Faces of Bangkok – The Price You Pay
We wake at 7:30am again. It’s Sunday. This will be my last day in town. I already told her last night that I wouldn’t take her to work this morning. I put 300 Baht in her hand for last evening’s taxi fare from her home to my hotel
and for this morning’s ride to work. She only reluctantly accepts it.
We stay in bed until 8:15am holding each other tight and enjoying each other’s warm bodies. She cries again. It breaks my heart.
She asks me for my email. I give it to her, albeit an address that only tells my first name. I created the account two days earlier as I had seen this coming. She says she doesn’t have email at home but will write to me from the internet shop. Two weeks later I still haven’t heard from her. I’m relieved and delete the account.
She jumps into the shower and then leaves after giving me one last hug. She is smiling again, but I can imagine how she must feel now. I am too tired to really be upset about this all now, but I am sure as usual the feelings of guilt will come soon enough.
I go back to bed but fail to fall asleep again. The alarm clock is set for 10:30am, but by 10am I give up and decide to get out of bed again in order to have more time to get ready for my date with Wipa today.
She’s already waiting for me as the taxi pulls into the small parking lot in front of the apartment building she lives in. She looks very beautiful with her long smooth hair, her knee long dress and pretty black and white shoes. Quite a lady she is. I ask her if she prefers MK or Oishi for lunch. She chooses MK.
I have asked another expat friend who is my age and his Thai girlfriend to join us. I figured Wipa might be more comfortable with having another Thai girl around at first who she can speak Thai to fluently also. In any case the two of us will have some time alone after lunch. Admittedly I am also interested in my friends’ impression of Wipa. I later learn that they were well impressed by her too.
She has brought her Thai-English dictionary. It proves very helpful throughout the day whenever her limited English or my even more limited Thai vocabulary fail us. Conversation is about many different things. As I am eager to learn more about this girl I often find myself pushing the conversation in that direction.
After lunch I suggest to Wipa that we go catch a movie at a nearby mall. She happily agrees. I have already come to understand that for her free time is scarce commodity and her funds are limited. She doesn’t get out much usually. As we line up for tickets the cinema staff informs us that only VIP tickets are available anymore. Wipa suggests trying another cinema in a different mall but I just get the more expensive tickets for the two of us.
It’s her first time in a VIP theater. We have some funny moments together when she accidentally spills half the content of the popcorn container onto me and my blanket. Her face turns all red and she starts apologizing a million times but I just smile it off and make her feel at ease. A few minutes later the same thing happens again. It’s hilarious.
The end of the movie is a bit sentimental and actually makes her cry. She tries to hide her tears by pulling the blanket up to her nose but I spot them and tease her a little. She blushes like mad but then smiles it off too.
After the movie we walk downstairs and sit on the outdoor terrace of Starbucks on the ground floor. My feet are terribly cold from the icy air conditioning in the theater so I really do welcome the nice and warm evening air outside. The only thing I am worried about is Nit might spot me with Wipa here as we are not far from my hotel. I have no idea how long Nit works today. Chances for this to happen are rather low obviously but as previously mentioned I believe in this city it always pays to expect the unexpected. This thought doesn’t exactly put me at ease, especially as we are sitting in plain view of the main road.
Wipa pulls out her Thai to English dictionary and we try for some more conversation. We manage okay, but obviously cannot talk about any substantial matters. Still we are enjoying ourselves. I try to teach her some basic essentials in English and also make her aware of the fact that the phrase “same same” is certainly not good English. She gratefully receives all my advice and proves to be a fast learner. As an additional benefit I pick up quite a number of new Thai words too.
Wipa is certainly not the worldiest girl I have ever met, but then again precious few Thai girls are. Back home this would be a major turn-off with any woman I meet but here I feel somewhat differently. I have a lot more patience and can much more easily forgive a woman for her lack of knowledge and worldliness here than there. Back home I’d assume that any woman I date has had about the same chance at becoming at least as worldly in her life as me for the sake of her own intellectual growth. If she doesn’t possess much of it she has obviously decided to literally stay ignorant out of choice or lacks intellect. To me this proves a lack of intellectual curiosity I cannot easily disregard.
