Western-Thai Dating: A Driver’s Guide

21 Jun

One of the most consistently entertaining aspects of the courting ritual indulged in by ageing Western men and much younger South-East Asian women is the inaugural motorbike outing.

Now, as any fule who has spent time in South-East Asia kno, these ladies can handle a bike. Dirt roads in the monsoon? No problemo. Hairpins? They shit ’em. Big city traffic, eight vehicles across three “lanes”? Easy as…

So quite how they feel riding pillion — and sidesaddle, at that — to some absolute muppet, one can only imagine.

This evening, sir and I were returning from a delightful day of temples and monk chats in Chiang Mai, when I got us lost (right alley number, wrong road, DOH!). I am bending over, rummaging in my bag for the map, when I hear this little, panicked voice from behind me, “Mum, MUM! Quick, get out of the way.”

Sure, it’s a narrowish alleyway. Sure, it’s a motorbike. Whatever, I think. Move further into the side, and carry on walking.

Sir, meanwhile, is pinned against the wall, his expression a curious mix of caution and what, in someone over nine, one would be inclined to regard as contempt.

Then I suddenly see what he has seen.

For, straddle-walking a motorbike rather nervously around the corner, with hot Asian ladyfriend on the back, and rather too much unexpected acceleration for comfort, is the absolute embodiment of the ageing Western male. Think Jeremy Clarkson with flipflops in place of loafers and you really wouldn’t be far off.

We stand in silence watching the odd couple’s inching, lurching progress round what is not an especially tight corner and down what is really not a particularly narrow alleyway, populated by no one and nothing, except us.

Even the dogs, it appears, have fled.

Christ! I think. I could really use some adult company to give this gentleman the post-match analysis he merits.

The first time I encountered fine specimens of Western manhood with their Asian girlfriends on the back one was whizzing straight into the back of me on a quiet downhill on Cat Ba island, Vietnam, bipping vigorously that I pull onto the verge and out of his way.

Interestingly, these guys’ girlfriends — and god knows how they did it, while keeping up the submissive, ladylike role required in such interactions — subsequently somehow persuaded their beer-sodden beaux that they should drive them.

Then did so.

Very, very slowly.

Because heaven forfend they should drive better than the guys.

Anywise. Back to Chiang Mai. Up pipes my offspring. “Mum!” he says. “Did you SEE that guy? What a total NOOB! His girlfriend must be really laughing at him when he drives like that.”

“Yep,” I say. “You would really think that guys like that would at least take a scooter out for a spin before taking their new girlfriends out on one.”

“But did you SEE him?!” he says. “He was hilarious! It can’t have been good for his ego. Not at ALL.”

We walk on, for a while. Our discussion gradually degenerates into him singing “Noobie, noobie noob, you’re a noob,” to the tune (obviously) of Scoobie Doo.

“Yeah,” I say. “But how’s my driving, sweetheart?”

“Oh,” he says. “You’re pretty good now.”

He pauses for thought. “Well, you’re alright.”

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10 Responses to “Western-Thai Dating: A Driver’s Guide”

  1. smartass300 June 21, 2010 at 10:13 pm #

    No0by no0by no0b, where are you; you are a sucker!

  2. Sad to See June 23, 2010 at 8:04 pm #

    Sad to see such judgemental garbage.

    I wonder of the author ever bothered talking to one of these people she’s so happy to denigrate?

    • MummyT June 23, 2010 at 8:12 pm #

      Since you ask, yes, I have.

      I know people (gay and straight) in meaningful, longterm cross-cultural relationships (some with an age gap, too). I’ve also met plenty of men who like to pull women from poorer cultures because they find they get more bang and more submission from their buck. I’ve talked to women who are in the kind of relationship I describe, and to men who go out east to experiment with hookers. And posted about it, too.

      Can’t have been what you were looking for on your Google Search, though… Struck a nerve, did I?

  3. Sad to See June 24, 2010 at 6:43 am #

    Your post here speaks more of blind prejudice than any real understanding (I know people (gay and straight) is akin to ‘some of my best friends are black’.

    But your right about Google Searches turning up the unexpected – I go looking for “family world travel” and “family travel experience” and this is what I get.

    And they say Travel Broadens the Mind.

    • MummyT June 24, 2010 at 11:12 am #

      Dear Sad To See,

      Did you set up that user ID specifically for my benefit or do you spend your days scouring the internet for things of which you disapprove?

      I mentioned that I knew and had spoken to people because you asked whether I had ever met or spoken to any of the people I “denigrate”.

      Did you actually read the piece? It’s a comic observation on an ageing man driving very, very badly with a far better driver (female) sitting patiently on pillion. “Blind prejudice” against whom?

      It’s also a description of one of many things that happened to us, as a family, while travelling. Nestled among cuddling baby tigers, meeting Buddhist monks, trekking Lao forests, etc.

      For future reference in your commenting career, when repeating things that people say one normally puts them in quotation marks, rather than capitalising.

      Have you ever visited Speak You’re Branes? I think you’d like it there.

  4. Bets June 25, 2010 at 1:50 pm #

    I stumbled across your blog while researching a SE Asia trip my friend and I are planning this winter. We’re planning on taking a local bus across the Vietnam-Laos border. Reading your account (on an earlier post) definitely helped reduce the fear factor! Thanks for posting!

  5. Cass June 26, 2010 at 6:45 am #

    I agree with Bets, I was researching for my holiday/adventure through Vietnam and after reading these posts it has made me realise how much fun this will be and to forget about all my nerves.. 😀 Thanks for the great posts, its interesting to read.. Keep it up cos I’ll keep reading

  6. Cass June 26, 2010 at 6:47 am #

    Hi, I agree with Bets I came across this blog whilst I was researching for my holiday to Vietnam.. By reading your posts it has made me realise how much an adventure this holiday can and will be.. And that I probably shouldn’t be as scared as I was when I first started thinking about this holiday…
    Keep up the posts.. I love hearing about your adventures..

    • Cass June 26, 2010 at 6:48 am #

      whoops.. don’t know what happened there.. (sorry bout the 2 posts)

      • MummyT June 26, 2010 at 10:06 am #

        No worries. Thanks to both of you. And, don’t be scared. You will get into the swing of things before you know it…

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