From Denver, With Love

Page 7 of 14

"And if she doesn't like it, too bad," he says. "I'll find someone else."

Bobby says he had a great time with Eve, too. After their date ended the night before, Bobby told Eve he'd call her. Now, much to his surprise, she shows up for breakfast. Somewhat reluctantly, he winds up spending the rest of the day and evening with her.

Eve tells Bobby not to go on to Udon Thani. She asks him to call her every day and not to get a girlfriend. She pulls closer and he backs off. "I'm starting to get a big reminder why I've never been married," he says.

Ben comes down to breakfast with Joy, a woman who is not part of Richard's tour. On his Asia friend-finder account, Ben had been talking to four women in the six months before the tour. He'd asked Richard if it was okay to invite them to meet him in Bangkok. Of the four, only Joy showed up.

Joy has a political-science degree and works in cosmetic sales. She was married for fifteen years before she lost her husband to cancer, and is raising her nine-year-old son alone. She's ready to move to the U.S. and hopes that her son and Ben's can grow up as brothers.

Since Joy's English is extremely limited, she and Ben have been talking through an electronic translator. Still, Ben likes Joy, and he decides he'll use her to set the bar. If he doesn't meet anyone he likes more, when he gets back to Bangkok he'll ask Joy to spend the rest of her life with him. "This whole process, I'm really just concerned about hurting women's feelings," Ben says.

Scooby and Sammy don't have any serious prospects, but they're enjoying their vacation anyway. They spend the day taking in as much of Bangkok as they can.

Ben and Joy, Bobby and Eve, Greg and Jum, and Lee and Nat spend the day holding hands.

Ben, Bobby and Lee head out for a triple date to an outdoor market, but then Lee and Nat go to pick up her fourteen-year-old daughter and her daughter's friend. The four pose for pictures. Nat tells her daughter to say "I love farangs" as the flash goes off.

Nat is Lee's number-one choice, but Nat has been number one before. Both times, the men have moved on to the next stop at Udon Thani, and both times they've found new loves, leaving Nat behind.

Back at the hotel on Khaosan Road, Lee and Nat stop for coffee. Nat's daughter waits outside. Through the window, she can see Lee, on the verge of tears, talking to her mother.

"I love you," Lee tells Nat.

Nat doesn't reply at first. She points to goosebumps on her arm.

"Nobody ever said that to me before," Nat finally says.

"Will you marry me?" Lee asks.

"It's too soon," she replies. "I need more time to think."

Lee offers to give up the rest of his trip and stay with Nat, hauling water, getting to know her.

"Go to Udon Thani," she tells him, adding that he should stay away from other girls.

Super Bowl Sunday is actually Super Bowl Monday in Thailand. The Steelers are beating the Seahawks as some of the men gather in Richard's hotel room for a pep talk from Seow.

"Don't beg for their love, even if you're desperately wanting them," she says. "Don't show it, or they'll take control. You tell her when you want to see her. Even if you want to spend all seven days here, don't show it, and don't give her any money until she proves to you that she really wants to be with you."

The men all think that the photos on Richard's website don't do Seow justice. At 34, she's young enough to be the a daughter of the men she's lecturing, young enough to be her husband's daughter. Seow says that Asian women like older Western men because even though they're technically from different generations, their cultural eras are the same. When hip-hop swept the U.S., she explains, Asian countries were listening to the Beatles; when we got color television, they got black and white. The men should have their new wives adapt to fit American culture today; the men don't change for the women.

"It's easier for Asian women to change to American culture," Seow tells them. "Demand her to change for you. You are the leader, you are the man, you are the boss. You need to take charge; she has to change for you. Let her make coffee for you, let her cook for you. It's not a slave thing; it's her showing her love for you. That's how we show our love. It's not a slave thing."

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Luke Turf

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