With the help of some of the Thai contacts and dating sites, I've been corresponding with a number of Thai women for a bit more than a year now, and the one who has been in my e-mail contacts list the longest is an English teacher in a primary school in rural Ubon Ratchathani. She is also the most volatile. We can call her Don for identification purposes.
Standard practice on most of the dating sites that I have looked at and used is for people to make initial contact on the dating site, then quickly move to MSN Messenger or Yahoo Messenger [or perhaps some other IM client] to do most of their subsequent and serious correspondence, and that's what happened with Don and me.
We hadn't been corresponding very long when she asked me if I could pay her upcoming university fees for her. I baulked at that, but I asked how much it was, and then I baulked some more. She was asking for 24,000 Baht! She has a Bachelor's degree as a teacher, and is looking for her Master's degree for a 60% jump in her current monthly salary.
This request was interesting for two reasons.
The dating site where we had met constantly warns about people asking for money, and encourages people to report anyone who does the asking, and
By Thai standards, that's an enormous amount of money, and I have heard that there are student loans to be had.
I didn't report her to the dating site for asking for money, but I'm sure that someone did because her profile disappeared from the dating site within a few days of her asking me for the money. That tells me that she was almost certainly asking at least one other guy for financial assistance, and someone did report her.
I asked her why her profile had disappeared from the site, and she told me that she had removed it because she had met me. A few weeks later, a new profile for her appeared on the site, but it was gone less than a week later. A third profile for her also appeared and disappeared soon after. It seemed to me that she liked to 'try, try, again'. I haven't seen any more of her profiles appear; maybe the dating site has a means of identifying her as soon as she tries to create another profile, a means that is beyond my limited internet knowledge.
As you might guess, I was still looking for the girl[s?] of my dreams; after all, what would you do if you were talking to this girl with an expensive university to pay? Would you stop right there and settle for her? Well, I didn't, however, she seemed to think that I should, and told me that she didn't want me talking to other women on the internet, so I told her that I wasn't talking to any others.
Technically, that was true at the time that I told her as she was the only one I was talking to at that moment in time. I would have been talking to another woman a few hours before, and I would almost certainly have talked to yet another woman the next day, but at that particular instant in time, it was the absolute truth. I think my words to Don were 'No, now I am not talking to any other lady...' The semantic precision was almost certainly lost on her, and I allowed her to believe what she thought that I meant.
As for her university fees, I suggested to her that she should find her fees somewhere else, but I did send her a small amount of money. Truth to tell, I could have given her the full amount without blinking, but I didn't want to encourage her to ask for more. The small amount would keep her interested, but not too hopeful, and I was very curious to see where she might be trying to lead me.
I looked around on all of the dating sites where I had access, checking to see if she was on any of them, but either she had been banned from all the sites that I searched, or she just wasn't there. I made an educated guess that she didn't have very many other correspondents, and was probably being careful to hang on to me, not to scare me off. And so, we corresponded for just over a year.
What did we talk about for a year? I really can't remember any single substantive topic of conversation; what I remember most is that she gave me English assignments, the ones that she was supposed to be doing for her university course. I really could have done without them, but they weren't all that difficult, so I completed them for her and she handed them in and got top marks for her work.
Through all of the time that we have been corresponding, apart from the one time detailed above when she told me that she didn't want me to talk with other women, the possibility of me talking with other women didn't come up, until after I arrive in Thailand.
Well, I finally got to meet this university girl, but I had had misgivings about her for some time, maybe two or three months.
Just for the record, she's moderately attractive, but certainly not a stunner; on a scale of 1 to 10, she would be a 6. Her positive attributes are her figure, her English skills, and her education and intelligence. Neutral attributes are her average looks, and she gets a negative value for her blatant stupidity in hoping that she will have me slavering over her self-assumed good looks, or maybe even assuming that I am already that way [drooling, that is, not looking good, and I am neither].
She seemed to be trying to manipulate me, sort of like using her sexuality as bait with me as the sucker that she wants to hook. So far, she has come up against a brick wall; I've been manipulated a few times in the past, and I learned quickly enough that if one allows it to happen, it will keep happening until there is an end to it, and that end will usually be traumatic for one or both of the parties involved.
Imagine a child seeing a toy in a shop, and throwing a tantrum in an attempt to get the parent[s] to buy the toy. If I was one of the parents of the child, I would leave it to act out its tantrum, and when it decided that the tantrum was getting it nowhere, pick it up, take it home, and get on with life.
