Ten Weeks With Non-Bargirls Part 6
Day 51: I am walking down a dusty street outside of Ubon, and I hear "Remember me?" yell out as I pass a storefront. I cannot believe it could really be for me, but curiosity spins me around to look. It’s a fifty year old fabric store owner. As Thais go, yes, she's lost her figure to frumpy. I do not recognize her at all. She says we were on the same airplane together a week ago! (Only 7 aisles apart, she claims!) OK, that's nice, now how do I leave? She chats a bit, takes my measurements, and begins making me a shirt of white embroidered silk. I'll have to pick it up in 2 days. What? The kindness of strangers? At the bus depot, there are two 50-year old ladies handling tickets and schedules. They say they want farang boyfriends. They give me their emails and phone numbers, insisting that if I will not be their boyfriend that I must bring two friends for them next time.
Turns out even elderly ladies will make gifts for strangers. One 60-something phlebotomist at a hospital wove a blanket for me and gave it to me, then said over her 5th beer, I'll cut your head off like that chicken, if you don't come back here again and take (a certain) one of our girls! Hmmmm. Her friends quickly assured me that its all a joke, but I must admit I felt a kernel of truth in her threat.. I counter with: I am a brain researcher, and I am here to collect small samples of people's brain. The two that were really attentive to my words turned grey – scared to death that they had let a Frankenstein into their midst. I quickly retracted my joke. Ok, we are even. I got word several days later from others: I really scared them with that brain-sample story. Too much watching horror movies?
Day 52: A beautiful economics student approaches me at Thassetsart U North campus right after lecture and says she has been assigned to guide me to lunch, which is to be papaya salad, and that she is now ready for marriage, and will go back home with me if I choose her. Chin drops! I had had no prior contact with her, so was completely blank on a response. Her English was weak, so I didn't even try to undo it. As lunch turned out to be a large group, nothing more came of it. In the afternoon, concluding I must not have chosen her, she sent me pictures of two of her friends: "If not me, do you like either of my friends please?" At dinner that night she wore a quite see-through blouse over an ornate bra. But she sat there very quietly, looking dejected, like the ship is leaving without her.
Day 53: Back in BKK. I am pumped so dry, my output is so small that Princess is starting to ask "Did you finish?" And I still have more reports to write than I can possibly complete before I leave. Getting girls to come over and make love is not the problem. Getting them to leave before the next one arrives is the problem. This leads to unnecessary tense moments and to some exhaustion as well. How can I pretend to be fresh for the next one when still exhausted from the last? And I still need time to clean out all the feminine evidence in my condo between guests. They still find things. I get grilled.
Time to shift gears. Sprinting is OK for the first 3 weeks, but now I really need to find my second wind and a sustainable pace for a cross-country run. This means a little breathing/recharging time between each visit. Come on, a little Self discipline! If I fail at this I will miss getting to know some really promising candidates yet to come. What a shame it would be to come all this way, and miss THE ONE just because I didn't take my vitamins. I wonder if a potential wife would reject me if I couldn't perform for her? I wouldn't blame her – cus either way: I've got a medical problem or a promiscuity problem – she is OUT of here.
Day 54: I try to decorate the condo a little bit. I even bring home flowers. When Shortpants arrives, she is aghast. What? What's the problem? She asked me where I got the flowers. Along the street markets. And why did you choose the ones you chose? Well, just for their variety and curiosity. I see. Well these are OK, and these I like. But these flowers over here Thai people only buy for funerals. Oops.
I quietly run the offending bouquet out to the garbage bins. She lingers for a half hour with the door open – as though to let the pall of death waft away from my room. Then she is OK. Learn something every day.
Day 55: A day of reflection in paradise. The first girl took me 4 days to get into bed. (yes, I am slow.) The second took 2 days. The third 1 day. The fourth 6 hours. The fifth 2 hours. After that, it was no longer a challenge. I wanted to slow down and enjoy the courtship more. Go deeper into their stories, feelings and dreams. Guys like their statistics, but girls like their feelings. So I think the enjoyment level went up higher and higher as I tried to let each girl reveal her inner self before revealing her skin.
