Online Dating – Can It ‘Work’…? – Part 10
Part-1 outlined my basic reasons for investigating ThaiLoveLinks.
Part-2 detailed my first two meetings with tender Thai damsels.
Part-3 covers two further meetings with less tender lasses.
Part-4, in which I investigate a ‘company girl’, and take a break.
Part-5, where the ‘company girl’ gets another break.
Part-6, and I meet with two bored, and boring, ladies.
Part-7 wherein we limber up to meet three ladies in two days.
Part-8 where I fail to meet two out of three ladies, and check The Plaza.
Part-9 and I fail to meet the third lady.
After those disaster couple of days I am none too happy to still be bothering but, while all that nonsense was going on I have also been approached by ‘Pan’ (not the real name), a petrol-pump girl in Korat who offers to meet me in Hua Hin. It transpires her ‘sister’ is staying in Cha Am (just North of Hua Hin) with her farang ‘husband’, and Pan is coming to visit, and will be happy to also visit me in Hua Hin… I am still dubious of having total strangers meet me ‘at home’ so I offer to meet her in Cha Am, tomorrow… and stress, I will come at twelve o’clock… noon… for coffee…!
On the way I call Pan, who says she’s in the hotel pool… I tell her I’ll call again when I reach the hotel but she keeps calling me… to see where I am – the last two times I ignore her, as I’m driving, which she knows (and thinking, if she keeps this up, she’ll be in trouble…). I park on the beach side of the road opposite the hotel, and see one of the largest women ever witnessed in Thailand standing outside, in a swim-suit, with a towel (probably two towels…) wrapped around her…
She goes inside and I stroll across, into the dragon’s mouth, where I am also greeted by another, smaller, and more attractive lady who… I am much relieved to discover, is the actual Pan – who I later discover, from the loud-mouthed ‘big sister’, is actually called something else, but ‘Big Sis’, who arrogantly, and objectionably claims to know everything (being married to a Swede), asserts the other name is more ‘English’… I have rarely so immediately disliked someone but this ugly lump is just the pits, so I assure all and sundry that Pan is fine by me. And why would she want Pan to have a more English name anyway – unless Pan is ka-toey… which she clearly is not… because I ask…
Pan is attractive and ‘easy on the eye’… and also quite slender. She is wearing a swimsuit with a towel wrapped around the lower parts, and is also shyly covering her upper chest and shoulders with a tiny red hand-towel which makes me feel quite bullish… I even briefly enquire why her ThaiFriendly profile has an unattractive photo that doesn’t do her justice (this takes quite some doing, in my limited diplomatic Thai…) and the inference, as far as I can tell, is that Pan wanted to evade the attentions of the more lecherous guys likely to be found on ThaiFriendly… Suits me sir…
The big-sister continues to interrupt Pan and I, and eventually says, we can go and eat, having asked Pan if she’s hungry, but without asking me… As far as she is concerned, my needs don’t count. Although I was expecting ‘coffee’ I am just grateful to get away… and we walk, almost hand-in-hand along the ‘promenade’ looking for somewhere to eat. However, there is no sensitivity in her hand at all… as if she’s a young girl and been told to hold her mother’s hand for safety. I try giving little squeezes but there is no reaction… It also seems as if she’s doing this because Big-Sis told her she should. It is disconcerting because it suggests Pan has no understanding of tactility.
Still, we have a very nice chat, as Pan eats a small traditional dish and I try to consume one of the worst cups of coffee of my life… The whole lot comes to just 70 ฿… but where is Coffee World when you need them…?
Pan makes several little asides about wanting to come to Hua Hin, to see me, and to keep my house clean, and I mention ‘the job’ includes keeping me clean… She is very personable, and only slightly timid… which I suspect could change if the hippo encourages Pan to be more aggressive… at which point there will be a fairly immediate parting of the ways.
I get around to asking Pan how much she would require ‘for cleaning’… and tell her, my friendly vegetable lady in the market, just this very morning, offered to clean for me: 500 ฿/day, once a week, or 200 ฿/day if every day… and Pan cleverly asks if I want her daily, or by the month… adding that she’ll have to think about it… i.e. discuss it with the loud-mouth, who knows all. I never trust people who belligerently claim to know everything. Nobody knows everything but those who claim to will never learn more, because they aren’t conducive to learning. Usually I find such people too stupid to realise how stupid they are.
Pan says she’s returning home tomorrow, for the rice harvest, and laughingly agrees this is pretty back-breaking work, wondering how I should know… It’s hardly a state secret.
All in all we have a very nice chat, and seem to be impressed with each other and, after eating, we stroll back along the beach, and I’m horrified to see how much of it has been swept away by recent storms, and is now shored up with rocks and sand-bags – it was much prettier fifteen years ago.
I am also starting to fade – it is very hot, and I’m more used to having a siesta at this time than walking in the sunshine so, as we near her hotel, I start to suggest I need to hide in a darkened room. Pan doesn’t appear too happy about me leaving (but doesn’t offer me her room… 555), but does give me her phone number… and I discover the number I have already belongs to the Hippo, who is the one I’ve been talking to all this time…! But why didn’t she bother to say so…? Why the innate deceit? Surely one would normally say: ‘Hello. I’m sorry, Pan is unable to speak good English but you can speak to me and I’ll tell her…’ Why is it necessary for them to be secretive about this…?
