Online Dating – Can It ‘Work’…? – Part 3
Part-1 outlined my basic reasons for investigating ThaiLoveLinks.
Part-2 detailed my first two meetings with tender Thai damsels.
In the meantime I find ‘Sau’ (not the real name), who works at the airport, but her reply to my message announces she has returned to Khon Kaen and hopes to see me there. I don’t enjoy whizzing about the Thai road network and am prepared to go only as far as Bangkok or Prachuap Khiri Khan. If a lady is prepared to come from outside this area to meet half way I am more than happy to refund her expenses.
I mention to ‘Sau’ that Hua Hin to Khon Kaen is a long way and she quickly informs me I can fly there in under an hour. I equally quickly point out it takes three and a half hours to get to the airport from Hua Hin, and ask her to let me know when she’s next in Bangkok… and get a very curt response that she can’t be expected to spend 8 – 9 hours on a plane just to come to Bangkok to meet me… How many…!? A couple of months later she reports she has ‘taken a short job in Phuket’ (Oh, really…?), which ‘will put our meeting on hold for the present.’ I thought we had both given up the idea of meeting – I know I had…! – and another Holly Golightly bites the dust.
Then I am introduced to Nii (not the real name), who works in Bangkok and, when we speak on the phone we both seem to understand each other very well, and quickly arrange to meet. Over coffee we establish a slightly nervous rapport but she asks more questions than she answers and, when she does answer, she often seems to pause before speaking… Without being asked she claims to earn 15,000 ฿/month which I jokingly tell her is more than I live on, and about three times as much as most of the Thai women I know… but she says it’s very low, and claims her little ‘room’ costs 3,000/month, she sends 3,000/month to her sister, who takes care of her children, and also sends 6,000 ฿/month to her mother, but is unable to come up with a reason why… or why so much…
In Hua Hin, bar-girls can rent rooms for less than 1,000 ฿/month and Bangkok suburbs (that I know) north of Don Meuang can be just as cheap… but it’s all too much, too soon, and reminiscent of my ex-wife who also liked to say how expensive everything was in Bangkok… although I quickly learned she was lying… Am I now faced with the same thing with Nii…? Later, when I pay the bill, for a coffee and a strawberry frappé (195 ฿), Nii is unable to avoid checking the bill and commenting on how it is the same as the ‘normal’ Thai daily wage… and how disgraceful, just for two drinks… but she has just told me she is earning 600/day…! I know 200/day is always referred to as the ‘minimum’ wage but I know many, many Thais who earn considerably less… We then have lunch, which costs as much as the ‘normal’ Thai weekly wage, but Nii doesn’t remark on this.
We don’t make plans to meet again, because she has a business trip imminent, but when we now speak on the phone we seem to understand very little and I suspect she has relaxed and is taking less care to help me understand. She is easily irate, and I ask why she’s angry, and she goes through it all again, but even more quickly… and then just says she will “shut up”… leaving me very unimpressed with her outburst.
Later, on arriving to work in Chonburi, it seems she is very annoyed at having just spent 200 ฿ on basic toiletries in 7/11. I ask why she didn’t take them with her but she wanted to travel light… Som num naa…! [Serve you right.] I ask if she’s a child or just nuts. She says she’ll phone again, later. I tell her to ensure she’s not angry, and she asks, why… I say I don’t ‘do angry’… and she laughs and says, OK.
I remind her, emails are useful because I can attempt to translate them, but she fails to send anything for several days, and doesn’t respond to the two I send her… until, after a week, I receive: ‘I’m sorry I will not call you. If you call me when you agreed to it. I go to work.’ I think one of the problems here is that Nii has translated this online and stupidly assumed it is perfect English. Or maybe she’s one of those who genuinely believes they write very good English. I tell her to write in Thai in future, which I send in Thai, after triple-checking it.
The next day she sends: ‘how r u today? miss u joop joop.’ – not exactly what some might call, ‘intellectual conversation’… A week later she phones, and we chat for sixteen minutes without saying much, until she pretends she’s in Hua Hin, and can I pick her up… As I pause she laughingly asks if I would mind her just turning up. I tell her I will be happy for her to come to Hua Hin, as long as she phones first… and leave her to decide the inference of this. She later sends an email, in Thai, saying she is looking forward to visiting Las Vegas… I query this and she phones to confirm she did write ‘Hua Hin’… I use this example to make my point about online translations but she doesn’t seem too interested, nor even concerned. Does she even know what ‘Las Vegas’ is…?
