Friday, November 4, 2011

Thai-Farang Relationships Pt 2: A True Happy Ending

For illustrative purposes only. Vee did not work in this club

[In Part One of this story you read about Vee, a 29-year-old Go Go boy from Pattaya and how he met Ted, the farang life partner he'd long sought. This is the rest of that story, or the story as I know it to now.  While it's a true story, details have been changed to protect their identities.]

After Ted had returned to Bangkok he stayed in phone contact with Vee, sometimes several times a a day - and it was more or less evenly divided as to who called who.  As they discovered they had many of the same desires and goals in life they began to feel more and more connected.  While there was a difference in ages between them, Ted was open to working on keeping a younger mind and Vee was more of a mature thinking person than many his age. Vee saw someone who would care about him rather than just care for him, and Ted saw the possibility of some "social security" by way of company, companionship and affection as they both aged.

Within a few weeks Vee had begun spending more and more long weekends in Ted's home in Bangkok.  Quickly adjusting to the city life Vee began to network with friends and contacts and look for work.  He didn't have much of a higher education but his personality and the contacts he and Ted had in the business world began to offer promise for a future working with more than a speedo on.

There were cultural hurdles to be jumped by both, but by being open and honest they managed to compromise.  Vee was a devout Buddhist, Ted had been raised in a rigid religion who's rules he'd adapted and that he remained active in, although he was somewhat closeted about it while doing so. He also found comfort in some of the Buddhist practices and participated in them on occasion, which pleased Vee.

Ted wasn't an aficionado of "gay life" or the club areas to begin with, and Vee had seemingly had his fill of that scene, so not having regular nights out amid the bright lights and deafening music was something they both easily agreed on, although Ted had some concerns that Vee might not truly be "finit" with that lifestyle.  "I'd heard that saying about being able to take the boy out of the club but not being able to take the club out of the boy," he said to me one time "but while I didn't throw all caution to the wind I had to take him at his word or drive myself nuts worrying about it."

Vee also had some things in the back of his head that concerned him: what if Ted found another man to replace him being first and foremost, but there were other concerns, most of which were merely fears of the unknown: would he really fit into Ted's world? Would their families welcome their partner?

Vee had only briefly gotten himself involved with the partying side that all too often destroys club guys - yaba (methamphetamine) being the #1 offender, closely followed by exposure to HIV - but there was also the spectre of alcoholism for those who couldn't control their drinking, or the endless "gotta have it" lure of new phones, new motocys, and the likes. Vee dabbled with yaba a few times but fortunately didn't care for it, and he'd managed to avoid exposure to HIV, although there were a few scares that convinced him to set his own limits and stick with them.  He'd managed to not only send money home on a regular basis, but build his own savings.

An office job was offered to a joyously happy Vee by a business acquaintence of Teds, and Vee gratefully accepted the 9,000Bt per month salaried position. He exchanged his usual daily garb of shorts and tee shirts for slacks, a white shirt and a tie and dove right into this very new working world.  His personality carried him until he got the hand of things, and then he just took off and flew with the opportunity and responsibilities. "I never have to do club work again," he told Ted. "I am happy."

Things went relatively smoothly, and  the week after he got the job Vee gave up his room in Central Pattaya, said farewell to his friends there and moved to the Big Mango, into Ted's home.  Ted was sensitive to Vee being an adult and had put some things into storage to clear the second room that had been his home office and moved his work station into a corner of the living room to give Vee his "own space", and while Vee noted and appreciated the gesture the room became a shared office and work room after only a couple of months.

Letting their guard down after four months they spoke of monogamy since they'd met. Both claimed they'd been faithful to that point, and they went for HIV tests. Both came up negative, and they stopped using condoms.

At Vee's urging they had a monk perform a wedding ceremony for them.  Although their friends and family knew and approved of the couple they wanted this to be a private affair, and made it so.

To celebrate, they went shopping for some new furnishings for their home, one of them being the first proper dresser Vee had ever had in his 29 years. It was delivered as scheduled one morning while Ted was working at home, and after having the men put it in place in their bedroom he thought he'd move Vee's things into it as a surprise for him when he arrived home later that afternoon.

That's when he found my business card.

"It took me a while to open my heart and trust Vee," he told me on the phone "and this just kind of made me feel sick to my stomach."  He paused another moment before going on. "By rights I shouldn't have seen this, but I did, and it bothered me."  "Good grief," I said "he's been with you about a year. You're still having doubts?"  He allowed that while he'd done his best to be trusting that some of the people he knew weren't as convinced that this was meant to be... and told him so.  His friends were supportive - because they'd met and been involved socially with the couple - but others weren't.

"He told me early on 'I don't want to be in contact with my old life' - and I respected that.   He asked me to sit there while he deleted his online accounts and cleared out his email accounts.  He gave me the passwords and said 'change them tomorrow for me,' and I did. I saw him throw his club contacts and his stack of phone numbers into the trash. I carried the bag out to the rubbish myself, but you never know 100%.  Then I found your card, and I didn't know if it was new or old or what."  I was flabbergasted.

"You know," I said "my cell phone here is only active when I'm in the country. I've only been here a couple of weeks and I head home in two days.  What are the odds of you finding my number and calling me today?"  "Pretty slim," he admitted "but I'm glad I caught you, because we don't keep any secrets and I meant to talk to him about it in a few hours when he got home from work."

I told Ted "Please tell him I said hello. Tell him how I know him, and tell him I said 'I told you so', because I'd predicted he'd find a decent man if he went about it the right way.  I'd love to meet you both and have lunch or something."  He said he'd relay my message, and leave it up to Vee if he wanted to reconnect.  I waited all evening, hoping for a call that didn't come.

The next afternoon while I was packing a suitcase my phone rang, and it was Ted.  "Vee says he remembers you and wanted me to say thank you so much for your help, because without you we'd have probably never met - but he's still somewhat skittish about anything to do with his old life.  He says we're happy now, why go back there, and I respect that."

"I do, too," I said "but I'd appreciate an update from you at some point, if you don't mind."  He agreed, and I still have his number.

I'll be back there in a few months.

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