Stickman Readers' Submissions March 11th, 2005

Wedding – Thai Style

She "Honey, I know we were married here in America, but I would really like to have a wedding in Thailand. OK?"

Me "Sure Honey, no problem. How much will it cost?"

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She "Mama says about $1500".

Me "Go for it Honey."

A few days later.

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She "Honey, we need to talk about sin sot".

Me "sin what?"

She "You know Honey, sin sot. We pay Mama money for you to marry me."

"We? You mean I pay money don't you? And how much do I pay, Honey?"

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"Mama says 1,000,000 baht would be OK. OK Honey?"

"Yeah, I guess you're worth $2500 – I'll send it tomorrow." <There is some miscalculation here because a million baht is more like 25K USStick>

A few more days later she tells me that she will order a stool for me for the wedding. I ask her why and she replied that I was too old to sit on the floor.

HMMMMM!!! Sitting on the floor??? Wonder what I have gotten myself into now?

We flew into Bangkok January the 9th and the wedding was scheduled for January the 14th. Took a minivan to the DC Palace Hotel in Samut Prakhan, a shithole suggested by her Papa. (I wish these people would quit trying to save me money.) The
next day we moved to the Novotel in Bangna.

The next morning.

She "Honey, I need money for wedding".

Me "I already send money for wedding Honey."

She "No No, that money for food, beer and whiskey. Now we need money for flowers, dress, picture taker, monks and I need to buy gold. I buy necklace, bracelet and ring"

Me "But I buy you gold ring for wedding in America."

She "Not same Honey. American gold not real." (true, in comparison.)

So about B40,000 later we're set to go — almost. Mr. Chai, my trusted taxi driver tells me that I am 'expected' to give her a special gift. So we're off to that huge jewelry store in Bangkok. You know the one – the one with those
beautiful hostesses in long silk brocade dresses outside.

She likes blue stones, Mr. Chai says, and I dutifully purchase a blue sapphire pendant for her new gold necklace. Yet another $1000.

The night before the wedding I am given 13 envelopes. 1 was to contain B500, 2 were to contain B200 and the remainder B100 each and told to be at Mama's house by 6AM. The wedding is to begin at 6:30

The next morning I arrive on time, the monks didn't. They got there at 7, all nine of them and they took their places inside the living room which was decorated in pink and gold silk. We took our places facing them, sitting in the lotus
position. (No stool and I've got an arthritic right hip joint.) OUCH!! I'm allowed to cheat, so long as I stay on the floor. Chanting begins and seems to go on forever. We symbolically give them each food, strings are strung connecting
all monks, flowers are bestowed on them. Water is sprinkled and more chanting ensues. Finally, after about 2 hours it seems that they are finished as they rise and exit to the tables outside to be fed for real. And what a feast it was. I spotted
a bowl of 'sleepy soup*' on each table as well.

I was feeling pretty good about the whole thing because I thought the wedding was over.

Oh my no, that was just a warm up, the blessing. Now the wedding itself will start.

First off we do a procession around the streets of the community with much hollering and palm waving and arrive at Mama's gates which were blocked by family and friends. An envelope is given and they give way to the next bunch and so
on and so on until we reach the front door. I remove my shoes and my feet are washed and after making the final B500 payment am allowed into the house and given the hand of my bride. (She was absolutely gorgeous in her wedding attire.)

Next we have to display all the gifts, gold, sapphires for all to see including the sin sot. I'm pretty sure that the entire family emptied their bank accounts because there was a hell of a lot more cash there than my 100 x
1,000 baht notes. My guess would be closer to 300. (I think we're showing off for the neighborhood.) There were many ooooooohhhs and aaahhhhsss, so I guess it worked.

Four more hours of string tying, gift giving, flower bestowing, water pouring, 2000 wais or so and it's over. Of course they have stolen my shoes and I have to buy them back.

Now the party begins and the feast is even bigger than that for the monks. Beer and whisky (the good stuff) is flowing like a monsoon. Two hours of this and my wife has had enough. We return to the hotel.

In our room she says "Thank you Honey, you save my face."

(She has 3 adult children but was never married and I think the neighbors held her in low esteem for that.)

It was a wonderful experience and would have been a lot more wonderful if I had known what to expect AND had a stool. I actually understood what was being done and why. Guess it's a human thing that we all share.

I figure the whole scheme cost about $6000, much less that a ceremony like this would cost in America and all of the money, sin sot, envelope money, was given back to my wife. The net cost was probably closer to $2000.

I recommend it to anyone, just bring your own stool

*sleepy soup – when we arrived in Bangkok, I was having some stomach problems and my wife was having trouble sleeping. "Not to worry," says Great Great Grandma (100+) "I make you soup."

Ever eat marijuana cooked in chicken stock? MMMMMMMMMMMM-GOOD!!!! Think Cambell's should give it a go.

Stickman's thoughts:

Good story. It is interesting that face should rear its head again…. in fact is there any aspect of Thai society where face is not relevant?

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