Stickman Readers' Submissions July 31st, 2014

Why Rent When You Can Buy?

An expression sometimes seen in these subs is “Why buy when you can rent?” implying that it is much better to take a girl for the night than engage in a long term relationship. “Why buy the cow when you just want to drink the milk?” is also heard.

Now I’m not much of a milk drinker myself but I do like to buy books rather than taking than out of the library, and I’ll tell you why.

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When you take a book out of the library (stay close with me now, this is an analogy and I’m not really talking about “books”), someone else has read that same book, perhaps even the same day, and when you return the book to the library, someone else is going to “read” it, perhaps within minutes of your return.

Do you really want to read a book that’s been handled, smudged, thrown on the bed and tossed aside by someone else? Or would you rather crack open a new book, feel its crisp white pages, savor that new book aroma, and know that the book will be waiting for you, and you alone, when you return from work that afternoon. And the book will spread its pages for you, and keep its spine tightly shut for anyone else.

Ok, enough of the analogy.

Do you rent a home, or buy? Assuming you have the down payment, buying is always more economically practical that renting. With renting you are giving money to someone else, with buying, much of your monthly payment goes to principal.

Do you buy a car, or rent one? When you buy one, in three years it’s yours.

Now I’m not one to say No to a little fling every now and then, and the adage “When you eat steak every night you long for some hamburger” resonates with me (I do like a little hamburger from time to time), but usually I like to know what’s been in the cut of meat I’m about to put into my mouth (damn, another analogy. I know you know what I am referring to).

Let’s move on to the major purchasing decisions in your life. Think about: the most expensive house / condo, car, watch, suit or whatever you ever bought. Did you buy the first one you saw? Did you walk up to a house, see the front door and say “This is it! I’m buying right now!”

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Of course you didn’t. You’re smarter than that. Then why do we read so often in these pages “I turned the corner and saw her. She had the most beautiful smile I have ever seen. I was in love from that moment. She didn’t speak any English, but her smile was enough to convince me to marry her.”

Nonsense. A smile is not the right ingredient for a long term relationship. Neither is a great roll in the hay. Nor are two wild and wonderful weeks on holiday spent in hotel rooms and elephant rides and then a return to a colder climate.

I’ll say right now, the Thai woman I have been in a long term relationship for 8 years is not the best in bed I have ever had. In fact, she is probably near the bottom. But what she lacks in the sack she makes up for by her terrific personality, her caring, her loyalty, her thriftiness, her practicality, her love for her family, did I mention her loyalty?

Women like this are not found in a night, nor a weekend, nor usually in a bar. They are found through a long and careful search, and then tried out over a long period of time before any formal arrangement is made.

One should never give serious money to a woman until you have known her at least six months.

When you have found what you feel is the right woman, you need to take her for more than just a test drive. Visit her family and spend time with them. See what type of people they are because they have formed your lady’s character from birth. See how she interacts with them. And in her home, does she do the laundry, go to the market, make dinner? If you met her in a city you probably went out to restaurants every night, or ordered room service. That’s not real life. See how she really lives, and you will get an insight into how life with her would be.

Long distance relationships do not work. End of story. Do not debate this point. If you are not in Thailand, or within spitting distance, do not attempt a serious relationship. All the stories we read about a girl with others on the side; that’s because you are not there. If you are there it will not happen.

So are you ready to move in with her? Has it been six months yet? Have you visited her village? Has she left the bar (if that is where you found her?). Then take a flat (rent it if you like) and see how things go.

But now, we must talk about money.

Let me ask you, pretend for a moment you are a young Thai woman. Is it your dream in life to be with an older man who doesn’t speak your language, can’t talk with her parents, doesn’t understand her culture or religion, doesn’t like her foods and doesn’t want to live in her village?

Why would a woman want to do be with a man like that?

Forget totally the concept of “love” which most likely doesn’t exist in her mind, and if it did, it certainly wouldn’t be you (or me) that she is in love with but that gorgeous hulk of a Thai guy she sees in her TV drama every night.

She is with you for security. She is with you to take care of her family, and her child if she has one, and to provide for a time when she is no longer cute and irresistible with a fabulous smile and a body to match.

When I go into any business relationship, my first question to the other party is “What do you want?” I always try to see the negotiation though the other guy’s eyes. If I can understand his motivation then I can better frame the discussions to my advantage, because the best outcome to a negotiation is where both parties walk away feeling they have won.

What does she want? Security. Respect. For her and her family. Respect for her religion and her culture and food. Security.

Notice I don’t say…an iPhone. An iPad. A car. A farm. Sure, she’ll ask for and take those things. But that’s not what she wants. She wants to know she’ll be able to eat when she’s 80 and alone and you are dead.

So put together a budget with her. Show her how a budget is constructed. I totally reject anyone who says Thais are not logical and don’t know how to think. Bullshit. Thais are some of the most practical people I have ever met. Your girl is too. Work with her. Figure out how much she needs to live for a month, including money for her parents and a little bit extra for herself. Then agree that number, and give it to her half twice a month. Make it clear that she is not to ask for extras. And if she runs out before the next paycheck is due, tough. Make her starve one time and she will never run out again.

Now it’s been a year, or two. Buy her that farm or car or build her the house. But never spend more than you can afford to lose. Sure, you can set up a Thai company to own the land, or own the house that sits on land she owns, or put the car in your name. But that will only serve to create distrust and insecurity. Put the things in her name, but write that money off the moment you give it to her. You will never see that money again, but if you have chosen wisely, you will have a house to live in when you get old and a farm that will bring in cash if managed properly.

A Thai woman can be a wonderful thing. They are among the sweetest and potentially the best wives anywhere in the world. I mean that sincerely. I have had nothing but good times with the Thai women I have known, since the bad ones I drop immediately. It doesn’t take a PhD to recognize a bad apple and the moment you bite into one and know that it is rotten you need to immediately throw it as far away as you possibly can.

But the good ones! They are a joy and a delight. The hours of pleasure my girl has given me are not to be denied. We have a simple relationship. I treat her well, not giving her everything she wants, but enough, and sometimes more than enough, and she treats me well. We both respect each other, and know when to back off and which arguments are worth fighting, and which not.

There is no doubt in my mind that, when you find the right woman, it is far better to buy than to rent.

Take care,


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