You Just Can’t Have The Cake And Eat It Too
I first came to Thailand in May 2005 upon the invitation of my father who had been living here for almost a year by then. I spent a wonderful two weeks here, and promised to return in six months to live here forever. My father commented that it took him one year to finish all business stuff back in our homeland; same happened with me, so exactly one year later, I returned only with my laptop and credit card to start a new life.
One of the main motivations for me to move here was – and I'm not going to deny it – Thai women. I'm a full-time software programmer, and back in my homeland I never had the time to court women – two months going out, buying flowers and taking her to movies just didn't fit into my busy schedule; while in Thailand you can go out, get a lady, spend the night (or a few hours) and move on, no questions asked.
I had learned enough from my last visit here that it is possible for a young man like me (23) to get Thai ladies of the night for free; however I strongly object to that and have very little respect to those who sleep with the ladies of the night for free; after all, they need to make a living, and moreover, in Thai culture it is customary to support people close to you financially if you are able. Hence I have a strict policy to always give the lady at least some money.
Another strict policy I had was that I never sleep with same lady twice. The rationale was simple – I didn't want a long-term relationship (after getting badly hurt back in my homeland); besides there are thousands of ladies in Pattaya (where I'm living), so there's was really no excuse to take same lady twice. Or that's what I thought, until I met Her.
One night I was hanging around in one of my favourite places – Casino Club, in Soi Diamond, as I like to call it "a gogo with a pulse" (technically it's a club / discothèque really). I was sitting, sipping what might've been 5th or 6th beer that night, until I notice two ladies strolling in. One of them caught my attention – She was almost as tall as me (I'm somewhere around 170cm), and looking absolutely stunning. To be completely honest, my first thought was "This can't be real; She must be a lady-boy". That doubt was cleared moments later when our eyes met and you could feel the electricity between us. Before I could say or do anything, She approached me and without any introduction whatsoever, asked:
"Can I kiss you?"
For the rest of the night, Her friend had hard time trying to separate us long enough to take another sip of drink or move to next bar; we just couldn't get hands (and other body parts) off each other.
When we arrived at my hotel, sun was raising already; we spent a night (or morning, to be correct) what could only be described as porn movie; you know, one of those nights that you remember for a very, very long time. Suffice to say, we were perfectly compatible in bed.
We slept together until late afternoon (a comment should be made at this point that with most of the ladies I had been until that point, sleeping together was a disaster, but not with Her). We exchanged phone numbers and agreed to meet up later again.
Over the course of the next month and a half, we met regularly, exchanged loving messages and spent many more wonderful nights together. Every night I gave her 500 baht, and She seemed happy. I was very satisfied with this arrangement, since it allowed me to concentrate on my work and personal things during day, and no longer needed to go out looking for new lady every few days. I can honestly say that I never "cheated" on Her during that time, simply because I had no need to – She was always available and we were happy together.
I learned a lot about Her during this time. The first shock actually came the first night we arrived in my hotel after She took off Her clothes – She had marks from heavy sunbathing. On the outside She looked like a usual Isaan girl, but to my greatest surprise, Her natural skin color was nearly white (not farang white, but white nonetheless). I knew how highly Thai people value white skin and consider it a sign of beauty, so I queried one time about Her "change in skin color". She commented that after She broke up with Her Thai boyfriend, She wanted to find a farang boyfriend, and to appeal to farangs, She spent 6 months sunbathing on the beach. That's gotta show some huge amount of determination if a Thai lady willingly drops her beautiful white skin and spends six months on the beach. How many times have you seen a Thai lady sunbathing?
More surprises followed during the course of the relationship. She was from a moderately rich family, with different members owning various businesses in Bangkok and Pattaya. She had 12-grade education and spoke excellent English (despite some hard-to-get-used-to pronunciation flaws, such as mixing R and L as well as A and E). In any case, it was clear that She is from a middle-class family and probably has access to more money than me.
Her hobbies (before meeting me, that is) included hanging around in gogo bars, chatting with ladies, occasionally paying bar-fine for them and going out dancing and drinking with them. Admittedly, I had hard time trying to believe it, but then again, I had no reason to believe otherwise either; I had never caught Her lying to me, which made me somewhat uneasy, as I knew from my father's stories how much Thai ladies lie and try to cheat money out of unsuspecting farangs. If all the money farangs have spent on sick or dead buffalos would be put together, there would be a huge pure gold buffalo at the beginning of Walking Street; maybe even several. Yet She never asked me for anything else besides the usual 500 baht / night.
