I sat on my usual barstool at the floating bar, eyes wandering over the Oggtag couples, shaking my head. I asked a few questions to my bartender, Faith. She had married for love, to a Filipino. She had chosen the hard life but said she was happy. She leaned forward and said, "Let me tell you a story."
Annamarie was married to a Filipino man. He loved her, they had children. But she was not happy. One day at a disco, she met an old man from Germany. (Why was it always Germany? I pictured tough beefy Deutsch women punching their men in the nose for drinking too much, and then it made a little more sense.) The man bought her all she could drink, and over the next few days he paid for everything and they spent their time together. She didn't tell him about her family, she was working at the resort and only went home once a week. The German man said he loved her. He said he'd give her some money and would see her again soon.
The money came, she bought new things, realized she could get her own place. One day she announced to her husband that she was leaving him and the kids. He was angry and crushed, betrayed. She thought she was finally happy. The man came a few times a year, she had her own house and lived the easy life. But one day she realized she really didn't like that old German man at all. She was lonely. One day, at a disco, she met another Filipino her own age. She spent a few nights with him, but the German man found out. He cut her off, and suddenly, she found herself with no money, no Western boyfriend, and no husband. She was alone and penniless.
She went back to her old husband, but he had given up on her and found someone else. And today, she is still by herself, looking for a new boyfriend.
Faith looked up at me and nodded, pleased with her story. I replied, "Marry for love, not for money." She smiled, "Yes!! That is the lesson." I looked around the bar again, at the ignorance of youth, the power of money. Faith's wisdom would never reach them.