Another Agency Tale
As Seinfeld, once exclaimed “not that there is anything wrong with that”, not all of us interested in LOS are part of the mongering game. To each his own. I didn’t hit the bar scene in Bangkok, but there was enough talent in Nana on Sukhumvit (and some of it appeared very talented) so I cannot fault those who so pursue. Know a local few back home who participate. Fine people, lots of fun and nobody gets hurt. I even enjoy their stories on this site. Good for you guys.
Recently Dennis WV wrote in about finding a bride in LOS and using TPI as an agency. He wanted to drop a note to those considering the same alternative. All in all a little dicey for him, but seems that it worked out. Good guy, Dennis, I’m the Mark who had a few beers with him at Gulliver's.
Me, I always liked the dating scene, someone new when you wanted it, chuckling at the guys who got torqued in their divorce; when the chick put the pressure on, time to bail. But he’s right, I’m 55 and the once hot chicks are now mostly old hens, roosting elsewhere; I should find someone nice before they were all gone. I tried locally, really I did. The last local one said over dinner one night that I had to put $100k into my house because I otherwise couldn’t sell it. I thought, ‘well there’s one problem solved’ but didn’t say anything, just let it go past. Undaunted, she then said she couldn’t live in my house as it was. I thought, ‘now there’s another problem solved’ but still didn’t say anything. God bless her, she was going to get through her agenda. She proceeded to say that she could actually live in my house, if I ‘helped’ her buy a house on the beach for the summer (she knew I had recently inherited a partial interest in two houses). I play golf in the summer; I don’t care about the beach (not that she ever bothered to ask), even if I had the money to buy. C’mon, you solve three problems over dinner without opening your mouth, it’s time to toast a successful evening. I’m not much of a hard liquor guy, but I enjoyed that brandy while she sat there continuing to extol upon the virtues of a beach house she would never see.
So I went through a self imposed dry spell and finally decided that it was time to try a different approach.
I watched a NatGeo special on Russian brides through an agency. Didn’t like the agency, was not impressed by the talent but I was intrigued by the idea. Checked the internet, found good (and some bad) news on Thai girls. Like Dennis, I decided that the agency fee was less than the amount I saved on dating during my dry spell and it was on to TPI. Contacted Lawrence Lynch, talked a few times. The man can sell ice to Eskimos but he was forthright about the important aspects of his agency introduction process. The decision came down to the best thing that could happen is that I find a hot chick who digs my ass and life is good, the worst is I have a winter vacation in a hot climate with one or more attractive chicks who speak the language and can be my guides for a couple weeks.
Like Dennis, I got all sorts of advice and comments. Once I could answer the guys’ concerns about the trip, they were all for it and at least a few are living vicariously through my endeavours. Not a single woman thought it was anything close to a good idea and a former girlfriend thought it was a horrible idea, but really couldn’t tell me why.
The trip from the east coast sucks. I’m not much of a traveller and I slept only about two hours in thirty. The jet lag leaves you at 80% thinking capacity at your best and I found myself tripping over all sorts of stuff – my coordination was off. In the middle of the worst of your jet lag, you get your agency interviews, mostly with women you have preselected. In my case I sent a list of 13 women, had interviews scheduled the first morning in LOS with five I selected and two that were selected for me (by whom I don’t know, but that was part of the adventure). One I selected was supposed to interview that evening and two others I selected were to interview in the evening in two day’s time. That’s ten interviews; you have to figure your chances are good and you need to remind yourself that, just like back home, it’s all a numbers game, except you have substantially more input into the numbers.
I warned the agency that I have always been interested in working just hard enough to pay my mortgage and golf dues, figuring that anything else would be swept away in a divorce and if these Thai women wanted a retirement package, don’t waste my time. So what did I get?
First interview was, by luck of the draw (or so I believe, if the agency knows better, they weren’t telling) my number one selection. Great looking girl, soft spoken and shy to a fault, 40, divorced and no kids. Nice interview, the girl agreed to stay to the end of the interviews so that we could spend the afternoon together. Caution here; I didn’t even try to fight the idea of sin sot. TIT. However when I wasn’t paying attention, Thapanee, the mediator, mentioned something about her share of family debt. It didn’t dawn on me until much later that once a girl has you buying into the sin sot, as an added bonus (like those kitchen knife commercials) you may also get to pay off the debt as well. Effectively, that doubled the sin sot in this situation for a total of $6k. TIT, and after all, there were a number of girls yet to meet.
