To Believe Or Not To Believe
Before my first trip to Thailand I spent weeks reading this site, trying to prepare myself for what might lie ahead. At the time I had just met a Thai girl in Hong Kong. Like many others I'm sure, I felt disturbed by the tales of lies and deceit. It seemed terribly few people had a positive story to tell, though some had very entertaining stories like Thai Ties and Union Hill. Their take on life in Bangkok reminded me much more of expats I know elsewhere, but what about all those unhappy writers?
With heavy doubt in my mind I ventured over to meet the TG again, a couple of months after our first chance meeting. Was she a bargirl, or a freelancer? Or was she one of these 'good girls' I had heard about? Having read so much to the contrary on this site, I was surprised that she wanted to hold my hand while walking down the street. I chose not to at the time and I could feel things cooling off between us. I went to Phuket for a pre-booked week, leaving her in Bangkok. We kept in contact for a while, but I never saw her again. The last time I heard from her she was about to go to Germany to be with her new boyfriend. I was actually glad when she broke off contact after that. It seemed like she might be a genuine good girl, though I still don't much believe in that expression.
In Phuket I was alone, so naturally I hung out at a few beer bars. There I discovered just how nuts bargirls can be and witnessed their deceit first-hand. While fondling my leg with one hand they sent ridiculous SMS requests for money to their sponsors with the other. "I lost my money betting on Man U, please send 5,000 baht so I can pay back my friend and buy noodles…"
It seemed the stories about bargirls were no exaggeration. A much harder question, though, was how do you judge other Thai girls? My judgment of girls in my own country has never been too bad (perhaps one or two exceptions), but would this experience count for anything? Did I need to be on my guard all the time when talking to a Thai girl?
Since then I have met a number of Thai girls who as far as I know have never been on the game. The pattern of behavior seemed quite similar though. They would always want to bring friends on dates, so I was shelling out double or more just to sit and watch them yakking away in Thai. They would also routinely hide information about themselves. Asking a direct question would rarely get a useful answer, which inevitably leads to suspicion. It started to seem like the difference between a good girl and a bargirl is that you know you are going to get laid with a bargirl. There seemed to be little to be gained in staying away from the dark side. Still, I couldn't help being attracted to Thai girls, however infuriating they may be at times.
Some years after my first trip to Thailand, I flew in to meet some friends and made plans to meet a girl I found online (you can guess where). I had only chatted to her briefly over msn, so I didn't know much about her other than her job (hotel housekeeping) and the fact she was exactly my idea of a cute Thai girl. In this case I thought it perfectly reasonable that she brought along a friend, since I was a virtual stranger, but to her surprise I brought along a couple of friends too.
This turned out to be a great idea, as it took a lot of pressure off her and her friend. They didn't have to work hard at the conversation so we had a fun and relaxed meal together. We all went to the disco afterwards and the friend soon left us alone, as it was clear we were more than comfortable with each other. My friends did the same not too much later.
After some rather intimate dancing I was very happy with the way the evening had panned out and would have been quite happy to wave her off in a taxi at that point, but to my considerable surprise she spent the night with me. This left me very perplexed, as it was so much at odds with the way the evening had begun. She left very early as she had to work the next day, but we met again the following night and I rearranged my trip to spend two more nights with her before I flew home.
Should I be suspicious of her just because she slept with me quite quickly while the other Thai 'good girls' strung me along for free dinners instead? Or did this simply show that she was a normal girl and she liked me, like other non-Thai girlfriends I've had in the past? Perplexed or not, I hugely enjoyed spending time with her, so I was willing to see how things might progress.
In fact keeping in touch with calls and msn was not a chore at all (as it had been so often been in the past). Apart from occasional language difficulties, the only sour notes in our communication came from mistrust. After a thousand stories of relationships gone wrong it seemed every second sentence set off a suspicious thought somewhere in the back of my mind. Did she have other boyfriends? Had she always worked in legit jobs? Was she hiding a child? Was I being groomed for money sponging in the future? Perhaps most of all, is this how a 'good girl' should behave?
Sometimes my suspicions would harden my conversation and lead to her revealing some of her own. Did I have another lady in my country, or in hers? Was I just playing games? Would I forget about her? Finally I realized that she probably had more reason to be wary of me than I did to be so paranoid about her. My fears were not based on anything she had actually done, just stories of other people's misfortunes. People I had never met.
Her fears were based on her own experience – a farang boyfriend who after several months simply stopped contacting her without any explanation. She later found from one of his friends that he was seeing a number of other girls at the same time.
Now that I think about it with a clearer mind, I realise any one of my previous girlfriends, who came from various different countries, could have been keeping all kinds of secrets from me. Not one of these 'good girls' is without a past. Their reasons for being with me may have had nothing to do with real affection. I could never expect to know, because I never fully committed to any of them. Why should anyone completely open up to you if you're not ready to do the same?
I wonder what proportion of the unhappy writers on this site were never entirely open with their tilak, always holding something back rather than giving everything of themselves (I'm not talking about money here, just emotion). So long as you let suspicion rule your mind, you can never have the trust needed to give your girl the kind of devotion you expect her to give you.
I'm glad I came to this realisation before I let phantoms sour my relationship with this girl. This has as much chance of being a happy relationship, or a failed one, as any relationship I have been in before. I know already that many things are better with her than they have been with anyone else. She doesn't ask for anything from me that I haven't given willingly in the past. So for all of the warnings I have read, I think my own judgment may be the best thing to rely on after all.