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Stickman Readers' Submissions December 23rd, 2001

Ramblings Of A Lonely Man

Many times in the past Stick has spoken in somewhat derisory terms about men who are old enough to be his father getting very distraught when losing a Thai girlfriend or, even worse, committing suicide. Well, I have just been down that route and I wonder if Stick truly understands what men over a certain age go through when this type of thing happens.

For me it was not just losing the love of a lady I hoped to spend the rest of my life with. That was bad enough, but the thing which also scared me more than somewhat was the thought of having to return to Farangland and the utter loneliness that would entail. This, then, is my story. Like so much written about Thailand and its girlie scene it is in a way typical, but like all other stories there is a great deal which is unique.

He Clinic Bangkok

I first visited Thailand around 1994 for the standard 4 nights in Bangkok followed by 7 nights in Pattaya with an additional 7 nights free! So as a tourist and first timer I had much to learn and thoroughly enjoyed the usual touristy things we all have done in the past. After a couple of false starts in Pattaya I soon joined up with a ‘special’ lady and we spent most of my 14 days there together. This was the first time I fell in love with a Thai lady and the Thai experience. After I returned to the U.K. we wrote often and some months later I returned to Thailand to spend more time with her and her family. To this day I cannot remember exactly where we went other than it was north to Petnilouk and then onwards by bus for about an hour. We spoke of marriage and a small dowry. The problems arose when I tried to get her a visa to live in U.K. At that time the rules were very strict and far more ladies, not just Thai, were being refused entry to live with their husbands than is now the case.

Anyway we did not marry and I found myself getting into a relationship, on the rebound, with an English lady and we did marry about a year later. It is wise now to say this was a mistake, but at the time loneliness was a big issue for me and, having become used to full time company once more, the thought of being alone for the rest of my life was appalling. Somehow though, being married to an English lady just could not measure up to the experience I had enjoyed with my Thai lady. After a couple of years I became so disenchanted with my new life I left my wife and returned to Thailand hoping to recapture the general way of Thai life with a Thai wife. So many small things are different in the outlook of the 2 cultures, as far as being married is concerned. “Take good care of you” and “If you are happy I am happy” seem to be ideas completely alien to Western women.

When I first returned to Thailand on that occasion I have to admit I went more than a bit OTT with the ladies. At that time I knew I wanted to have a business in Thailand and settle down with one lady, but I was sure going to have fun first. I toured around looking for a suitable business to invest in, and to try as many ladies as I could. Some ladies were only one-night stands, some were with me in threesomes, some lasted anything up to a week. I did find someone I thought might be the one, but though she lasted nearly 2 weeks, I started to think otherwise. We spent some time together in Samui and Hua Hin and the last time I saw her was when I dropped her off near her home in Bangkok. It was from that parting I drove down to Pattaya to try my hand down there.

The first night I did think of looking up my old flame, but decided against it on the grounds it might be embarrassing for both of us if she already had a ‘boyfriend’ that week. As things turned out I need not have worried because I did come to meet up with her again and though we are no longer lovers we have, to this day, remained very good friends. She is now a mamasan in one of the bars. Anyway, I decided to look around and see what Pattaya would bring me.

Many hours and many beers later I returned to a bar where one of the ladies had caught my eye. The boss did not seem too keen on my taking this particular lady, seemingly because she was new and the boss did not know “if she is any good.” At the time this lady, who I shall call Nikki, was holding my hand and sitting, as they do, with her legs tucked up underneath her on the ledge which runs round the inside of the bar, showing the dark ‘V’ of her hair. At the time I took this to part of her innocence, for she surely was then. Nikki told me she had worked at one bar for about 3 weeks then moved to the far busier bar where I met her. Subsequent conversations with other ladies confirmed this. Earlier this year I asked Nikki about showing me her pubes that night and I received the usual enigmatic Thai smile in return, so I still do not know if the display was in fact intended or not.

Nikki stayed with me for the rest of my stay in Pattaya, about 2 weeks. It was about that time I decided to return to Hua Hin to set up in business. I had enjoyed the town and felt it busy enough with tourist to be O.K., but also quiet enough not to have the hassles associated with Pattaya, Phuket and Samui. I asked Nikki if she would care to go with me and, after a little thought, she agreed. I thought this very trusting. We had not known each other that long, but she was prepared to give up everything and go with me.

