Part one in a series of eight posts written back in April of 2012 during and after a trip to Thailand to teach advanced first aid.
So here I am, in Thailand, teaching first aid to Thai police officers. Probably the second most awesome assignment I have had in the military.
This last group of students that came through was about one third female. While a few of these women were older, (forties and up) most were in their early to mid-twenties and pretty. They ranged from girl-next-door look, to exotic willowy beauty, to sweetheart smiles and attitudes, all with Thai forms and faces. I must say, in general, Thai women are very good looking. There is the normal variation in shape and face that you would expect in any society, but in general they are a pretty pleasant looking bunch. Either that or I am easy to please. The other Americans tend to be a lot more critical than I am about looks. They notice things that I don’t, certainly. “That one’s eyes are too far apart” or “Her mouth is too wide” or “She doesn’t shave her legs.” It’s a curious spectrum. On one end there is the kind of guy who criticizes all of them and would sleep with any of them. On the other end is me, who thinks they are all beautiful and wouldn’t sleep with any of them.
At any rate, the class had a very large population of young and attractive females. The four older ones sat in the first two rows, and all the rest sat further back in the classroom. For some reason when this class was divided up into groups, I got the first row and a half with the four older ladies, and the other two instructors got the rest. My interpreter noticed this change in format as well and pointed it out to me, to which I just shrugged. I’m here to teach, not find a girlfriend. Who knows if they even saw that when the class was broken into groups? It’s not like the other instructors assigned seats, they just divided up the class into blocks. Perhaps they saw it at the time, or perhaps they only saw it later. If they assumed I wouldn’t care they were quite correct. If they assumed I wouldn’t notice, though, they don’t know me.
This led to at least one hilarious day in class though. We had broken down into small groups for practice, and we were going to be like that all day. One of the primary instructors wasn’t able to be there that day, so my assistant took over his group for the day. Then the regular instructor’s assistant pitched in. Then the assistant from the other instructor went over to help. One of the women in my group said something in Thai that made all the other women laugh. When I asked my interpreter what she said he answered, “They say, ‘All the Americans go to that group because the girls are young and pretty. They not want to come here because we too old.” I laughed about it and went back to training, but not ten minutes later in walks our boss, A. You have to understand one thing about A. All the Asian women (and more than a few Asian men) think he is just gorgeous. It’s partly because he always dresses and speaks neatly and respectfully, and partly because he is a little over six feet tall, with an athletic build and long blond hair (always in a boy-scout part over his left temple). He has been likened to Tom Cruise, only not in midget size. He has also been likened to Captain America. He was even asked by two random teenage schoolgirls to pose with them for a photograph outside a Buddhist Temple in Bangkok. (I think they were actually asking all three of the Americans there, but I managed to skate smoothly out of that awkward situation and totally left him to the wolves.) So as he walked past my group all the ladies caught their breath and watched him with adoring eyes, but he did not even glance their way. He kept right on walking up the steps to the next group. All my female students let out a collective yell of mock anguish.
The best part was that A had not a single clue that any of this was going on. Being the consummate professional that he is, he had no intention of singling any group out or offending anyone, and had no idea of the conversation that had occurred prior to his entrance. He just knew that one of the groups was without its primary instructor so he walked directly over to it to see how they were doing, and in so doing, broke four hearts in one fell swoop.