The Five Questions…
I wasn’t sure how to start this submission and I don’t even have a title yet, maybe by the time I get to the last words I’ll find one. This started for me during Jr. High School and in a way it’s painful to discuss but I can’t
argue with the way things have turned out. Having no father at home, just two older sisters and a single mom, not a day went by when they weren’t busy convincing me I was so ugly that the entire tree must have fallen on me. Looking in the
mirror I hated how my thick hair would never lay flat as the hair style in my teen years was shoulder length or better and I hated my glasses and the gap between my front teeth so much it hurt to look in the mirror each day. Still, being an athlete
then and for years after until my body was destroyed (“how” I can’t share with you, but I can tell you my back was broken in two places, pelvis in eight places, both legs broken, one arm, crushed ribs, and I was disembowelled
with by outer shell split open severely) I had a pretty well built body, later further toned by years in the military's special forces. So now you have the picture, the head of a troll and the body of a Chippendales male dancer.. at least
in my eyes. So when the first woman in my life showed interest in me I reacted in anger thinking she was just teasing me. Her reaction was to tell me she didn’t like me either but wanted a piece of what she saw every day watching our volleyball
team and proceeded to indoctrinate me in the carnal arts.
During the next 4-5 years I never asked a girl out, but perhaps because I was living in Southern California in a beach town (Santa Monica) the women were more confident and would ask me out. I ended up going to every major dance and three proms before I was eighteen and I can’t count how many times someone was waiting for me when I closed up Station Nine (lifeguard station) on the Santa Monica beach and bonked me silly before allowing me to go home. Seriously, the contradictions from home and what I saw in the mirror compared to the attention I was getting from the women caused me much confusion. I had a few friends who were doing well, but nothing like I was. So on with life I went totally clueless, through my under grad college years and into my graduate program where I signed up for an upper level non-verbal speech class. By this time I had straight teeth and 20/20 vision thanks to braces and RK surgery.
Walking into the classroom on the first day of class no one really knew anyone else. There were 40+ students and as we walked in the instructor told us to take a seat. The chairs were formed in a circle facing inwards with a single stool in the middle. He asked us not to talk or look at each other and proceeded to pass out some sort of forms that turned out to be a physical appearance grading sheet, from 1-5 with 5 being the best with all sorts of categories like “handsome/pretty” “hard/soft” “hair” “eyes” “muscular” “legs” “chest” “clothes” “confident” and so on, about 30 categories. Next we were instructed that we would each sit on the stool for three minutes and the rest of us would grade their appearance, first impressions if you will. At the end of our three minutes we passed the forms to the right and the person being evaluated was given the forms. This was interesting! Watching people has long been a hobby of mine except this time they’d be watching me too. I was convinced of my fate, a long string of 1’s and 2’s were sure to great me when my turn was up and I had no illusions about that at all. So for the next few hours I graded each person as fairly as I could, very difficult with the guys. This was a four hour Saturday only class so at the end of the two hours we were given a 50 minute lunch break and off we went to the student union, no one talking to each other, each clutching his/her stack of white forms between clinched fingers, looking at the ground as we went. We all sat at separate tables and as the minutes ticked by the first people started reading their forms. 3 out of 4 individuals ended up looking like they were going to cry, some did, and the occasional person would look pleased. My forms grew very hot in my hand and I was one of the last ones to open and look at mine. I was floored to find mostly 4’s and 5’s.
To put it mildly I was stunned. These people didn’t know me, none were my friends, and this was their honest first impression of me based on my looks and non-verbs alone. I had no choice on the walk back to class but logically come to the conclusion that people saw me differently than I saw myself.. not to mention the way my mom and sisters had been talking to me for all these years. I should mention that my mom was a head cheerleader for the Los Angeles RAMs in her day and both my sisters were prom queens and my oldest a professional model. I figured God used up all the good looking genes on them and when it came my turn didn’t have any left. Only twelve of us made it back to class and the teacher was pleased and told us he liked small classes so much better, especially if the people were receptive to the truth because it made learning possible. He went on to say that it was very valuable for us to know exactly how others saw us, good or bad, so that we could use this information to our advantage throughout our life. We talked about things in our appearance we could change and those we couldn’t. Next to my “Listening” class I learned more in this class than any other single class in many years of college and grad school.
