experience with Thai girls is: They will not change. So if they will not reform themselves anyway, you don’t need to give them a second chance. Does it sound too hard for your ears? If you confuse a Thai girl with a western girl maybe. But You have to realize one thing: You can not easily reach a Thai girl with your sophisticated words, your applied western logic. If you find out about her private games, she will only try to hide it better next time. That’s it. In no way she acknowledge her mistake, like a western women would (sometimes) do. Let’s just look it from the other side. If I am caught with lie, I say well, hell - all right, you got me. If you confront a Thai person with a lie, they will dish you an even bigger lie. They just can help themselves. That is they way they have been brought up and that is the taste of the milieu you have your relationship made from. So please, don’t think twice if it is okay what you to: All is fair in love (and war) in Thailand.
I'm walkin' down that long, lonesome road, babe
Where I'm bound, I can't tell
But goodbye's too good a word, gal
So I'll just say fare thee well
I ain't sayin' you treated me unkind
You could have done better but I don't mind
You just kinda wasted my precious time
But don't think twice, it's all right
---> Just remember one thing: If you do it, be prepared that she is doing the same to you. But if she is Thai, it will be most likely in her ‘basic configuration’ to snoop in everything she can put her little nose in. And here I destroy your ecstasy about been given green light to sniff around in your girlfriend’s email, phone etc: Have some dignity and don’t become like them. Interpreting Montaigne in my way: You maybe loose the ‘relationship battle’ with your girlfriend with but you win the fight with yourself by not using the unfair methods. Keep your dignity. You don’t need to snoop around, if you have a bad feeling about her, try to sort it out, if you can’t - let her go. Simple as that.
My final thoughts on all the battlefield madness of this submission hang on a quotation by Charles Bukowski. He said namely:
"Somebody at one of these places asked me: "What do you do? How do you write, create?" You don't, I told them. You don't try. That's very important: not to try, either for Cadillacs, creation or immortality. You wait, and if nothing happens, you wait some more. It's like a bug high on the wall. You wait for it to come to you. When it gets close enough you reach out, slap out and kill it. Or if you like it's looks, you make a pet out of it."
P.S. I almost forgot to answer the question I posed in the title of this essay: How can you be with a Thai girl without becoming her sponsor? Well, try this: Select the right girl (the needle from the haystack) for you and just behave as much as possible in your relationship with your Thai girl as you would have behaved with a girl back home. The more natural you can act, the better it is for your partner and yourself. (Do you know who encouraged me to write this annotation down? It was Yasmine, my Thai anthropologist girl friend. She sends her regards by the way. To all of you out there – wherever you may be at this moment - in Pattaya or in the Dutch mountains. ...mountains ...buildings.)
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