Bruce Part 1
Here we are in Early 2008, the fantasy of Thailand and the horrors of Farangland are still practicing their magic upon the masses. In the west, the men are still disillusioned, the women emancipated and fighting, society as we know it is turning its men into a mush of aimless, partner-less zombies, wandering the ether to renounce solace and reclaim their rights to companionship and love. The women are empowered but lonely, ultimately. I believe they crave the man who is the man and will, ultimately bend and compromise to make such a relationship work. When all of the traffic is one way, it doesn’t work for both parties. If you, as a man, want a life of boozing and women, then don’t get into a relationship. If you, as a woman, want a bitch to run around to your will, then become a queen or get used to the idea that your life is going to be quite dull and boring. There is balance in the matrix and it comes from all parties involved. (Assume for a minute that there are no kids, that is a whole other discussion!) But that’s another story and I digress…
It’s a boom time for internet dating sites, with the underworld of men and women meeting, fornicating and not really connecting. It’s the ultimate “Nana” Plaza in the ether, where there are no rules, the men and women are just looking to get their rocks off and have some fun (albeit without greasing the fiscal wheels of either party). After a while, however, this loses its allure. There must be something more. It is then that one will venture offshore to see what is available in “Mail Order” territory. This is a trend happening and the Asian webmasters are taking advantage of it in a massive way. The number of dating sites touting the local lasses is booming. The local lasses are becoming savvier and see this as a way out. It’s a volatile mixture, one often discussed, and well documented.
Out of the fires of this mix of emotions, pheromones, testosterone, loneliness, desperation and lust comes this story, which you are reading as it is happening, live. This is the first chapter in what I believe will be many. Bruce, an unhappily divorced bloke from somewhere down under, is the classic stereotypical bloke for an unhappy sojourn into the sticky spider web of long distance, multi cultural relationships.
Recently I heard of an acquaintance (Bruce) who had been in a particularly bitter divorce and who had decided to head to Thailand to meet the Internet Woman of his dreams. It was suggested that contacting me was a good idea and I decided against it, asking that the trip be done without any inputs from me, after all, what could go wrong?? I am also in Beijing (For the time being), so the logistics were also an issue.
I thought no more about it, apart from having a discussion about the trip with Mrs. Lecter who agreed, it’s probably better to see what happens than get involved up front. She understands that there are many stages of this process following a divorce. And how one acts in the stages will determine a lot of things as ones life progresses. As we go though this missive, it is tempered with the fact that I am not a close friend of the “Farang”, Bruce, and I’ve only spent about four days in his presence in another lifetime. I feel this makes me more than objective as I can only see the facts for what they are the situation for what it is. As I said to Bruce, I am not vested in this, so I can only give a perspective.
Where is Bruce in the cycle of his divorce grief??
- Shock: Feeling numb. You may wake up wondering, "Is this real?"
- Denial: Being unable to accept the situation. You may find yourself thinking, "This can't be happening. It's not real."
- Anger: Wanting to lash out at everyone. You may continually ask, "How can this happen?"
- Bargaining. What if I do this? What if I do that…?
- Resolution: Feeling like there is a way past the grief, an end to the sadness. You may say to yourself, "I will get through this."
Everyone is different. Sometimes the Euphoria of being finally out of the relationship can blur the lines of the cycle, but it is what it is. The timing is different as well. Some take longer in every stage. One of the classic things is the “rebound”. This is part of the Anger Cycle. To find another partner as soon as possible allows the protagonists to “Prove” something over the other.
Is Bruce in Denial? Is he Angry?
I am sure he will answer these things clearly in words or behaviour before this saga enters its final chapters. Certainly one will sense a feeling of bitterness and betrayal in the letters Bruce has shared with me. We will also bring in a concerned “other party” who worries about his friend and what may ultimately happen to him if he pursues this path with the reckless abandon one often sees in situations like this. After all, “I’ve lost it all, so what more is there left to lose?” If we mix it in with some sort of mid life hippy crisis, and a wanting to be different and do it all again but as part of an internal revolution, the ingredients and recipe are all there for the mother of train wrecks!!
Bruce got my email address from a concerned friend and I received this (names and places changed)
It is a long time between drinks, but I have kept in touch With Freddie. As Freddie might have told you my marriage hit a brick wall at the beginning of last year and my wife used the legal system to its fullest extent and then some. I hit rock bottom and now have climbed back out of the hole and intend to lead a happy and different way of life. I have been looking on the net for a new partner here, I have met in person about 30 different women in the last 10 months. All the women that I met in Here had one thing in common; they had their life planned around either their kids or their profession. this plan was cast in stone and none wanted to look outside the square and change to accommodate anything that the prospective husband might want to do or try. For a laugh I searched Thaikisses and because there was any number of beautiful women joined. I responded to three women on age, looks and instinct. One of these women stood out as the most honest woman that I had chatted to on the net. Her answer to something which she had never done was "can you teach me" not the usual "no I can’t do that coz…"
Tik <Name changed> and I talked for about three weeks and I was liking the personality more each time we spoke. She said that she had had a lot of responses but they all had come to nothing coz she would not expose herself on cam or other reasons. She suggested that I meet her in Thailand. So we worked out a plan for a trip to Thailand, Couple of days in BKK to get to know each other then time at her home near Udon Thani, and a few days in BKK on the return journey. It has been a profound trip for me. It is my first overseas trip, I have found the Thai people to be exceptionally friendly and tolerant of farang. I find it very hard to believe that I was accepted into the family unit as quickly and as "lovingly". I have not laughed and had as much fun in years as I had with Tik in 3 weeks. She is applying for a visa in BKK on Monday to come to Here for up to 3 months. I intend to show her as much as I can of Here and teach her about our local way of life. Then it is planned that if we are still compatible that I return to Thailand and we marry. Because her daughter is in the last year of high school it would be unwise to move her to Here at this time. She is extremely bright and wants to be a doctor. 14 year old son is a typical 14 year old and does not have a clue what he wants to be.
