Readers' Submissions

Bleeding Hearts And Bloodied Noses

  • Written by PM
  • February 6th, 2004
  • 4 min read



It’s a universal law of nature – opposites will be attracted to each other! Many of the sorry tales appearing on Stick’s website endorse the occurrence of this phenomenon, and provide an insight into the painful results of trying too hard to fuse the unconnectable. The initial attraction may be evident, but it rarely seems to create a sufficient platform for an enduring relationship.

Nowhere else in the world compares to Thailand in affording so many opportunities for two utterly opposite people to encounter each other. On face value (pun intended) they may well appear to complement each other’s needs perfectly. If you can accept my generalisations below, which seem to be borne out by the Readers’ Submissions, then let’s consider both parties’ needs and their “selling points”.

“He” is relatively wealthy but lonely for love; whereas “she” is poor but can provide wonderful company (at worst she can make him feel like he is finding love). And yet the offer of secure and faithful devotion is an illusion.

He is na?ve in this foreign world of the head-spinning Thai bar scene; whereas “she” is a gregarious companion and guide to the wonderful excitement and attractions that she has made her home. And yet it’s probable that she grew up on a farm, he surrounded by bars.

“He” is ageing and tired of life’s hassles; whereas “she” has youth on her side and has all the time in the world to devote to him (usually at a daily rate). And yet never has it been more important for him to pace his emotions to avoid falling too hard too quick, and in fact it is she that will be nervously aware of the limited period of his holiday, or that he may just find someone better in the next bar.

“He” views himself as hardened and boorish, whereas “she” sells herself as feminine and gracious. And yet his manners are likely to be more old-fashioned, superior and more considerate compared to the selfish and ungrateful instincts that lurk just beneath the act which she has crafted as her superficial caring veneer.

“He” comes from a world driven by modern, fast-moving, insular capitalist imperatives, whereas “she” hails from an ancient, egalitarian Buddhist society. And yet, although neither practice their religious upbringing, only one bends their original doctrines to justify wretched, deceitful and harmful behaviour. And only one is building for the future, the other is (as ever) only capable of prioritising today’s bounty ahead of tomorrow’s possibilities.

So to the distant eye it may seem like a match made in heaven, but why do so many encounters turn sour. It’s my view that most such relationships are doomed from the start because the chasm of ignorance is too wide to breach. I don’t mean ignorance as in rude or ill-mannered insensitivity. I mean ignorance being lack of knowledge, a lack of understanding in the other person’s likely background, experiences, fears, ambitions and ideals. So why are we so “foreign” to each other, and why is it so difficult to reconcile our differences. There are probably a million ways in which these differences manifest themselves, but to me they seem to emanate from twin obstacles which are so difficult to surmount – although we know too well that they are both formidable deterrents in isolation and in their own right.

Firstly, with men and women there’s the men are from Mars, Women are from Venus angle – it’s a clich?, but it can’t be overstated that in the battle of the sexes, we just don’t think the same way about so many things in life – from the frivolous to the fundamental. Now compound this divergence with the second factor – the formidable East versus West chasm, and you’re really starting to fumble for any genuine connections between him and her. Read the book for head-nodding examples of the former, read the Stickman site for crestfallen examples of the latter.

So in summary – I’m not saying it can’t be done (good luck to Mr & Mrs Stick for providing a precedent for success), I’m just trying to make sense of the repeated “love” stories that pepper this website. I think I can see why it occurs, and I think I can diagnose (albeit it in generalised terms) why it so often fails to live up to expectations. If you know what you’re facing, or what you might be letting yourself in for, you’re more likely to be able to either avoid the pitfalls leading to a broken heart (and a downsized bank balance), or give yourself a better chance in making your dream come true. Either way, the golden rule seems to be “Don’t fool yourself, and you’re less likely to be fooled by others.”

Stickman says:

Good luck and long may your happiness continue.