Something strange happened while I was in The Philippines. I don’t know how to explain it though.
Let’s just say that girls (of all ages) began paying a lot more attention to me.
It started in Cebu where, upon doing simple things like buying a pre-cut mango from a grandma on the side of the street would start a conversation that would go like this:
Me: “How much are the mangoes?”
Grandma: “10 Pesos. Would you like one?”
Grandma: “Are you single?”
Grandma: “You are very handsome. I have single daughters and granddaughters. Would you like to meet them?”
Me: “No thanks, I just want some mangoes right now.”
Grandma: “Are you sure? They are very pretty and would make great wives.”
Me: “100% sure. Just some mangoes please…”
At this point I start sweating bullets instead of the normal BBs the 33C/92F degree heat naturally draws out of me.
As she hands me the bag, she again pauses to make sure I don’t want to meet her relatives.
I confirm I don’t.
Such interactions always ended in smiles and laughs (though mine were often forced to be socially pleasant). It happened more times than I can count. I was also offered prostitutes by men in Angeles and Cebu as I walked down the street minding my own business.
The prostitutes thing is different. But the single women thing…
I don’t know. I think it’s a “grass is always greener” situation where these women figure their daughter or granddaughter would have a better life with me, a foreigner. The grandma selling mangoes doesn’t ask male Filipino customers if they’re single, I presume.
It depends what better means, but for sure they are thinking in terms of money – that a life with me would guarantee a better financial future. Of course, they have no idea I’m The Happy Nomad and I’m sure that in the past year that fruit vending grandma has made a lot more money than I have. Kind of ironic, actually.
Kind of sad, too.
But as I learned in Samal, you don’t mess with Filipino Grandmas…