We agree we like each other, and want to see each other again, and she will look forward to visiting me in Hua Hin very soon. She looks as if fearing I’m about to disappear forever, so I try to reassure her while also ensuring I don’t get caught here for the evening, and dinner with the ugly lump, and her Swede… I still maintain this is a ‘meeting’… and we can have our first ‘date’ another time…
The next morning Pan calls – she’ll be on her way home this afternoon and makes a somewhat vain attempt to ‘belay that pipe’ and instead come and take care of me… I am slightly tempted, but I don’t like the speed with which some Thai women operate and feel naturally inclined to ‘head her off at the pass’ by saying I’ve just cleaned the bathroom and there’s nothing more to do today… She then says something I don’t quite understand and there is a pause before what sounds like the half-asleep voice of The Beast From 50,000 Fathoms comes online… I parry her ‘interrogation’, without giving a single answer, until she says goodbye.
Much as I like Pan I have had some experience dealing with ‘big sisters’ and ‘mothers’, and their big ideas, and Pan’s Big Sister adopts the common principle of attending to the negotiation. I will only deal direct with the lady in question, although I’m happy to have someone else present, to ‘help’ her out. I am not buying a slave, or even a servant in the market-place, and I’m not having an arranged marriage… When a lady and I are unable to understand each other I have never found anybody else is able to help and Thai translators very often tell you what they think the other person said – or intended to say – or they would have said in that situation.
In my experience, having a go-between is almost fatal, especially when one person understands next to nothing but is led to imply they understand everything…
A couple of days later I send Pan an SMS honestly declaring I have a very bad toothache, and later call her… She sounds a bit surprised that I have toothache and I discover she didn’t read my SMS this morning because she can’t read English… but, in Cha Am, she showed me two dictionaries so I tell her not to be lazy, and use them. She also says she wants to come here next weekend, for one week, to take care of me… I try to ascertain whether she means me, or my house, and also ask where she will sleep, because I know she’s shy… which just makes her laugh. As she’s keen to come, and at least try, the least I can do is see how she does. I also tell her I need to have my legs massaged daily, which seems to put her off a bit… so I’m not holding out any great hopes but… she’s a nice soul, and ought not to be a complete waste of time…
She later sends an SMS: “Hello dear. You want me to take care of you like. I can stop working 1 week. I never been speak English and I’m excited.”
I’m certain someone is helping her with this… I call her back to ask… At first she says her ‘sister’ helped her so I tell her that’s no good because she’ll never learn for herself… but then she says she used Google… I suggest she’ll have to come and stay with me and I will help her. She quickly agrees and I warn her she mustn’t be shy and quiet when she’s here…
We then exchange a series of only partly intelligible SMSs, with Pan insisting she comes on Sunday, and I insist I don’t want visitors when I’m in such agonies, and she asserts this is why she must come… back and forth, on and on, achieving nothing, but driving me quietly insane… so I send: “I do not want you here now.”
This seems to get through and Big Sis, on Pan’s behalf, finally acquiesces… but, later that night, she sends: “Now i can not sleep. If you have to care I know you do not care. I am really worried. I used to live alone. Time and no one was sick. You do not recover from if. Take care of yourself.”
In the morning she sends a gentler, more caring message… but, by midday, she’s back to: “Holle your symptoms have not improved at all. You need to see a doctor. You need to eat and medicines. I worry about you, no one to cook for you eat. Now I want to take care of you too.”
Apart from being unable to eat much I am still cooking without a problem… and I am taking plenty of painkillers… And I’ve already seen a dentist, who caused this agony in the first place after trying to do a ‘root-canal’ and making a ‘mistake’, and I’ll be returning next week, for an extraction, when the swelling subsides. Are all Thai men like babies in that they need to be mothered in this way…?
By Monday my cheek is down to the size of a golf ball, and Pan has returned to the gas station… but naturally still harbours strong hopes of soon coming to take care of me. We chat for quite a while and establish she can come here… and soon… but not before my Thursday extraction…
I try to ascertain from Pan if she’s in a position to take a week off, and then return to work, but she slightly misunderstands and asks if, when she asks her boss, she can tell him she won’t be coming back… At least she asks me first. I try to assure her it is necessary, for both of us, that we have a week together first, to see if we really like each other. Naturally she doesn’t understand this concept because she has long since assured herself that being with me is not only a better option than she has ‘on the pumps’… but the only real option she has at all…
On Thursday, to match my ‘cheek-by-jowl’, my feet and legs have also swollen. I tell Pan I really need some massage now, and several times a day… if not hourly – always best to start high and pull back… She checks with her boss and comes back suggesting Friday through Sunday. I accept, now feeling considerably better.
Pan arrives on time, having forgotten to call on reaching Cha Am, and has to wait for me to pick her up.
That’s all for now folks… Pip, Pip.
Hua Hin Harry
to be continued…
What I like about this series is that it is real. Having done the Thailand online dating thing al that you write strongly resonates with me, as I bet it does with many others who have sought love or fun online.