Nii regularly phones before going to bed, and always catches me cooking dinner, which always annoys her, and she just switches her phone off. I have no intention of changing my eating habits to take a phone call from a grumpy person. We continue in much this vein for a month until she happens to phone when I’m driving into town…
Now… I do not use my mobile when I’m driving, period. I sometimes check the screen and, if I want to talk, I pull over, when I can and, if necessary call back. However, the traffic is heavy, and very slow moving, so I take the call, and very quickly explain, and apologise, and say I’ll call back. She asks if I’ve eaten. I end the call. Whether she understands the problem is irrelevant. She needs to realise there is a problem… but, seconds later she calls back, and I ignore her. She has just called once, and should have at least realised I was unable to talk at this time… Why immediately call again…!? What does she think will have changed…!? One minute later I get an SMS: ‘why you not splle me’ – I assume she means ‘speak’ but the hasty spelling perhaps reflects her mood. I would have preferred a: ‘Do you have a problem?’ – or – ‘Call me when you can,’ – or – even a simple, ‘Sorry’… not just an automatic assumption that I have done something bad…!
I let her stew for a couple of hours and send a brusque message, explaining the dangers of talking on the phone while driving, adding that I did speak to her, in order to tell her, but she didn’t understand… perhaps wasn’t listening… and then tell her she has to be more patient and sympathetic…! I also decide, if she doesn’t phone this evening, to apologise, then we’re through… and she doesn’t. A month later Nii does phone, but only lets it ring once… I’m not even tempted.
Towards the end of Nii’s time in my life there arrives the cute and sweet, but not young, Nam (not the real name), a teacher who, despite being well educated, is rather naive, and very reticent, with messages no longer than six words. One of them says: “I am vergin” which, considering she’s heading for menopause, seems a trifle sad. Some guys might feel obliged to help such a lady in distress. It isn’t really my scene. It could do considerable emotional damage, or just cause a lady to ‘cling’…
Nam doesn’t say much but she is delightful on the phone and is very keen to meet, and keeps asking if she can come to Hua Hin… so… I drive over to her… and she clasps my hand in hers as soon as she has finished her wai… and ‘clings’… We have lunch, which she doesn’t need, being very chubby (‘comfort food’…?), but she’s as delightful and charming to talk to as on the phone. We drive around as she shows me her district, and continually asks if I will soon show her around Hua Hin. She even says it would be very easy for her to find a similar job in Hua Hin… but, all things considered, she is being incredibly hasty, and over-eager. I am also concerned with this Thai custom of ladies to decide what they want and then keep mentioning it until you accept and agree… They never seem to ask me if I would like them to immediately up-root and come to live in Hua Hin…
In the end I get less from Nam than I did from Nii, although Nam is a much nicer person. She continues to hanker after visiting me for the four-day New Year holiday. I ask if she means, for the day, and she says the four days would be nicer. Just to check (just in case…) I ask where she would intend to sleep and she says: “Whatever you plan for me.” I ask if I should plan a guesthouse and, somewhat dejectedly, she accepts. I ask if she would prefer my spare room and she says that would be all right but… my bedroom would be better…
Nam continues to phone, often twice a day, to ask if I’ve eaten, am I at home, am I well, am I alone… and then abruptly stops. I would have liked to end it more nicely but I don’t know how, without giving her hope…
During this time I am continuously contacting, and being contacted by, scores of women on ThaiLoveLinks but few of them seem able to communicate, and go nowhere. Some are remarkably odd, as in one lady whose first message is: “Hi…”, and her second is: “Will you marry me and be mine forever?” – that is the whole of the message (not the gist), and she has yet to even tell me her name…! which means we’ve not even been properly introduced, for chrissakes…! One of my better lady-friends in the bars suggests I reply: “Yes, if you will pay me the sin-sot.” She then replies she would like to meet me. I don’t bother.
That’s all for now folks… Pip, Pip.
Hua Hin Harry.
I want to comment on part of your submission where you comment on a lady earning 15,000 baht per month. For a graduate in Bangkok, that is generally the starting point for a salary these days. When you talk of 1,000 baht a month rooms, sure, they may be available, but that is as basic as it gets and they can be a very long way from and a very, very long commute to downtown Bangkok. As such, I think we should see rooms at this price for what they are – the most basic of accommodation and not the sort of place where most people, especially a single woman, wants to live. I had a girlfriend many years ago who was paying 4,300 baht a month for a room and it was very basic. As for the minimum wage, it's currently 300 baht although, yes, some Thais still earn less – and that is very sad.
Nam is not untypical of a lot of Thai women who have never had a boyfriend – and teachers are disproportionately over-represented.