Second girl, 37, comes in, a selection made for me. Happy, outgoing, charming girl looks no older than 23, sin sot $3k. Different from #1. She was not particularly pretty, at least by Thai standards, but the type of girl you would want your parents to meet.
Third girl, 42, smoking hot, comes in looking like a million bucks. Clearly this girl expects to be the typical US trophy wife and asks for $12K sin sot. And, as an added bonus (those kitchen knives again), I get to pay off her car loan of $13k. Little head votes yes, big head was certain she was just starting the engine on what she expected and perhaps I should pay off my truck loan first. I wished her all the luck in the world. The time it took her to get ready for the interview probably greatly exceeded the actual time spent in the interview.
Fourth girl comes in, 32, single, shy, great looking; wants $10k sin sot. I was advised to counteroffer, so I went with $6k, mainly to see how adamant these girls were, because she was out just by asking for so much. Turns out, pretty damned adamant. Happy New Year and the best of luck to you, but now I’m thinking this is starting to go in the wrong direction. Upon reflection, I am also sure that I was advised to counteroffer so that Thapanee, the mediator at the interviews, would have a better idea how high I would go on the sin sot for the remaining interviews. Thapanee is a woman and she is Thai and she is looking after her girls. Not a surprise to me and not particularly disappointing; if I can’t look after my own money, I shouldn’t be at the interviews in the first place.
Thapanee then tells me that the evening interview wants a $30k sin sot and expects (all this is non-negotiable), at age 43 to have two children with me. I make her repeat this because I can’t believe what I thought I just heard, it must have been the jet lag. Turns out ears are now working better and I heard right. Her picture suggests that she is quite a looker, but even little head hangs in disbelief. Big head was a biology major in college and envisions that it would be all his fault when she never ended up with children; little head offered that the trying part would render some solace. I think but do not ask Thapanee if this girl has ever lived in the US. Wrong direction is heading downhill.
Fifth girl comes in the interview room like she owns the joint, sits down, talking Thai to Thapanee and checking me out. I know because I was checking her out at the same time and our eyes met a few times. Smoking hot, 36, divorced, one son whom she sees once a year since her divorce, as son is with gran up north. Little head votes yes again (little head votes yes a lot in LOS) and big head agrees. She asks maybe, if it’s not too much trouble after she is in US with me for two full years and it’s all working out, can her son come over so that we can be a family. Mind you, the decision is completely up to me and it is not a deal breaker for her (though in retrospect, it might have been a deal breaker and she wanted to get a glimpse at my moral fiber). Chick doesn’t have squat for an education, but she gets MBA credit for this plan – how do you say no to that? Works next day; agreed upon date for day after that.
Sixth girl comes in and she is interesting. Good looking, 30 and interested in me. I am sceptical because a girl this age is simply not available to me in the US and I think there may be a good reason for that, though for the life of me, I can’t think of it at that moment. Says I don’t look my age (I do look much younger, maybe because I have been single all these years). Second thing said to me is sin sot is $10k. I just stared at Thapanee for a full twenty seconds and said “I think my position is pretty clear”. Thapanee and #6 go at it a little bit and miraculously, a $3k sin sot is now acceptable. Little head says yes, big head thinks I have better options and wonders what other surprises would be in store for me there. I like adventurous women but not women who will be an adventure.
#7 comes in, 32, small girl, picked by the agency. Announces that she is a virgin and therefore wants a $7.5k sin sot. Big head and little head confer because neither recognizes the archaic term “virgin”. Little head does not want to pay more so that he can work harder to get to the promised land; simply not the American way. Perhaps she is a bargain in a different culture. Have a nice life #7.
Everyone leaves and I get ready for first date with #1 except that, in a bit of a panic, Thapanee explains that #1 decided that she had to return to work and didn’t bother to inform anyone that she was leaving. I was a little pissed off, but later realize that it was just TIT. I didn’t raise a ruckus, just said leaving without notifying us was “disappointing”. Later I realize that Thapanee was embarrassed because #1 left; by suggesting that it was just “disappointing” she felt relieved and worked a little harder to correct the situation. A little scrambling and #5 comes back by cab and no need to help with cab fare, she has it covered (remember this is the third taxi fare in two hours for her). Thapanee also indicated that the date with #1 was rescheduled for Sunday, in three days.
