By Alan Prendergast
By Michael Roberts
By Michael Roberts
By Amber Taufen
By Patricia Calhoun
By William Breathes
By Michael Roberts
By Melanie Asmar
And Greg's serious again about Aoy. "I'm not the handsomest guy in the world and she's not the prettiest, which is probably better, because I don't have to worry as much about Richard Gere or someone stealing her or her running off," he says. Aoy isn't a teen, but she's still younger than Greg. She's educated and speaks good English.
"I think Aoy's a more practical choice," he says.
Richard and Seow notice Bobby "kissing ass." He's holding Aom's hand and kissing it; she looks upset.
Scooby is excited about his possibilities with Kid.
And after Richard tells Sammy three times that Yuvaree really likes him, it's finally sinking in. Sammy gets teary-eyed and walks away. He doesn't want anyone to see him emotional.
Richard says he feels a chill up his spine. "You don't find your mission in life," he explains. "It finds you."
Ben leaves the group for the day and goes with Boom to her village. He meets her parents, and they get engaged. They stop at a rental shop packed with smiling transsexuals to get traditional engagement attire, then go to Boom's home, where her parents send him to a back room to rest. Ben wakes up to a door cracked open and forty Asian faces trying to get a peak of the farang who's going to marry the girl from their village. They tie strings around the couple's wrists as a sign of good luck.
Ben's happy. He's finally found the woman for him. "She and I have already expressed what I feel is genuine love from the start," he says. "It's not an arranged marriage; it's true love."
Boom is quiet, but when pressed to share her feelings, she says through an interpreter that she's glad to have found a good man with a good heart. She knew it when Ben looked at her and winked. She's excited about going to another country, excited about her son meeting Ben's son and them all becoming one big, happy family.
Ben pays Boom's parents a dowry of 9,999 baht, or about $250 U.S. The number is symbolic, because the Thai recognize the Chinese tradition of nine's significance of eternity.
Back at the hotel, Lee has proposed marriage to Kung. She's accepted, and says she feels like a young girl. Her hands are in Lee's lap; she buries her head in his chest and sheds a couple of tears.
Kung knows that Lee was divorced just a few days ago, but she doesn't know that he proposed marriage to Nat and was refused between his divorce and his proposal to her.
It was a rough week, but Lee feels at the top of his game. "I got hit on today, too," he says. "First time in my life." He plans to ask his congressman to speed up the visa process -- again.
Not to be outdone, Greg puts down the sausage on a stick that he's eating and drops a breath mint. Then, as casually as a co-worker might ask you to grab a burger for lunch, he asks Aoy to marry him.
She accepts, and they arrange an engagement ceremony for the next day.
All three couples met on Monday, and all three were engaged by Wednesday.
Three down, three to go.
"You can fuck this up, and I'm deadly serious," Richard tells Greg over eggs the next morning. "Do not be overly generous. If there's going to be any public displays of affection, it's going to be her to you."
Affection is seen as a weakness, and if Greg is overly generous with Aoy, he'll spoil and lose her like he lost his first two Thai loves. "The Thai like their men strong," he continues. "She's stronger than you when it comes to hell and high water; she'll get through it better than you. She's built that way. She's Thai."
Richard urges Greg to watch a PBS special on lions. He'll see that the female lion hunts and brings the food back for the male, the king. The king eats all he can while the female waits her turn. Then he walks away. Maybe he gives a flick of the tail, maybe a certain glance, but the female knows it's now okay to eat the leftovers. Then the hyenas show up. They want the scraps and will fight the females for them. The king doesn't protect the female; he wants to make her stronger. It doesn't even faze the lion king when the king hyena insults him -- at least, not until the lion detects the females questioning his dominance. Then he attacks.
Like the lion king, males married to Thai women should lie around and get fed and get fat -- until they're really tested by a hyena. "Your job is to bring security to the marriage," Richard says. "Without the alpha male, the females are fucked."
Men are visual creatures, Richard explains. In the U.S., no man ever looks at him and Seow and says that Seow was the lucky one. But she's getting the best of the bargain, he says, and she knows it.