How Do You Know If A Cambodian Woman Really Loves You?April 30, 2009
I think I have posted before that I find Cambodian women to be unusually quick on the “I love you” draw. I recall meeting a very sweet, proper bargirl (an oxymoron, so I prefer to refer to her as a bartender) in Sihanoukville (back when Sihanoukville was only marginaly sleazy) who handed me a note about 6-7 hours after I met her telling me she loved me, telling me that “if you love me you have to marry me,” and inviting me to visit her province to meet her family. And you know what? I believe she was sincere. Now I’m sure the fact that I was a presumably wealthy foreigner did not hurt my cause, but I know we made a real connection, she was too innocent to be trying any sort of “bilk the foreigner” scam, and she teared up pretty darn convincingly when I eventually had to tell her it was a bit too soon for me to reciprocate those words and that my 8,000 mile commute might be an overly large obstacle to our fledgling relationship.
Although Sihanoukville Bartender holds the world record for fastest chick to propose marriage or tell me she loved me (who wasn’t joking or obviously deranged), there are a few other Cambodian women sitting atop that unique medal list. I guess some of them are what Mac Hathaway would have called “grey girls,” and thus everything they say should be taken with a grain of salt. Even if I don’t feel the same way about the girls, I just wish there was a reliable way to know if they really mean it when they say “I love you” or if they are just fishing for a better life with a Western husband.
I’ve seen some Western men on dates with what appear to be their Cambodian girlfriends. Often, the couples do not look like they are “in love.” Instead, they look like they are bored and struggling to make small talk, though there may be the occasional genuine smiles and bursts of laughter when one party makes a childish joke that the other party can understand with their limited common language skills.
I’ve been on dates like that with a Cambodian woman. They didn’t feel like love. They felt like work. Excruciating work at times. But she was hot-looking, and I wanted to do sex to her, so I labored on. So imagine my surprise at the end of one of those dates when the Cambodian woman tells me she loves me. I mean, why the hell should I believe it? How do I know she didn’t really mean “Well, I’m almost 25 and this boring, neurotic, open-mouthed-chewing American is probably my best chance of getting marrried to a financially stable guy and moving out of the two room hovel I share with my sister and brother-in-law, so I guess I’ll throw up an ‘I love you’ Hail Mary pass here and see if he catches it. If not, I’ll try again with next foreigner.”
I pride myself on knowing when people are bullshitting me about something. But isn’t there a blurry and at times imperceptible line between:
Attractive impoverished Cambodian girl who genuinely falls in love with a somewhat older Western man because he’s polite, he treats her well and he’s in a far better position to provide for her and her family than most Cambodian guys who express interest in her,
Attractive impoverished Cambodian girl who says she’s in love with a somewhat older Western man because she is a little desperate to get married, and the guy is polite and treats her well, and, having calculated the odds, she thinks he’s her best chance at a decent life, and she likes the guy but doesn’t really love him.
I’ve seen enough mismatched-looking Cambodan-Barang couples to conclude that, in a fair percentage of these cases the woman HAS to be pretending to love the guy in exchange for financial stability. How do you find out, before it’s too late, that you are one of those schmucks?
In contrast, you’ll usually know if a western chick loves you (invariably, in my case, they do not). You’ll know if you’re compatible, if she’s laughing at your jokes, and if a Western chick told me she loved me, that would be a pretty reliable indicator, since I’m not rich enough that too many would have a financial reason to lie about it. With Cambodan girls, I can only get a vague feeling for whether the girl tolerates me or perhaps enjoys my company, but when it comes to deciphering any more serious feelings and then aseesing the truth of their declarations of love, I’m usually lost.
Now there’s one method I know of find out if someone is lying to me, but I’ve only gotten mixed results using it in response to Cambodian chicks’ declarations of love. Cross-examination. It goes something like this:
Possibly deceitful Cambodian girl: “I love you.”
Gavinmac: “Really. Let me ask you a few questions about that. Why do you love me? How much do you love me? How long have you loved me? Isn’t it true that in this July 2008 text message, you claimed to love an Australian guy? This is your phone number isn’t it?”
Since cross-examination tends to kill the romantic mood, I was hoping someone could give me a simpler key for deciphering the Cambodian woman “I love you” code. Hopefully it’s as easy as “If she loves you, she’ll tell you in Khmer, and if she’s bullshitting you, she’ll tell you in English.” That I can listen for. But please don’t say “You can tell if a Cambodian woman loves you by how she acts in bed.” I know that one’s not true. They are totally indecipherable on that front.