#5 speaks some but not all that much English but has the foresight to have a borrowed Thai/English dictionary with her. Off to the Ancient City by taxi. I found out that if I speak slowly (all Thais, even those who speak English well think we all speak way too fast) and use basic words, we can effectively communicate. Not nearly everything gets through but enough does so that we can get to know each other. What words she cannot pronounce (and this is an altogether unexpected problem, #5 not being able to pronounce some of the limited words she does know) she decides to spell out with her finger on my arm or thigh (dream on, sadly, not that far up the thigh). Little head votes that this is one of the most effective communication devices ever discovered and got too focused on one long word. At Ancient City I buy her a box of tic-tacs because we (including the taxi driver who was for a short time our new BFF) have eaten up all her mints during the course of the ride to the Ancient City; this throw away gesture is received very well. She buys me a popsicle (there are a lot of surprises for me in LOS the most immediate then being that green colour is not lime flavor). I am beginning to discount the axiom that the westerner is first and foremost thought of as a meal ticket of unlimited resources by all the locals.
We end up eating dinner back in Bangkok and she asks me if I wanted to take her back to my hotel. Now, big head is conflicted by this request because I like #5; little head does not understand the conundrum. #5 is a massage therapist by trade at a mid-size hotel. The only other issue during the interview, other than that regarding her son, was that if I did not believe that she was a legitimate massage therapist but was nothing more than a boom-boom girl, then it I wasn’t worth her time and she would be on her way to work. The nature of the conflict is obvious. I figured I was going to get a massage which I had shamelessly hinted about hours before at the interview. I was beat half to death with jet lag (though little head was apparently doing much better than the rest of the body). I did indeed get a nice massage but she laid a big kiss, thank you for dinner, on me first. I don’t know how long the massage lasted because I fell asleep (on my stomach) after about twenty minutes despite the best efforts of little head to see whether or not the promised land was also on the menu that evening. My guess is that she stopped when I started snoring but when I woke up there she was next to me on top of the bed. In the meantime my unpacked clothes were piled up and footwear lined up neatly at the entryway.
Turns out that the interviews at the agency earlier were running late and she was waiting in a room with a number of other girls whom she saw as genuine competition (all girls get to see a picture of the client prior to interviews and she was interested). When she saw me at the interview she made a pretty quick decision that we would date (if I were willing). Thapanee later indicated that #5 had had interviews before at the agency but had not accepted any dates prior to me though they were offered on each occasion. My guess is that all women make decisions about men fairly quickly while men have to resolve conflicts between big head and little head in order to come to a conclusion. #5 wanted to limit the competition and would rather that I date few if any other women. Without fanfare, she just happened to forget her face lotion and another items prominently in my bathroom, no doubt marking her territory should another girl find her way to my hotel room. If I moved the items, she would suspect I would have had another girl in the room and if I did not move the items (I did not) they would have easily been seen should another girl have come in.
Myself, I’ve always been a believer that you could always find something just as good if not better if you were willing to look. I still hold to that general philosophy but at age 55, you find a smoking hot chick who really digs you, never asks you about what you have, how much you make or if you can buy them something (she later told me when I asked about this in particular “if I want to buy something, I’ll buy it myself” though during our entire time together, she was only interested in a school backpack for her son which I insisted upon purchasing) you’d be a fool to let it go and keep on looking. Little head has enjoyed a reputation for being a damn fool especially during his younger days, but there was agreement with big head on #5. At least that’s me; maybe you’d keep on looking or at least date a few more girls. I cancelled other scheduled dates including the rescheduled date with #1 and stayed with #5. When I told #5 that I had cancelled the other dates, she gave me a big smile and was immediately more relaxed. It was an incredibly easy process for me. All in all I spent ten days with her; things took their natural course and the visa process has begun. However, I’m returning for another two weeks in May to confirm my decision.
I have some thoughts to consider if you’re thinking of trying the same thing. Some of this has been said before. There may be disagreement on other parts. Remember that I was a first timer in LOS and my time there was limited, though my experiences were vivid.
You only get involved with an agency with the intention of marriage. These agency girls are as serious as a massive heart attack about getting married. They have no interest in casual dating. They are surely not “working girls”. They make squat in Thailand and lose money just to take the time to go out with you. #5 lost a half day’s work just to go to the interview. They are not interested if you only think it is possible you would get married. If you are not, then try your Plan B and save the agency fee because it will be a short, embarrassing and expensive situation. It’s natural if you are unsure about any particular girl, but not if you are unsure about marrying the right girl.