That's what this girl needs, and badly.
Several weeks before I left Australia for Thailand, she demanded that I buy her an iPhone. Now I don't know what an iPhone costs, but I'm sure that it's a bit more than the average child's toy, so I wasn't impressed by her demand. I told her: Damn, woman, we haven't even met and you expect me to get you an iPhone? What sort of a fool do you think that I am? It doesn't matter what you think, you're not iPhone value until we get a whole lot closer, and even then, an iPhone is not a certainty.
She stopped the demands for an iPhone.
Not long after, she mentioned that it was university fees time again, so I told her to go to the temple and seek an answer there. That's the last that I've heard about university fees – for now, at least.
So, when I arrived in Thailand, the first girl that I had actually arranged to meet turned out to be a really sweet lady, another one with proper employment, the sort of work that does not involve overnight trysts with strange men [or women?], and that particular lady is the subject of another story, which I should write up and put here in the next few days, or weeks, or something...
Having met Oh, the really sweet lady, I didn't see any point in having any more contact with Don, the university girl, but she e-mailed me. I told her that I am busy travelling to visit some of my farang friends in provinces, which was true enough. I started off travelling to Buri Ram province to meet Oh's family, and visited various other friends living around the Kingdom over the following days and weeks.
However, Don saw her hook slipping out of my mouth, and launched her offensive. I got 7 e-mails overnight, in my inbox the next the morning. Without looking at them again, they told me that she was determined to see me, and my take was "she thinks that when we met, she will be able to assume control".
Oh, well... I can go there for a few days, maybe she can amuse me for a few nights, but if she is to have any chance of drawing a winning hand, she will need to be pretty spectacular.
But I deferred on going to see her, and I was in provinces that were too remote for her to be able to get there and back to Ubon Ratchathani in one weekend and not miss any of her commitments at school. That should be enough discouragement, I hoped. Out of the blue, I get an e-mail from her that simply says '… I hate you I hate you', and I think that my troubles with her trying to meet me must be over. A few days later, she phones me and tries to sweet-talk me.
“Now let me get this right, two days ago, you hated me, but now that you discover that I will not come begging to you with iPhone in hand, you suddenly love me? Then why did you tell me that you hate me?” and I went on to quote words from a song to her [remember that her English is quite good], and she got the moral of the quote: “Don't say words you're gonna regret, Don't let fire rush to your head...”
She did a figurative collapse on the phone, and started sobbing “I love you, I love you, etc.”, ad nauseum. Another quote came to mind: “How much can a koala bear?”
Eventually, I agreed to spend a few days in Ubon Ratchathani with her, but I asked her: “When I am there, what will we be doing when we are alone in the hotel room?” and she replied, unprompted, “Anything that you want.”
I had wanted to meet her in Surin where I had reasonable excuse to be so as not to arouse the suspicions of Oh, but Don wanted me, right or wrong, to go to Ubon Ratchathani to meet her. We finally agreed on me going to Ubon on Thursday and travelling to Surin on Saturday morning, a reasonable compromise.
Finally, a genuine compromise with her, not a matter of “I want...”, or me simply saying “No”.
When I had been in her city for about 24 hours, I thought that for her to have a winning hand, she'd need to draw three cards to an inside straight, and she didn't appear to be a very good poker player..
She met me at the bus terminal, was about 45 minutes late in meeting me. I like punctuality, but she had to come from a long way out of town, so I'll call her late collection a no-ball.
She asked me if I had eaten. Fuck me dead, I've just spent nearly 9 hours on an almost non-stop bus from Bangkok to Ubon Ratchathani, and to each passenger they served up 2 small packets of assorted crisps, 1 fruit juice drink, 1 soy-milk drink, and a package of rice, cucumber, and some unidentified breed of meat. All I had been able to force down my throat of that lot was the watery fruit juice. They also provided a half-litre bottle of water with the first handout of goodies, and I had sipped on that for the duration of the trip.
“No, I haven't eaten, and yes, I'm hungry!”. She handed me 2 Thai sausage-on-a-stick snacks.
I had a bag of good quality dates which I had brought as a gift for her, an expensive commodity, from just outside the supermarket in the basement of Central in Silom. I opened them up and started munching. To hell with the idea of a gift for her, I was starving!
