Since the entire Citylife editorial team is how sadly single, our editor has used the commissioning of this article as a ruse for us to do a bit of research for her on online dating [Ed. I represent that implication!]. So here is what we found…
Her Story: Grace Robinson
Online, like a virgin. Well, not quite. I’d done internet dating in London. I met a cute banker, but after he made me walk with him an extra mile down Islington High Street to save 70p on a packet of smoked salmon, it was over. So I thought I would give it a go here in Thailand and see if I had better luck.
I registered with ‘Thailovelinks.com’, a change from picking people up in Warm-Up on a Saturday night. Unfortunately the expat dating sites seemed to be based in Bangkok, so I was left with this one which appeared to be geared towards older foreign guys looking for a Thai lady. I filled in my profile, and uploaded some photos. The next morning I had 18 notifications, 15 telling me ‘X is Interested in you’ and three new messages. I clicked on the first person who had shown ‘interest’ in my profile, he was a Thai man called Chaivat with no profile picture, though apparently he is 37 and looking for Penpal, Friendship, Romance/Dating and Marriage, just about anything seemed to go with this one. I clicked on his ‘Seeking’ to see what type of woman he was after; “Like a man like Thai chicken, sausage, dried red-headed guava chicken, sausage, flowing.” It was obvious this sentence had been created by the horrors of Google translate. (For those interested, this is what the original Thai was; ? ? – make of it what you will). I had not gotten off to a promising start.
The Next Few Days
I continued to browse the site, and on the first three pages of ‘My Matches’ I came across three men I personally know; uh oh, I was getting a tad stressed that this town may be too small for online dating! But professional that I am, I persevered.
The second person the website suggested as a suitable date for me happened to be sitting right opposite me at work…oh well, moving on. Over the next few weeks messages and ‘Interested’ announcements kept coming. The men were from all over; Istanbul, Phoenix and Blackburn, amongst others. Some were Thai, others foreign. Frankly the entire experience ranged from cringy to slightly depressing. I got a bit put off when some Scandinavian reaching 60 messaged me saying he’d seen me in Kad Suan Kaew that day, but decided to not let it get to me.
One of the men who contacted me ‘Demitri’ from Swaziland, looked slightly like Michael Jackson, he lived in Pattaya. His profile said he’s 39, clean shaven and likes barbequed food. He told me I was “charming and attractive”.
Another message came from Peter, a South Asian looking man, aged 57 from the US. Peter had some nice photos of himself posing against a ford escort in a lay-by. Underneath the photo it read; “Please don’t judge me by my photo, I look much better in person and I take really good care of myself.” I am sure he does, but what else am I to judge him on?
Another 50 something year old contacted me. He was Norwegian, he wrote to me in broken English saying he liked me, but the “farang in photo” was “no good”. I presumed this was my English friend standing in a photo next to me holding a pint…love me, love my friends, NEXT! At one point I got excited when I received a message from a young European man in Chiang Mai. He seemed pretty normal and we talked briefly online before agreeing to meet up for a coffee. He was actually quite normal, nice even, and pretty attractive. Things went well enough, and even though his limp at the coffee shop was diagnosed as a broken coccyx the next day, we may even meet up again.
One Month Later
Things started to perk up, I met a few nice guys through the site, a Thai pilot, and an English business man who lived in Phuket. Most seemed genuine and there were a few hotties.
No longer should online dating carry a stigma, nowadays it’s pretty common. It may not be for everyone, but I have quite a few friends that have met their loved ones online. I would advise people to, with caution, go for it.
His Story: Benjamin Friedman
I made an account on ‘Thailovelinks.com’, and after making a basic profile and uploading a photograph to the website, my email was inundated with messages from women who wanted to me meet or expressed interest. It was a nice confidence boost, but then I found out if neither user is paying a subscription you cannot read the messages, so I paid the 800 baht monthly membership fee.. Another snag was that most of these women lived in Bangkok and were a bit older than me.
Once I had joined, I proceeded to start messaging and sending interest back to some of the ladies on the website. Most of the women on the site were Thai women looking to marry older foreign men. I looked at their profiles, the ‘Seeking’ part always made me laugh when reading the badly translated text. One girl was looking for a man….Guava like lottery. (Which I am told is a terrible translation of “It’s lucky to get a farang”.)
After fishing for a few girls with the “Send interest” button, I got a response back from a student at Payap. She was about my age and studying English, so that was a good enough criteria for setting up a date.
She was out of town for about a week before we could meet, so we exchanged phone numbers and starting texting. This was when I first realised what I was getting myself into. She sent me messages every day. I was getting good morning and good night texts before our first date! My skills with emoticons improved and I learned all sorts of different smiley face variations and that “555” is the Thai equivalent of “lol”.
After a few days of flirting, we managed to get together on a Saturday night. We met on Nimmanhaemin Road and started to walk around, looking for a good restaurant. I asked her what type of food she liked and she said that she liked anything. I asked her where a good place to eat around there would be and she said wherever I wanted to go. I noticed that this was to become a recurring theme over the course of the evening.
So over giant salads-ladies love salad, right? – we made chit chit and I found out that the Thai word for “salad” is, wait for it, “salad”. I asked her about where she was from and how her classes are at school, general first date questions that are not too different from an interview.
After that we went into Warm-Up where we drank, talked, and I flirted with her, while she acted coy. Eventually I convinced her to join me on the dance floor. It was a slow start, but we got into it. We headed off to Infinity where she regaled me about her love for rap music, which I thought quite funny, and I snuck in a kiss before her friends picked her up to take her home. Since then the texting has escalated.
We had a second date and I tried to take things a bit further, but she told me that she was looking for ‘serious love’, so that was fair enough.
I am afraid that my time here as an intern soon ran out and I didn’t pursue any other ladies, but as far as first dates go, it may not have been earth shattering, but it was a promising start. So I say, give it a whirl, Internet dating is not as silly as it sounds!