Many or even most of the girls seem to be very shy. (Not my girl, she is a notable exception and I figure it will be that much easier for her to assimilate into the US.) If you have an outgoing personality it makes the “getting to know you stage” much easier and they appreciate your outgoing nature. It is also much easier for them to begin to warm up to you. #5 told her friends that I talked too much, but she was always laughing when she said it. The girls are looking for you to take the lead to getting to know each other. Actually they are not all that shy, they are reserved and open up if you just present the opportunity for them to do so.
My advice is not to take a girl to dinner for the first date. There is not enough time spent with each other at dinner and it can get awkward when dinner is over. Review the first date story of Dennis. Instead, spend the afternoon with her and then go to dinner. (It could really suck if you’ve planned the whole day with one girl and she doesn’t seem that appealing, so choose wisely.)
How do you know if she actually likes you or if she is just looking for a sugar daddy to take her into the luxurious west? Same as you do for back-to-home situations. When they start asking you about your homes or cars or start suggesting that you buy them things, the red flags should go up. If they tell you that they cannot get time off unless you pay their co-workers to fill in for them, the bells and whistles should go off. Dennis experienced all of that. #5 was only ever curious as to what family I had and why I had never married (divorce is a whole lot different in LOS). #5 bought me a popsicle at the beginning of our first date and at one point paid a toll while we were riding in a taxi on our second date (in LOS, the expressway is a toll road with multiple tolls and the passenger is expected to come up with the toll right then and there; that was a big surprise to me at first and I never go used to it – #5 paid the toll on multiple occasions.) After alternating days of dates with #5 and her working, suddenly #5 had five consecutive days off. I didn’t have to ask her to take time off and there was no mention of paying a bribe to the co-workers who covered for her. On my last day in LOS, I took her friends out to dinner and dancing as a token of my appreciation in making my trip easier. (It also provided me with an opportunity both to thank one girl in particular who either worked for #5 or helped talk other girls into taking over for #5 and to learn a little bit more about #5 by offering some questions up to her friends; RR coined the phrase “trust but verify”.) When we went places, she would walk over to buy the cut fruit and sticky rice. When we arrived at Chiang Mai she set up our hotel room, set up the shoes (they are fixated on not having shoes in the living quarters). (My agency suggests that a trip away from Bangkok is expected if you feel that your relationship can lead to something. You should entertain only modest expectations about what goes on when you are away from Bangkok, but you would be foolish not to hope.) When we were taking in the sights, she constantly took out a tissue and wiped away the sweat from my brow. Even a caveman can tell when your girl likes you. In return, let me say that, within reason, she could have had whatever she wanted, though she only seemed to want reassurances that I would be nice to her as well as be faithful to her. As I indicated previously, my most recent alternative was purchasing a beach house.
You will be told at the agency or by others who seem to know that looks (that’s your looks, the girls all look good) really don’t matter. Looks always matter, but if you are older and look your age or are not as old but scare the Titleist name off a new golf ball, there still is a fine selection available to you. You will be told that these girls cannot find a good Thai man and from my conversations, that is all too true. I have spoken with a few of #5’s friends and they are not all that excited about the long term prospects of a Thai man, especially when they have had their hearts broken. Thai men, by their philandering, break a lot of hearts in LOS.
Age differences are not calculated like they are back to home. On the home front, many women advertise for men who are younger or at least only marginally older than them on the on-line dating sites I previously used. In LOS don’t think seriously about limiting yourself to a lady fewer than ten years younger. It is a reasonable expectation to find women fifteen to even twenty-five years younger. On the other hand, don’t let little head get carried away here; can you remember what was important to you twenty-five years ago? People-watching in Bangkok should be an Olympic sport. You regularly see men who appear to be in their 60’s or even 70’s with women who appear to be thirty five or so (I write of couples who are taking in the sights at leisure, not the pair scurrying to his hotel room and isn’t there a good deal of that going on).
Thai women do not like the beach. I’m from New England; the beach in January is the next best thing to sex. Read this sentence a second time, so that you will remember: Thai women do not like the beach because they do not like the sun; they do not like to tan. One of the items #5 left in my bathroom was her “whitening” face lotion. If you take them to the beach, they will stay in the hotel room. If you don’t believe me, ask Dennis.
