Online Dating – Can It ‘Work’…? – Part 2
Part-1 outlined my basic reasons for investigating ThaiLoveLinks.
I quickly encounter ‘Pung’ (all names have been changed…), a lady of ‘private means’, who also wants to talk, and I work out what ‘IM’ means. She is certainly very chatty, and writes fairly well in English – infinitely superior to my Thai and, after exchanging almost daily emails for about six weeks we agree to meet in Bangkok… Sitting in a coffee-shop we chat for hours before moving on to another place because we’re not buying enough and getting black looks. In all we chat non-stop for seven hours…! and she never once asks the ‘standard’ bar-girl questions: ‘Do you rent your apartment?’ – ‘Why you don’t buy?’ – ‘You have many ladies?’ (usually said as a statement rather than a question) – ‘America very expensive, Na?’ – ‘How much you pay rent?’ She also isn’t provocative or flirtatious and subsequently offers to split the bill. I suggest (provocatively and flirtatiously) she can pay next time…
Two things strike me about Pung: she has a definite ‘agenda’, in that she has a pretty clear idea what she wants from these escapades, but never gives any clues as to what that might be… and I have to say I am more than 90% certain that she is no more than 90% female…
For several weeks we continue with emails and SMSs but, when I get a cold, and she says she’ll come to Hua Hin, I decide I’m simply not up to ‘entertaining’, and ‘head her off at the pass’, by politely, in effect, telling her not to bother… and for two to three months (while we are both probably meeting other folk) her emails become decidedly withdrawn and downbeat. Eventually we do meet again, on her next visit to Bangkok (and she does pay for lunch…) but, it’s not the same – either we’ve lost something or it was never really there…
For a further month or two we exchange a few emails and phone-calls… but she only answers my mail, and never herself phones… so I stop bothering, to see what will happen – and it doesn’t…!
I have a theory that if you politely stand up to someone who wants to be controlling they will be dismissive, and then disparaging (perhaps hoping you will ‘come to heel’), before looking elsewhere… If they do not want to be controlling, and there has simply been yet another misunderstanding, your politeness will encourage them to help find a solution. When a controlling person is rebuffed and becomes annoyed, this is not because of the rejection per sé but because they have been found out…
Before I even met Pung I had also discovered a market worker, ‘Nom’ (not the real name) and, after a very long chat online (her written English was remarkably good), quickly suggest we meet, and the following week I arrive to discover the start of a series of little deceits (half truths…?) – the lady who taps me on the shoulder looks very different to the online photo – and the woman with her is the one who can read and write English – Nom cannot, nor speak more than Hello but her matronly chaperone soon declares my Thai to be sufficient to make myself understand, and be understood, and disappears.
We partake of a mediocre meal beside the supermarket and Nom confirms she needs to send more than the present 2,000 ฿/m. to her mother, and wants to be my housemaid, and any other work I need done – whatever I want – anything… if I can guarantee her 5,000 ฿/m. One might say she has a low value of herself but she is very poorly educated, not overly bright, not a great beauty, and her presentation today is scruffy enough to make me wonder how clean she might keep my home…
Afterwards we take a stroll in the adjacent supermarket, where I have something of a shock to my system. When she points to things she likes I don’t react but when she takes a sample of skin cream to rub on her arms it rather surprises me that she selects a tub on the shelf which, after helping herself, she returns to the shelf… but then seems to feel this might not be her best course of action so she retrieves the pot from the shelf, and slips it in her pocket…!
If we pass through the checkout together, and an alarm sounds, I am bound to be implicated, if only because I am here so… I quietly turn away and slowly walk to the end of the aisle. Nom continues to peruse the toiletries, as I make haste through the checkout and wait for Nom to appear, looking bemused, and holding a bottle of some other preparation. When I make no attempt to pay for it, nor even to acknowledge her presence on this planet (security cameras, ‘don-cha-know’…), she leaves the bottle beside the checkout and joins me on the ‘outside’, still baffled. I explain I didn’t know where she had gone and it was easier to wait at the checkouts… as I guide her to the exits, rather hastily bid her farewell, saying “I’ll phone you…” and make good my escape.
I subsequently don’t get any message from Nom: no, ‘Nice to meet you’; no, ‘Thanks for coming to see me’; no, ‘Hope to meet again’. I do phone her but we understand nothing of each other (this often happens on the phone when I can’t see the body-language…) so I send a brief, but to the point, email that explains why I cannot meet her again… I should have been more polite, diplomatic, but don’t feel she deserves it.
The next evening, on ThaiLoveLinks, I get a request to chat, from a more mature lady I’ve not encountered before but, despite her request, she is very reticent until abruptly plunging into a series of odd questions about how I like ThaiLoveLinks; have I found many suitable candidates; and I should not hurry to judge someone… as, she quickly adds, I just did, with another lady, who I blamed so much… and she reveals she is the matron friend of Nom, who is apparently very upset, and both of them are rather angry at my email.
I ask why she didn’t identify herself immediately rather than trying to deceive me. Instead of offering an explanation of her underhand behaviour she informs me I was very premature in my judgement. I repeat that Nom behaved badly, and didn’t understand, as neither does she, adding that if someone steals something that makes them a thief, which is not a premature judgement. She starts to harangue me so I repeat I don’t understand her, nor her me… and turn her off.
The next day I receive an email from Som’s address, but obviously written by this friend, that is the nastiest piece of narrow-minded, self-righteous scribble I’ve ever seen, anywhere. The venom upsets me for weeks, and isn’t forgotten for months, and still upsets me as I recall it now. I should have been more polite, and perhaps not even mentioned the petty-thievery… Few people like the truth.
Ironically these two paragons of Thai virtue (just like my ex-wife) felt the need to declare themselves far superior to the ‘low-lifes’ working in massage salons and bars… and yet I’ve never seen a bar-girl behave or react in this appalling way.
I don’t receive further communication from this dragon, who perhaps assumes I have done what she told me to do in her email but, three weeks later, I have a call from Som’s phone… (Un)fortunately I’m in the shower, and don’t notice until later. I don’t return the call, but I do wonder just how much the tired, lonely old chaperone was really speaking for herself…
Three months later Nom phones again and I answer before realising who it is… but she seems to have nothing to say and, after I three times ask what she wants, she gives an exasperated sigh, and rings off. Som num naa…!
That’s all for now folks… Pip, Pip.
Hua Hin Harry.
to be continued…
Oh wow, I never (to my knowledge!) had a woman shoplift or attempt to shoplift when I was in her company. Wow, that's a new one!
Also, very interesting comments and theory about controlling people which I think is valid because I think there is quite a subset of ladies who specifically want to find an ignorant foreigner in Thailand because they are controlling and they feel this profile of Western man – moneyed up but ignorant of local ways – could be advantageous to them.