I’m still not sure where I’m going with this, or rather I know where I’m going, just not how I’m going to get there. Let’s fast forward through about ten more years of letting women ask me out, many great times, and into the airport in Seoul Korea, Kimpo. I had just missed my plane and man was I pissed. I was mad at the world and had to be back from leave in less than 96 hours and I really wanted to return to the base a few days early and get myself in order before a very physical training phase we were scheduled for. I heard a “excuse me but would you please te..” and after two weeks of being accosted by bar girls in the town outside the base every time I turned around I responded totally out of character with something like “leave me the fu-k alone!” Silence. This was when I turned my head to look at her and my my what an angel it was standing before me. Her face looked shocked and hurt at the same time and I couldn’t blame her. Quickly apologizing in both English and Korean I attempted to explain to her about my mood but the sudden smile in her eyes stopped me cold. She was just asking me if I knew when the next flight out would be. She picked up her bag and walked away and not being able to help myself I followed after her asking her where she was staying and could I please buy her dinner as my way of apologizing. This was a milestone for me, the first time I’d ever asked a woman out! I suppose when you see something you want bad enough you just do what’s necessary to get it. As it turns out she was staying at the Park Hotel the same as me and Mr. Park with his big cheesy smile and smelly van was still there waiting to take us back and put us up for another night. How I had stayed in his hotel for three days and not noticed this goddess sitting here next to me defied logic. To make this short, less than 30 minutes after laying eyes on her I asked her to share my room with me and we were going at it in real time and didn’t come up for air until three days later. She was the first love of my life, we were married for ten years, had a wonderful son together, and remain great friends till this day. And she still looks as good now as she did then. Off the subject a bit, but she was the only woman I’ve ever been with where for some unexplained reason I never, not once, noticed other women besides her. The physical intensity of our relationship never waned from that first day, not even to this day. Everyone else was the standard “hot in lust” for a week, month, never longer than 3-6 months.. and then boredom and routine starts to set in and we’d have to work at it to keep things interesting, not that there’s anything wrong with that as I think it’s the norm. I count myself lucky to know the difference however, it is possible to be totally and completely sexually satisfied with just one lady for a long period of time, for a decade or more. Before her if someone told me that I’d have considered them either daft or a liar so I don’t expect many to fully understand this sidetrack topic of mine.
Fast forward some more years, years spent in Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, more years in Asia now than in my home country and here I am in Bangkok in the year 1999. I was nearing middle age (40) and despite being obviously physically limited I was still dating the same type and age of women I’ve always enjoyed, 20-25 year old beauties. Not just in Bangkok, but before Bangkok I spent nine months in Santa Monica as a sort of respite after some hard times and to get re-acquainted with my family and friends after a 20 year absence and during this time I was dating American ladies of the same age. By this time I’ve learned to be very confident in my “asking them out” ways and since I wasn’t looking for anything permanent I rarely dated the same person for more than a week or so, just one special 22 year old blond that I can think of. So it didn’t come as any surprise when the Thai ladies paid attention to me as I suspect they do with most farangs that still have a full head of hair (that bushy hair I hated has come in real handy..:). I’ve heard of the bar scene, in fact I’d studied it in detail as much as anyone could from reading the internet and books on the subject and for both personal and professional reasons the bar scene fascinated me then and still does today, yet I had no desire to be a “participant” in the scene because I had enough choices to keep me busy without it. I’ve spent a fair amount of time around the scene and some day I’ll share with you why.
Almost there. Almost where I want to go. It seems like everywhere I went in Bangkok I’d get approached by women and given the standard five question interview. You all know these questions but here they are:
1. Where are you from?
2. Where do you work?
3. How long will you be in Thailand?
4. Where do you live?
5. Are you married?
Or some variation of the “interview.” I started using a grading system to weed out those I was interested in dating, they could ask up to three of the five and we’d still go out if I was attracted to them but hit number four and five and it was a no-go. Just too damn obvious. During the date there were five things I either didn’t answer or if I was pressed I’d give them a made up answer unless they had impressed me in some way which was rare.
1. My real last name.
2. Where I lived.
3. Where I worked or went to school.
4. My telephone number.
5. What kind of car I had.
Yes I know, previously I said that if you’re dating good girls you should always be upfront with them 100%. A single date isn’t “dating” IMO and before we ever got intimate or involved to such an extent that might hurt someone I did become totally upfront with them, though things like my phone number, where I lived, school I was attending, etc, wasn’t required information.. I just didn’t tell them vs. making up answers unless I got the impression they wouldn’t ever cause me trouble. If that was ok with them then it was ok with me. Information of this type should be rationed out carefully. If it approached the end of the date / night / morning and it turned out I wanted to see them again, maybe for a trip travelling somewhere or maybe just another chance to know them more, then I’d hand them my cell phone and ask them to enter their information. I’ve yet to meet a Thai girl who hadn’t mastered every make and model of cell phone and I’m talking all of the functions! These girls can SMS using the numeric pad at 60wpm!
