For almost 2 weeks now, I’ve been seeing someone. Being a semi-normal single girl, I did spend the requisite few minutes thinking of the possibilities – in this case, a hell of a lot longer than my usual 5 minutes. This guy is so amazingly likeable that I permitted myself a full hour and a half of inane daydreaming. Thankfully, my jaded and slightly cynical self intervened before I started thinking of white lace, table centerpieces, and carnations.
The timing couldn’t have been more perfect. I could usually tell within 5 minutes what a man wants from me, but this one was particularly tricky. The man in question is sweet, smart, attentive, funny, and seems to be made of the same stuff that good boyfriends are often made of. Manifestations of the horny male caveman genome were not immediately evident. After three dinners and much scrutiny, however, I was able to discover that my promising new find might not be as promising as he seemed. This is an account of my findings, not necessarily in order of severity.
1. What’s on his CD player? Don’t get me wrong. Though it’s not my personal preference, I have nothing against house or techno music, or anybody who likes them, for that matter. It is my experience, however, that men who like them are usually up to no good. The man is obviously a party animal, or a clubber, or whatever it is they call people who frequent clubs nowadays. (Damn, I’m getting old.) This kind of man, farang or otherwise, deliberately puts himself in close proximity to drunk, scantily clad, gyrating women on a regular basis, and this being Bangkok, he will, more often than not, take one home with him. That is, after he calls you to say good night. To give him a little credit though, at least he’s not lying when he says he’s going to bed. Cross your fingers and hope he changes the sheets afterwards.
2. Strawberries. Be warned. I will be thinking aloud mostly at this point. We went to the night market in Lumphini Park on our first date. I was laughing at the outrageous t-shirt prints when he suggested I look for a t-shirt that says “one-night strawberry”. Apparently, the Thai phrase for one night stand literally translates to that. I heard the first of many warning bells in my head but I decided to file that information away for future reference. Days later, lying in bed half-asleep after we had sex for the first time, I tentatively probed for the first hint of where the whole thing was going. The response I got? ”There are still plenty of strawberries in that box, yes?” I still have absolutely no idea what that meant. The closest I could come up with was that I’m no one-night strawberry. I’m several-nights strawberry, or at least, until my box runs out of strawberries. I’m not entirely sure when and how that could happen. Another thing worthy of mention but may not be relevant to this article is the fact that he actually orders strawberry milkshakes. I always thought only 12-year-old girls drank strawberry milkshakes. Mental note: I must try to bring up the strawberry discussion while he’s sipping his milkshake. Maybe it’ll make more sense.
3. The unanswered phone calls. I have long since put my days of riffling through a man’s mobile phone behind me. (Yes, I used to do that, shoot me.) It’s hard to ignore the mobile phone, however, when it’s sitting right in front of you. He has one of those fancy phones that’s also some sort of GPS navigation device, so he puts it on a nifty little holder on the dashboard, right where it can’t escape my 20/20 vision no matter how hard I try. There is always somebody calling Mr. Popular. Sometimes he picks up. Most of the time he doesn’t. For a while, I thought it might be because he didn’t want to be rude, but I’ve told him countless of times that it’s perfectly okay if he took the calls. I’ve noticed that the calls he picks up were either from his buddies (I can tell from the guy banter) or from work. He won’t pick up calls from Aof or Apple, both probably Thai girls, judging from the frequency of the phone calls. Seriously, these Thai girls can’t get a clue. They’d call about 15 times and send angry and almost incoherent “Why you not answer me?” messages in between. I pretend not to notice, and it’s amusing because he actually believes it. I once brought it up out of nowhere and he visibly panicked. He then told me the sad story about Apple, a Thai one night strawberry who he claims to have repeatedly told to go away. Right.
4. The screensaver. Still on the subject of the prominently displayed mobile phone on the dashboard. As fancy as it was, the GPS navigation thing once conked out in the middle of a long drive. He cursed, restarted the offending gadget, and there in its full glory was his wallpaper literally smiling at me – a picture of a wide open vagina up close. It took every ounce of self-control I had not to burst out laughing. Flustered, he explained that it was a picture he downloaded off the Internet. It’s funny how this guy thinks I’d buy everything he said like I was born yesterday.
5. Mood lighting and music. His apartment is nothing out of the ordinary. It’s a typical bachelor’s pad – a little messy, a little smelly, and very basic. He does, however, own an extraordinary number of lamps that just screams sex. I couldn’t help but roll my eyes at the setup. He even played music while we were doing the deed. Not house or techno, mind you, but much, much worse. It was one of those instrumental, electronica ones that movies use in scenes where the heroine is doing something domestic, like washing the dishes or gardening. At least, he was too busy to see the expression on my face.
6. The candy-colored toothbrushes. Apart from the fact that he keeps his plates and cutlery in it, his bathroom looks completely normal. Or so I thought. I took a shower the morning after and I had to climb into the tub. It was elevated so I got to see the bathroom from an entirely new vantage point. There is a shelf high up above the sink that only he could probably reach, being 6’6” and all. The shelf had a water glass with 4 pink and purple toothbrushes in it. It’s quite tacky. How could he tell which toothbrush belongs to whom? I figured he had them tagged or something. One thing’s for sure, I’m glad I take my own toothbrush everywhere. At least, my tartar is my own. Enough said.
7. The condom wrappers. In this day and age, nobody should have sex without a condom, especially in Bangkok. Though condoms are revered and venerated enough, the condom wrapper is possibly one of the most neglected and unappreciated things in history. Once opened and the lovely surprise inside extracted, condom wrappers suffer the indignity of being discarded like the rubbish that they are. The morning after, I was looking for my red patent-leather stilettos that have seemed to run off without me. I was on all fours, looking under the bed when I found them – not just my shoes, but 4 discarded condom wrappers looking all sad and forlorn and gathering dust. “Why’s that a big deal?” you may ask. Well, so far, we’ve only used up two condoms, so unless he’s been blowing them up into balloons, you get the picture. It’s tacky, really. If you’re going to screw around, you might as well clean up after yourself. However, let’s give the man another credit for practicing safe sex.
8. The scheduled phone calls and meet-ups. I always know when he’s going to call or not. The guy evidently keeps after a schedule or something. He always calls between 5 to 7 PM. If he doesn’t call within that time frame, then he won’t call at all. What little anxiety level I have at waiting for him to call is confined to within those 2 hours. He did surprise me one time, however, by calling at 10 PM to tell me that he was going to bed. It probably had something to do with house music (see number 1). One thing I can really appreciate about this guy is the fact that he books his dates in advance. At least, he doesn’t expect me to drop whatever it is I’m doing for him. That works for me. Obviously, that works for him too.
Dating a Western man is a tedious exercise. It is even more so in Bangkok. Honestly, is there still a farang in Bangkok who isn’t just out to dip his wick in as many Asian crevices as he can? That’s what I’m here to find out.
Ahhhh…the things I do in the name of research.