This is not so much a blog as a friendly teacher helpline. I recently received the following e-mail from a lady called Sarah.
I am single and in my thirties. I will be moving to Bangkok in August 2011 to work as a teacher in an international school. I would like to meet other single foreign men (teachers would be great!) and date while i'm there. I did live in Bangkok for 2 years (2002-2004) but during that time I was in a relationship so I did not experience the single life. I am just wondering if I should prepare myself for a lonely two-three years. Any advice?
I don't get sackloads of communication on this topic, but you do wonder just how many teachers are out there looking for love among their own kind in a country that's world-famous for......*cough*.........initiating relationships with local people.
Several months ago, I got an e-mail from a teacher who was thinking of starting up a dating website aimed purely at foreign teachers looking for relationships with other foreign teachers in Thailand. So at least one budding entrepreneur recognized the problem existed and saw a potentially lucrative gap in the dating site market. I'll confess I wasn't really sold on the idea but it would certainly make a refreshing change from browsing through the gazillions of Thai dating sites with pages of grainy photographs of overpowdered gold-diggers all describing their English as 'minimal' and looking for a foreign man with a good heart between the age of twenty and ninety.
This whole topic of relationships comes up regularly on the ajarn discussion forum. Although I'm no Dr Ruth where dating and mating are concerned, I always get the impression many of the guys who post their thoughts are still nursing the battle scars of failed relationships back in their homeland. Relationships between a foreign man and a Thai woman might not be perfect, but they are often uncomplicated. And for many men that's good enough. But perhaps there are significant numbers of single male teachers out there who are tired of dating outside their own culture and want something a bit more challenging? Perhaps the opportunity to take a partner to a movie and then afterwards over coffee, discuss the director's use of camera angle and primary color - instead of asking whether the film was good or not, getting a one-word answer, and then continuing the taxi journey in silence.
But let's go back to Sarah and her e-mail. Sarah's been here before. She knows the ropes. She knows what it's like to live in a city where at times the entire foreign male population seems to be chasing Thai tail. And let's face it - even for those with the personality and appearance of a swamp donkey, Thai companionship is never too difficult to find.
The question is how is Sarah going to connect with like-minded foreign teachers for a few rounds of the dating game? There will no doubt be plenty of opportunity for raucous girly nights out with female teaching colleagues but too many of those can wear anyone down? Eventually one craves for a special night out with that one special person. Just the two of you in a romantic restaurant, gazing into each other's eyes and waiting patiently for your main courses to arrive. And then after a fine meal and several glasses of extortionately priced wine, one of you whispers "your one-bedroom studio or mine?" The perfect end to a perfect evening.
Seriously though, what advice do you have for Sarah? Is she worrying too much? Anyone with experience of playing the farang dating game? Give us your thoughts and comments.