Stickman Readers' Submissions May 21st, 2003

All Bargirls Are Not The Same

By Barrie

I have, unfortunately, become accustomed to the fact that many of the letters to Stickman are no more than “I came to Thailand and here is a list of the women I bonked’! I will be honest in that I am not totally unbiased since I live in Thailand and have a Thai wife.

He Clinic Bangkok

Two initial points I would like to make, the first being that I have now been reading Stickman's’ column for around two years and everyone talks about “Bargirls” as if they were a single species and impossible to separate from each other and no-one has ever tried to give a definition. My view is that at the high end are the “Bargirls” who dance round the silver pole – say 10/10 and short time as much as possible – and at the other end are the “Bargirls” who work behind a normal bar serving drinks – say 1/10 to whom short time is unknown. There is a world of difference and personally I think that the 1/10’s are little different from the English “Barmaid” or whatever the equivalent is in Scandinavia or America. OK – if your chat up line is good enough and they fancy you then you could end up in bed together – but (and a big but) it is going to cost you, at a minimum, a meal out at a decent restaurant.

I accept that no money has changed hands directly but it has certainly passed through a third party to her benefit and is there really any difference – I think not, except in one aspect, in that the Thai lady does try to make you feel special – the ‘Girlfriend’ experience.

Secondly there is the well worn saying that “You can take the girl out of the bar but not the bar out of the girl”. OK probably true for the 4/10 to 10/10 but for the 1/10 to 3/10 should be “You can take the girl out of the bar but it is very, very difficult to take the girl out of Thailand” of which more later.

CBD bangkok

So, I am now approaching 2 years down the line and I will tell you my story.

I came to Thailand, after meaning to for years, in January 2001 for a much needed break and, yes, I did Patpong and Nana Plaza then on to Chiang Mai and finally to Phuket. If you believe in karma (fate) then this is it, because I had actually booked for Bangkok, Chang Mai & Pattaya and when I went in to the travel agents to confirm and pay I said “Bangkok, Chang Mai & Phuket so that is where I ended up.

Totally knackered from the early morning flight to Phuket I did a quick recon to establish where I was, walked down the beach road, and had a couple of beers at a quiet bar then back to the hotel for a kip. First night walked back to the same bar – I am a creature of habit – and there was Urai who is now my wife. Played a few silly games, connect four etc., had a few beers and asked for the bill and Took, who is now my best female friend, told me the Urai wanted to come back to the hotel with me. Now whether it is standard practice for a friend to ask I do not know but it was a new one on me and it was probably because Urai’s English was totally non-existent.

Upshot was that, despite me trying to explain that I was knackered and only wanted to sleep, we left together and had a meal – grand cost 40 Baht – and spent the night together and all we did was sleep. Next morning Urai goes wherever at some ungodly hour and I depart for the sea caves trip at 06.30. Despite having lots of female American and Canadian company I find that I am missing Urai so, that night, back to the bar and sign “The book” for the week and pay the bar fine. Spent the week together and OK we had sex a few times but that was not the point of the exercise. What, I think, we both wanted was to get to know each other and looking back it was really quite comical since I knew absolutely zero Thai and she new just about as much English and we were both sitting talking to each other via dictionaries. Not withstanding that, it was a great week and at the end I fly back to Bangkok and the hardest thing I have ever done in my life was to actually get on that plane to England since all I wanted to do was fly back to Phuket and Urai.

wonderland clinic

Now I quite accept that up to this stage this is a fairly typical Thai “experience” in that farang has lost heart to “Bargirl” but I felt that there was more – OK also typical!!! Yes I know I felt that Urai was ‘different’ – so what is new?

The ‘difference’ was that when I arrived back at the office – my business as an Architect & Structural Engineer for 20 years – it did not take me long to work out that by selling the business, the offices, the house and cashing in the pensions early my life would run out before the money did so I was in the position where I could ‘take a chance’ and having decided that I did not want to carry on doing what I was for another 7 years thought ‘sod it – go for it’.

So I take the first flight I can get back to Thailand to sort out the lease on a flat, getting Urai out of the bar, bank accounts, booking Urai into language school etc., all through an interpreter. The only sticky moment was when Urai was uncertain and it suddenly occurred to me that she might be married or have a boyfriend – naïve that I am this had not occurred to me. Turned out that she had an eight year old daughter, very backward, who lived with her parents and Urai was afraid to tell me because if I knew that I might not want her. I cannot describe the relief I felt in that was the only problem.

So here I am, having known this ‘Bargirl’ for two weeks, setting up house, and going back to England to basically sell up and convert everything to cash, which took two months, and then I was back in Thailand for good.

Another one of the sayings is that ‘would you introduce a hooker to your parents’? Ok 8 months later I did but at that time all I could do was explain and my 80 year old mothers’ only comment was “If you love her you must go and find her – trust what your heart is telling you”.

Do I have any regrets? NOT ONE SINGLE REGRET!

Apart from not telling me about her daughter until things became serious – and why should she – this is the only information she has withheld and she has never ever lied to me as I have not lied to her since I believe that you are treated as you treat others.

I married Urai on 04 July 2001 and registered the marriage in September the same year.

For two years now we have not spent more than 3 hours at a time apart, mainly when we are at school, and we are both very happy with this.