We stopped at a hotel. With all the sensible names for hotels seemingly already taken, this was called “Costly Place – service apartment”, and it's located down the soi directly opposite the front of the Ubon Ratchathani Rajabhat University. 700 Baht per night.
At that particular moment in time, another two points had failed to make a positive impression on me – she expected me to fill her car with diesel, and the room that she ordered in the hotel had twin beds.
She eventually got the hint that I was hungry and that her sausages were not interesting, and we set off to find a restaurant. After her showing me what seemed to be an endless road with nothing but karaoke bars, we took a few turns and arrived at a restaurant; the Hong-Fah Thai-Chinese Restaurant. Food average, prices high.
OK, I'd filled her car, I'd fed her [us], and I'd paid for 2 nights at the hotel. Could I expect a main event?
Nope! It was separate beds all of the way. Morning arrived, and she needed to go to work. After 5 PM that afternoon, I got a phone call from her telling me that she might not return to the hotel that night.
We were supposed to drive to Surin together the next day [Saturday morning]. I decided that if she wasn't there when I was ready to go, I'd go alone [on a bus], and she could stay there in Ubon, wondering what happened.
What this woman didn't seem to understand is that in Thailand, there are about 63-million people, and a little more than half of them are women, say 32-million. If just 1 percent of those 32-million are in the 18-35 age group, and are single and interested in meeting a western man, then she is one of 320,000 women, and she has got some serious competition in both the looks and the attitude departments.
At 7:15 PM, she called and told me that she had a lot to do for her work – as a schoolteacher, she has some excursion to monitor this coming week, so she needs to leave work prepared for her replacement teacher for the period of her absence. That means that she will be up late at her normal residence, preparing work for her students for next week, and she apologised profusely for not being able to come into the city to be with me.
I could live with her absence that evening, after all she did tell me of the excursion about a week ago, so it wasn't a spur-of-the-moment excuse.
She promised to go to the hotel the next morning sometime between 7 and 8 AM, and even if she doesn't arrive until 9 AM, that would be OK with me. We were going to Surin for the remainder of the weekend.
She arrived a little after 10 AM...
One thing that got to me on the trip to Surin was her driving. She isn't what I would call great; she is limited in what she can do while behind the wheel. While she is driving, she can't take her eyes away from the road to read road signs, so she makes wrong turns. I explained to her that I am a very good driver, I have driven on Thailand's roads over a long period of time, and I can read enough Thai to work out whenever we need to turn anywhere, and perhaps I should drive. She would not consider the idea of me driving, and we took wrong turns which translated into extra time on the road.
We were only about fifteen minutes from our destination when she told me that she would not be staying in Surin with me, she would be returning to Ubon that afternoon. Getting a little ahead of the narrative, she phoned me when she had returned to Ubon and let me know that she had arrived safely, and complained that she was very tired from driving all of the way Ubon-Surin-Ubon. I told her that she might not have been so tired if she had allowed me to drive from Ubon to Surin.
When she announced that she was not staying in Surin, she explained that she had been given a lot more work than she had originally thought, and she had to return to Ubon to spend the rest of the weekend with her nose to the grindstone. My unspoken thinking on this matter was that it sounded to me like it was just another excuse for her to use to not get into bed with me, but outwardly, I kept my cool and told her that I accepted that her work and responsibility towards her students was certainly more important than a roll in the sack with some aging farang.
She has told me that she wants to see me again, and would like to visit me in Australia. Before that can happen, I will want assurances that her understanding of the expression “anything that you want” coincides with mine.
Oddly enough, she phoned me on Sunday evening to see how I was, ask what I was doing, and wish me a merry Christmas. I was OK, in my hotel room watching TV, and where Christmas is concerned, I remain one of the “Bah, humbug!” school of thought.
Even curiouser and curiouser, at 1:40 on Monday afternoon, I was on the bus to Bangkok, just finishing off this story, and she phoned me again. She was with her excursion students in Marakham, and wanted me to send her “a little money”. “How little?” I ask her.
“I will phone you this afternoon when I have got to my hotel room, and I will talk to you about it then. OK?” I told her.
Later, during the promised phone call. there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth on her part when she found out that I would not be sending her any money, and I thought that that would be the end of the matter, but the next morning, there was an e-mail with her bank account details sitting in my mailbox.
I sent her a reply detailing the reasons that led to my decision to not send her the money that she wanted. I haven't heard from her since.
I have no regrets, she is one girl out of perhaps 320,000.