My story is similar to many but I want to tell it. I met a beautician in 2000 waiting in line for a store to open and we talked and hit it off as friends. She is a married Filipina in her forties and a hairdresser (Beautician). I took her business card
and became her customer for several years. She became a friend and invited me to some social events such as her annual 4th of July barbeque that I attended with a Cambodian lady I was then dating. Beautician’s husband is Cambodian, my date
and he spoke four or five words in their language and never spoke again, I found that very interesting.
In the past few years Beautician has introduced me to several of her friends, a divorced Filipina she knew, I didn’t make the grade with this one as I met her for drinks one night but failed to get a second date. Met another lady friend of Beautician who was from Singapore and we dated for one summer, also attended the annual Fourth of July barbeque with this lady. Beautician did a long distance introduction for me to one of her nieces in the Philippines in 2002. I emailed, spoke on the phone and wrote to this niece over a few months but discovered that she has two children and the father of the these 2 children is living TNT (Philippines slang for undocumented resident) in the USA so I never went further with this lady and I never went to the Philippines to meet her.
Late in 2004 finds me depressed and unhappy with my life in general with high blood pressure and facing retirement with no plan whatsoever. I go for my haircut with Beautician and she shows me a picture of her niece, a beautiful 24-year old (according to Beautician) Filipina who has just returned to her home in the Philippines from Singapore where she had been working as a nanny for 13 months. Niece is now looking to start the next chapter of her life. I think that this one has possibilities as she is attractive, has no kids and this young lady likes older men, wants to live in the USA blah-blah-blah.
I go to Manila in February 2005 and meet this young lady. My first surprise is that she is 22 years old and turning 23 the day after I arrive. Anyway, we meet and spend a few days together in Manila with her mother as chaperone of course but mom sleeps on the couch in the living room of the hotel suite after a heated discussion between the two of them. Filipina Mirage (as I will now refer to this beauty) and DanTheMan get to know one another, not intimate for first few days but a nice connection, an easy person to talk with and fun to be with. We do the tour of Manila and mom takes pictures of Filipina Mirage and me at the landmarks, I later learn this is to support the visa petition and prove that we have indeed met.
On to the province to meet the family, a buffet dinner of about 20 people and I meet the relatives and again I am treated very well. One uncle suggests that we marry in the Philippines right away as that is the fastest way to get Filipina Mirage to the USA but I resist and insist that I will hire an immigration attorney to file the immigration petition when I return to the USA.
We visit Boracay, Philippines with Filipina Mirage’s brother and sister as our chaperones, we rent them a separate motel room and again a great vacation and now some great intimacy as well, she lets me be her teacher but she learns so fast so I suspect I am not really teaching her much. No problem, I am a realist about most things or at least so I think. I am being treated with love and respect and I frankly love it.
By the time I leave the Philippines I know that I am going for it. I return to the USA and begin the immigration process. Beautician offers to do the immigration petition paperwork with me but I insist on hiring an attorney. I want an attorney working for me so I can keep some control over the immigration process as I want to objectively review all the information. There is no problem with Filipina Mirage’s papers and she is approved for the visa interview in June 2005. I learn that there will be a considerable delay before the actual interview will occur as there is a backup of visa petitions in Manila. I call the USA Embassy in Manila and learn that she will not get an interview until December 2005.
In May 2005 Filipina Mirage begins asking me for money, I see no problem with this and send her about $400 a month for the next few months. In September I am missing her and go back to the Philippines for another 2-week visit. Again, a wonderful vacation and I am treated well by everyone, she and her family are delighted with me and me with them also. I spent some bonding drinking time with my future brother-in-law, movies, meals and shopping with the whole family of course.
On this trip I ask Filipina Mirage for a pre-marital agreement and I explain what this is to her, she accepts this calmly, no problem for her as she is not after my money or even a green card, she is simply in love with me and wants to spend the rest of her life with me. Stop laughing! if you had been there with her looking into your eyes with her beautiful “trust me long time” limpid pools of brown eyes you would have believed her too!! I believed her at some level but upon my return to USA I shopped around and hired an attorney with experience in pre-marital agreements that will hold up through a contested divorce.
In October she asks for more money than I have been sending her, another $100 a month for her sister in college to become a nurse. I increase what I am sending her to $500 a month and in late October we have our first fight over money when she asks for $800 to go to Singapore to get her police record for the visa interview. She could have done this at the Singapore Embassy in Manila but by now her interview is December 23, 2005 and there is not enough time to do it through the Embassy, she will have to go in person to Singapore. Of course I pay for this trip and I am generous with Christmas money for her and her family. I know I am “marrying the family” and I accept this, I know we will be contributing to the support of her family and I am prepared to continue working to do this and maintain a lifestyle for me and Filipina Mirage.
I am having some doubts in December 2005 as Filipina Mirage doesn’t seem quite as respectful to me or quite as happy to hear from me as before, there are some missed phone calls, her “brother” answered the phone one time when I called at an unexpected time. But, these are little things and I am what gamblers call “pot –committed”, I have invested so much in this endeavor that failing to follow through doesn’t make sense or at least this is how I rationalize things at the time.
