Being Content With Bitter Memories
When I was 23 years old I worked in a disco at night and studied at Uni for a Bachelor of Education during the day (unless I picked up at work, or got drunk at work, and one or the other or both would happen with unfortunate frequency and consequently I never finished my degree). Sometimes I remember, with dazed confusion, that I could have transferred to a university in Indonesia for a year to study abroad – and I say 'dazed confusion' because at the time the thought of living in Asia, or even going to Asia, did not appeal to me at all and I passed on the opportunity. I was content with my life. I lived for the Sydney suburb discos and loved my beautiful blonde, green-eyed Aussie girlfriend (and had no guilt for cheating on her with other Aussie girls I met at work) and the thought of leaving it all behind for a year was not to be contemplated.
When I was 25 I went to Bali with my beautiful blonde, green-eyed Aussie girlfriend. For 5 days. When we got home I left her, quit Uni, started studying Bahasa Indonesia and saved for 2 years then disappeared in Java for 6 months. Nobody who was not a sexy Indo girl knew where I was or what I was doing. I was exploring. I was on an adventure. I was a pioneer.
I had discovered something no one else knew about! Asian women!
I threw away everything and you could not have found a bloke more proud of himself or having more fun. You'd think I'd regret it, right? Not likely. Best time of my life.
Two years later, at 29 I headed to Thailand to show the girls there that I knew a thing or two about Asian women. In those days I was not one to do things the easy way, so I flew into Singapore, slept the night in a bus shelter, decided not to cross the bridge but caught a boat from Woop-woop in Eastern Singapore (is it big enough to have an east?) to Malaysia then hitched to KL and caught a bus to Hat Yai. All of that was a huge undertaking, and the whole way I remembered my Indo adventure where I only paid for sex once in 6 months and that was about $4. I knew that there were working girls in Thailand but I was not going to pay for sex – I knew a thing or two about Asian women.
I think Hat Yai was about 1 or 2 hours out of Malaysia into the south of Thailand.
I stayed there 2 nights and paid for sex 4 times.
Some people would expect that to cause some regret for a man after such determination not to do it.
Not me. It was great.
Anyway, after that everything is pretty much the same as the story of every other man around these parts. Straight to Nana, Pattaya etc and been doing it ever since. And no regrets at all.
These days I live with a Thai woman here in Sydney. I chased her mercilessly and caught her, but now I'm not content and she doesn't seem to understand what I am saying when I say it is over between us. Sometimes she laughs when I say that. She's not going anywhere and we both know it. She's my age, 34, and there is a younger Thai girl around here that she really hates. With a passion. She'd hate that woman even more if she knew I've been seeing her on the sly for about a year. And I'm not content with her either.
One thing I am sure of is that contentment doesn't come to me from women anymore. Especially from beautiful blonde, green-eyed Aussie girls (haven't touched one in over a year, and it was 4 years between her and the penultimate one). And once again, some folk might think that is regrettable. Not me. I'm quite content to be this way. I like it. In Thailand I can have a plethora of experiences similar to relationships; I meet a woman, we go on holiday together (it's like a honeymoon) and then we break up.
A couple of years ago I thought it was funny to say that women should know better than to go out with me. And I know some Aussie girls who won't go out with a man who has been to Asia too frequently. They know it is hard to keep some of those men content. Not all, of course. I know some men who visit Thailand often and are completely content at home and never stray or look at other women. That was a joke, by the way – I don't really know any men like that.
But, sometimes the thought returns to me . . . once in my life, when I was 23, I turned down a year in Asia. I shake my head in amazement when I think of it. Sometimes because, with the benefit of hindsight, I know I was an idiot, but occasionally too because I know I was content with my life in those days and I think I lost the knack for that trick somewhere in Bandung, Java or Sukhumvit or Phnom Penh or more likely the first Asian girl I ever slept with stole it from me right in front of my eyes. Hell, I probably gave it to her. Who knows.
Occasionally as I read the submissions to this site I will jump on someone's band-wagon in total agreement and declare to myself that the next time I am in Thailand it will all be about short-time and no more shacking up with the same girl for a week at a time. I will have 2 women a night every night! And by day I will sit on the sun chairs and eat all the prawns by myself and . . . then I remember girls like Wan, Neung and Sai, the girls who previously sat beside me and shelled my prawns and made me laugh the day away like I was on holiday and didn't have a care in the world.
As I plan my next trip (which will happen once my 'girlfriend' stops laughing at my funny 'time to finish' joke and realises its over) I reminisce about the times when I taught Neung to swim in the pool at our hotel in Phuket; how she got sea-sick on our charter and lay down in the cabin the whole time, but could run to the deck each time we caught a tuna to hold it up for a photo with a big smile on her face; and when Sai bought what I thought were fried cockroaches and ate them in front of me and how hard I laughed as I watched someone actually eat a cockroach until she rubbed it on my lip and I ran to the toilet violently dry-heaving; how Sai and I split up and got back together 3 times in 2 weeks; and the time we sat in the hotel room watching a documentary from home where some bloke went on walkabout from Sydney across the desert to Broome and she said he was an idiot because he could have just caught a plane; and the time Wan sang for the 'King of Krabi' (don't ask) on Christmas Eve in Ao Nang; how when we went to Phi Phi and Phuket everyone knew her from a song she had once recorded and we never paid for a drink; and how Wan and I stood in the street of Muang, Krabi for 3 hours with half of the town waiting for the Queen to drive through on her way from her retreat at Klong Muang and when it finally happened we all had to sit down and lower our heads as she was driven by at about 60km per hour.
I hardly ever think of those girls who I have been with short-time.
I'll opt for the better memories every time.
They're all good memories.