I fell in love last week.
I was playing golf at a small 9-hole course in Chiang Mai called STARDOME. Just a little course in the city that's easy to get to and reasonably priced. They have a nice driving range, two restaurants, and a dozen or so golf shops to buy clubs and balls and other stuff related to the game. Many golf instructors set up shop there, and lessons are taught all day and into the wee hours of the night. When I go and hit balls, I frequently see young girls and boys taking lessons, hitting balls like Tiger Woods, and I expect dreaming of fame and fortune that follows a pro golfer. I'm a little old for that dream. Mostly I dream of not killing anyone on my backswing.
But with all this going on, STARDOME has one unique quality that other golf courses don't have. They have 'REFRESHER GIRLS'. A 'REFRESHER GIRL' is a drop dead gorgeous 20 year-old Uni student who caddies for you, and 'refreshes' you during your round of golf. I'd go into more detail about what they 'refresh' now, but I want to keep the page I'm writing on dry for the time being, as I'm not quite finished with my story. This is why imagination was invented.
Golf in Thailand is truly amazing. It's one of the few countries in the world that requires you to take a caddie. A female caddie. In other countries where I've played—the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Caribbean, and throughout Europe, not only do they not have caddies, but if you are offered one, they are usually all male. And trust me, there's a big difference. Especially for a guy like myself, who as a baby, was breast-fed testosterone.
I've been lucky to play golf all over Thailand—in Phuket, Pattaya, Hua Hin, Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and even Chiang Rai. All beautiful golf courses and great caddies. But getting a beautiful caddie at most golf courses is a crap shoot. Usually the caddies line up as you pull into the loading zone of the clubhouse, and one caddie is chosen for you. Sometimes you get a real looker, and sometimes you get an alien life-form that's eaten too many chocolate-covered beetles. Like Forrest Gump's Mom almost said, "Life is like a box of chocolate-covered beetles, you never know what your gonna get". And this is true of most caddies in Thailand.
But at STARDOME, you can choose a 'REFRESHER GIRL'. Behind the check-in counter is a wall displaying 50 pictures of gorgeous Thai girls, all decked out in little white skirts to match their pearly white teeth. Think Lolita at boarding school. No shortage of smiles on this wall. And you just pick the girl of your dreams. The minimum tip required is only 500 baht. I could think of worse ways to spend 500 baht.
The girl I picked was too good for my dreams. Having started them at puberty, and now reaching the ripe old age of 60, it's left me with only 47 years to develop my characteristic preferences for the opposite sex. Still not enough time to have imagined the beauty before me on that wall.
Her name was Pussy. Just like the James Bond girl 'Pussy Galore' in the movie "Goldfinger". I imagine her parents probably just liked cats. Could have named her Panther, Cheetah, or even Siamese, but when I think about it, Pussy is just perfect for her. (I'm tempted to talk about how much I love Pussy, but I'm not going there.)
A lot of guys talk about Thai smiles. The genuine warmth and kindness associated with them, so prevalent in Thai society as to be cliché. But Pussy greeted me with a smile that made my head snap back. A bolt of lightening that made the hair on the nape of my neck do pirouettes. Tall and slender, with a quirky confidence. Not too much, just right. Long black silky hair and a Victoria Secret model kind of figure. Was this my caddie? Is this girl going to take care of all my needs for a four-hour round of golf?
Yes, she's going to hand me my driver, my wedge, and even my putter. She's going to get me a soda, and she's going to pour it for me into a glass of ice. And she's going to jump up and down and shout "DI MAAG, MAAG!!" ("VERY GOOD" in Thai) if I sink a long putt, or make a herculean shot.
If you can believe it, Pussy did that and much more. She drove me around in the cart as my personal chauffer. She gave me a neck massage, probably from all those sore pirouettes. And she chased my ball into the jungle to find it like Stanley and Livingstone, and rescued it when I hit the ball in the water hazard like a lifeguard on "Baywatch". Once in a while, we were even on the fairway together. She smiled and giggled at my lame attempts at humor. And she let me flirt with her in a respectable way. So respectable, she carried a little golf towel around to dab up the drool that kept trying to escape in between my babbling.
She was 24 years old, just finishing her last year at Chiang Mai University, and looking forward to taking the Thai Bar Exam. Yes, you heard me correctly. She was going to Law School! Who knows, someday she might even be a judge!! I can just see it now: "Presiding over this case will be Judge Pussy. All rise!!" Hell, I'd rise if I saw her, and I wouldn't need to be in a courtroom.
Coming down to earth, I take a step back and say, "Hey, I'm 60, and she's 24." "GET A GRIP MAN!" I'm not supposed to fall in love with a 24 year old. Am I? Probably not. But hey, a lot of guys marry younger women. Hugh Hefner did, he 84, she 26. Frank Sinatra did, he 51, she 21. Woody Allen did, he 56, she 19. And Billy Joel did, he 55, she 23. But the question really is, do I want to get married again? After 3 divorces, probably not. I used to tell my friends "My first wife was a genius, my second wife was filthy rich, and my third wife was beautiful—ALL CRAZY AS HELL! Now I'm looking for dumb, poor, and ugly". Problem is that Pussy doesn't fit that bill. And in a way, she's the lucky one.
Now I'll have to be happy with just my imagination. Hell, isn't that the reason they invented it in the first place.