Stickman Readers' Submissions March 25th, 2003

A reply to “Generalisations about Bargirls” by Dutch39

A Reply to "Generalizations about Bargirls" by Dutch39

I read a very well written article on the website recently, entitled "Generalizations about Bargirls", by Dutch39. In it, I believe he provided some of the best and only sure guidelines for someone wanting to make it with a Thai bargirl. Admittedly, the advice would apply for Thai women in general, anyone looking to attempt a cross-cultural relationship of any kind, and even for those looking to marry within their own culture/country/race/age/etc. However, I think it encompasses some of the few sure rules when dealing with a Thai bargirl in general.

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First, as Dutch39 pointed out concerning many generalizations on the Stickman site about Thai bargirls, there are many exceptions. However, the rules are generalizations, and from observations I've made and many others have, the generalizations do tend to hold up. In most cases and despite all the reasons, justifications, and excuses, whether they are good reasons and explanations or not, bargirls are in it for the money and they are most likely not in love with you. However real as it may seem to you, it is often really some combination of your being in love and desperately wanting her to love you in return (an example of the fact that love is often blind), the lack of vision due to dealing with a new (Thai) culture, her stunning beauty (via her body or her personality or her age), and your forgetting she is playing out the fantasy of being lovers in the course of the transaction. The last two causes are the strongest —- the bargirls attractiveness and the man forgetting that in the Thai/farang sex-trade, the fantasy of being lovers is an implicit part of the services rendered.

Dutch39's story demonstrates the causes of why so many farangs mistake a great paid sexual-emotional experience with a prostitute as mutual love. He met her, found it hard to ask her on a date, because for him such a woman would be a great and difficult person to meet in a normal situation, and didn't leave his hotel room for most of 2 weeks. I hope most men realize just how powerful long-term exposure to sex with a highly attractive woman can be to both a guy's mental and emotional bearings. In fact, research has shown that for men, sex and love are very intimately intertwined. From this context, it's not surprising that attractive bargirls get so many guys to fall in love with them. Instead, so many guys seem to think it's the other way around —- that so many guys fall in love with bargirls. No, it's the other way around, in which case MANY different guys will fall in love with the same attractive bargirl. Notice I said "attractive" bargirls, so the exceptions are the ugly ones, but even they may get their day with a guy who tastes may suit their particular looks.

Furthermore, Dutch gave up his career for Waan (his Thai bargirl), moved to Thailand, then gave up the relative luxury of Bangkok to live in her country, then progressed to building her a house (which sounds like it was above normal Thai homes, likely with AC, multiple room in each floor level, with power and running water in the home). Going farther, like many men, it is pointed out she was given very little money. However, was any consideration given to the home that as build, the fact it was luxurious by Thai Issaan standards, and that in the process he provided her an extremely good living and great face, especially relative to the fact she may have highly disliked her previous occupation as a prostitute?

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There is no intention of putting down Waan here, nor am I saying she doesn't deserve all of the things he's given her. My point is that a patient woman, with common sense and intelligence learned in the nightlife scene, may have the foresight to wait, patiently understanding that when a man stays with her and grows in his love for her, he will provide and take good care of her, if she demonstrates her trustworthiness, devotion, and loyalty.

Now comes the final question. Does the fact she may have stayed for the better life and a good provider mean a farang should not stay with such a woman? Some say what does it matter why someone loves me? If she loves me, that's all that matters. Well, if someone loves you for your money, would you stay with such a person? I wouldn't, and I'd say anyone seeking "real" love would not either. Yet, many farangs will argue that for the Thai, money and love are intertwined, and we cannot apply our Western sensibilities. Some proponents even argue that Western relationships involve marriage for money too, and in many cases they do. But again, how many of us Westerners would want to be in such a relationship?

The opposite view is that it is best to find someone whose love for you is real, and who you love genuinely too. In this opposing view, a woman that stays because she either anticipates or sees a good provider, and loves the man mainly for this provider capability, should be avoided as a wife or lifelong partner. Taken to the maximum, if she loves the man for many reasons but even a part of it is due to his financial support should be avoided.

The choice is "up to you", as they say in Thailand. I tend to prefer a woman that loves me independent of my ability to support her, and will definitely not stay with someone that is seeking outright baht on a long-term basis.

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However, I think it may be very difficult to find any woman, even a Western one in your own country, who won't at least consider your financial situation partly. It can be in her consideration of your class, education, clothing, status, or speech, but there is always a financial link or angle. And with a Thai woman, at least in the beginning it would be almost a given that your financial status would have significance, especially since it's hard to not notice you are a white-skinned farang. She might give notice to a Thai man with good humor or suave personality, regardless of his economic background. However, with the stereotypes of farang as (relatively) wealthy, she couldn't help from finding it at least part of the initial motivation to be with a farang.

Taken the above into consideration, I would say the real test is what her present motivation is to stay with you, and if the primary motivation presently is economic. And in the process of determining this, please don't assume that just because her actual baht earnings are less today than it was as a bargirl proves anything. First, she likely knows those baht earnings are before her living and shopping expenses, and she also knows those days are limited by her youth and ability to deal with the scene anyways. Second, if you are now up-country, don't think she doesn’t understand that it's better to be living on 15-20,000 baht in Issaan than 30-70,000 baht in Bangkok. This is especially true if she, like most Thais, has strong Thais to her family. Remember, bargirls can change friends easily, but where do they tend to disappear to on every major Thai holiday? Back to see their family, whom so many support on a monthly basis. And lastly, keep in mind that only the very top earners will make over 40,000 baht monthly as bargirls. In essence, it really can be difficult to prove your girl isn't staying for the money. If she's got a new house built in her name, gets at least 2-3,000 baht in pocket money, knows you'll pay the rest for living costs, has a guy that really loves her, and whom she at least finds pleasant as company, then why not?

