I wasn’t seeking male advice from my Thai coworkers, but I certainly got some.
I’ve yet to be at a social event where the only (if any) single Thai man isn’t pointed out. He will then be introduced, and someone will undoubtedly announce his status as single, sohd. They all laugh, but they’re only partially kidding.
The general assumption is if I marry a Thai man, I’ll want to stay in Thailand forever. The reality that nobody seems to consider is that I’ve yet to meet one who speaks English well enough for me to even entertain the idea of dating him.
Which brings me to the conversation I had with Pussadee yesterday.
Me: “I’ll be back to visit you one day.”
Pussadee: “Yes, when I build my new house, you must come visit.”
Me: “How long does that give me to save money?”
Pussadee: “I don’t know, Jess, maybe two or three years.”
Pussadee: “And I hope I can visit you in America. Oh, I know!” Her eyes got wide and her smile widened. “I will come for your wedding day!”
Me: “Okay. Well, you certainly have A LOT of time to save for that!”
Pussadee: “Jess, you need only a man.”
Me: “What do you mean?”
Pussadee: “People sometimes want too many things. Maybe 10 things. They want a man to be handsome AND funny AND smart AND kind…but you only get a man.”
Me: “So you’re saying I’m asking for too much?”
Pussadee: “I’m saying, a man is only a man.”
Me: “So I need to lower my standards?”
Pussadee: “Yes, Jess. A man can only be one thing: A man.”
Me: “Oh, okay. Well, it seems I’ll be returning to Thailand before you visit America.”
It’s safe to say I don’t plan on lowering my standards, and why should I? Even Pussadee admitted, in a follow-up conversation, that she too had a list of qualities she wanted in a man – to speak her native language was one she added after several foreign men asked for her hand in marriage. She was finally married, at 32, to an older man who fulfilled most of the requirements on her list: He’s Thai, he could take care of her when she was sick, he doesn’t drink (a rarity in this culture) and he quit smoking for her. He is also educated enough to teach her things, help her make decisions, and have deep and serious conversations.
So, like Pussadee, I want a man to be a man, but he must be more than just that. If he’s not out there, I’m quite fine spending my time alone or with friends for many more Valentine’s Days to come.
Besides, if I weren’t young and single, I might not be traveling now, attending such functions where the locals have embraced my presence enough to introduce me to their eligible bachelors because they want me to stay.
Happy Single’s Awareness Day!
A Man is Only a Man