Come January and Filipina Mirage is still visiting cousins in Manila rather than going home to the province where she is from. But she gets her fiancé visa and is set to come to the USA so I buy her ticket and she arrives on February 15, 2006.
The arrival of Filipina Mirage was a reality check, perhaps it was not the same lady? A switch with her evil, non-sex loving twin sister? The Filipina Mirage who arrives is not friendly, not happy to be in my house and definitely not in love with DanTheMan. She basically wants to be my housekeeper, cook and clean a little (I do mean “a little”). She spends most of the day watching TV and cheesy horror movies on DVD. My son comments that she is the laziest Filipina he has every met, she is the only Filipina he has ever met to my knowledge but I get the joke. She doesn’t want to meet my friends, socialize or do much of anything except visit with her relatives here in the USA and she spends a lot of time text-messaging her family (she says) in the Philippines.
I give it a few weeks, she keeps saying “culture shock” but I soon get very sick of this situation after about 3 weeks and start looking through her stuff. I am a strong privacy advocate and never snooped on my kids and I felt guilty at first doing this with my fiancé but felt that I needed to know what is going on. Sure enough, without much effort at all I find a photo album full of pictures of her with another man in the Philippines and Hallmark love cards that leave no room for doubt that she is in an on-going relationship with a man in the Philippines. I feel like a betrayed old fool, that is of course exactly what I am, but I don’t like the feeling.
I told her that the relationship is over on March 12 and on March 14 I threw her out. She was dragging her feet about leaving so I had her Auntie Beautician come over to my house. I got dramatic and threw a suitcase on the living room floor and said “time to say bye-bye”. Beautician looked at pictures of Filipina Mirage in boyfriend/girlfriend poses in the photo album and still claimed that the man in the pictures was Filipina Mirage’s “cousin”, but if he is her “cousin” then I almost married a lady who is doing her “cousin”. By this time I am not buying any more BS and Beautician and Filipina Mirage leave my house together.
Filipina Mirage called a couple of times after she left to try and talk but I made it clear that I don’t want anything more to do with her. As of June 2006 Filipina Mirage is also living in the USA in “TNT” status, this was probably the intention all along. I don’t miss Filipina Mirage at all, I greatly miss the person and life and mirage that I had foolishly projected but the person who arrived from the Philippines was not the same person I met in the Philippines. No wonder the Fillipina personal ads state they are looking for someone aged “18 to 80”, they can’t say “just send the damn visa and plane ticket you old goat!”
There is no real point to be made here, Stickman’s website is full of “fools in love” stories and I want mine posted for posterity. Some day I will look back on this and laugh, I am not quite there yet. But I do forgive her for what she did, if I lived in the extremely modest circumstances that Filipina Mirage is from in the Philippines, I would trade some “pussy and promises” for the visa and plane ticket. Enough of my damn whining.
The good part of this fiasco is my discovery of Thailand as the result of it. I had two weeks of vacation planned for the first of May 2006 to get married and honeymoon with my Filipina Mirage. So, I cancelled the wedding chapel at the Flamingo in Las Vegas, lost a small deposit and off to Bangkok instead. This was the best vacation of my life and the full GFE and some day trips too. I finally have at least an outline of some retirement plans. I have signed up for the Pattaya Expats newsletter and I am coming back to Thailand for a month vacation in mid-October to scout out various places as possible places to live in retirement for 3 to 6 months of each year. I have also made plans to spend the first 3 months of 2007 in the “Land of Smiles”, probably in Pattaya but I haven’t even visited Phuket yet so it is hard to say for sure.
The Filipina Mirage fiasco gave me some experience that I need to survive the pitfalls of Asia where sometimes all is not as it seems. Thailand is a great place but as I have learned through this website many Western rules and thought processes simply do not apply here. I can enjoy myself but it would be easy to let myself be seduced into the “Mirages of Thailand” and I am very aware of this. I am not at all cynical about Thailand even though it is in some aspects similar to the Philippines, in either place “if you are taken for a fool then you will be taken for your money” and this is part and parcel of daily life as a farang in Thailand.
“Back In The Day” a frequent expression was “the end justifies the means” and this is how I see the Asian philosophy about extracting money and benefits from the farang.
The carnival folks have an expression that might be applicable to the naughty life of Thailand as well: “It’s a crime to let a sucker keep his money”.
Mr. Leather’s book “Private Dancer” opened my eyes and I truly loved reading it, Filipina Mirage was not a bargirl as far as I know but her family covered for her right to the end and they all knew she was involved with someone else and her family knew that I was simply being used. To my Western mind this makes her family “less than” but from their viewpoint it was simply a method to get a family member to the USA and “the end justifies the means”.
I have a plan for living in Thailand, and time will tell if I can make it work. Thailand is a great place to live very well on the retirement that I will have beginning in October this year. I plan to learn some Thai, get involved in the expat community in Pattaya and Bangkok and I plan to volunteer to teach English when the opportunity presents itself. I also have obtained some books about Buddhism and enjoy reading and studying this philosophy.
I will also likely seek a lady friend, with great caution and understanding of the “rules of the game”.
Stickman, I love your website and am truly grateful for it, I should have read it sooner. Better late than never.
Please do post my e-mail address as I welcome communication with other readers of this web-site: [email protected]
"Asia where sometimes all is not as it seems." – great quote this.