So unless you can realistically be sure she isn't around for the money, which is pretty hard for most farangs in their situations with their bargirl lovers, you must ask "can you live with someone staying because you're a good provider?"

Your only other options are to:

1) Leave.

2) Let her keep working as a bargirl and observe if she stays your girlfriend, waiting for a sufficient period of time (3, 6, 8, 12, 24 months…) for her to prove her love.

3) Test her love in other ways besides the financial front.

Option 1 is painful for many guys, though many do leave, taking the safer and likely more prudent course of action. Option 2 often leads to failure of the relationship, but not always because she didn't have genuine love. After all, she might leave the relationship thinking the guy doesn't love her, as he's letting her continue working. Remember that most bargirls, despite their occupation, have very traditional values of sex and marriage and who supports whom. She might also leave because she rationally sees the need to find someone willing to support her out of her bargirl life. Lastly, she might meet someone she really falls in love with, or in the event she was in love she might fall in love a second time.

Option 3 leads to very non-quantitative tests and guys in love may easily manipulate their interpretations to prove her love. For instance, you could see how jealous she is if you butterfly, but then most bargirls get extremely jealous even if you are emotionally nothing to them. You could see how sorry she is after a fight or see how good the "make up" part of a fight is, but anyone with experience with women in general or bargirls can vouch that someone not in love with you can still show remorse, especially if they are passive (like so many Thai women are), feel like they are in the wrong, or see the practical need to apologize (i.e. she wants more money or support from you as a bargirl).

It would be interesting to see how Dutch does in 2 years, then in 3 years. After the 7th year, it may be time to evaluate if it was a truly successful relationship. Most people likely are familiar with the research that shows marriages tend to either fail or last after the 7th year, but then even if it does, over half Western marriages fail after the 15th year. So I suppose if it lasts past the 7th year, even if it fails later, we can say it was "successful" by Western standards.

My views are shaped by my thoughts before and after I started a relationship with a Thai girl. I've been with her for almost 2.5 years now. Despite the shortage of outright baht provided during the majority of this time period, it becomes clear living in a first world country that her lifestyle and standard of living has gone up dramatically. The fact she could work in a waitress job and send just $200 a month home to make her family "retired for life" would be enough for many women to marry a farang and be happy getting no allowance from him. You start to realize that wealth is relative and that while you may think she has no financial motivation to stay, she may see a lot of financial reasons to stay. Guys in love easily forget the money isn't always given outright. So how do I know her love is for real. Well, I am personally convinced she doesn't want to stay in the USA and only does so because of me. This is based on my observations of her behavior, words, and my interpretation of them. I will claim that I'm very cynical and love has not made me blind in making my conclusion, but how can I really prove to you that I'm not just blind here? I can't without documenting my life, and even then you may discover I'm just totally blinded by love. And that's why I think option 3 isn't feasible to prove a bargirl or ex-bargirl's love as genuine.

Of course, there are 2 other ways a farang/bargirl relationship could work. First, many guys learn to not really care about the answer (is her love real?), or at least to live with the uncertainty and the possibility it is not completely genuine. Second, many farangs really don't love the girl anyways. They may think they do, but they really don't. It could be the sex and lust taken to such a keen level it's mistaken for love, it could be he just doesn't want to be alone, or it could be he's never had real love to compare what he really feels to.

In the end, it is "up to you". Just remember that there is also a popular Western quote, caveat emptor — let the buyer beware. In Thailand some say everything is for sale, but "you can't buy love", so you're only buying an illusion if it's not the genuine article. It's your job to verify what you buy into, or to face the consequences otherwise.

There are countless stories of farang whose hearts and money are stolen by lying bargirls, Thai girls whose hearts and virginity are stolen by unscrupulous men (Thai or farang), and even bargirls whose hearts and time are stolen by lying farang customer/boyfriends/something in between. Don't become one of them.

For those that deal with the question of her love being genuine, and end up attempting a relationship, Dutch gives a great piece of advice. If you do nothing else, you must spend time with your girlfriend to see if she is for real and if you two can actually live together. Dutch spent a lot of time with her before building her a house, which may have been his final act of commitment. I would tend to believe you should spend at least 7-8 months with her in person before making any kind of long-term decision, like doling up for a house or getting married. One thing Dutch and I have in common is that our girlfriends tended to provide more and more of the truth over time. This is human nature, and you can’t just expect her to pick up the phone while you’re in Australia/England/etc. and confess to someone who represents a monthly support check. In this scenario, all she risks is the downside of you getting angry, breaking up with her, and cutting off all payments. If she actually liked or even loved you, I’d bet she would be even less likely to tell you the truth. You don’t know her that well yet, and your entire image of her is based on a romantic fantasy. As a woman, she is much more cognizant of this, and the fact you place so much in a relationship with a woman you’ve seen less than 3 weeks likely proves you aren’t as aware of it being so much fantasy right now. So why should she risk losing you by admitting something you either already know or have chosen to convince yourself of otherwise?

If you actually stay with her, then she gets to know you. She’ll actually start to see you as a person in her life and someone she likes, loves, or respects, or you’ll start to see she sees you as nothing. Then the scenario changes. If she starts to build an emotional investment in the relationship, the improvement of it or the removal something between the "two of you" may be worth the risk of financial loss. Keep in mind that if you chose to be the boyfriend 2000 miles away, there really is no "two of you", and then she would really be foolish to risk telling you anything negative.

Stickman says:

I like your final comments and the analysis you make about long distance "relationships".

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