Before I left for LOS, I was told that Thai women were subservient. Thai women are not subservient, they are respectful and accommodating. Don’t confuse the two concepts, though you may not have much experience dealing with either respect or accommodation from a western woman. Thai girls do not like to be told what to do. However, if you ask them their opinion, they will love you for it especially if they do not care. In my own life, I don’t care what happens 90% of the time when dealing with women. (I don’t care what colour the walls are.) But when I’m in the 10% zone, give it to me; same with Thai women. Most Thai women are very eager to please their man. Don’t take it for granted – they just want to be asked but not necessarily in a confrontational manner like we would ask a question back-to-home. When we got to Chiang Mai, #5 started going on about the temple and the baby panda. Put temple and panda on the itinerary and whatever else I wanted to do would be good with her. I didn’t have to ask her if she wanted to go to the temple and then see the baby panda and I felt that it would be awkward if I did ask. I just announced out loud that I thought it would be nice to see them, she agreed and we were on our way.
Thai women don’t want to tell you “no” when they for damn sure are not about to say “yes”. That’s why Dennis ended up at the beach and a small contributor towards why that trip ended so poorly. I asked #5 to go to the beach, just like Dennis – three times as a matter of fact. Each time I never got an answer. However, when I subsequently suggested to #5 that it might be fun to go to Chiang Mai in the mountains, her hearing suddenly got remarkably better. There was an immediate approving response, we were on our way and I was a hero.
If you take the chance on LOS but have never been in country or don’t know anyone there (which was my situation), a good bet is an agency if you are looking for a keeper. Prostitution is open, notorious and accepted in Bangkok. You just don’t know what you’ll meet on your own. Unless you know someone who has lived there for a time and knows the area, it would take too long to find the right places to begin to look for a keeper. Even if you do meet a nice girl, you can’t be certain that she is not just playing you or has a sordid past. My vacation was only thirteen days with three of those on a plane. An agency takes a lot of the guesswork out of the process and maximizes your opportunities in Bangkok. Hell, you get to pick the women well in advance; in how many other places does that happen? Agencies claim to screen the girls and while they are not detectives, they did a good job with the women I interviewed, judging by the conversations I had with #5’s friends. For damn sure TPI screens the guys. TPI wants your money, but their livelihood rests upon a steady stream of satisfied women marrying western guys; TPI needs to guard that supply chain. If you are not what the girls are looking for, TPI doesn’t want you near them, the money be damned. That having been said, it’s a damn bit of money.
I have a final thought regarding romance between a westerner and a Thai woman. By utilizing an agency both you and the Thai woman are predisposed towards marriage at the outset. This, I believe gives you both a running start and puts you past the awkward “bs” stage. Most readers will suggest that you really cannot know any woman, much less a Thai woman having known her only for a couple weeks. That is a point I will concede at the outset. I will ignore the philosophical question “can you ever really know a woman”? However, I have had experience with a long term, long distance romance in the states. While time is the best test and only time will tell whether it will work out for #5 and me, there is a difference in the nature of a long distance romance. You don’t have months of serial encounters by which to judge the progress or nature of compatibility; you trade that for the intensity of encounters over a shorter period of time. As with my previous domestic long distance romance, I spent an inordinate amount of time with #5 over a ten day period (and will continue that in a few months). You get to know your Thai woman on a different level, not better, not worse, just different. If you find a bond between yourselves, you start the visa process. You go back home and trade emails, phone calls, video phone calls (my cell phone bill with AT&T for the first two weeks was over $90.00; using Skype by calling from my computer to her cell phone saved 90% of that and video calls to #5 with Skype from computer to computer are FREE), letters and cards. A few months later you go back to LOS for another few weeks to determine if you are just as certain as you were at the end of the first trip (not required, but recommended by yours truly as well as the agency). You can always stop the visa process. If you are satisfied, a few months after the second trip, the visa comes through and then you have up to ninety days back in the states to see if she can adjust. I suggest that at this juncture any woman who gives up her friends, her family and her job to come to live with you is at least as sure of you as you are of her (and equally as notable, is taking a more substantial risk) and is motivated to make the inevitable cultural adjustments.
Time will tell and good luck to you if you try what I tried.
I am surprised that sin sot enters the interview so early on. I can understand the agency wishing to be as open as possible about it but I cannot help but think that this is a really strange way to try and get a relationship going!
For sure, many guys should used these agencies. Hunting in the bars for a wife – which is what many guys do – is a much riskier business.
Great submission – really well put together!