Such sincerity is not so simple to administer, however. I can be sincerely interested in a women. She may read that sincerity as "this guy really loves me, he is marriage material". Beep Beep … Warning – the expectations on you just went up ten times! Now you can get a lot more from her, BUT you will either have to give a lot more back to her (commitment), or face the charges that you betrayed her. Therefore. Sincerity may NOT be the right approach to every girl that comes along. Save it for the select few. Leave the rest shallow – it is much easier on them in the long run.
Physics Head in Tak called and expressed disappointment after I wrote to her that I cannot make it this year to visit. This was a polite implication that I will see her next year, when no such annual pilgrimage is foreseen. She went through an emotional roller-coaster – from polite interest, to confessing exploding sexuality awaiting our fist encounter, to having the bubble pop, and then to realize her knight in shining armour would probably never arrive. She was only the second Thai professional ever to mention sex in a positive way during our introductory email phase. But Physics Head outdid the first by blurting out, in the middle of her geography lesson to me on sunsets in the Tak mountains, that she suspected she would not be able to control herself on my first evening in town. She would get me a hotel room and sneak back in with me after sunset, OK? Because she is next in line to become high school principle, secrecy is of the utmost importance. Do I agree? Wow Given all the prior formality of conservatively-written emails, this came as a delightfully shocking enticement. Moth to the light – I was going to Tak! And yet, here in BKK today – such come-on's are old hat and don't spin my pointer at all. I am now jaded!
Physics Head is so upset about being chumped, she gets into an argument that day with the school principle and gets fired. [A week later they make peace, and she is re-hired.] Why so sensitive? She comes from a family where 5 members died from the same disease. She feels life is extremely fragile, and is a very burdensome struggle to provide for the surviving children. She really wants a saviour, a protector. Losing hope for that rescue was quite a blow. Of course, I do not know how many times this story is repeated. But we can do the numbers: 30 million women, 10 million in marriageable years. 1 million lonely. half of these in the provinces. Thailand gets 10 million visitors per year. The vast majority of tourists stay on the beaten path. 100,000 go wandering into the provinces off the main drags. This means a lonely woman must wait 5 years for each prospective knight. Hardly favourable odds for the woman. Become a hooker and you only have to wait about 30 minutes for a farang to show up. What crazy social pressures there are moving women into prostitution!
Day 56: Time is no longer a simple line with a series of tic marks along it. It is now a whirlwind of blowing leaves, each one of which is a relationship. My email time is out of control (too much). My phone time is out of control (too much). There are 153 ladies that have sent photos, called, and wrote email. Of those 61 have physically presented themselves. And several dozen others have been introduced to me by friends without prior email. Oh the pleasure, but oh the discomfort of having to reject more than 2/3 of them. And oh the craziness of "too many". All that lovey-dovey talk of early days is now degraded into excuses. Beware of ratcheting expectations! Must make some changes. How to cull the herd, but not lose the best ones?? Its a day to sort things out – but didn't I try that once before? How to evaluate the promise of a future together? As one of the lady's mom told me: Sex is the easy part. Better to settle the other parts first, then you are home free on the sex.
The girls always interpreted my turning the cell phone off as indicating that I was with another girl. In the beginning I resented this incorrect conclusion. As I was on busses a lot, I needed to conserve the battery on the old clunker phone. But NOW, its all too true. I can only afford to have my cell phone on between dates, sometimes totalling about one hour per day, while I'm sanitizing the condo of long hair. This cuts down a lot on the earlier intimacies that were so common on phone and chat. Free flow and Spontaneity are GONE. This is becoming a business.
Day 57: A strategist from British petroleum comes a'calling. She is non-stop gab. BeePee is UK educated so there is no language problem, but yikes, like a ping pong ball in a car wash. She wants to be sexy, but her ping pong brain drives a non-stop mouth. I divert her attention by massaging her feet, and shifting the conversation to a supposed boyfriend in Florida whom she once mentioned months ago. I build on that. Two months ago I was credited for "saving their relationship" by writing a phoney letter to him explaining away why she had been emailing to other guys. I explained to him that I had asked her to be a pen pal for several of my employees to introduce them to Thai culture prior to the relocations. Now he has left her again, and I can see why. Its time for her to go home and call papa. Bye.
