I have spent 19 years in the LOS. I am only 41 years old, so it's a pretty significant amount of one's adult life.
For the first 10 years, I indulged in pay for play. It was marvellous. The girls were friendly, generally happy with their lot in life and with a bit of effort, decent in bed. Of course, the fact that I was a young guy in his early twenties, made P4P considerably cheaper (and to be honest, often, free). I had come 6000 miles from a land where it was drilled into you from an early age, that only desperate people pay for it and only desperate girls give out! What a refreshing change South-East Asia was!
So, after enjoying myself, I decided to live, work and play in the LOS. During those subsequent 10 years, I made many a friend who eventually felt the sharp edge of the Thai smile! Time and again, I watched wives or business partners take everything they possibly could. Not immediately obviously, your average citizen of Siam is far too clever to let you see that.
"Not me", I thought! I'm far too smart; after all I've been here 10 years, right?
So, I'm running my own business, happily making money and one day I meet my friend's wife's mate. Lovely she was. Think I'll have some fun here. But I'm not daft, right?
Anyway, after spending a year or so with her (in which time she was a model girlfriend) she says to me "Do you want have a baby?" I was 32 years old and thought, yeah why not? After all, this girl had been everything that the girls I'd witnessed among my friends and acquaintances had not.
So, we try for a baby and she gets pregnant. Happy days. On the advice of a friend who was (and still is) happily married to a Thai and has 4 kids, I married my girlfriend before the child was born. The bonus being that I would be able to register my child with my embassy / government and give he / her dual nationality.
My daughter was born in 2004 and quite understandably, we're over the moon! We go to England and spend 6 months with my daughter's grandparents and everything is wonderful. Did I get lucky? Is she really different to the rest? After all, I'm the smart one who waited and watched for 10 years, right?
We return to Thailand and everything is still wonderful. We are approaching our daughter's 4th birthday (in August) and my sister comes 6000 miles to visit us for the Songkran holiday.
I had had to go to Bangkok for business. I was returning to the family house (yep, you've guessed it – it's in Isaan) on a bus from Bangkok. I called my wife to pick me up from the bus station. Phone is off. Strange! Never was before. Never mind I think, I'll get a motorbike taxi – it's only 1 km to our home.
Well now, when I arrived there were a lot of very sheepish looking family members, a completely bewildered sister of mine and a 3 and half year old little girl crying her eyes out. "What's up" I asked? My sister then informed me that my wife had decided to start a new life in Petchabun with some deadbeat yaba boyfriend!! (I should mention here, that my wife's sister was, at the time, in the hospital about to give birth!)
My daughter cried for 3 days. Not much fun.
But this story has a happy ending. My 'wife' decided to give me custody of our lovely little girl. Now myself and my daughter's Auntie take care of her. The fact that the relationship is purely platonic makes it simple. The respect levels I receive from my "Thai" family are immense. They honestly thought I would simply run away. And why shouldn't they? In their experience, the man always runs from responsibility!
Now, there was a reason for initially stating this story. In the subsequent 4 years of freedom that I have had, I have been involved in 3 relationships with Thai women who have an overseas 'provider'.
All three no longer work in the "industry" and all have their own money (one actually has two houses and a 1.5 million baht car!) My behaviour may not be morally correct in many people's opinions, (I have certainly NEVER taken a single baht of these poor guys' cash by the way) but I can categorically tell you that EVERY single one of them would have cheated anyway. How do I know this? Because all three of these women have other giks. All three are girls that have purported to have left the "scene" and each of their boyfriends / husbands trust them implicitly!
I have said to many friends over the years that when one deals with someone who has the body of an adult but the mentality of a 15-year old (be they educated and rich, or poor and from the rice farm). they will simply just act like a teenage child.
Of course this is immense fun when things are going their way, but a potential banana skin when things are not.
I still love Thailand and I think I always will. It's been my home for so long. But I do tend to agree with what has been said in recent columns and I'm not quite sure if I want to be here forever! That said, I've lived like a rock star or a Premier League footballer for 19 years without either the talent or the cash! For that alone, I think I owe Thailand something!
I have to laugh…because this encapsulates life in certain circles in Thailand. I have to say that after so long in Thailand I am surprised you can still stomach spending time around people whose lives are a myriad of lies and for whom much of their existence is rooted in deception. That's one reason I find it hard spending time in the bar environment – there's so many lies and so much deception that it really can damage your pride and make you feel bad about yourself.