Punctuality

After over six years in this country, I’ve gotten pretty good at identifying warning signs in potential girlfriends and quickly moving on. For many of the candidates, it’s a no-brainer. For example, the one who requested my email address and promised to send a message the following day, but didn’t get around to it for a week. Or the bargirl who, upon entering my apartment, made a beeline for the fridge where she ate the sandwich I was saving for lunch, downing it with a few swallows out of the milk container. A third set up a Christmas date, then cancelled with a phony excuse, leaving me alone with the wine and cheese I’d gone out and pur-chased.

Other women have required a more serious investment of time — and money — before I sadly concluded we were not compatible. Often being dependent upon me for support, they were understandably reluctant to bring up issues or fully reveal themselves. But eventually the troubles surfaced.

To try and shortcut this arduous process, I’ve developed an early warning system. It’s called the Tardiness Test and is stunningly simple: when I am getting to know a Thai lady, if she is glaringly late for our initial dates, or takes more than a few hours to respond to my calls or texts, then I say goodbye. Admittedly, some of this behavior can be cultural — this is not a nation of clock watchers. But this could also mean I do not rate very highly with this person, or that she is playing games to see how much I’ll put up with. Worst of all, she may be unreliable. None of these scenarios sits well with me.

Unfortunately Bam, the woman I’d decided to support, ended up failing the exam. For our first official get-together, I’d asked her to come by my apartment at 8:00pm. So what happens? She doesn’t even bother to leave her place until five minutes after. I ended up waiting outside by the apart-ment gate in the heat for some twenty minutes and it was another fifteen before she finally showed up.

Bam only stayed long enough for me to discover that nothing specific had delayed her. In fact, she saw the whole thing as rather funny. Teehee. Ha ha. Not sharing her amusement, but keeping my temper, I sent her back home, then followed up with a goodbye text. Clearly baffled, she responded by apologizing and saying I had made her happy. Maybe we’d meet again at the bar? I responded that she’d made me happy, too, and perhaps we would meet again. I like to get along with others and it would be impossible, not to mention silly, to try and avoid her at Beer Garden.

What happened here is my heart outraced my common sense. I did not take the time to get to know this lady (starting with the Tardiness Test) before my Savior Complex kicked in. It is so tempting help these women given my generosity and means, especially the ones I become fond of. I have to learn to keep my wallet under control.

Unlike my previous financial forays, this one had a happy ending. After a few months of keeping her at arm’s length at the bar, Bam came up to me in early January in a friendly manner that would have been rude of me to resist. Soon I had my trusty Thai notebook out and was learning impolite phrases amidst wine-fueled toasts to the New Year. Near the end of the evening, I slipped two thousand baht (almost $60) into Bam’s purse. I’m no longer her Sugar Daddy, but am happy to leave a lavish tip for mem-orable occasions.

This guy’s terminally pedantic!

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