Not until I started teaching English in Thailand.
Here, everyone has a nickname.
One of my adult students must’ve thought he was Casanova, because he named himself Love.
Like many Thais I taught, he assumed I was in Thailand for one reason — females.
“Teacher,” he said one day, “do you like to go with many women?”
I was perplexed by his question because we had just been working on verbs.
Is this what he’s been thinking about the whole time? I wondered.
“Teacher,” he pried, “you know, do you go the beach with many Thai women?”
The rest of the class shot darts in my direction.
They waited for an answer.
Thais love gossip, especially about their Western teacher.
“Yes, Love, I do,” I replied. “All the time.”
Two women in the back of the room began whispering to each other.
One of the other students who was gay and nicknamed Bear put his hand over his mouth in shock.
“Last time I went to the beach with three women, in fact,” I said.
Love’s eyes widened.
He wanted details.
He suddenly sat up in his chair.
If only I could make him that interested in English lessons, I thought.
“Three women,” I said with a cheese-eating grin while slowly nodding my head satisfactorily.
“My wife. My oldest daughter. And my youngest daughter.”