Attempting To Meet Miss Right
Whilst attempting to meet the right woman, I had a lot of fun meeting the wrong kind. Universal sports pub in Saigon was as good a place as any to start. I dated several girls from that place. One girl who worked there was an absolute stunner. She got a lot of attention. When she worked there I was dating her colleague named Snow that’s when this stunner made her move. She asked me out in a fried noodle place. I said “No. Dull”, however we were close friends for a short time.
One memorable night proved that she was far from dull. We started drinking at the hippest early evening spot then moved to the late hip joint. It was whilst dancing in front of the pool table that I thought it would be fun to imitate pulling the overhead pipes from the low ceiling. We held each other and danced for a while and a second time I would reach out for the pipes. On the third occasion she placed her hands higher and gave the plumbing an almighty yank. We were showered in shit from above. The pool table was covered in shit and one end of the bar was covered in shit. The bar staff shouted at everyone to leave. I apologized and offered to clean up. They just told us to leave. I went home and showered whilst she sat in another bar and continued the night drinking.
Different people approach dating and sex in different ways. I’ve never paid for a massage or sex. I’ve never gone with a girl who worked in the sex industry. I’ve never used online dating. Actually, there was this one girl who accosted me online.
My second visit to Thailand was a short stopover in Bangkok on route to Saigon. I think I mentioned before that I bumped into a corrupt cop, well that was during this five day stopover. I landed at Suvarnabhumi Airport at 6AM and pulled up to Khao San Road an hour or so later. I didn’t have a hotel booked and waited in an Internet cafe until noon. It was there that I checked out hotel deals and researched the latest information such as visas, curfews and news. I also logged into my Couchsurfing account to look at events happening during my stay. A Loy Krathong evening was one of them. Whilst online I received a private message from a stranger – a Thai girl in her mid-twenties who liked dancing. So I arranged to meet her for a late dinner after going to the Loy Krathong event. That’s a valentine festival I believe. I spent the afternoon visiting the Royal Palaces then moseyed on down to the largest bar on Soi Rambuttri where I met a dozen or so Couch surfers and we made boats from banana leaves and played pool.
I’d never been out to Sukhumvit after dark, nevertheless I found my way to a department store in that area and I met the dancer at the bookstore on the top floor. “I will be reading a book on Salsa dancing” were my instructions from the earlier online chat. We went downstairs and down the road and sat at a roadside eatery. Afterwards we crossed the road and drank beer at a cheap roadside bar. Two tables, four stools and a box of beer was the limitation of that bar. A short stay there was followed by a short walk to a Salsa bar which was busy downstairs. It was essentially a regular western bar which had Salsa dancing nights. She knew most of the people there. She then took me upstairs to the empty dancing hall. We sat around the side and at this point we were getting tipsy and quite close. The clock stuck midnight and we looked to be going our separate ways. I leant in for a goodbye hug and the next thing I remember was her straddling me and we were kissing passionately. We couldn’t get a taxi to my hotel quick enough.
So in the first day on my second visit to Bangkok I’d done a palace, a festival, met a corrupt cop, befriended a dancer and had a boner all before midnight. That goes to prove a point that if you pack your day with many activities that you’ll reap the rewards that come with it.
Over the next four days she called in sick to work, cancelled Salsa class and argued with her fretting mum because she wasn’t returning home. Turns out she had German boyfriend and whilst she was going off him she was going on me, almost non-stop until my flight saw us part.
During the next few weeks in Vietnam we had some incredibly saucy messenger chats on Yahoo. Whilst I was in a packed Internet cafe I’d swig from a cold beer and smile at the filth as it appeared on the screen. So, does that count as internet dating? Maybe it does as first contact was made online and we later met up. That was the only ‘Internet date’ that I recall. I used Couchsurfing sporadically afterwards and didn’t reply to any more unsolicited messages.
One additional thing I will say about Couchsurfing for those who know little or nothing about it. You could search for someone’s couch to sleep on if you were traveling somewhere and you could organize or join an event. I’d had a few CSers on my couch back home in the U.K. however regarding the social events page you could ask questions and then just turn up the on the day. Afterwards, if you hit it off with someone they would write glowing reviews of you on your profile page. I suppose it was the digital equivalent of sucking each other off and then both of you shouting your head off to the world about how good it was after. Perhaps that was too grotesque a comparison, still this is a website where most of the stories are about prostitution so I think I’ll keep that one in.
Like I said at the beginning different people approach dating and sex in different ways. For me there were these events where you might make some friends and sometimes find a wave to ride, but usually I’d travel, sight-see and eat out alone. Many a time I’d sit at a seafood roadside restaurant and a girl would get off her bike, walk in and sit at the next table to me. Nearly always they’d start a conversation by commenting on what I was eating. Men would too. I met a gay Indonesian once like that and we chatted about our lives back home. He didn’t make any suggestive comments or make a move on me which was a relief. Women were always polite, friendly and hardly ever flirtatious and I was mild in my behaviour towards them too.
Other than restaurants I’d strike up conversations with women I was interested in dating at language centers I worked in (not the students), bars, department stores and on buses. I lived for five years in Saigon and often took trips to neighbouring countries for the purpose of a new Vietnamese visa. On a tourist bus in Cambodia I struck up a conversation with a 19 year old German girl. She was very open and whilst chatting with her for the entire journey, I started to fancy her. She had a shaved head, well recently shaved and was quite slim. Buddhism was a big part of her life and she had a calming presence – even when telling me about being sexually assaulted in the Philippines a month earlier. I was sympathetic and tactful with my tone and manner. I asked if her parents knew about the horrible attack. She said no. We then talked at length about family, love, relationships and of course Buddhism.
Sometimes when you make a connection with someone it ends without exchanging contact details and they become just a distant memory. It’s memories like this that inspire the way we live our lives.
