I read a past weekly article you wrote about why Thai women are becoming more "Western" in their sexual mores and openness to dating farang. Although I am not as experienced with Thais and have not lived in Thailand for any continuous stint beyond 3-4 months, I think an alternative view of the reasons for this new "openness" among the Thai females might be considered.
It just seems there are a lot of foreigners who have innate emotional interests in relationships with Thai women, and their choice or inability to come to terms with the nature of their relationships may be driving a lot of "reclassification" of the Thai-farang couples in Thailand.
Do bargirls really become bargirls, simply because they are from poor economic backgrounds and lack a decent education. It is a part of it, but I believe anyone who has spent a reasonable amount of time with them, beyond the time in the bedroom itself, may notice they are lazy when it comes to any type of "real work". Anything that makes their bodies tired or exercises their minds too much is considered pain they would rather avoid, even if it means they must undertake allegedly terrible sexual acts with foreign strangers. I say "allegedly", because if these Thai women are really so adverse to such acts, would they not do what so many of their Thai compatriots, also with similar economic and educational background, and also with the same family obligations of brothers/mothers/sisters/children, do and chose to work in lower-paying but more socially acceptable jobs? Let's give the Thais that work long hours as street vendors, factory workers, day laborers, and even lower-paid office workers the respect they deserve. The bargirls took the easy way out. They traded their virtue, social acceptability, and many other things for the easy baht – some of them make more than Thai managers with over 15-20 years with a company.
While this is the bargirls personal choice, and I am not trying to debate whether it was the right choice or not here, their claims that they had no choice is nothing short of shirking personal responsibility and a slap on the face of every Thai that chose not to take the easier road out, or simply did not have the luck of being born attractive.
Are the other Thai girls, those who are not bargirls, really rebelling against traditional Thai values, given the apparently higher number of them who are now open to dating farangs? When I read that the Thai social fabric breaking down might be the cause, a few questions and alternative possibilities came to mind. First, is the percentage of non-bargirls dating farangs really going up? Sure, there are more farang-Thai couples now then in the past, but the population of Thais in Bangkok and other population centers is also going up. Second, the higher English literacy rate may be helping the Thai girls do what they would have done a long time ago, if they could, which is seek out and hook onto a farang. Could it be, it wasn't just Thai traditional values but also a lack of communication that made made Thai girls too frustrated, scared, or embarrassed to speak to a farang? thus leaving the field open for only the brazen and less socially-mindful bargirls?
Finally, on the farang side, as pointed out, the percentage of farangs working and living in Thailand is also going up. However, is the percentage of farangs who are true expats, and not sex-pats or permanent sex tourists, really increasing. I often fear that the answer is perhaps not, and that these sex-pats or permanent sex tourists are being mistaken for normal expat workers, and that their "technically non-bargirl" lovers are being mistaken for supposedly traditional Thai women.
It should also be considered that many expats, although they meet the criteria of having overseas pay packages and having been transferred by a multinational or Western firm to Thailand, are also partaking actively in the bargirl scene. Frequenters of that scene tend to take on a somewhat self-blinded and embellished view of themselves, bargirls in particular, and Thai women in general. It is not unusual to hear things like "a Thai bargirl is better than a farang good girl" or "bargirls are not like normal prostitutes". In this scene, more than a few middle-aged to ageing farang with all the flab and sags of age will convince himself and try to convince others that he is actually quite handsome or quite good-hearted or quite funny, and that is why is Thai "girlfriend" in her teens, twenties, or even early thirties really does find him attractive and not his pocketbook. This even when he is making excuses for why she gets more from him in a week for "support" than most Thais see in a month. They actually want to believe their girls are really "good girls".
After all, we need to consider that many Thai prostitutes are becoming less easily distinguishable simply by their venues. Now, we have department store girls soliciting farangs, restaurant workers who make more than their monthly salaries by being the "girlfriend" of a farang tourist for a week or two, girls who are simply using the internet cafe as their storefront for prostitution, and their are even Thai office workers who hook on the side. Many of these women are not just looking for the one-night stand and it's one time payout, they are seeking a farang "husband" in their words but the better term might be farang "long-term exclusive customer (financial provider)".
In short, many Thai women dating farangs are still prostitutes, though they use venues that intentionally make them not technically bargirls. The farangs, in their desperate search to believe "my Thai girl is different", "I am different", or "our relationship is different", is glad to point out his girl doesn't work in a bar or massage parlor. Perhaps it's better if she does. At least then, both he and she won't be in denial of what they really often are — a hooker and her customer.
I agree that many Thai females, especially the educated ones, may be feeling more and more disillusioned with the lack of rewards and the inability to find equally matched Thai men today. This does drive many to start to "date" farang men. The issue that differentiates things here is not how quickly they "drop their knickers", it is a question of their motives for doing so and their outlook on the relationship. I am greatly suspecting that many Thai girls are not dating farang in the same sense as people date in the West. They have hidden agendas – while a real girlfriend or wife loves the man and money is a consideration, these women may simply love the man's money and he is the afterthought. Many farang may chose to use the fact money is often a consideration in a woman's relationship with a man to justify the situation, but it is clear the main motivator is quite different a prostitute and a woman that is seeing a man because she enjoys being with him aside from his pocketbook.
Admittedly, in the West, there are women who "date" and marry based mainly or solely on a man's financial offerings. We deem them gold-diggers, though a better term would be "prostitutes seeking a long-term exclusive customer", because that is what they really are too. In Thailand, we are starting to see this phenomena becoming more apparent among Thais going around with farangs, in that they are seeking a more long term baht payout and attempting to hide it thru an acceptable job.
Are these women not actually more dangerous than the Thai bargirl? At least a bargirl cannot disavow what she does – she works in a bar where sex is traded for baht. These more camouflaged Thai prostitutes are both more dangerous and more sophisticated. Yes, Western values are corrupting Thailand. It seems the Western gold-digger has come to Bangkok, along with all the desperate farangs who wish to believe "my girl is different, she is not a hooker because…..".
Could it be she is?
Bargirl: I work in bar, but [I am not a hooker because] I not go with customer.
Farang: I believe you. [But secretly he has his fears.]
Non-bargirl: "I work in an office/department store/restaurant. I never asked you for money [though you often gave me some]. I never take money from you [though you buy me very expensive gifts, some more expensive then anything a bargirl would ever receive because I am "better"]. I have a decent and normal job [which pays nothing compared to how much you've provided me in gifts and lifestyle]. I am really going against my Thai values [though one big Thai value is seeking out the richest man, which is often a farang because of the exchange rate]. In fact, I may be losing a lot of face [although any face I lose is regained and more by the fact I am now perceived as wealthy because I have a farang] as people may think I am a prostitute [because while I can convince you otherwise, my Thai colleagues are not so stupid as to not see reality]."
Farang: I believe. [He has no fears whatsoever, making the mistake that what is on the surface is what is real. In Asia, and especially Thailand, what appears is not what is often the truth. In many cases, the truth is exactly the opposite.
Many, many points to consider. The point you raise about how many of these girls are potentially prostitutes on the fringe throws up the whole argument of just when does a woman become a prostitute. Is it when you start spending 20,000 baht on her a month, or 30? How important is financial security to women and at what point does the spending become more than security? If you were to hit hard times, and I mean really hard times, would she be there, by your side, providing support, or would she be off with the next potential Bill Gates? I think money, and perhaps more precisely, the ability to look after not just her her but also her children, is paramount to women the world over, not just in Thailand.