I promised her that, after one year, her daughter could come and live with us and, if you make a promise to a Thai lady, you must keep it and I did. Tai came last May first to the flat and then in September we moved to the house we bought in Patong.

So nearly a year later we are a family and I love Tai as much as I love Urai and I take care of both of them. I do not see this as anything out of the ordinary since the male has always taken care of the female and the children. I have a family I love and a family that loves me!

ABC I totally agree with your last paragraph. I would have been a fool to think that Urai saw me as anything more than financial security, although she may have quite liked me, when we moved in together but after two years a relationship develops and moves on.

There are things that you cannot hide from each other – E.G.: I have a bad dream and Urai is holding me when I wake up – I reach out for Urai when she is asleep and she cuddles closer. You cannot pretend when you are asleep! Also after two years almost non-stop in each others company if there were false notes they would be picked up. There are none!

Urai has told me that I can butterfly but not with anyone we know and not in our house but, to be perfectly honest, I have no intention of being a butterfly – I love my wife and daughter. I know how much it would hurt me if Urai was a butterfly and I will not hurt her in that way. Treat others as you wish to be treated – simple really! This is not to say that we do not do the rounds of the bars some times when Tai is at school – we do – and Urai knows I like to look and I will flirt but only with her by my side and she is the only one I have any intention of taking home. If times are hard I will give the girls we know well 500 Baht each but in front of Urai. I made the mistake once of giving Waan 500 Baht because I felt sorry for her while Urai had gone shopping. Boy did the shit hit the fan when Urai found out and it was Wann who told her because she thought I fancied her! OK I do but I would never do anything about it – she is a friend of both of us.

Regarding family I do understand the problems but – Thor – you do seem to have struck unlucky. Urais’ family are builders (Urai is in fact a good bricklayer and only ended up as a “Bargirl” long after the melt down in the economy came) and drugs are not allowed but booze OK at family occasions.

One of Urai’s brothers asked me for a 100,000 Baht ‘loan’ which is fairly serious money in Isaan and I side stepped it by saying that I would give Urai the 100,000 Baht as a wedding present and it was up to her what she did with it. Upshot has been that she lent him the money and one year later he has repaid over half which is rather more than I think that I would have seen! There are ways of dealing with the odd family member and he has been the only one asking for money and he obviously did have a genuine problem.

Last August Urai’s father died and we flew up to Korat for the funeral which lasted for 7 days and all I paid for, at my suggestion, was a crate of Thai Whisky, two of beer, a gallon of washing up liquid etc., the whole lot coming to around 1,000 Baht so I was hardly paying for the funeral! All I have received from my wife's family is respect, love and consideration.

We have a house that cost (inc furniture) 4,000,000 Baht and Urai owns the freehold but I have a two thirty year leases, which she gave me, and only I have rights of occupancy. I may follow my heart but my brain has not died!

I take your point ABC with regard to a patient woman and you say “….. if she demonstrates her trustworthiness, devotion and loyalty.” In my book the three words you have used fulfil many of the multitude of definitions of ‘Love’ and I am not sure what else you would ask of your lady since these three things cover everything else such as passion, friendship, laughing together, supporting each other and enjoying the ups and downs of life together as a full partnership regardless of who actually kicks in the finance.

I go back to my point about taking the girl out of Thailand which I still think is probably the root of many problems. As you both say she is likely to be a farmers daughter with, by Western standards, a poor education and will have zero knowledge of anything outside Thailand and even about things inside Thailand her knowledge is likely to be sketchy at best. That however merely indicates a lack of opportunity and does not mean that she does not have a brain and does not want to learn.

Now lets compare that with the farang. You are well educated, probably to university level, work as a professional and, at your likely age, are fairly near the top of the tree and, to say the least, comfortably off by Western standards i.e.: a multi-millionaire by Thai standards.

You have also travelled, if not the whole world (who has?) at least a good part of it, and encountered and dealt with different cultures, languages and ways of life. You have been through an education system with mixed races, especially if you went to university, and been taught to think both creatively and critically. She on the other hand spent the first 15/16 years of her life knowing only her village and being taught very little more than to repeat things by rote.

It should not take anyone more than 10 seconds to work out which half of the partnership is more capable of adapting!

That alone would make it difficult to take the girl out of Thailand but then you must add the Thai devotion to family which I feel then makes the equation impossible to balance. She cannot leave Thailand without a complete conflict of interests but, on the other hand, you can come here and become part of her family – both she and the family gain face – and there is no conflict of interest.

It did not take me a long time to decide which option to take but I do appreciate that this option is not available to everyone – although I am sure that it is available, bearing in mind the cost of living in Thailand, to rather more people than one would think.

I think that my standing with the family went up considerably when I took on the responsibility for Urai’s daughter Tai and brought her down to Phuket to live with us. She is mentally disabled, not physically, and although just turned 11 cannot read or write. Somewhat of a backhanded compliment I feel but our Thai neighbour leant over the garden wall and commented that “It was the first time she had seen a farang teaching a young Thai girl to read and write Thai”.

So two years down the line I am very happy with my life and there is nothing major I do not know about Urai and her family so there are no shocks to come. It looks like love, it feels like love and it is constant – what else do you want?

Either I have been incredibly lucky or you both have been equally unlucky. I will tell you in another five years!

Remember the saying of Buddha – “Look for the diamond in the dung heap” – do not give up and good luck – the right girl for you is out there!

Stickman says:

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