Readers' Submissions

Gut Feeling

  • Written by BobT
  • November 12th, 2007
  • 7 min read


Black Pagoda Patpong Bangkok


It’s Saturday night and that feeling is back. I can’t describe it; it’s that feeling in the bottom of your stomach – the butterflies, that feeling of helplessness, of frustration.

I know I should know better. I’m no longer one of these ill informed Thailand "newbies" – I know Thailand. I’m in the third stage of the cycle, I should know better.

Stage 1 – You arrive in Thailand. You fall in love with the country. Everybody is smiling (it is the land of smiles after all), beautiful women everywhere, cheap food, cheap booze; it's paradise.

Stage 2 – Those smiles don’t appear to be as genuine as you first thought – the women leave a lot to be desired. You are fed up living off cheap Thai food and no, you don’t want to buy another suit.

Stage 3 – Acceptance – you take the country for what it is. You understand that as a farang you will always be an outsider. However you choose to accept the country with all its faults…and the fact you can get boom boom for 1000 baht helps drown out some of the negatives.

Ok, so I would consider myself to be in this so called "Stage 3". My first trip to Thailand was only a year ago but since then I have spent over six months living in Thailand. Despite my lack of experience in "years" in Thailand, I believe I’ve seen more and experienced more than most farang ever will. I know enough about face to have a good relationship with most Thai people, I can speak enough Thai to hold up a simple conversation and I’ve spent enough time drinking at bars and reading Stickman submissions to know the bargirl scene inside out. I know the lies, can read through the deceitful smiles and any Thai person trying to put one over on me would find it very difficult…except maybe for one person in particular.

Some of you might remember the submission I wrote in December 2006 titled "Is She Genuine". Looking back at this now, I am the first to admit it seemed pretty pathetic – I’ll put this down to it being my first trip to Thailand. I got involved with a girl on my first trip to Thailand – not a bargirl – at the time I thought just a regular girl, and after getting home to the UK started to have some suspicions regarding her faithfulness. Looking back I was naive – I stayed with this girl for two weeks while in Thailand, and upon returning home expected her to stay faithful. I expected her to wait for me etc., but much great advice I got from Stickman readers showed me that realistically, how could I expect this? One reader made a point that I still remember "a girl can’t be expected to put her life on hold for ifs, buts and maybes".

Anyway despite my suspicions, I kept in regular touch with Nok and in April of this year returned to Thailand. I had made the decision before leaving the UK that if it transpired she worked bar or was getting calls from guys or I had general suspicions I would finish it. I didn’t come to Thailand solely on account of Nok; I left my job more so because my contract was up and wanted to take some time off to travel. I’m a qualified professional so it’s not a big deal for me to get work. Anyways I spent five months with Nok this year. We travelled around Thailand, lived in Phuket and Bangkok for a while, and generally things were very good between us. I’m not going to use the phrase "different from the rest" or she is a "good girl" as I realise that these worn phrases will draw the usual groans from the Stickman readers, but what I can say about Nok is that she doesn’t work bar and that generally she is a decent girl. She is far from perfect but there was not really any issues with other guys while we were together.

Now after five months together I had to finally go back to the UK and get back to work. It wasn’t easy but had to be done. I’m back here now about two months but will be returning to Thailand in less than two months. Now here’s the problem – the first two weeks I’m here, Nok is answering the phone all the time I call her, but then the excuses start coming. "Sorry, too busy to answer phone" …blah blah blah. And then there are the lies – she is telling me she is in Bangkok when it transpires she is in Phuket. Now it has got to the stage where she answers her phone very rarely. At first I got angry with her but as you know there is no point getting angry with Thai people, it gets you no where. We still talk at least once a day, she usually calls me, but I’ve got to the stage where I don‘t want to call her because when she doesn’t answer that feeling in the stomach comes again.

Ok so about three weeks ago I probably did one of the craziest or stupidest things I have ever done. It’s Thursday evening and I’m in work. I’m on the Internet and I see cheap flights to Thailand. The flight leaves tonight (Thursday) and returns on Monday, getting back into England Tuesday morning. I email my boss and ask for two days off work, Friday and Monday. I get the all clear then I go and book the flights – five hours later I’m flying out of Heathrow on the way to Bangkok. Some people take months to plan for a holiday, I took about 30 minutes. I didn’t tell Nok I’m coming. I know the shit could really hit the fan but I’m prepared for it.

Anyway, I arrive into Bangkok and get a taxi to her room. I knock on her door. I don’t know what to expect, my heart is thumping. I’m thinking to myself if this was a good idea but knowing it wasn’t. The door opens and she can’t believe it. But there are no secrets, she is shocked to see me but there aren’t guys jumping out her bedroom window (which is a good thing because she’s on the sixth floor). She’s not panicking or running for her phone to make some quick rearrangements. We spend the weekend together; I’m back on the flight on Monday and straight to work Tuesday morning.

So am I overreacting or should I be listening to my gut? All I know is that the feeling is back. It’s the same feeling I got when I wrote my first submission. It’s Saturday night and I should be out getting pissed, but instead I am just pissed off. Pissed off that maybe I am being taken by a fool by one of the few people I have ever really loved. At the end of the day, the only thing she has really done is not answer her phone, but it’s her excuses that have come with this that have really got me angry and so frustrated. Why lie when there is no need to, unless you are hiding something. If trust is gone can you continue a relationship, or can it even be mended?

Maybe I am more angry at me that her. What angers me the most is that I’ve seen so much of this with other people but am I oblivious when it comes to my own life? I read Private Dancer during the summer, the main character (think it was Pete), he keeps saying…ok when this happens etc., then I will definitely break it off…but he never does. Eventually he is murdered, here’s hoping the same doesn’t happen to me, or at least not before I can enjoy a few Singha at the annual Stickman’s "convention" in January. Cheers.

Stickman's thoughts:

I think that the feelings you are getting from this relationship, and the effect it is having on you, are not healthy. Whether the issue is with Nok, or with you, or perhaps a combination of the two, it is impossible for an outsider to say. All I will say is that all of the worry and anxiety you are feeling about Nok being faithful is not doing you any good at all.

It is not always easy to work through such issues with a Thai woman, but they need to be worked through, because this could have a detrimental effect on other parts of your life. Good luck and I hope it works out for you.