Come to me my Love. Yesss, she can get time off today, Love is coming. Paradise tonight. I lay my head between her breasts and listen to her sweet voice tell me about her dreams. Love making is not counted as in How many times? but is a continuous episode of 12 hours, increasing in activity then gradually slowing to caresses then increasing again. Less about events, more about flow. This is heaven. Total surrender to Love.
Day 58: After Love, the others have trouble getting in. I am spoiled in so many ways. I reject lots of girls that prior to my trip I would have fallen head over heels for. I'm more strict on my schedule, intolerant of surprise visits, starting to value quiet time more than dating time. I'm more into figuring out motives, and Thai psyches, and what is genuine, for them and for me, than I am simply enjoying the love and sex. I have fallen behind in my work, almost to the point of embarrassment.
Worse, I am standing people up. I forget to show up for dates. I fall asleep and wake up too late to meet someone. I have made many promises by email that I must keep postponing, or I totally forget about. I start cutting out a lot of my agenda: including all of the northwest quadrant: Chiang mei, Chiang Rei, and Tak. And this was supposed to be "the best part"! It’s yet another RE-ORG kind of day.
I can count the nights I have slept alone in Thailand a lot easier than I can remember the girls names of who I slept with: 6 This is crazy. One always has a better memory for the thing he likes, and I remember "quiet nights" I must be sick.
Observation: Its all about acceptance and rejection. The girls want to be accepted, and never rejected. I want to be accepted and never rejected. And having been rejected enough times back at home, I feel two things: 1) I hate to reject someone, so I continue to give them false hope, or postpone the inevitable, and later try very hard to let them down gradually. 2) I am making up for lost time. I will enjoy so many acceptances here to build up a nice surplus over all the rejections I've endured in a lifetime.
Of course I'm not merely counting those few blatant rejections where she said No. I'm counting all the hundreds of implied rejections where I never bothered asking, already suspecting an unfavourable outcome. That includes every glance at a girl where I thought "Wow I'd like to have HER".
Day 59: Of course the farang fascination with Thai ladies leads him to want to "figure them out". There is no one answer, except the same answer for every person on earth. You must know what the major pressures are in their lives, and know that they are juggling everything to respond to those pressures the best they can. What people "really" want is often postponed to get the chores done first, or to obey the boss for fear of punishment. Most people are RESPONDING, not asserting. Thus when they are thinking about you, they will not ask for money. But when they think of their parents, it may come out that they must demand money from you, even if they are uncomfortable doing so (boss's orders). We mustn't blame the person for being inconsistent. We must look behind the person to see what demands are driving those decisions and how they ebb and flow over time.
Toyota came over again tonight. She doesn't have that much to say. Awkward silences must be filled. So I try a candlelight oil massage. She likes that, and it leads right into a slow rhythm love-making. Something new: an allegro tempo. I think maybe she expects to get drunk first. But so far, my ladies have rarely finished half a glass of beer or wine. So after a while I didn't even bother any more. Now I'm caught with nothing in the house. I offer to run out and buy some, but she chooses more massage instead. The candle light thing is a bit weird in Thailand, cus they only use candles for Buddhist worship. So it says something completely different to a Thai lady than it would say to a farang. Some therefore prefer no candles. Others say yes, but I'm still not sure if they're just accommodating me or grow to like the romantic lighting effect. To make matters worse it is hard to find any other candles besides the yellow Buddhist ones. Maybe they feel it is sacrilege.
Day 60: I'm in Korat. Must go to two different campuses within the city. My guide meets me at the bus station. She had no trouble picking me out within a very crowded terminal. I am impressed. She is an accountant. She gets me a nice room within the university. Because it is run by students, the room charge is really really cheap. Accountant makes all the arrangements, and takes me to dinner for a great tasting whole fish. Wonderful. She insures everything is in order and says goodnight. The meeting tomorrow is at 8am so…. The students, bless their hearts, decide to have some strange kind of cheerleader practice that begins at 11pm and runs to about 1:45am. Right outside my window, 120 students will persuade me by yelling and every manner of noise making, that they are indeed loyal and true to their university, and that the half of them that are freshmen will indeed learn well from the other half that are seniors, how to yell louder, yell longer, scream more convincingly, and otherwise bang pots and pans, so as to prove that they are indeed the best class ever in the history of this university!
