A Brief Alternative

Dec 14, 2010

I ran across Tip last week as part of my ambitious efforts to explore the aforementioned bars on the Soi 7 and Soi 8 roads. Her bargirl friend (Jen) speaks English much better — and is more friendly — but it was Tip who caught my eye with her short hair, small, serious face and elf-like body. We had the usual slightly strained, first-timers chat, but nothing beyond that. I returned the following evening where Jen (to Tip’s embarrassment) tattled about how much Tip had raved about me. Flattered, I told my new admirer I’d be by in a couple more nights to pay her bar fine and take her home.

Yet warning bells were already going off. For one thing, Tip’s English is poor — not that I have any right to expect otherwise, this being her coun-try. But I am unable to handle even a simple conversation in Thai, so I must rely on my date to speak my language to some degree. And beyond this linguistic impasse was the concern that Tip is wound a bit too tight. Seemed nervous and jumpy when I was around her. Perhaps she’s new to the game.

So, as yesterday afternoon rolled by and the night of my big date loomed, I was thinking of excuses for avoiding a visit to the bar. But as evening arrived, I decided it wasn’t right to try and weasel out of my commit-ment, so off I went. In hindsight, I should have stayed home.

I got things started by bar fining both Tip and Jen in order to take them to a nearby Thai restaurant. What fun that was! Jen ordered some kind of Chiang Mai soup that I fell in love with. Tip went with a simple veggie dish in oyster sauce that was surprisingly edible while I had some spicy ground chicken which did not disappoint. (If you ever want a memorable meal experience in a foreign country, eat with the locals!) With all the tasty food being shared and enjoyed, it became more of a pleasant get-together devoid of the usual foreigner/bargirl anxieties. At least for Jen and myself.

With dinner over, Jen returned to the bar (my taking two bargirls away at the same time had left them shorthanded) while Tip and I went for a walk along Beach Road, where the Thai Ladies of the Night were lined up. I was worried this scene might bother Tip but if so, I could not tell, she not being a talkative person. I, on the other hand, should have been wearing horse blinders to prevent my gaze from wandering. It’s the things in life one cannot have which are often the most alluring.

We broke off our stroll to cross the road for a visit to the fancy new shop-ping center at the Hilton Hotel. There we admired the blizzard of holiday lights. It was nice to have someone to share that with and we repeated the experience later at another brightly lit plaza. Then we rode a Songtaew (truck taxi) to the CarreFour Shopping Center, a few long blocks from my apartment. Walking home, sensing how nervous Tip was and wanting to break the tension, I stopped at a dilapidated vending shack along the way and pretended it was my residence, walking up to the entrance and trying my key on the door. We both got a kick out of that, but only after Tip had recovered from her near cardiac arrest. Guess it kind of threw her for a loop.

Unlike almost all my other dates, Tip was not comfortable slow dancing or in receiving one of my world-famous massages. So we instead sat next to the window, listening to vintage pop music (Elton John) while taking in the Christmas lights in the apartment complex across the street. To try and help her unwind (she alas is not a drinker), I entertained her by sing-ing along with a few of the tunes such as Your Song, one of my crooning favorites.

After getting into bed, there was some snuggling and kissing (which she wasn’t very passionate about), but nothing beyond that. Again, the com-fort level was not there. And frankly, from the way the evening had gone with its lack of chemistry, I wasn’t exactly overcome with desire myself.

As usual, I could not get to sleep even through Tip was hardly touching me. I think this was a case of first-time-together nervousness combined with my date’s inability to relax, which made me vaguely uneasy. (When there was a loud noise outside the bathroom window, she bolted straight up, wondering what it was. I didn’t even bother getting up to investigate.) As we heading into the wee hours of the night, I managed to work in a nap or two, but that was it. Worse, Tip turned out to be an early morning snuggler. I had to lay there for about an hour and a half, wide-eyed, hold-ing her.

I never want another date like that again.

When we (finally) parted, she asked when I would come by the bar again. Now, I’ve been developing a philosophy in my dealings with Rasamee: to be honest and fair to my Thai women friends as well as to myself. This however does not apply to first dates. So, rather than tell Tip the sad truth — that she’s probably seen the last of me — I lied and said I’d stop by next week. I’m sure she will now be on the lookout, and be disappointed and hurt when I never show, but I’m not interested.

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