Most Thai girls on the other hand involuntarily fell victim to a less than sophisticated educational routine, not out of choice, but because nothing else was available to them. Therefore I often happen to have a lot more respect for those who haven’t had the opportunity to become particularly knowledgeable or worldly but are eager to learn and flash real signs of intellectual curiosity as opposed to those who have had all chances in life but literally chose to stay ignorant out of laziness or insularity.
At around 8pm we leave. We catch a taxi and head in the direction to her home. I want to be the perfect gentleman and drop her off at her place before heading back to my hotel. She bids me a friendly farewell, presents me with another wonderfully graceful waai, and expresses her strong desire to meet me again.
“I feel very very happy today!” she says.
Then she is gone.
Back at my hotel I pack my bag and then call Nit to say goodbye. She is still at work. Poor girl, working such long hours! She is all sentimental and starts crying again on the phone, repeatedly telling me how she loves me. It’s hard to cut her off, but eventually I have to. She sends me another few sweet and caring texts to which I reply later.
“Thank you very much Simon. I like mak mak naa;-).Good luck naa:-)”
I’m thinking it’s almost my luck that I’m leaving tonight. If I was staying any longer I would probably have to change my SIM card and move to a different hotel to get rid of her again. I certainly wouldn’t mind her continuing to come over for a bit of fun in the evenings, but she has become far too obsessive already for me to only do as much as think about going on with this.
At 10:30pm I am off to the airport. I am so tired I almost fall asleep in the taxi already. At least the line at Emirates’ check-in desk is not too long. From the waiting area at the gate I make on final phone call, this time to Wipa. She asked me to call her before I fly out and I certainly want to honor her wish. I actually wake her as she has been sleeping already. We don’t say much. Speaking Thai on the phone is more difficult for me than face to face. I wish her sweet dreams and hang up.
On the six hour flight to Dubai I sleep uneasily. Images of the last few intense days keep on floating around in my mind and even enter my short-lived dreams. Actually I know this state of mind quite well. I knew such feelings would be sidling up to me again for some days already. To me it almost seems as if it goes hand in hand with the whole Thailand experience. Like a bipolar depression that first lifts your spirit up into unimaginable heights and then spits it out and smashes it down like a discarded piece of junk.
Others have addressed this issue both in speech and writing: The subject of ethical behavior with the non-professional maidens of the LOS. A prolific contributor to this website once wrote an interesting article about how long odds and small percentages do not give a guy the right to treat a good Thai woman as a chip in his gambling love game of life, especially not if he’s only a visitor, and definitely not if he’s not much inclined or feels he’s at an too early stage of his life to follow through with her in a meaningful future orientated way.
If I’m completely honest with myself this is a notion I cannot dispute. I have witnessed the consequences of such behavior first hand and rightfully never felt particularly proud or good about it with hindsight. However, it has been comforting to know that every single one of these girls has rather quickly gotten over it and have found themselves a steady boyfriend by now and appear to be happy.
Actually I wouldn’t mind staying in touch with Wipa and getting to know her better, but should I?
I address this issue with the expat friend via email whose wife has introduced me to her in the first place. He puts things in perspective. Or does he?
He says I shouldn’t always so much feel responsible for every woman that falls for me. As long as I am upfront and sincere with her and don’t promise things I have no intention of delivering it’s going to be fine. He asks me to be fair to her as well as to myself.
“Don’t overthink this too much. Just be yourself. Treat her fairly and with respect. Most importantly be honest with her. And even if you’re honest with her she’ll think what she wants to think. If in doubt err on the side of caution. Sometimes just seeing what happens can be quite rewarding as well. From what I understand she simply looks forward to going out to the internet café to see if you sent her a simple email.”
In turn I ask his wife to make very clear to her that I’m not the kind of guy who’s daydreaming of a house in the suburbs, 1.7 kids, and two puppies out in the front yard; that I don’t want her to start building castles in the sky; that I don’t want her to literally be “waiting” for me.
How odd to have such a message delivered to someone one has just met, but given the fact that I will probably not return for a lengthy stay in Thailand for some months now and can hardly explain things this way to her via email I decide this is my best option. If she understands all this and still wants to keep in touch or see me again it shall be okay for me. Turns out she does.
To be continued…?
Thai women do fall for guys fast, particularly desirable Westerners. But as you allude to, they can fall out of love just as quickly as they fall into love. Which kind of makes me wonder, was it real love in the first place?! Probably not love by Western definition anyway…