Why I Would Never Marry a Westerner: Lack of Anything
I am a Thai woman living in America since I was 18 years old, when I came here to go to college. My family is well off, not hi-so, but through family connections and little borrowing, I was able to go to a good school in Thailand where I learned how to speak good English at an early age. From there, I was accepted into a very good university in Los Angeles. I graduated in business and went on to get my masters in finance. That was 4 years ago and based on my 10 years in America, I would never marry a western man. So, when my friend showed me the article of “Why I Would Never Marry a Thai”, I nearly choked on my Starbuck’s coffee. For all the reasons not to marry a Thai woman, lack of intellectual curiosity, is like saying you would not buy a car because you didn’t like the horn.
I am not sure why Simon would think that this ability, defined in his own terms, is paramount to having a loving relationship with a Thai woman. I suspect his incredible ego about his own self-worth is more at play than any argument he presents. But I will accept these are his ideas and not those of most western people. That is my experience, at least.
So I will tell you why I would never marry a westerner man. First of all, I have no prejudice against western men or women. My closest friends include both western and Asian people. When I first came to this country, I was a little intimidated because I thought Americans were the smartest and most beautiful people in the world. But the longer I stay here, the less I think this this true.
After a couple weeks in college, I made a few female friends and we go out together to different places. After a few weeks of this, I ask why don’t we invite some boys to come with us? The girls just laughed at me. You see, in Thailand, we always went out in a mixed group. This was not just more fun, but it gave us a chance to know the boys a little better. If we liked each other, we could start dating outside the group. If not, we just stayed friends. The American system is so much different.
Eventually, I did accept a date from a boy I barely knew. He was from my college and was very nice and he made me laugh a lot. But we didn’t talk very much on dates. In fact, his idea of a good time was to go to a bar, get drunk, and then try to get into my pants. And that was on the nights I could drag him away from his video games. It was so boring and I just felt like he wanted me to be his whore. Later dates were not much better. On some nights, boys and girls would meet in an apartment, where the guys would load up video games and play together all night, while the girls would talk and drink wine. Afterwards, of course, it was “time for sex”. And never, with the 5 guys I dated during this time, did any of them express more than a casual interest in my home country. Most of them thought I was from Taiwan.
I decided to take a break from dating and concentrate on my studies. It paid off as I was easily accepted into graduate school. It wasn’t much better there, though. These guys were much smarter and some were working at good jobs, but all were still hopelessly immature. I started to think I would have to get my degree in America and then return home to Thailand to find a good husband.
But after I graduated, I got a great job at a large bank in downtown Los Angeles. Most of the people I worked with were around my age and we got along very well. I thought with this group of smart friends and contacts, I would be able to meet the man of my dreams. And then one day I did. He was handsome, had a job similar to mine, spoke softly, and was always respectful to me. He took me to interesting places, like chic bars and fusion restaurants. We even went to the local theater for plays. Although Bryan displayed the same lack of curiosity about my home country, he was still the man of my dreams and we soon fell in love.
Bryan wanted to get engaged and plan a wedding. This was a month before my annual 3 week trip back to Thailand to visit my family. I suggested we wait so I could ask my family about the engagement. Bryan thought it was a good idea and wanted to come along. This was perfect, as I knew my parents would want to meet Bryan before they gave their consent. We booked an extra ticket to Bangkok.
When we arrived at the airport, most of my extended family were there waiting for us. It was pandemonium, of course, and with everyone speaking Thai except Bryan, he looked really confused. But he went along with us and soon we were at my parent’s house in the spare bedroom. The next night, there was a big dinner planned at my favorite local restaurant. Maybe 20 or more of my relatives were there. At the end of a great dinner, I suggested to Bryan that he should pay the check as a gesture of respect to my family. Instead, he asked why he had to pay for all these people. He had read on the internet how Thai people try to rip off visitors. I was shocked; where was this coming from? Instead, I pulled out my Visa card and paid the bill. This did not go unnoticed in my family.
We stayed another day with my parents and then we decided to travel around Thailand. As my parents had picked up on the friction with Bryan at dinner, I decided now was not the time to ask for their permission to marry. Instead, we went to Chiang Mai for a night, and then on to Chiang Rai to visit the Golden Triangle. Here I really started to notice Bryan’s quirks. He complained about the hot weather, the rainy afternoons, the waitresses that couldn’t understand his orders. He seemed like a different person. One afternoon, we went to a local museum and when he found out he had to pay and I didn’t, he became enraged. “I would never put up with this in America”, he shouted. His constant criticism of all the small things wrong in Thailand, made him a bore to be with, like taking care of a small child. I decided we should go back to Bangkok.