Day 61: Accountant heard about the great noise over morning coffee, and witnessed my pain! She vowed to be more vigilant. We were a little late to my first meeting. Accountant was determined to take better care of me. She knew a good night's sleep was important. So she said "you will" be tired and go to sleep early tonight. We had a good day with some successful conferences, winning over some new strong allies, and Accountant met me for an early dinner. Afterward, she did not linger, did not offer the leisurely town stroll, but marched me straight to my room. There she excused herself for the washroom. And somewhat out of character, took a shower, and came out wearing a towel. She asked me to hurry and do as she did, an order which I dutifully obeyed. Accountant was 38, with a 26 year old face and body. How do they do it? She was set on the idea of making me very tired, so denied me any positions where she would be doing the work. In fact I think she invented some new ones which she imagined were especially exhausting. We had great fun. We laughed and laughed at our own silliness. But it was also quite tender.
Day 62: We wake up together and in fine shape. We made all our appointments and had successful meetings except for one -where the main actor was delayed out of country. Accountant decided 2 days in a hotel is enough for any man, and she took me home. She had just built a new house 1 year prior, so it was thoroughly modern, had fancy décor, only a little bit shy in furniture. I helped a little with her computer problems, after which she checked for other possible husbands on the internet lists. Well slap me down! And then it was time again for the two staples: food and sex. She brought back some vendor treats and took me up to her newly decorated bedroom. I helped her install new midnight blue curtains, and what a dramatic effect they added. Really evocative lighting effect (during daylight).
Accountant was a bit different from most of my dates. She made love I should say dutifully, as though it was her wifely ToDo item. She was willing to grant me sex any time any place. If I didn't ask for it, then on some schedule she imagined men needed. But she neither screamed for joy, nor showed any signs of addiction to it. She simply wanted me to move in and stay forever and she would be my wife. Case closed.
Day 63: Accountant takes me to PiMei ancient ruins and to meet the relatives. A bus ride, and motorcycle ride and a walk later, another adventure is revelled. Aunts and friends in the "old village" approve and feed me. They teach me the local history, and I almost get heat stroke, not wearing any head cover all sunny day. So they all got to take care of me that night, as my body felt feverish to them and to me. Their treatment as I remember was, eat ice and apply some menthol rub, but I was a little out of it, so its all faint. Accountant was dutiful. Too hot for sex tonight. The next morning Accountant announces she will come visit me in BKK and we part company with 100 kisses, because she remembered my joke of days prior that the proper goodbye is 100 kisses. She continues to write the occasional email. "I have built a house for us. I am ready to be your wife. Why do not you chose me?" [After I left she went to live in Malaysia for two months, leaving her new house sit empty. ]
Day 64: I called Chiang Mei to cancel my appointments. My contact is an engineering professor's wife (volunteering to help coordinate guests). She cannot understand why any man would cancel his appointments to go to Chiang Mei? She says, "You know in Chiang Mei the farangs can have 10 girls per day? You want to stay with me while you are in town? Haha, I know you will leave me right a way, no kidding. All men like the young ones." This was hardly the tone I expected from the university, and I guess strictly speaking it was not the university's voice. However, at another university, a male professor, assuming I had just arrived in Thailand that day said: "Of course the proper thing for any foreign guest to do is to get himself a Thai girlfriend right away. That will help to keep all the other girls from distracting you." So much for the great distinction between bargirls and non. Isn't it great?
I call Princess. She is burning into my soul deeper and deeper. She picks me up, she chooses yet another restaurant like a mind-reader. I love it all, the music, nature, water. We eat and linger on a floating but moored river restaurant. WE feel so comfortable together. I now understand why some Thai just like to sit and stare at their love. Cus I am happy just watching Princess. What an angelic person. We sleep at her condo. She casually mentioned she will be moving. I pried for details. 75% again. The pieces I got suggest that she can no longer afford this place and will downsize. she also wants to free up some capital to increase her import/export business built around dresses and fabrics. She doesn't talk at all about her university position, so I guess her heart is not in it. If she leaves Thailand for me, all of this is irrelevant anyway. So I start moving in that direction. Any mention of her going with me lightens up her smile. So I am on to something. Good. Its time to start talking about building a future together.
Comments to follow at the end of the series.