After about six weeks being together, She started talking about wanting to move back to Bangkok to work at Her uncle's company. I was positively surprised actually that She wanted to work; however at that point I suddenly realized that I had fell in love with this woman, more than I had ever intended. Thus, naturally, I didn't want Her to leave Pattaya, so after careful considerations, I asked Her to become my girlfriend. She explained to me how the process works (monthly payment of 20'000 baht, plus a gold necklace and ring), and after reviewing my financial status (with not-so-adequate eyes, I admit), I agreed to the arrangement.
She still went to see Her family in Bangkok (after making a 5000 baht makeup and hair-do – I had seen ladies with expensive hair-do's and make-up, but this exceeded the bounds of my imagination), but returned the same night, so my doubts about Her possibly having another farang in Bangkok were cleared again.
Few days later we went shopping and bought Her a 13'000 baht gold necklace and a 1000-baht gold ring, plus gave Her some 10'000 in cash. I didn't want to give Her too much cash at a time since I wasn't really sure if She'll actually stay with me, so I figured I'll give Her smaller amounts of cash every one or two weeks.
However, the relationship changed from that day significantly. For the first time we actually met outside my room (during the bedfriend stage, we almost never went out together and She seemed to try to avoid people seeing us together; it suited me well, at the time anyhow). She started buying me clothes – I chuckled and thought "The moment you marry they start changing you." Granted, we weren't married, but the point holds.
It should be noted that during the six-week bedfriend period, we never had any fights or conflicts of any kind. Frankly, we barely talked at all, since we just didn't have anything to talk about; besides we were busy with "other activities" in my room that somewhat excluded talking. Heh, reminds me of a friend of mine who complained one time:
"My wife's insane. She takes my d*ck out of her mouth only to say 'Honey, you don't understand women.'"
Due to the nature of my work, I'm a quick learned and find and use all sources of information whenever I'm in an unknown territory – be it a new programming language or a new programming paradigm. So one of the first things I did after making Her my girlfriend was to go out and buy the book "Thailand Fever – a road map for Thai-Western relationships", which is an excellent reference for making intercultural relationships work, and explains a lot of the things farangs have hard time understanding. I tried to make Her read the book as well (since it also targets the Thai side of the relationship, explaining why farangs act as they do and what they think), but I never managed to make Her read it fully; She read first 50 pages or so and then dropped it, and any attempts to make Her continue reading it only caused tension between us.
It didn't take more than a couple of days until we got to our first conflict. Frankly, I had been looking for a conflict for a while, since I knew you really get to know a person once you have the fight with him / her. A priest once asked a young couple who came to get married:
"Have you fought or argued yet?"
"Go, come back when you have."
The issue itself wasn't anything major really, but sufficient to raise it into a conflict. Namely, we were about to go to the movies, and She asked to meet me near Her apartment (we weren't living together). Upon arrival at the meeting place, She greeted me and then asked me to pay 500 baht for Her new fingernail coloring that had just been finished. I mumbled something to the effect of:
"You have money, I gave you three days ago; do I look like an ATM?"
– "You're my husband, you have to pay."
Before you consider the last part of my comment a bad thing to say to a Thai lady, we had joked about the "farang is an ATM with legs" topic several times before, so She knew the reference. Anyway, somewhat reluctantly, I paid the bill and we moved out – to nearest 7-11, where She bought some juice and 200 baht worth of 1-2-Call credit… and asked me to pay. You can imagine I wasn't happy about it, but I didn't want to start an argument in front of other people, so I paid the bill.
During the taxi ride to the cinema, I discovered that She didn't buy that calling credit for Her; She sent the numbers to a friend of Her instead, commenting something about "She needs to call to farang but has no money". Knowing Her, I knew She had a good heart and supported Her friends since She had more money than most of them; but having me pay for Her friend's calls was something that made me furious.
When we got to the cinema, I took Her to the nearest beer bar instead and started drinking, largely ignoring Her. Silent anger, as is common in Thailand and that I practiced back in my homeland as well. I rarely lose my temper, instead I just don't talk for a few hours and then calmly discuss the topic later.
She clearly saw that I was angry, and after a hour, left the bar to look around. When I called her, She didn't want to see me, so I took a taxi and went to McDonalds to get something to eat (I was starting to get drunk). She called me a while later and came to the McDonalds, where we had a serious discussion about what happened. I explained to Her my point of view; She failed to see my point nor what She did wrong. For a while there I didn't see any way out of this mess, until finally it hit me, and I smoothly turned the entire argument into an funny situation where we're arguing over a mere 800 baht. That melted her, and we had a great make-up sex. I was satisfied for having had the first fight and successfully come through that; I had a good feeling that we can be together long time.
