There she sat across from me looking absolutely stunning. Of course, that’s not a big surprise as she was in her late twenties and Thai. Most men would give their left arm to be sitting across from her.
A mutual friend had arranged this blindish date. We had spoken a few times on the phone and the friend had arranged picture swaps so we both had some idea of what to expect for the evening but this was the first time we had ever seen each other in the flesh.
As she spoke, her command of English (or lack thereof) and breadth of topics indicated to me her level of education. Her style of dress, hairstyle, and cosmetics gave me a good idea about her financial situation, where she likely lived, and under what sort of living arrangements.
Most likely she had studied at one of Thailand’s numerous mediocre universities which are designed to do nothing more than give students a diploma and a chance at a job that doesn’t involve working in a factory or taking one’s clothes off. That means she is probably making about 15,000 baht per month living on the outskirts of Bangkok either by herself or sharing with a friend or relative.
Her comfort with making and holding eye contact as well as the fact that her smile was genuine rather than shy and forced told me I was not the first farang she had been out with despite the fact she claimed never to have had a farang boyfriend before.
Although some of her facial features had already told me that she was an Isaan girl when she confirmed it I already knew a major part of her life story. Whether she was from Korat, Udon Thani, or Buriram was of little consequence nor do I remember or care.
We were only twenty minutes into the date and I already felt like I knew everything about her. I spent the rest of the evening struggling to find something about her that was unique or at least noteworthy.
Did she have any hobbies? Did she have any interesting or exciting life experiences? What was she passionate about?
Alas for all my effort I was unable to find anything. She was just like the hundreds of other girls I had met and/or dated in Thailand. In fact, I remember more about the restaurant and the meal than I do anything about her.
I detest being one of those people who pigeonholes people but if there was one place in the world where you’ll end up being right more often than wrong stereotyping people, Thailand is that place.
I’m not saying that every Thai girl is like this one. There are many different types of Thai girls. The issue is that once you figure out a girl’s type there probably isn’t much else to know about her.
That doesn’t mean that she’s not worth knowing or that she isn’t absolutely lovely to be around. It simply means that if you ask two girls from the same type about their life story the differences between the two tales will be rather trivial.
Due to a mixture of how wealth is distributed in Thailand, Thai society’s strict rules about class and gender roles, and a value system that rewards conformity, finding Thais who live outside certain parameters is rather rare.
Like I said, I’m not trying to dehumanize anyone but the story about growing up on a farm and coming to Bangkok to make money for the family is so common that it’s cliché (almost as cliché as saying something is cliché).
I find myself being drawn more and more to women who are different. It doesn’t need to be anything major. A simple hobby that they’re passionate about. Someone who has travelled beyond Thailand’s boarders. Does she play an instrument?
Women like this exist. I know they do. I’ve met many of them. Unfortunately they’re either married (even worse, to my friends), have boyfriends (again, many of who are my damned friends) or not that particularly into farangs.
What do I do? Do I give up? Do I keep searching?