Is She Still A Virgin?
When I’m not in Bangkok my girlfriend stays in her village. In her house she lives with her mum and dad, her older sister, her older sister’s 10 year old son, her middle sister’s ten year old son and newly turned 18 year old daughter (my GF’s niece). A few years ago we built a fairly large house and so the 18 year old has her own bedroom.
The family usually arises at 5 AM. The house needs to be cleaned and food prepared. The ten year olds get picked up by the school bus at 630 so they must be fed and bathed. Mum and Dad go the farm where they spend the day, while my girl tends her shop selling farming supplies.
Last week at 530am my GF knocked on the door of her niece since the niece hadn’t appeared and needed to get ready. There was no answer. My GF tried the door but it was locked, a very unusual thing. She knocked some more and, failing to get an answer, walked around the back to peer in the window. The window was open and the room was clearly empty. My GF called her niece’s phone but there was no answer.
My GF went about her business. A while later, the door opened and the niece appeared.
“Where the hell were you?” my GF asked in Isaan with words to that effect.
“In my room” Niece responded.
“No you weren’t” retorted GF. “I checked and you weren’t there and your window was open.”
Niece hung her head down and said nothing, her typical response.
“Where were you? I want to know” demanded GF. My GF is ten years older than her niece and helped raise her from infancy. “Were you with your boyfriend?”
“We’ll get to the bottom of this” said my GF. She collected her mum and her dad and along with the Niece went to the boyfriend’s house, picking up the village headman along the way.
Sitting on the front porch of the boyfriend’s house with his mum and dad, and also assorted neighbors who came along to watch, the demand was made again. “Where were you last night?”
“We went out” finally responded the boyfriend.
“Did you have sex?” asked my GF.
“No” they finally said.
“I don’t believe you” said my GF.
“No. I swear, I’m a virgin” said the niece.
My GF’s father at this point went up to his granddaughter and clouted her hard behind the ear. The girl didn’t cry or react but sat there stony faced.
“OK” said my GF’s mum, the practical one in the family. “Now you have to get married. We want 150,000 baht and one baht of gold.”
“130,000 baht in cash and ½ baht of gold.”
“130,000 baht in cash and one baht of gold.”
“Deal” said the boyfriend's mum.
“Deal” said GF’s mum.
“OK” said the boyfriend.
“Agreed” said the Headman.
“Wait a minute” said Niece. “I don’t want to get married.”
“It’s your choice” said my GF. “You can get married or you can study. Which do you want to do?” The niece still has to finish high school, and then has expressed interest in going to University, which I have said I would support.
“I want to study”.
“Well, if you want to study, then you can’t have sex with this boy. If you have sex you will have a baby, and then they will pay us nothing.”
At this point in the telling, I interrupted my GF. I said “I need to understand this part. Why is it that the boy’s family will pay a dowry before they get married, but if she gets pregnant they won’t pay?”
My GF consulted her phone dictionary and came up with the word “responsibility”.
“Thai men don’t have this. If they love a girl and want sex they have to marry her and pay the dowry. But if they don’t marry and have sex and the girl has a baby, then the man doesn’t feel responsible. Sometimes he doesn’t marry the girl, sometimes he does but then they don’t pay the girl’s family.”
“Does your niece know about condoms?” I asked.
“Yes, I told her myself” said my GF. “I explained all about them, and said if you ever wanted one you should ask me and I will give it to you.”
“That won’t work” I said. “Your niece would rather die than ask you for a condom. And she can’t go to a village store and buy one. You have to give her some.” I gave my GF some condoms and said “Give these to your niece and tell her to use them.”
That’s the end of the story for now. It’s a true story which my GF related to me last night. I tried to replicate the telling as best I could. I hope the niece is strong and can resist the natural and expected demands for sex from her BF. I hope she goes to Uni next year. If she doesn’t, and gets pregnant, her baby will be supported by the family and I guarantee that the girl will not be dancing in a Bangkok bar. When I fell in love with my GF it was understood that helping take care of her family was part of the deal, and I haven’t neglected it yet.
This clearly shows that some of the beliefs and way of thinking regarding romantic liaisons and relationships in Thailand that many thought had been left in the past remain today, at least in certain segments of society. It should be food for thought for all guys getting involved with Thai women.