Few days later She indicated that She wants gold earrings as well, to match with Her necklace; I was somewhat reluctant to buy that since it started to exceed my planned expenses. Numerous times we walked past some gold shops, and She reminded me of Her wish, to which I jokingly commented "gold shop closed", so as to not to say directly that I don't really feel good about buying Her more gold so soon into the relationship. One day we were near Mike Shopping Mall and we were walking past another gold shop, I agreed to "go and take a look", for the purpose of estimating how much those earrings would cost. The price came down to around 4000 baht, so we walked out. She wasn't happy at all – I guess the moral is that if you walk into a gold shop with a lady, you should never walk out without buying her something. We visited the Mall shortly but She seemed completely lost interest in shopping after that little incident, and said She wanted to go home.
Thinking like an average man, I assumed if She says She wants to go home, that's what She means, so I said Ok, and walked away. When I got to my room 10 minutes later, I had an uneasy feeling that I might've done something wrong, so I sent Her a message saying: "You ok?"
Few hours later She arrived to my room, extremely upset. She had been very angry with me since I let Her go home instead of taking Her hand and asking Her to come to my place; She had taken a motorbike taxi to go to the beach, but in some dark soi, two Thai men on an unmarked motorbike had rushed past Her, grabbing Her gold necklace off Her neck, and driving off. She had asked the taxi to follow them, but the driver was rather reluctant to do so – guess it's understandable since men like that are often armed and the taxi driver just didn't want to get involved. She reported the incident to the police and then came to cry on my shoulder, talking about "take something special" and so on.
When I talked with my father (who is much more experienced in the Thai ladies area than me) about the incident, he queried that "Does the story seem to hold?". I answered yes, thinking why he would even doubt it. The next day in a follow-up discussion with my father, he further commented that "Yes, I've heard stories like this; the first necklaces and rings always tend to get lost, sold, stolen or robbed." However, I had no reason to believe She was lying to me, since She had never lied to me before, so by all accounts, what She told me had really happened.
On a side note, it should be mentioned that She had never met my father nor my father's Thai wife. On one hand I was somewhat uneasy of what such a meeting would mean, knowing that in Thai culture, meeting parents is an important step in a relationship, and I didn't want to give Her signals that She might interpret as such (as in Western culture, a man taking his girlfriend to see his parents has very little importance).
About two weeks after I made Her my girlfriend, one day we had a plan to go look a new movie. We had agreed to meet at the cinema at 21:00. When I called Her about half an hour before, She didn't answer Her phone, which was very unusual. Repeated calls until the movie started were left unanswered as well, which left me a very uneasy feeling. I could barely watch the movie and was counting minutes until it ended. Calling Her after the movie ended gave no answer, until about a hour later, when She finally called me.
She had given Her number to some 28-year-old farang in Bangkok few days earlier. She had told about that to me at the time and asked if it was ok, only talking. I commented that I know men, and men don't just want to talk to beautiful women; this is just asking for trouble, but She shrugged off my comment. Points for honesty and not keeping secrets, though.
Anyway, She told me that that farang had made an offer to take care Her and give Her 60'000 baht / month plus 50'000 baht startup money to stay with him. I was absolutely shocked by this, as you can imagine; not that some farang would want to be with Her, but the fact that She was actually considering it. We talked on the phone for about half an hour, She refused to see me and wanted time to think things over. Again, points for honesty are due, if I know anything about the usual Isaan girls, they would've just accepted the offer and keep two boyfriends. Some even keep 5 or 6, as we all know and rack up a monthly income that exceeds my software programmer's salary many times over.
Anyway, I headed straight to my father's beer bar and drank about 5 or 6 Jack Daniels with Coke in under 5 minutes (must be a personal record) to get myself very drunk very fast. Exchanging messages with Her, She told me that if I gave Her 50'000 the same night, She'll stay with me; but the damage was already done. Both my father and his wife told me to finish with this lady; same response came from some other my friends, and from Mr. Stickman as well. I told Her I'm considering it, because She had just hurt my feelings very bad; this wasn't about the money, this was about Her even considering such an offer just two weeks into our relationship.
Not seeing Her for two days, only exchanging messages which from Her side indicated that She's not sure what She wants to do, one early morning around 7AM She arrived at my room, dead drunk, and let's just say everything I thought about Thai women in bed flew out of the window; forget about shower and cleaning, She just jumped at me with clothes on, which we tore off and you can imagine the rest.
The next morning I just wanted to make myself clear and told Her that I will not give Her the 50'000 baht, at least not now. She got very angry, took Her picture off my fridge and stormed off.
One of the things that made me think all this could just be a temporary craziness from Her part was the fact that She was having that time of the month at the time, which from my past experience made Her rather crazy. So I was thinking it'll all just pass on it's own after a few days, and tried not to worry too much; didn't stop me from drinking myself to oblivion every night though.