I will not go into too much detail of our time in Hua Hin, for it would take up far too much time and space. Suffice to say we did find a small guesthouse to run, rented from a Thai gentleman who had so many interests in town he just did not have enough time to spare for this enterprise. As such we did, what I considered, a good deal and I know having a Thai lady, and employing Thai staff, helped. Nikki and I also rented a lovely 2 bedroom bungalow about 200 metres from the beach and about 600 metres from the palace for 5000 baht per month. All in all I found life very pleasant, and indeed we were making money from the guesthouse. All was not plain sailing, of course, but she and I made a good team and we overcame some staff, and other small, problems between us. After we had been running the guest house for about a month I suggested the time was right for Nikki’s 2 year old daughter to come and live with us. Up to this point we had been sending Nikki’s sister 4000 baht each month to look after the little girl, the only financial thing Nikki asked for. I did, of course, pay for everything else and made sure she always had money in her purse so she was not always having to ask me for money, though that did lead to our only huge row when she actually stormed off “back to Mother!” The fault was all mine, and showed me how much I still had to learn about the Thai way of doing things and ‘face’.

We were in one of the local markets and Nikki wanted to buy some fruit which, as all things in markets seem to cost, was only 20 baht. I told her to pay for the fruit from the money she had and she really went into one! When we returned to the bungalow she packed her bags and left. I realised, later, she felt she had lost face in front of the stall holder as I, her Farang and protector, should have paid for the fruit showing how much I cared for and looked after her. 2 days later she ‘phoned to say “sorry” and Nikki came back a couple of days later. This did lead to an embarrassing, for me, event. The second night Nikki was away, and before she telephoned me, I went to the local Soi Binterbarn (local bar area) and took a lady home. In the morning she asked to borrow a shirt as it was quite, for Thailand, cold and she was only wearing a skimpy dress. I agreed and, though the lady said she would launder and return the shirt, I never really expected to see it again. After Nikki had ‘phoned I did not take any more ladies back to the bungalow. However, the night she was due back, one of the staff from the guest house came to see me at home. This was by arrangement and completely innocent. I happened to be in the shower at the time she arrived so I called out for her to come in and help herself to a drink. While I was drying myself I heard voices and when I came out of the bathroom, wrapped only in a towel, Noi from the guest house had been joined by both Nikki and, to my horror, the lady with my clean shirt! Luckily I was able to convince Nikki the only time the lady had come was before she ‘phoned so, because we were not together that night, I was not a ‘butterfly’.

We were together for nearly 10 months in Hua Hin, Nikki, her daughter and I. I have many lovely memories of that time and, on the whole, we were very happy together. Nikki did start to talk of marriage, as any lady would after such a long time together, so I decided I would have to return to England to both arrange a divorce from my Farang wife and to settle some business affairs to free more money for my expected prolonged stay and retirement in Thailand. Sadly life does not run as smoothly as that. The divorce turned quite tricky, but worse the thing which kept me away from Thailand and my beloved Nikki was illness. For 3 months I was unable to contact her, though my daughter did telephone to tell Nikki I was in hospital and would get in touch as quickly as I could. This left her with many problems regarding the guesthouse. With the best will in the world Nikki just did not have the necessary education or training to run even a small business and she eventually had to let it go, though not before having to face some hassle from both the staff and the landlord.

When I was at last able to call Nikki myself she told me she had troubles and she was now back in Bangkok with her sister. Worse, from both our points of view, was she had also spent some more time in Pattaya. As she said “I have to eat and take care of my daughter.” Although I could understand I did not, of course, like it. However my position was that the divorce settlement was still taking its time, and while this was going on the joint bank account with my ex wife was frozen so money was not over plentiful. I was also still in and out of hospital having numerous tests. The doctors thought I might have cancer, but luckily for me this was eventually ruled out. Even so a worrying time for all of us, including Nikki who I was now ‘phoning every week and trying to keep her up to date with events in the U.K.

At long last, and it all happened within a week, the divorce and clearance from hospital came through. Now I was able to agree to send Nikki money every month and start the countdown to my return to Thailand. The 2 delaying things here were waiting to sell my apartment and an insistence from the insurance people I wait for 3 months to make sure I was definitely O.K. from the medical point of view. By this time Nikki had spent nearly a year back and forwards between Pattaya and her sister in Bangkok.

At last the day came for me to meet her once more. I still had not sold my apartment, but I had enough money from the divorce settlement to travel and, I hoped, to at least start laying the foundations of a new life. Things started to go wrong when Nikki refused to meet me at the airport. Eventually she told me she had made friends with an American and he was going to look after her. I felt I deserved a holiday anyway so continued with my plans to stay in Pattaya for a month. One evening this lady came and sat beside me and said “Hello Kenji”. I did not recognise her until she told me “Its Nikki!” Her hair had been straightened and highlighted and there were many other, subtle, changes. One thing was for sure, the innocence had gone. At first I told her I was now with another lady which was true, but it was purely a business arrangement with no emotional ties. However my thoughts kept going back to Nikki over the following days to the point where the new lady said enough was enough and if I was thinking of my old flame so much I should go back to her.