Lecter have I rushed head long into a chasm never to be heard of again or do you think that although I have limited knowledge of Thailand that it may work out.
Tik is has told me that she has a responsibility to look after her parent and their are 5 kids in her family. She owns her own house and a very small plot of paddy field. She has been upfront in telling me that one of the reasons that she is seeking a partner is that she cannot keep up with raising her children to the standard that she wants achieve. I think that if you marry a woman with kids that they become your kids and this does not worry me at all.
I don't expect you to be a marriage guidance counselor but have I made any serious errors that you would know about having known the Thai people and their customs
How does one answer such a request? Where does one start?
Here’s how I responded:-
Derek gave me a heads up on the situation.
It's hard for me to determine really what I can say.
Do I take the devil's advocate role? In my experience this would move you to taking a "denial" position and discounting what I am saying.
Do I relay my many experiences over many years? Are they even relevant to an internet relationship followed by a few weeks of bliss?
Am I going to be cynical?
Am I going to be supportive?
Conundrum's all of them.
There are, however many gaps in the story which may help me give you some perspectives (not opinions or advice) on the situation and what you are letting yourself in for. If you'll humour me, I'll ask a series of questions and the answers will give us an idea of what the situation really is…
Lets start with the facts:- (As far as I can glean them)
You met on the internet.
The Lady is, say 40ish (given the ages of the children)
You feel she is a good listener and has the right answers to your questions.
She is nice
You met her in Thailand an spent three weeks with her.
She has a house and some land
Two Children 18 and 14
No Husband or Boyfriends around
House is well looked after
She has Parents to look after, she is responsible (Red flag)
She has 5 siblings, none who are responsible for the parents (red flag)
She is looking for a benefactor (red flag)
Based on these facts, and the few conversational pieces you have alluded to, including her requirement for someone to look after her kids and family, I immediately get uneasy. This drives me to a few questions:-
Where is the husband?
If they are divorced or he is dead, where are the papers? (this is the number one scam with ladies looking for foreigners)
Is there any Thai boyfriends? (This is the number two scam with lady's looking for Foreigners)
Are there any other benefactors? (One way to find out is to get others to contact her through the same avenues)
What are the other family members doing?
What is the expected obligation to the parents?
Are you expected to pay Sin Sot to the Parents if you marry?
Are the parents in good health?
Do they have a buffalo? (This may sound stupid, but you may end up having to buy a few)
Have you been up front about your financial position?
What expectations does she have on marriage and moving to Australia?
Has she been overseas before?
What jobs has she worked in the past?
Did you enter into a sexual relationship immediately?
Are you sending her money now?
Have you had any requests for money?
These and many more can give you a barometer on the situation. Some of these are hard to ask, and even harder to answer. Honesty is a key factor in making any of this work, and you must get to the bottom of her background and situation. When you in a place like Udon Thani, with someone looking for a benefactor (and perhaps love) you have to take a fairly practical position. How come she speaks English? Are you not surprised that she knows how to push a western mans buttons? Thai women of that age would not usually have had a lot of contact with a "farang" unless they were in one service industry or another. Udon Thani is not one of the "farang" places so that leaves the question hanging out there more prominently.
The understanding of the background, the comprehension of the liability you are taking on emotionally and fiscally when marrying into an existing Thai family cannot be discounted. The ramifications will echo long after you get sick of fucking her and the relationship has to rely on those things you have in common and why you are friends and companions. For Tik, the family obligations will never go away and she will have achieved major face in snagging a foreigner (farang) and will be expected to contribute over and above any other siblings and family members. Her greater family will also want to pressure her into helping her out whenever they are in "trouble", true or not.
Ian, I can only say "caution" in your endeavours. I am not vested in any endeavours you have, so I am answering this as less a friend, than a person who has an objective of any sort. I can only give a perspective, and ask the questions that you may or may not want to ask yourself. I am not a man who is without experience, but I have also made more mistakes in this area than I would be proud of, and I temper any views I have against my own flaws, inner demons and experiences.
If you read this and feel it is worth answering then we can definitely enter into a meaningful dialogue on the subject. If you feel I am out of line, I understand, these questions and the answers to them can be tough and revealing.
Caveat emptor, caveat lector
I read this to Mrs. Lecter and she nodded (although she fought with some of the wording. I must remember that. Sometimes I get all “Fanta-ish with my prose) and I hit “send”.
It’s not my intention to embarrass Bruce. I hope to get him and other readers of Stickman to participate in a www.schoocher.com/forum discussion and give Bruce some idea of what it is he is really getting into. Sure there will be the howls of derision from the main crew already existing there, but there are also some clearer older heads who will happily give their experiences. I also hope to get the success stories, the pros and cons of what Bruce is trying to do, and the methods and means that he has at his disposal to make this thing work, should that be what he ultimately wants to do…
Now I suppose that one might think that my answer was a little too trite or over considered. Let’s bring Derek into the equation. He’s Bruce’s friend and is way closer to the actual situation. He is worried as a friend at the potential situation Bruce is getting into.
In Part two we’ll see how Bruce answered me, and look into some of Derek's concerns for his friend…
There's something about women and Thailand that means that guys do not listen to the good advice of friends as perhaps they would at home. It is my experience that people asking for advice in Thailand are often looking for encouragement or agreement and whatever words are given, they are going to do what they are going to do.