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First, the Filipino man is a problem, I feel. Women here get the dirty end of the stick, like in many Asian countries. But in these Asian countries where it happens it is not considered the "dirty end," but a duty. And the women don't necessarily want it another way. They have way of turning the dirt into gold and control.
I mentioned in a previously, a woman who commits adultery can go to jail. But she would not dare. The social pressures would destroy her as it does many mistresses. A man is in de facto pretty much exempt from that law. It may be enforced if the wife has money, status and power of her own. But she will lose face and she loses her husband.
I just read in the paper today that a city official is implementing a program to train wives so they will not be "naggers."(Bimbo may be strange name to you. If you live here for any length of time, you would not blink your eyes at such a name) Councilman Bimbo feels that wife abuse cases will go down if women are taught to accept the behavior of their husbands.
I talked to some Filipinos and Filipinas about it including my house helpers. They feel it is a good idea. (Maybe some are putting me on. Filipinos will tell you what they think you want to hear. They like to make you happy. It doe not make me happy or sad. I just want to know their feelings) And even I believe it will. But I don't think that is the right answer because it would probably work. But you could kill all the naggers too. That would work for sure, but not a grand solution.
The Filipino husbands have been often spoiled by their parents and sisters and expect to be spoiled by their wives. So the wives too spoil them: comb their hair, bath them, cook for them, etc. They put up with their unfaithfulness. A woman "martyr" is admired, a good woman. If they do this they are considered a good wife. If they don't they are considered a disgrace. A woman who does not honor her husband , be foreigner or Filipino above all is considered culturally insane. A Filipino wife who is provincial will get upset if you carry your own bag. She feels it is her place to carry it for you and if you don't let her she will be embarrassed.
If she can't provide a boy baby, the man has the right to seek a mistress and have another family, if he can afford it. Mistresses can be had on almost any pretext. Why is it like that? Everybody, even women want boy children. If there is one peanut left to eat the boy gets both pieces. The father often pays little attention to the girls and worships his boys, especially the older one, who will carry his name. The girls are sent out to work while the boy's education is first. If money is left over the girl gets educated. The all compete for parental attention, particularly the fathers or kuya who is the oldest boy.
Girls, at first, don't get much affection from their fathers. And the families are often large, many children one father. So when they get a man, they most often really appreciate it. They want to touch him, be close to him and care for him. They often are terrified that he will stray, but accept. Daughters often become favorites of there father, may times because of manipulation skills honed to a fine edge our of necessity. These skill follow on into marriage an they my dominate the man without him even knowing it.
A foreigner does not have that much leeway as a Filipino man. Filipinas wives expect more from him, loyalty, faithfulness, there idea of the Western man, especially after they have live in a developed Western country and been enlightened by the women there who in my opinion control the country.
As for fat and age, they are both pluses. Age gets respect here. And fat means you can afford to feed your family. Skinny does not make it. I told my present girl friend I wanted to lose some of my belly and she got upset. She was confused and asked "Why?" Some say this is because Filipinas /os They have a "colonial" mentality. Their history of domination by the Spanish and then us made them this way. Anything foreign is better than local, including human beings to some of the those really brainwashed.
A girl asked me "Do Americans hate liars." I said some do and some don't. I said that some lie a lot so they might scream a lot when someone lies to them. She said she did not believe Americans lied. I said watch me. :)
Nobody wants to be a Filipino. Even the men want to go to the States. I had a couple of young men over here the other day. They were college students, first year, small and dark skinned. They wanted badly to go to the States. They said the women in the States were beautiful. All they see is the movie stars on TV. I told them might not stand a chance with one of these Stars. The said they wanted to try. They knew American women were very liberal and would have sex with anyone. I told them I didn't know that. Filipino men do not marry non virgins.
If a girl is a not virgin they know their only chance is a foreigner. If the have a child they think even a foreigner will not marry them regardless of how beautiful, talented and educated they may be. I saw an 18 year old I know casually at the coffee shop this morning. Her former boy friend gave her a girl child and left for another woman he married. She is stunningly beautiful. She said "Is it possible an American would marry me?" I said, "Maybe." Her name is Jane. Any takers? She works at a bakery making about $25 per month, is a high school graduate and reasonably intelligent, but eighteen. She supports her child and pays for here own maid, a sixteen year old who works for a few pesos a month and food. She does not think she is desirable because she is too skinny. An over weight American girl would give several limbs to have a body like hers.