Desperate to get more advice from my father's wife (my father flew back to my homeland to take care some busyness, which left me with few people to ask advice from), I took a picture on which we were both together (taken the night I made her my girlfriend), and went to talk with my father's wife. It should be noted that she's from Isaan, a poor family. She looked at the picture and said "not Chinese"; which somewhat surprised me, because even I can recognize Chinese facial elements in a Thai lady with my eyes closed, and I'm not even Thai; she should've seen it clearly (the lady was actually only half-Chinese, from father side; her mother was from Isaan). Anyway, as we were talking, I went to the toilet to freshen up a bit and get a new beer, leaving the picture with her. When I came back, she no longer had the picture, and to my query about it, said "Why you want picture?". Since I was rather hurt and confused at the time (not to mention slightly drunk), I didn't make more of an issue out of it and strolled off.
The next day She came to my room to talk and spend night; just moments after entering She noticed that the picture was missing.
"What you do with my picture? Do you not love me anymore?", she said, almost starting to cry.
I explained to Her the situation; tears started falling from Her eyes; I called my dad's wife, was very angry with her and ordered her to instantly find the picture; after 5 minutes the picture was discovered and I rushed on a motorbike to my father's bar to collect it. It had suffered severe damage, had been folded multiple times and was looking rather miserable; without saying a word, I left the bar and returned home, only to unleash my anger behind the closed doors with my Her seeing. No yelling, just throwing one or two items around and walking around the room uneasily; on one side I was truly angry at my father's wife, and on the other side I knew I had to show my anger and "lose my temper" to show Her that I truly am angry. Generally it seemed to work, She seemed satisfied with the show and we discussed calmly why are there so many bad people. Thinking back, I believe I just got stuck between the class hierarchy of Thailand – people from different classes dislike each other and don't communicate; She expressed Her dislike for Isaan ladies, and my father's wife had expressed her dislike of my lady (based on my talk / description only) numerous times. Moral? Avoid trying to make Thai people from different levels of society to meet up or get along.
After this point it gets hard to be specific on all the details of the following week, since I was consistently drunk, She got some virus, which She passed on to me one night – I couldn't even get out of the bed for three days, not to mention doing any work. Exchanging messages and calls seemed to only make things worse; while the farang disappeared from the scene just as suddenly as he had arrived (again, I had really no reason to believe that the farang was a lie), the issue became whether or not She wants to stay with me at all or not.
One night when She said in no uncertain terms that She wants to finish with me for sure, I finally broke and told Her:
"No. I'll give you the 50'000 tonight, come here."
To my greatest surprise, She didn't say neither yes or not; we didn't meet that night.
As it turned out, it was no longer about the money; it was about us, more specifically about whether She still wants to be with me or not. She was clear that She things I'm a "good man", "not butterfly", and that I love her (which I did), but that didn't seem to be sufficient anymore. My repeated messages and calls to the effect of "I love you, I miss you, I want to be with you" went to dead ears. Eventually they seemed to even start to annoy Her. The communication was heading straight to hell at lightning speed.
Yet I was still madly in love with Her and had decided to fight for Her until She changes Her number. I was desperate. I used all resources available to me to gain insight on how to get Her back, asking friends and family for advice. Most people just told me to finish with Her. But that was not acceptable for me at that point.
Eventually, during one phone call, when I expressed my love for her for the millionth time, She did something that completely stunned me – She just laughed at me. She had hurt me before already many times, but this was the last straw; it took all my willpower to stay calm enough for the next 30 seconds until the call ended, after which I let out what could only be described the sound of a cornered and frustrated rat. She laughs at my feelings, that's something you just DON'T DO, under any conditions.
After I calmed down a bit, I realized that it's easier to handle Her "not sure if want to be with you" scheme when I'm angry at Her. I still loved Her, but not anger and disappointment was added to the mix, which was a welcome addition, since all of this had taken over a week already.
The last 30 seconds of the last call contained one bit of information – She will call me when She wants to see me again. At this point She had refused to see me for almost a week already, commenting that when She sees me, She'll want to be with me again, but She's not sure if that's a good idea.
Two days have passed since that call, and no contact from Her. I'm still not willing to give up on Her, but the situation is very delicate and fragile. I have very little hope there's anything to repair here anymore, but I plan to gently approach Her again after one or two more days and try to talk with Her seriously; intending to explain that intercultural relationships (or any relationship, for that matter) is always hard to make work out and the first year is always the hardest. I have little hope that it'll have any effect on Her, but a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do.
I guess the moral of the story is that some girls just aren't girlfriend material. Considering that She had never been in a relationship with a farang before, was very young (19),
independent and used to relying only on Herself, I can only conclude that She wasn't ready for such a relationship. Guess you just can't have the cake and eat it too. As one of my friends once said:
"Damn my luck with women. With some can't talk, with some can't sleep."
Comments to follow. You know the drill, Stick is busy!