Those Subservient Thai Women, Part 2
Perhaps I wasn't clear enough in my reader's submission. My female co-worker used the word subservient regarding Thai women. The title of the article was meant to be tongue in cheek as I don't think of my wife as such, but rather an equal partner in our relationship. She certainly has expectations of me and will gently steer me to them with considerable diplomacy. It is indeed quite different than the “in your face” style of so many Western women. She is really a pillar of strength, but she asserts herself very quietly and never engages in any drama. It has been a learning experience for me as she will hint at what she wants rather than just speak up and ask about it. I am quite certain it is a cultural difference and after I understood what she was doing, it was quite easy to deal with. Still, when I asked her about things from time to time like “where would you like to eat” I get the response, “up to you”. This is a typical Thai woman response and is likely a reflection of a paternalistic society. I never accept this decision deferment and tell her that I want her to be happy with the decision and she needs to let me know what she likes. She feels that she is indeed a special part of my life and believes that I have an exceptionally “good heart”, when I am just doing what a normal Western man would do. What I do is simply a natural component of my Western culture, but is perceived by her as a profound expression of my love for her. In my opinion it becomes a blending of Western and Thai culture that serves us quite well.
When she takes care of me this is an effort on her part to show her love for me. It is what she has learned about what defines a good wife, so it is also fulfilling what she believes is being a good wife. If I were to refuse her efforts to pamper me I believe she would interpret this as a failure on her part to be a good wife. Why would I want to do that to her? I can certainly get my own coffee and don't mind doing so. However, if I allow her to bring me coffee I am helping her to fulfill what she needs in our relationship. Admittedly, there are things that are over the top, like when she tried to feed me our dinner. That is just too much. She never has put toothpaste on my toothbrush though, I wouldn't care much for that. She does iron my underwear. When I suggested she didn't need to do that she responded that it was easier to fold. Many of these these pampering activities are simply natural to her and a part of her culture. I understand why she needs to do this and accepting her for what she is helps this relationship flourish. I have to admit that I enjoy it too. What's not to like?
I have tried to help my wife with Western culture. This isn't a huge challenge as she spent much of her adult life in Bangkok, a city with a bit of the West in the mix. Typically in my city when a spouse drops the other off at work a peck of a kiss is exchanged as they depart. It is very common to see. So when I dropped her off at her workplace I leaned over and gave her the peck kiss. Instant shock! The next day when I leaned over to give her the obligatory peck kiss she looked around first to see if anyone was able to see before she committed to it. After a time she decided it was ok and said she liked it. When we were entering a store she observed a young couple partially concealed by a sign, in a rather passionate kiss. She was shocked at this public display of affection!
We took a road trip across the entire Western half of the US. We drove through the Rocky Mountains, the Mojave desert and many national parks. It was Thai eye candy. She was totally amazed by the sites and the size of the country we covered. She really had no idea how big the US is even though I had previously tried explaining it to her on a map.
What I find fascinating is how she perceives Americans. She has this concept that Americans all have the same features like myself, of European descent. As most readers know the US is a country of immigrants. She has worked out that African Americans are of this country likely due to our President and television commercials. When she first came she was quite surprised to see people with dark skin and older people in television commercials. When she sees Asian or Latin Americans she has difficulty with the concept that they are exactly the same as me regarding citizenship. She still perceives them as foreign for some reason. Many have been born and raised in the US and some have no knowledge of their original country's language.
She likes America. She has tried American food and has some tasty favorites. She has a permanent resident status (Green Card) and this entitles her to just about everything a citizen has. About all she is missing is the right to vote and get a passport. Her Green Card is conditional 2 year issue, but we can remove the condition after about 1 year and the new card will be for 10 years. Still, she wants to be a US citizen which she will be eligible for in about 2 years. As far as her Thai citizenship goes I don't know how a US citizenship will effect it. (any ideas here Stick?) The US policy just ignores other citizenships and simply recognizes your US status without regard to anything else.
I do hope this is useful to someone. Things have worked out quite well with my Thai wife and my hope would be that this piece would be helpful to others.
It's nice to hear things are going well between you and your wife. Long may they continue.