Do you think Jane is interested in a Green Card? She does not know what one is. Is it money? Yes. But even more she also wants someone who will accept her and love her and her child. A foreigner might. A Filipino man will certainly not. His family would disown him, a fate worse than death in this culture. The problem with Jane is like the problem with bar girls. They have been told by society the have no value. They begin to believe that and have no value. Jane has not gone that far yet, but that is where she is headed and so are many more like her.
So most Foreigners marry the first Filipina they come in contact, the "first Filipina syndrome." some of us old timers say. They say never will I find another like this one, as good and wonderful caring and as beautiful. Not so. They lurk around every corner. The guy. after he has been here a while, says to himself,” Why on God's green earth did I marry this one or get married at all. It is not that she is not a fine lady, she is a wonderful lady, but now I know what I could have had. There is a lot of greener grass on this earth than I first saw and with which I took roots."
It is a matter of bonding too quickly from a distance. I have counseled guys about this. But they are already in love and you might as well be talking to a post. They may hate you for raining on their parade. I don't do that any more. Later they see the light and say, "Oh, why didn't you tell me?"
Often the women who are on pen pals lists and you meet on chat looking for a foreigner are women who are smart enough to be dissatisfied. They are often unhappy, are non-virgins, have children or really dissatisfied with life in general. I feel it is better to come here, shop around, and find one who would never consider a pen pal list because she is very happy. In my very limited personal experience, the ones on pen pal lists generally have emotional problems that are difficult. The hearsay I get gives strong support for my the conclusions I made from my limited experience.
But if you marry one, pen, Net pal or not, who is already happy, contented, you stand a better chance of success. And success is hard because of the usual age differences and vas but not apparent culture divide. They are deceiving like us and we like the, but it is surface only.
I don't have the figures but I speculate more marriages fail than prosper though you don't hear as much about the failures. Guys brag about what a great Filipina wife they have when it works out. They don't mention it when they have had a bad experience, or at least not as much. And often they know it is not their fault or the fault of the Filipina. Some of the brighter ones come to understand that a Filipina, because she is Filipino, is happier with a man from her own culture, who she can relate to. She really wants someone she can go to the cemetery on Holy Week, the fiesta with and see what she sees, feels what she feels, experiences and enjoys the same things she does. Evens when they fail, there is something compelling about the Filipina. They, like I did come back for more, despite the pain they suffer for the first or second. Filipinas are addictive, but not necessarily dangerous to your health. But they could be, one with a temper and a bolo. I had one of those.
A foreigner should, thought it is hard to fathom, that the extended family is more important than the individual. One who understands that understands why they must sacrifice personal happiness for the happiness of the group. One who knows that, knows the town fiesta is not just a bunch of people eating and drinking. But they know is a anticipated opportunity to visit with people who are a part of you, who you grew up with, who you care about. They know all these town mates are her brothers and sisters, a lot more than friends.
Now if the girl, woman is insecure, has a poor self image or needs status badly or both, being married to a foreigner may be the only thing that can bestow that status on her. And she will stick with him through thick and thin to keep it. Having the approval of others is the main goal of Filipino life, especially when those others are members of the family the extended one. The expatriate is a marginal person here. He is not Filipino. And he does not have his culture to support him. He will never be a Filipino nor does he want to be one. He cannot divorce himself from his culture and will never anything but an object of curiosity to those in the culture he is in.
He is a foreigner first and foremost, and respected for it. But when it comes to serious things he cannot be expected to understand because he is "just a foreigner." Life is hard for the foreign male here. Not being used to the culture and attention he becomes confused, disoriented and often turns to hanging around bars with other foreigners who are just as confused as he is. I have seen so many go to drink because of constant stress of being in demand and not knowing why. He is wondering if they want him for his money, for his status or for him. He often ends up hating the country and the people because of the stress.
Things are changing. No culture is static. But cultural values change slow especially in the rural areas, as they say here "the province."
Fat foreigners, old men, are just not used to being the objects of admiration, status and desire. Others take up more socially acceptable way to deal with their problems. Some get really involved in business, community work, religious activities. Others dwell on sex, a few resort to drugs. At least one, me, writes a bunch of crazy stuff on Internet mailing list. This is another quick down and dirty essay for you, for what it is worth.
Please remember this, like everything else I write, though I may sound like I am writing gospel, is just one man's opinion. I am wrong as often as I am right. If you were on the list you may remember I speculated that when the ice caps melted and the sea rose we would have more islands.
(From an old post on Livinginthephilippines before it was deleted by a vandal)