I tried to think of what a westerner would like to do and decided that he might like to see the Night Market at Patpong. I had never been there myself but I had heard many westerners liked to go there. Bryan was amazed at all the vendors selling all the fake products. I told him to never pay the asking price and he turned out to be very skilled at getting good deals. Later I saw him standing at the entrance of one of the go-go bars talking to a half-dressed working girl. I grabbed him and pulled him away. He asked what kind of bar that was. I said it was brothel to pick up poor girls from the northeast, and that respectable men should never go in there. He agreed and we went back to the hotel.
The next day I got a call from an old school friend inviting me to dinner with a lot of my schoolmates. I asked Bryan to go but he said he would be lost in the Thai conversations. Instead, he wanted to stay at the hotel, swim in the pool, and have an early dinner at the restaurant. Besides, he was tired he said. He was right; of course, it was a Thai night out. I kissed him good-night and promised to be home early. I thought, maybe there was hope for Bryan yet, the first American man I loved.
I returned to the room around midnight but Bryan wasn’t in the room. I went to the front desk and asked if they saw Bryan. With much embarrassment, the desk clerk said she had seen him leave soon after I left. I went back to the room, tried to call Bryan’s mobile but it went to voice mail. I didn’t know what to do, so I went back to the room and waited. Around 3am Bryan stumbled in. He was obviously drunk. I asked where he had been. He said the food was bad in the restaurant so he decided to find a better one. He ended up in one down the street but had too much to drink. Then I noticed his shirt was inside out, something my well-dressed Bryan would never have done. It took me about 30 seconds to figure out where he had really been. I picked up my bag and went to lobby to get a taxi. Bryan followed me saying he was telling the truth, but the truth was in his shirt, and I told him so. With that, I got into a taxi to my friend’s condo. That was the last I saw of him.
Bryan really did break my heart, but worse, it made me think that every western man I met afterwards was like Bryan. I knew it wasn’t so, but it made me weary of every new man, so I am sure they thought I was a bitch. And then one day I met a handsome man named Akira. His family is from Japan but they had lived a couple of generations on the main island of Hawaii. He had gone to school at Sanford for Computer Engineering and was working for a new company in the downtown area. He was so polite with me, I thought he was shy. On our first date, he took me to a very expensive restaurant in Hollywood, where he was completely attentive to me and not himself. He spoke softly, always smiled at everything I said, and was a complete gentleman at all times. After dinner, we walked through Hollywood and I tried to hold his hand. He pulled it away at first, but when I said it was OK, he relented and held my hand very softly. It was a wonderful evening. After our 5th date together, I wanted to become intimate, but I literally had to drag him into my apartment he was so polite. Afterwards, I was not sorry I did.
Now we are making plans for the future. And I am sure my parents will really love Akira and he will love them. I have told him that I want to live with him forever but that my family is also an important part of my life. He said he understands, and that is the same way with him and his family. I can’t wait to visit Hawaii and meet them. I never thought the man of my dreams in America would be Japanese. But really, he is an American but he has been brought up in the traditional ways of Asia. I’m sure we will be very happy.
Now back to my original statement. I am sure some western men would make wonderful husbands for Thai women. But they must understand that Thai people are committed to their families. That is how we have survived the many hardships of living in a poor country. But it is both ways, as we are equally concerned with your families as well. Akira understands this and the fact that I am not totally dedicated to his life and happiness for this reason, does not make him unhappy.
But what is intellectual curiosity as defined by Simon? According to him, it is “issues affecting work life, family life and general life”. I think if he could speak Thai, he would know this is the central theme of many Thai conversations. So maybe we cannot relate to his western experience, but he cannot either to our Thai experience. Maybe he has spent too much time in farang bars speaking to women who spend most of their life in brothels. Maybe he should experience Thai life not just in Bangkok, but in the small cities and towns across Thailand, which are the heart of our country. Yes, there are many bad things here, but are there not many bad things in your country? I think so. Maybe you should start there and leave our country to ourselves.
Yes, this was written by me, FarangDave, but it is an almost verbatim story told to my wife by a Thai woman very much like Nam-anator who she knew in San Francisco. I knew her as well and was always curious why as a beautiful woman; she did not date more American men. This is the reason. She did marry a Japanese-American man and they now have two beautiful children. When I am in sanfran, I always like to visit them. But the point of this story is that judging Thai women on the lower class, working girls of Bangkok, is like Thai people judging western men on the beer-bellied, alcoholic men who live on soi 4. In my own experience, the Thai professionals and business people I have worked with, both men and women, including my own sweet wife, to accuse them of not having intellectual curiosity is simply absurd.
What Simon said in Why I will Never Marry a Thai: Intellectual Curiosity, along with the undercurrent of this submission – notwithstanding that it was written by a Westerner – simply reinforce what I have long said – that a successful relationship between a Thai (who was born in and grew up in Thailand) and a Westerner (who was born in and grew up in the West) poses further challenges that may not exist when one enters in to a relationship with someone who grew up in the same country speaking the same language etc.