In 2007, when we moved into our second home in Hua Hin in Thailand, we soon became regular guests in a downtown restaurant. It was not only the food we found attractive, but two very charming waitresses. They were clever, pretty, young and smiling. The whole family loved them, my wife and I and our two pizza-loving children. After the holiday we went home, bur returned some months. The restaurant was still there, the food was great, but the girls had gone. They had both found german husbands, the owner told us, considerably older than themselves, the owner told us. The inevitable had happened, he told us. Inevitable?
We who love Thailand never get used to looking at young Thai women, some of them maybe 20 or even younger, who are apparently in love with european, retired men, some of them aged 70 and older. When I first visited Thailand in the 90-ies, I thought this kind of «girl-grandfather love» one day would disappear, when the Thai society would be more affluent, the poor bargirls would get ways of manage their own lives. But I was wrong. When you visit popular expat cities and places like Bangkok, Phuket, Pattaya, Hua Hin and Koh Samui you still see them – and maybe larger in numbers than some years ago. I see them in my hometown here in Norway too, young Thai girls who marry old norwegian men, and the consequences are often tragic. The man is too old to be a good father, and the girl cannot adapt to the western society. She ha not got a proper education, she knowns only a rudimentary english, and the way is short to prostitution and state child care.
Why, is of course the question I ask myself. Why so many marriages and relations between young Thai women and old, european men? Why relationships between people who hardly communicate? I am not an expert om Thai society, but I suppose this is the story about the poor, Thai girls who in reality have a sad future ahead of them, but they still have their dreams, They see the old men as a way out of their current lives, into something else, I suppose. The men can offer kindness, affection, security and of course respect, money and a decent way of life. On the other hand the Thai women can offer sex, of course and be clever housewives – almost the kind of housewife the old men can remember from their own childhood. And when the Thai girl invite their new husband home to her own parents and family, I suppose the man sees this as a kind of respect. But the Thai woman may want to tell her old parents that she has managed to give them a safe old age.
Last year we visited the restaurant in Hua Hin once more. The owner told us that his popular waiters from some years ago had returned to Hua Hin. They were divorced now, and worked in other restaurants. And they didn’t smile so much, he told us. He didn’t want to say any more.