Stickman Readers' Submissions November 21st, 2003

My Tragic love Affair And Some Sound Advice

In March 2002, the company I work for sent me overseas for 2 months for a special project. I did not go to Asia looking for a girl—I was in a long-term relationship with a very young, beautiful and sexy nurse in the US who very much wanted to be my wife. Just before the end of my stay, the heat, the environment and the temptation of the attractive women got to me. I fell into the farang bar scene and began my quest to find the most beautiful woman in Thailand. I found my dream girl, Lek. She was a knockout (I mean a 10–a rare find for even Thailand!), a body to die for, extremely sexual, humorous, polite, sweet, spoke English–and her smile rocked my world. Even though we were only together for my last two days in the country, I left knowing there was something special about Lek. I took her number and called her when I returned to the US.

Soon I was calling her once each day. I made the mistake of taking a picture of her. Of course she was very photogenic and I looked at that photograph every day. After a couple of weeks she asked me why I called her every day. I told her I had fallen in love with her. I could not believe I said that! In a few weeks she told me I made her fall in love with me over the phone. I was floored. I went back to see her in May and barfined her for a week. That was one of the best weeks in my life. During the stay, I took her to a reputable hospital for a complete STD blood test—including an HIV test. She was negative on all counts. She told me she wanted to be with me, preferably in Thailand, but she would go anywhere to be with me. Being a complete newbie, if I knew what I know now, I would have pulled her from the bar scene immediately. Since I was still in a love relationship back home, and really didn’t know what I was doing or what I should do, I just left her in tears and went home.

He Clinic Bangkok

When I returned to US, I was in mental chaos. Even though I loved my US girlfriend, I could not make a commitment to marry her. Guess why not? I had fallen head over heels for Lek. This 23 year old girl had an amazing effect on me. I felt that all things were possible with her. I had an epiphany and realized what I wanted. I wanted to marry Lek and bring her to the US to be my wife and have children. I am in my early 40s. I was never married although I came close on a few occasions. Believe me this was a hard decision to make. I had to go with my heart even though I knew she was a prostitute for 3 years and the chances of a successful marriage due to cultural differences were slim.

The 3rd time I went out to see her, I stayed for 3 weeks. This was in July 2002. I met her friends. I met her family after a couple of days. They were very nice people who really accepted me. I asked her parents if I could marry her and her mother said yes–how about next week? I freaked out. I was like a deer caught in the headlights. And like the poor deer, I froze and got run over by the truck. I agreed to marry Lek. We did the wedding shopping, a rental dress for her and an outfit for me that made me look like King Number 5. The week before the ceremony we "honeymooned" at Phi Phi Island. One of the most beautiful places in the world, but I wanted to commit suicide because the "day" was coming. We returned to Rangsit and I tried to call all of my friends to get someone to convince me to back out and come home immediately. My sister was extremely upset and told me to get a pre-nup. I told her we were not going to get a marriage certificate because I was planning to get her a US fiancé visa. I explained to Lek that we would both need to sign a paper in the US saying that if we broke up, she would get 60,000 baht to buy a plane ticket back to Bangkok. She was cool with that.

I decided to go through with it. Guess what? They had a wonderful day planned, over 100 guests, 3 outside tents parked right in the middle of the street in front of her house, a 5 piece band, catered 7 course meal with unlimited booze and beer–an 8 hour party. All for 99,999 baht (the dowry – at that time about $2,300 US). That wedding would have cost $40,000 here in New York. Her extended family seemed to love me and called me “Tom Cruise.” It was a trip. I was King for a day. Unfortunately because of the short notice none of my friends or family could be there. When I got back to USA, I filed for fiancé visa.

CBD bangkok

Lek moved back home after the wedding. I gave her a “salary” of 20,000 baht per month to take care of herself, her family and the English school. I never caught this girl in a lie. She never gave me any reason to not believe her intentions towards me. There was one week in November I could not reach her—she said she was sick in the hospital. It really upset me that she did not call me from the hospital but I got over it.