So it was how Nikki and I came together again. In the intervening few days Nikki had removed the highlights from her hair and looked, a little, more like the Nikki I had known and loved in Hua Hin. Our first night back as a couple was very passionate and all the old feelings, which had never really left me, came flooding back. We decided she would leave the bar immediately, which the mamasan was not happy about and told Nikki she should stay and continue to make good money at the bar. I knew Nikki was popular, and tried to put this from my mind. The important thing was we were a couple again and, if she could understand and forgive me my unexplained absence from Hua Hin I would have to forget her work as a bar girl. We spent the rest of my time in Thailand together and I returned home a lot happier than I had left.

I returned again about one month later for Songkran and then returned to the U.K. to finalise the sale of my apartment. Sadly this dragged on for quite a while and each time I e-mailed or ‘phoned Nikki it was always the same question. “How long?” I decided to return to Thailand to marry my beloved and wait for the money to catch up, as it surely would. I still had several thousand pounds to start our new life. Unhappily Nikki would not marry me until the money arrived, which I found frustrating, and we did spend quite a lot travelling round Thailand looking for where our new life would be. We also, because we were staying in hotels and eating in restaurants every night, spent quite a bit of money. Needless to say we never stayed in mattress on the floor fan cooled rooms!

It has always been Nikki’s intention never to lie. Many times during my period of waiting to get back to Thailand I had said to her I wanted her to stop writing to her American friend, and a German guy she was also sending e-mails to, and looking back I can see she never answered that request. It was always done in such a way that, by the time I put the ‘phone down, or read through all the marriage plans in her e-mail, I forget to press the matter. Then one day I mentioned this in one of the hotels. Much to my horror she said she would stop e-mailing them once we were married. She just could not see why I became upset, even though we were planning on marrying in the very near future.

That was, for me, the beginning of the end. We continued to travel, though now I was going off on my own and she was spending time with her family in Bangkok. She started doing the same as her sister, selling some kind of fish paste which Thais love to cook with. I suggested we marry and I get a job as an English teacher in Bangkok until such time as the money from the sale of my apartment came through. This, sadly, was not good enough for her bringing in only ‘small’ money. I found this attitude very hard to understand. Here was a Thai lady who, on average, was earning around 5000 baht a month selling her fish paste. Even when she was working bar she was only averaging 10,000 baht a month. I was offering a monthly income of 30,000 Baht from a teaching job plus another 20,000 baht pension I get from U.K. plus she would still have her market money. I shall never understand how 55,000 baht a month can be described as ‘small’ money by someone who is lucky to make 5000 baht. I know this is a Thai thing, but I still find it difficult to come to terms with.

Nikki and I decided to call it a day. I still miss her terribly. I miss her daughter holding my hand and calling me Papa! I miss the dream of a new life together. O.K., I also miss the physical side of things but, truly, that was always a bonus for our feelings and not my sole aim in life.

So why did I take an overdose. All of the above, of course, but so, so much more. Most of all it is the loss of the dream, the dread of loneliness as I get older. I have spent quite some time in hospital since I took the pills. I am now ‘home’ in England, but my heart is still in Thailand. I cannot see any future other than loneliness. The medics tell me this will pass, but being on my own is not helping. At least when I was in hospital I had company. Now I have nothing. People decry the ‘sad old men’ who give their hearts to younger Thai ladies. Hey, we are just human beings with feelings like everyone else. Some younger men think we should know better, but since when has knowing had anything to do with feeling. We do not, at least I do not, think with my cock as some people have suggested. Sure, my first contact with Nikki was from a bar for sex. What happened after, though, was not just for sex. I developed strong feelings for her, and I am not fooling myself in thinking she has strong feelings for me. You need to be there to know, but believe me she loves me as much as I love her.

I have no doubt if you asked Nikki for her side of the story she, too, would be feeling very let down. For nearly 3 years she also lived the dream of me taking care of her and her daughter for the rest of their lives. I told her it would all happen given time, but like so many Thais it had to happen now, and that I could not do. What the future holds I do not know, for as I say I can se no future. I have the money now, and I have been tempted to e-mail her and try to patch things up. Maybe one day I will, but at the moment I cannot face another disappointment.

Please, then, the next time you hear of an older Farang committing suicide over a Thai lady do not jump to the obvious conclusion. Things are not always as simple as they seem!

Stickman says:

Thanks for a submission which really does verify one of the points that I have always questioned – are the punters in the bar looking for sex or love? In your case, initial soirees of long time experiences were always going to be followed, sooner or later, by a long term experience with a girl – a search for love.

There are a few issues in this particular story though. Any girl who retains contact with former lovers even when they are living with someone who they plan to spend the rest of their life with, is someone who in my opinion, does not have the necessary integrity and respect to make a relationship work. Further, where she didn't like the idea of you being a teacher raises very serious issues…

Anyway, thanks for a great submission that I hope others enjoy and learn from.