Thursday, November 3, 2011

Thai-Farang Relationships: A Different Happy Ending

This is merely an example. It's not where Vee worked.
[If you look you'll find a truckload of testimony and opinions regarding the possibility of finding a lasting relationship with a Thai person. I can't speak with any authority whatsoever about farang males and Thai females, but I have known (or at least met) many successful, longer-term farang/Thai male couples.  This is about one of them, and although they're among the newer ones they seem to be on the right track.  I'll update at some point in the future after I've seen them again.  Naturally, identifying names and places have been changed.]

I was napping one afternoon in Sattahip when my cell phone rang. I didn't recognize the number displayed on the read-out, but I was still half asleep and for some reason just answered it rather than shutting the damn fool device off and going back to sleep. A man speaking good English asked for me by name, but he sounded hesitant.

"You found me," I replied "Who is this?"  There was a pause, and then the man said "You don't know me, and I'm sorry to bother you, but..." he paused again, longer this time.  Now I was curious.  I asked "Are you still there?"  "I am," he said, still tentative, "I probably shouldn't even be making this call, but I wanted to ask you something, and I hope you can settle something for me."  Now I was hooked.  I might have listened to a vacation condo co-op pitch after an opening like that.

"Do you know someone named Vee?" he asked. I thought for a moment, but it only took a moment for me to remember Vee: outgoing, energetic, personable Go Go boy seriously looking for a relationship.  He spoke very good English and I'd spoken with him a few times about his life, his plans, his hopes.  Since he seemed sincere about it I'd also done some very minor corrections to a profile he had posted, taken a series of profile photos and even shot a couple of video clips of him one afternoon in which he introduced himself and said a few things to demonstrate his command of English.

"Yes, I've met Vee a few times. Why do you ask?" Since Vee was only 29 when I'd last seen him just over a year before I was kind of hoping this wasn't one of those "your friend died yesterday" kind of calls, but at the time I wanted to know if it was. There was another pause from the other end of the line, prompting me to ask "Is he all right?"  "Yes," came the reply "and I'm sorry, I should introduce myself and stop being so mysterious.  Vee is fine."  "Sounds fair to me," I said, and grabbing a tablet and a pen I said "Go ahead when you're ready."  Interviews and background stories are common; follow-ups - especially like this sounded it might be - are far less so.

His next question caught me by surprise, though: "Did you sleep with Vee?" "Why do you want to know?" I countered, still not really knowing who the hell was calling. "I'm his husband," he said, with a slight waver to his voice. "Oh, sorry then," I said quickly "No, Vee is just a casual acquaintance."  I went on to give the guy a thumbnail of how I knew Vee, and then had a couple of questions myself: "May I ask your name, and how did you get my number?" - and that's where his story really began.

His name was Ted, and he'd worked five years in Bangkok for a Canadian company.  Online one day about a year earlier he'd come across the very profile I'd proofread for Vee, thought he seemed like someone he could communicate with while also finding Vee attractive.  That part wasn't surprising, because Vee was very attractive.  Despite him approaching his expiration date as a Go Go boy he was gym-toned and handsome, with one of those big Thai smiles.  I could understand why someone who appreciated Asian men would find him worth talking to if they were looking for a partner.

Ted replied to Vee's ad, and after an email exchange spoke on the phone with him a few times.  Two weeks later Ted made a drive down to Pattaya for a weekend and they met for dinner and a movie and what seemed to come naturally for both of them later that evening.  Having had his fingers burned a couple of times before Ted was hesitant, but by the time he headed back home on Sunday evening he thought he felt the beginnings of a connection with Vee.

Vee had felt the same - but he, too, had been disappointed by farang who made promises of relocations and relationships while on vacation that were nothing more than a means of laying claim to his company and obvious physical assets for their all-too-often brief visits.

He was comfortable with being gay and wasn't merely playing a part while with these guys as many in the club trade do; saying what their admirers wanted to hear. He'd had some nice trips and gifts out of the arrangements, but he wasn't really looking for that; he was tired of dancing and clubs and was looking for someone who would be there when he came home, and someone he could do the same for.  He wanted a relationship, with someone who actually lived in Thailand. That much I already knew from talking with him, but it still didn't answer the "how did you find me" question I'd asked Ted.

"I'm sort of embarrassed to tell you," he said "but I was moving Vee's things into the new dresser we'd bought for him the other day and found your card."  Ah-HA!  That cleared a couple of things up for me instantly. I'd given some of the guys I'd talked with my regular business card - those few who said they were willing to update me on how they were doing and what direction their lives were taking, anyway.  It already had my email address so I just scratched out my USA phone number and written my Thai cell number.  Since I was careful about it I'd gotten very few solicitations by phone, although the method wasn't foolproof and sometimes I was the one fooled. It happens.

Anyway, Vee was one I was interested in following even though other than a phone call to wish me a safe trip home about a week after we last met I hadn't heard from him since, and his profile had been taken down a month or so after I'd gotten back home.  I'd asked a friend to stop in at the club he worked at to see if he was OK and to give him my email again, and what I heard from them was that Vee had left the club on good terms, but that he was gone.  "OK, finit," I said to myself when I read the email, but I made a note to look around for him the next trip, which was the current visit.  This time the searcher came to me... as did the update.

{Next: The update - Ted and Vee's new life]

No comments: