A QUESTION OF RELATIONSHIPS
Always too young to date
Like many Thai girls, my parents were overprotective with me as a child. As a consequence, there were many things that I was forbidden to do.
The first one that really sticks in my mind was my father telling me never to have a boyfriend. I was about 11 at the time, but even before that I'd heard my father spinning the same tale to my brother about how he'd be really disappointed if he got a girlfriend.
I wore glasses as a kid so I never thought I was attractive. That changed though after a number of guys asked me out. I said no to all of them, however, afraid that dad would scold me.
Then one day, the guy I had a crush on asked me out. This guy was a serial dater and had a reputation for dumping, and being dumped by, a string of girls.
I answered smugly, "Maybe in your next life", despite the fact that he was my biggest crush to date.
When I moved abroad my closest friend wrote me a letter about him.
"You know what happened to that guy you liked so much?" she wrote, "Well, he got addicted to drugs and was expelled from school."
A few "cool" guys asked me out after that, but since I was so shy, each offer was a blur and the only word I could manage to get out was a "No".
When I got a little older and started feeling the first tingles of love for a boy, I remember challenging my dad.
"Pa, why weren't Romeo and Juliet together, when they loved each other so much?"
He answered, "Because their parents didn't agree with their love."
He looked at me wondering why I'd asked that particular question, not realising I had beaten him at his own game.
Eventually I got a boyfriend when I was in my 20s. It was my first serious relationship and I had no idea what to do with the intense attachment I had to this man four years older than myself.
Eventually we broke up and he left feeling I'd never loved him. I later e-mailed him and told him that "I was too young to understand love".
To this day, I don't know if it would have benefited me had I dated more guys. Maybe it would have helped me deal with being in a relationship.
Sometimes though, when I look at younger children holding hands like a grown-up couple, I feel that I am lucky I had a protective dad who didn't want me to see me get hurt.
When I was about 20, I told my Dad this.
"It's always best to have a boyfriend when you are older," he replied. "When you're young, you don't know how to judge who is bad and who is good. The guys of your age are also more stable and secure as you get older,"
Like it's really going to help me now I pondered - explaining all this to me so many years on. I was glad though that he'd finally gave me an explanation, but I made a mental note that if I ever had kids, I would give them reasons for everything, even if they didn't fully understand them.
Parents find it really hard to explain things to their kids - sometimes they still find it hard to express their feelings when the kid is older. When your father sees you as "daddy's little girl", this is especially so.
Yet, no matter what - even if he'd told me the reasons he didn't want me to have a boyfriend - I still wouldn't be immune to the hurt of future relationships. But boyfriends come and go - at least I know there'll always be one man whose love I can rely on.
Comments on this column can be sent to email@example.com.