Stickman Readers' Submissions January 30th, 2009

A Holiday Is Only A Holiday – So Enjoy It But Don’t Fall In Love Chapter 2 – My Love Has Left

Joy told me she would marry her long term boyfriend and move to the UK if I didn’t promise to come back for her and send her money. I’d refused, just saying I couldn’t make that sort of commitment but really because one of my friends had predicted the behaviour weeks before and my realism kicked in as soon as she mentioned monthly payments. I hadn’t heard from her since and as we took the taxi into Pattaya some six months later I wasn’t sure if I would go to the same bar again although I knew I would have to walk by it.

My accompaniment was new this time, not the halfwit friend I’d had on my first visit but 3 totally different characters, all of whom had never been before and they were quite a semblance. One was a young, fit scaffolder nearing alcoholism and I think this trip took him over the edge. The second was a 20 stone married man of forty five whose wife for some reason didn’t mind him coming along and the last, Dave, a good work colleague of mine who is hard to keep off the women in Durham, let alone Thailand.

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The bad news was we arrived at the hotel around 9:00 AM which meant Rob the scaffolder would be drunk before we got out on the night and also that we had to wait a couple of hours for check-in which meant straight to the bar. Worse still was the sign on the counter stating extra guests 750 baht per night. I really hadn’t done my homework this time. Still I couldn’t stop thinking about Joy and what might have been.

Truth be told we were all quite drunk by the evening. My feelings were running high. I had to go back to Soi 8 to see for myself that she had gone and anyway, I had to take the newbies out somewhere so we jumped on a bus and got off at Soi 8. We walked past my previous haunt and she wasn’t in, at least not that I saw. We headed up the street until Rob asked when we were going to stop for a drink and we just moved into the next bar where there were lots of girls.

We stayed for a while and on leaving Rob wanted to barfine the first girl that spoke to him (totally predicted) but we wouldn’t let him and mocked him out of the bar. My mind was already set and I motioned the guys back down the street and walked into Joy’s bar. I didn’t actually recognise anyone except the mamasan who probably wouldn’t remember me as I’d kept clear of the miserable old cow for most of my last visit. We got drinks and it wasn’t long before the girls came over and although I didn’t remember her a girl approached, said my name and asked, ‘what about Joy?’

‘I don’t know what happened to her?’ I returned what seemed a very dubious question. She didn’t seem to understand and just smiled and walked away. I’m guessing a phone call or so later she came back and told me Joy had married and moved to England. Well, Thai know it all, Gavin, was wrong on something. He’d told me that was just BS to pull me in. So the night went on and boys being boys, we all took a girl and headed back.

The hotel entry was quite unusual. We asked for our keys and they asked for 750 baht each which I refused on all of our behalves (I’d booked the place, it was my problem). They then insisted and I offered a negotiated price for the fortnight (3000 baht I think I said). They declined and I asked for the manager. On his arrival I spelt out that we had all paid for double occupancy when booking (4 junior suites) but he still refused. All 8 of us still stood there. I couldn’t back down. I remade my 3000 baht offer to him and pointed out that during our 1st day we had spent 5000 baht around his pool bar and if he wanted us to go elsewhere during the day that wasn’t a problem to us. I was gob smacked and quite proud of my negotiating skills when he just gave us the keys and said ok, no payment (it’s all about money for the men as well as the women). The same problem arose the following day with a different lobby attendant but this time a quick phone call was made, the manager never appeared but our keys were handed to us with no payments of this kind requested again – 1 point to the farang. <Keeping your keys in your pocket and not handing them in to reception (a practice I have never understood) might have got around itStick>

A few days down the line things were going well. I’d shown the guys around town (what little of it I knew), we’d been to a gogo bar which isn’t really up my street, been out to the island and done a bit of fishing on route and we’d found a regular place to set-off from and where Rob could top up every evening. A perfect start. I’m not really sure why I was so amazed to answer my room door one evening and find Joy standing there, looking stunning as usual with a big smile and holding out her hands waiting for me to pull her in. Which was exactly what I did.

‘I thought you were in England.’ No reply came as I realised Gavin was right again. ‘I thought you got married.’

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‘I not want to marry him, I want to marry you.’

‘The girls in the bar told me you got married and moved to England.’ Probably not the reply she was looking for and still no answer. ‘How did you know I was here?’ Stupid question as we’d all taken a girl from her bar on the 1st night we arrived.

‘You take Noi, you like ugly girl?’ Bitch, I was drunk, the best form of defence is always attack with these people.

It was quite strange really. I actually wasn’t sure how I’d feel if I met her again but I was really calm. Gavin had prepared me and as I looked at Joy realising how stunning she was and knowing that I loved her company, the recognition that it was all just a façade flowed straight through me and I just smiled. I wasn’t under some dumb spell. I certainly wasn’t in love with her and although I always treat people with respect I knew instantly she wasn’t going to warm to the new me quite so much.

She stayed with me again for the rest of the holiday and we had some ups and downs this time that would never have happened on the first visit, basically due to her always wanting and huffing when she didn’t get and to me not putting up with her shit and firing really hard questions at her from time to time to test her as well as let her know that I’m no fool. Some of the things she said were blatant lies and I didn’t even question them but just told her she was a liar, requiring no reply. We’d planned to go out bowling at seven o’clock one evening and she purposely went to the beauty parlour late (6 o’clock) and didn’t return till 8. I didn’t mind, I’d already left and gone bowling, told the hotel not to let her in my room without me being there and switched off my phone. When she joined us I told her my battery had ran out and she called me a liar. ‘Correct,’ I said, ‘We farang can be fucking awkward too.’ She still hung around (for the money) and we became more comfortable and gracious to each other after that but I really thought she hated me by the time I left (you’ll have to wait for chapter 3 to find out) but my love for her was long gone.

It’s quite strange for me now even to have relationships back in the UK because I see the same spoilt and needy behaviour in so many people around me, even people I consider long term friends and I’d never quite noticed it before. I’ve also had two very serious relationships that both ended because I can no longer accommodate persistent, helpless / childish behaviour (one was a real beautiful high flying career girl that just seemed to leave her brain at work when she came home). Maybe sometimes we just over-analyse things too much or maybe some Thai experiences and advice has tainted me because I really do look for perfection now (except when I visit Thailand, that’s just for fun).

The difference you have to remember at home is those people will always offer you the same assistance and will always be there for you despite their faults but I’m damn sure Joy would run a mile if I hit hard times.

Happy holidays.

Stickman's thoughts:

A woman's arsenal is limited. Sex and guilt. That is all they have. Ok, some add a knife to the arsenal but fortunately they are few and far between. Thai women know they can't play the sex card because it is readily available everywhere so they play the guilt card. Often. The problem is a confident man will never give in to it and she is then all out of options. That was what happened with Joy, and that is why she (perhaps) hated, or at least resented you at the end of the trip. She'd used the only weapon she had available and it didn't work!

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