The fiancé visa was accepted at Vermont INS. While I was reading the letter of approval I almost fainted! I couldn't believe this was really going to happen until…

…December 2002. I went to Thailand when she received the visa packet from the US Embassy. There was a lot of stuff to do, way over her head. I went back to help her out with the forms and other documents she needed to get in order. We went to the embassy with the completed forms and got an interview date. Next we went to Bumrungrad Hospital for a very thorough examination as required by the US Embassy. It was there we got the shocking and devastating news–she was HIV positive. I was blown away. She wanted to jump off the roof of the building. You know I had her tested for HIV and all other STDs the 2nd time I met her. Although she was a bargirl, she was fine, very healthy, not a drug abuser, and tested negative for everything. That was it. The dream was over, but now I was terrified that she might have infected me. My double life was in turmoil. I got the news right before the holidays. If I didn’t have my dear US girlfriend, I think I would have had a nervous breakdown.

I did have her tested by the most highly regarded infectious disease doctors in Thailand for 2nd and 3rd exams. By February 2003, we had the final test result. A CD 4 count and viral load test confirmed the diagnosis. Although she was asymptomatic, she was indeed HIV positive. (BTW, her previous stay in the hospital was probably due to the HIV antibodies being formed by her body. Believe me, I’ve learned a lot about that terrible disease.)

wonderland clinic

In April 2003 I broke up with Lek because I would never be able to bring her to America. I realized if I ever had sex with her again, with my luck, I would certainly contract HIV from her. She was crushed. She wanted me to continue to call her. I called her every day and sporadically sent her money for support. I finally broke up with her for good in October 2003 because I do need to move on. I still love her to this day. I will always love Lek. I have a feeling my destiny will be with an Asian woman, either from Thailand or the Philippines. I do pray this will happen someday…

My Advice

Even though I lost thousands of dollars, was in grave danger of becoming HIV positive and subsequently lost the sweetest, kindest and most intelligent US girlfriend I ever had, I do not regret going for the dream of bringing Lek to the US. If you meet the woman of your dreams in Thailand go for it. If you do not go for it, you just might regret it for the rest of your life. If you happen to be extremely patient and loving, willing to send her family $100 per month and let go of her bargirl past, you might just be able to handle it. Try to be reasonable and circumspect. Hire a private eye to make sure she is telling you truth about things (Don’t ignore the findings). Make sure she loves you. You have to find out someway. Get her to take a polygraph if you must.

Do not lead a double life. If you need to go for the Asian dream girl thing, end your current relationship back home. This was probably the major mistake I made. I kept Lek a secret from my girlfriend who did ask me several times if I was going to Thailand to see a girl. She even dreamed about Lek and described her—very thin, long legs, long black hair, long neck, pretty face etc. I lied to that wonderful girl and I do regret that very much. Remember, what goes around, comes around and when it came around to me, boy was it horrible.

And one more thing… I'm not sure you know about the 6-month window of HIV infection. During this period an HIV-infected person can still spread the disease, even though a test does not detect any antibodies in her blood. Have her tested and be there when they stick her arm. Be there when she gets the results. If you can not be there for the results, try to build rapport with the testing physician. He may give you his email address to inquire about the test result. And by all means, wear a condom until you are sure the 6-month window of HIV infection has passed. This was another major mistake I made. After our wedding, Lek and I had completely unsafe rough sex on numerous occasions. I was terrified for 6 months until I finally tested negative. Please don’t let this happen to you.

If you are planning to bring a former bargirl home to your country for marriage, I wish you luck and truly hope this type of heartbreak doesn't happen to you.

Stickman says:

These HIV stories are very sad indeed and unfortunately, I have spoken with more than a few people who have had the same thing happen, the major difference being that they were about to marry the girl when they got the news, not the other way around.

I'd love to know what the HIV rate is among these working girls.

nana plaza