Stickman Readers' Submissions September 30th, 2003

Thai Thoughts And Anecdotes Part 15

Thai Thoughts And Anecdotes 15

1. Porntip and I are walking back to the AA hotel in Pattaya. There in front of the Royal Garden Plaza is a sidewalk portrait artist. Porntip wants her portrait done. OK I say. I am nuts about this woman. I am taking us seriously as a couple. This will be fun. The process is fun. The girl gets to be the center of attention while strangers nod and smile, the besotted boyfriend gets to buy a gift that brings a smile. The portrait looks nice. 400baht. Two days later when she is packing to leave, I give her the rolled up drawing. She doesn't want it.

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2. Wan is a little slow coming down from our room, so I go across the soi and buy her favourite morning coffee-milk drink from the vendor who is always in front of the AA hotel. Wan and I are going to the new aquarium in Pattaya today. She will put the plastic bag drink on her handle bars and I will ride on the back of her motorbike. I am so so happy. I am having a little trouble making my needs known to the vendor. I am wearing a T-shirt that has a picture of Wan and I on the front. I point to the picture of Wan on the shirt and pantomime drinking. That does it. The vendor understands. When Wan comes down the steps I give her the gift. A way of saying "I was thinking of you." She puts it down next to a potted plant. As we pull away from the hotel I see the drink sitting next to the potted plant. Already forgotten.

3. Yoew has given me the two most fantastic nights of my life. Even typing this now I can barely make sense of this. And it is not just sexual athleticism. She laughs and giggles and teases me and kisses and licks me all over and watches for my responses. She watches and guages me for what makes me happy and for what makes us happy and then she freely gives us more. I have never been rolled over and over in such a tsunami wave of female love and affection and sexual responses in my life. The next morning I leave for Chiang Mai but I will be back in four days. She puts her two fists in her eyes and pretends she is crying and then puts her arm in mine and smiles. In Chiang Mai all I can do is think of her–think of us. I would like to make her happy. I would like to buy her a gift. I would like to see her smile. I buy her a 92.5% silver filigree heart-shaped jewellery box. Then when I get back to BKK I take it into an expensive jewellery store and pay them to put it in a fancy box, with fancy wrapping paper, and a little bow. That night I give it to her. She opens the package and takes out the heart-shaped silver jewellery box and says, "What did this cost–40baht?!" I don't say anything. When she comes out of the bathroom I help her dress and give her a 'go away' fee.

4. Eat and I are sitting in front of Anna the tour director at the AA Hotel in Pattaya. Eat wants to go on one of the tours. I don't really have an interest in the tour but Eat wants to go so I fork over 1000baht for the two of us and sign the paperwork. The next day Eat informs me that she doesn't want to go on the tour–she wants to stay in all day and watch TV. The money I have spent is non-refundable.

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5. When I first see Nat undress I am struck by her old, baggy underpants. She is so poor she doesn't even have enough money to make herself feel good. I take her hip measurements and the next day a nice lady in Mike's department store helps me pick out some nice sexy classy underpants for Nat. That night when I give her the gift, she refuses to try them on for me. All I wanted to do was see her smile. No more gifts.

6. I am coming out of the Park St. station in Boston and I see a cart selling tourist T-shirts and sweatshirts. I buy Noi a Harvard University T-shirt and mail it to her. People overseas love anything associated with Harvard. She will like this. It will give her 'face'. It is fun to send the gift. She emails me back that she gave it to a friend. Someone in a no-name village outside of Udon is herding buffalo with a Harvard University T-shirt. That wasn't quite my idea.

7. Bee and I are near the Regent and a store is selling upmarket expensive umbrellas. Bee wants one. I buy it as a gift. The next two days it rains. I never see the umbrella.

8. Na has a small child. I buy a small child clothing ensemble that is sold in a nice box with a clear plastic front so that you can see the outfit. I give it to her in the bar. Another bar-girl comes along and looks at it. The two girls talk. The second girl picks up the gift and takes it away.

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9. I buy Lon a hand-beaten silver choker. She loves silver jewellery. I buy the right size and give the gift to her in the bar. All the other girls make a fuss. Lon tries it on and she looks elegant and beautiful. I barfine her. When she comes out to join me she isn't wearing the choker. I never see it again. Probably pawned.

10. I buy Noi and I 'his and her' gold nugget watches. She and I have spent a lot of time together over a long period of time. I am taking the two of us seriously. I am starting to hear the word 'forever' in my head. We look great dressed up and wearing our matching watches. Hers is a little large for her wrist so she takes it to a jewellery store to have some links taken out. They take out one link too many so now it is a little too tight. She has the extra links in her purse. All she has to do is go back and they will re-install a link and her matching gold watch will fit perfectly. I never see the watch again. The person in the no-name village herding the buffalo wearing a Harvard University T-shirt is probably now wearing a gold watch. Aren't farangs great!?

11. It takes me most of the afternoon but I don't mind because I am having fun. I am trying to buy a great gift for Noi. I want to buy her a traditional style Mandarin formal dress. Because of her size she is hard to fit. Finally I find an adult styled high quality dress in a child sized XL. I have a gift store in a fancy hotel box it and wrap it. I take it to the bar that night. I am so excited that I can't wait for her to open it. So while she is up on stage dancing I stand up on the cocktail table and start unwrapping the box. Every women in the bar is transfixed–waiting to see what is inside. When the dress tumbles out and I hold it up for Noi to see the bar goes crazy. Yelling and screaming. Other girls come over to touch it and look at it and give me nice smiles. It is traditional mandarin style with the mandarin collar and the short sleeves. The skirt is slit on both sides, the lining is silk, and the buttons are silk covered. It is black silk with gold thread detailing. With her black heels and her black hair and her gold watch matching the gold thread she will look wonderful. When she comes out after I barfine her she is wearing the dress. If I hadn't been sitting down I would have fallen down. The dress fits perfectly. It looks like she was poured into it. She is voluptuous and elegant all at the same time. We are going to see a show and then we are going to a nice restaurant. Walking with her beside me I feel as if my heart is going to burst. Everyone at the show and everyone in the restaurant stares at her. We have our pictures taken. People smile at her. People smile at us. That night I hang the dress on a hanger on the wall and take a picture of it. Noi and I go on to spend another year together. I NEVER SEE THE DRESS AGAIN. Somebody in Essan is probably in a store buying whiskey for their father. And they are probably wearing the dress I bought to make Noi and I smile.

Giving gifts is a way to make a relationship more personal, more intimate, more special. A way to make a connection. Giving gifts is a way to show respect and affection. A way to bond. Gift giving and gift receiving are cross cultural social dynamics understood and valued by everyone. Except in Thailand.

I used to buy gifts for bargirls. I don't do it anymore.

Stickman says:

Where is Dino?

nana plaza