You see, when I came to Thailand I didn’t come to date nor to get married and aware of my own shortcomings (I actually enjoy being married and having a good relationship) I set some ground rules designed to increase my odds of success. When it was time to work or study or to cram for an exam I didn’t want to explain to anyone why I wasn’t available or feel like I was putting their life on hold because of my own life. This meant that casual relationships worked out well, were fun, and no strings or commitments were ever required. There was one exception, a lady I knew previously who was exceptional in every way and we were very compatible and she had her own busy life that kept her travelling all the time anyway.. so I let her move in with me for about six months and that worked out pretty well., for six months..:)
For well over two years in Bangkok this game continued and I met a lot of women, Thai, Thai/Chinese, Chinese, Malay, Indian, Korean, Japanese, Taiwanese, French (yep, French), American, and more. But like anything good in your life, ice cream for instance, you get a bit tired of the routine and long for something different and I ended up dating someone for a long period and eventually marrying her. We were married in the states when she was on a tourist visa and now five years later she’s back in the states fulfilling the last requirements for her citizenship and should be called for her final interview / exam in the next 4-5 weeks. Plans change.
Now I’m where I want to be. Nothing has changed over the years and when going out around town I still get the same aged girls approaching me and asking the same questions. I even get the Uni students interviewing me to see if I’d make a good “live with / sleep with / take care of” partner for a free nice place to sleep and a few thousand baht a month. Any time I go out, almost anywhere I go, this has become common. If anything has changed it might be that I’m starting to get more attention from young professionals like doctors and dentists in their late 20’s maybe early 30’s. In fact recently I’ve been getting some dental work taken care of and it’s required about seven appointments so far. My housekeeper goes with me to help interpret as I’m going to a place where the nurses / cashier / pharmacy don’t speak great English and for the first 4-5 visits she’d show up with me, discuss what we’re going with the staff, wait for me and help me check out and pay the bill. During these visits the doctor / dentist was always nice and you could tell a bit curious about our relationship but never directly asked and I didn’t volunteer. This last time I knew exactly what was going to happen and my housekeeper had another engagement so I went by myself. Seeing that I was alone she came to talk to me in the waiting room before going into her office and then came the five questions.. Hey, there’s my title! Anyway, I answered her five questions and about twenty more and soon it was way past my appointment time so she tells the desk girl to call and cancel her next appointment so she could take care of me and off to the office we went so she could do the work. And while my mouth was full of her fingers she went on and on about herself, her dreams, her ambitions.. and frankly I was a bit flattered. Here’s this 28 year old well educated professional lady who wasn’t bad looking at all, in fact rather unique for a Thai / Chinese with wavy hair and a large mouth almost more mid-eastern than far-eastern, and she was interested in a guy with a limp and obviously older than her so to me that’s flattering.
But it doesn’t stop there, it seems that every time I go out this stuff happens. At the Villa Market, the Mall Bangkapi, places I like to eat, a service writer at the Toyota dealership, Bumrungrad, movie theatre, just about everywhere I go. And when I take my wife (or now my housekeeper) with me then it rarely happens and honestly I relax and enjoy myself more because I’m not being “interviewed” and looked at as a potential whatever. It’s not that I don’t enjoy attention sometimes because like everyone else I’m human and it’s flattering, but the constant predictable barrage gets old. I’m sure many others experience the same thing so I wish you’d write in and tell me / us about it and how you handle it. My wife says I should just turn them off with a mean look, my housekeeper laughs her ass off at me and says I can’t stop it unless I shaved all my hair off or knocked out some teeth or whatever.
And this goes back to this bar scene thing again. It seems like travelling to another country to meet the local girls isn’t too unlike a spring break trip. However, lots of “not so old” guys come here to pay for sex and I’ve never totally understood (despite many people telling me) why they’ll pay to sleep with a hooker when they can have all the local girls they want with a minimum amount of work. Perhaps this is why, perhaps they get to choose and select without worry vs. being selected by others? If so then how do they handle the non-pros who are interested in them, the hotel clerks, waitresses, store clerks, and the others they come into contact with during their stay?
Maybe this is just bothering me because my wife has been gone so long and the physical need part of the temptation factor is weighing in more than usual, or maybe in my sub-conscience I’m anticipating the days when this type of attention stops coming my way and then I’ll have other worries. When does it stop happening? Are there any older guys out there that this still happens to, maybe later 50’s and 60’s? There’s got to be an age when that physical attraction vs. breadwinner ratio breaks the 50/50 mark and puts you more in the breadwinner category? How does that feel? I feel like in my teens it was 100% physical attraction, in my twenties maybe 90/10, 30’s about 80/20, and now maybe 70/30.. or perhaps I’m hallucinating and some of the “I’ll sleep with you because I’m attracted to you and maybe interested in a future is really more like I’ll sleep with you because I’ll enjoy it and I’m hoping it will turn out to be a future?” I’m really interested to read some submissions from the guys in the different stages of their lives how all this works as you get older.
I took the long road in getting there I know, I hope it was at least a somewhat interesting road. Until next time…
I agree with you that the local ladies are VERY easy to meet, and they are very interested in Western guys. If you're nicely presented, clean, dress politely and speak politely then there are few limits…