Three years into my stay in Saigon and my behaviour changed from that of someone who was looking for love to that of someone who was strengthening the love I had for someone. That someone is my wife of seven years. Oh, has anyone seen the film Seven Year Itch? The missus and I met seven years ago, however we’ve only been married five. Five years, seven years, whatever. It doesn’t matter to me because I have considered her my wife from day one. We had one kid and we were married when she was pregnant with our second and it’s when baby number two made his appearance that I will tell of maternity whiskey and how much I enjoyed it drinking it.
Wearing a $5 polyester shirt, designer jeans and nice shoes I strutted down 130 Street from the clinic to the girly bar – a journey many foreigner men have made in reverse! The diagnosis was boredom after several hours sat beside my recovering wife and new-born baby. I would’ve felt guilty leaving them however my wife encouraged it and Mum had it all under control.
Mother and child have that bond from pre-natal to birth and forever after. So the peak is constant. With father however it’s different. There are tears of emotion for father compared to mother’s emotion and pain. Also the love is there from the start too, however I believe that the bond starts at zero and climbs to infinity gradually with father.
I chose a bar off the cuff and ordered my first Jameson. For the few drinks that I was there I chatted with the only person there – the cashier. Where were the bar girls? I guessed that they were supposed to start about 5PM but would turn up around six or maybe even seven. That was the case in the next bar along. “Just got up?” I asked the first one to arrive as she used the bar mirror to apply slap to her face.
The second day of my son’s life was much the same as the first. Except this time I stayed in only one bar for the duration. The cashier was an admirer and I pretended that I was single. She didn’t believe me. She had just got back from a stint working in Japan and I surmised that it was a miserable time for her. I like the challenge of turning that frown upside down so I used my charisma. I was there for several Jameson’s and bought her a whiskey and gave her a nice tip when settling the bill. I enjoyed the conversation and bid her farewell. Whilst walking off I thought if I wasn’t married perhaps something could happen. If you haven’t seen it already I’d recommend watching that Marilyn Monroe film I mentioned above with temptation the theme.
If you want to play with tipsy bar girls or just join the social scene then I suppose the time to go out is late and not 5 PM like I had done. However I had my instructions from the missus. “Go out and relax, but don’t stay out too late”. I respected her wishes and returned before 8 PM on both nights and even bought home dinner for those family members at the apartment.
The following morning I checked my wife and baby out of the hospital clinic and paid the bill. For the next few weeks the apartment was like a busy restaurant kitchen with many helping hands and visitors. At night there was a horde of female family members sleeping on the lounge floor with the balcony doors open for cool air. I felt a little odd retiring to the marital suite alone. With the air con whirring loudly all night I wouldn’t be disturbed by crying baby or the early risers in the lounge.
It really did feel like a holiday. I was home always with the family and for a break I’d hit a few bars early evening once or twice a week. Other nights I’d stay home and drink my wife’s whiskey. She had several 5 liter bottles lined up against the living room wall. There were three different types of whiskey all home made on the farm by her Mum or other family members in the provinces.
First a fruit based whiskey. The ten fruit whiskey tasted sweet from the natural sugar from the fruit and the honey. The consistency was clear all the way down apart from slightly sloppy where the fruit lay fermented in the bottom four inches of the jar.
Why would a new Mum want to drink so much whiskey you ask. Well, it’s common in Cambodia. A fruit whiskey will give you a ‘young body’ to quote to my wife. Apparently the fruit and whiskey combine to help the damaged and stretched skin to tighten again and to become more supple. Then there is a ginger based whiskey. Ginger also helps the skin and body repair. Primarily it fights infection and protects against infection. The third whiskey has scorpions in it. This one is the most potent and is the one which has more medicinal purposes. I suppose a natural paracetamol and energy source.
For the two or three weeks after childbirth my wife would have a glass of one or two of the different whiskeys every day. And she’d sleep soundly because of the high alcohol content. The grandmother looked after baby at night and suffered the sleepless nights whilst the mother had long undisturbed sleeps. The whiskey aided her recovery and helped our evenings to become merry and lots of fun.
I’d like to add that the full on parental responsibility was not avoided for too long. At a point between three weeks and four weeks the bomb dropped so to speak. New parents need that. They’ve been having it easy, but watching and learning. Initially they struggle. However they have all the tools and know how to use them, they just lack experience.
I compare that time in Cambodia to the birth of my fourth child in the U.K. where my wife had no homemade whiskey and no help from her large extended family. Doing it ‘cold turkey’ will lots of pills though and of course me waiting on her hand and foot, however no home comforts. And my mum had the elder kids sleepover at hers a few nights, which of course was a great help. Less cold turkey and more lukewarm turkey.
How much whiskey was there? (5) I’d hazard a guess at 50 liters. One expensive ingredient included was honey. Real honey, not the common imitation honey which is a much cheaper alternative. Her extended family sourced the honey from bees nests themselves. About half of the whiskey was gifts from family and the other half made by mum on the farm. If you were to purchase all the ingredients yourself a 50 liter horde would set you back 2000 dollars. That is twice the price of a basic blended supermarket Scotch in the U.K., but probably about the same mark up as a decent single malt in the U.K.
Whiskey wasn’t the only gift we had. $100 from this aunt, $20 from that aunt. $50 from that friend and $10 from another friend etc. Quite considerable gifts I thought.
Not for the first time this year glowing accounts of my wife sit beside uncensored stories of past conquests. Maybe next time I will counter that with unglowing accounts of my wife alongside more conquests, although to be honest there can’t be that many left after these three submissions.
And ‘T’ if you are reading this you need to chase Chau and not me if you plan to recover payment for damages to your bar that night.
The author can be contacted at : [email protected]