A Shrink’s View
I’m planning my third trip to Thailand for business and fun. As a psychologist who has read much of what has been written on Stick’s site, I valued the advice and experiences of others before I arrived and it was helpful. Like a staged show, they all appeared, the bar girl who can barely communicate with me tells me she loves me. The well dressed Thai man who gives me the tip on the government sale on jewelry and after I leave, the email – Father was bitten by a cobra and is in hospital.
I was also lucky in that I knew some Thai people educated in the US. On my first day, we played golf and that night he took me out for my first look at Bangkok’s wild side. After the tourist spots in Patpong, he took me to a quiet bar and told me he had called a lady he knew and she would meet us there. He said “if you like her she will stay with you”, then he laughed and said, “you will want to marry her, so be careful”. She walked in the door and it was “Wow”, so classy looking and pretty. Her English was just passable and my Thai horrible, but we still had a lot of fun going to shows and seeing the sights. One thing that helped was my Thai friends served as interpreters for us so we could have some good conversations. Nope, not getting married, but I do spend my time in Bangkok with her. If she wasn’t in the bar scene and she has many bargirl friends, who knows, she really is a notch above the rest. I should add that she was 38 and much closer to my age, so I think that got rid of many of the games and high drama.
Did I leave out the part where I felt like crying when I left her, yup, that was there too. So why do we seem to fall in love so easily in Thailand? Much has been said already on this site. In therapy, complete acceptance is offered to quickly build trust and a relationship; that is what the bargirls do as well. They are also meeting you on the sexual level which is where men are more likely to feel like they are in love. Add in a vacation mentality with no mate at home and much of the recipe is in place. That is why if you are really vulnerable, no matter how often you are told about the scams, you will fall victim to bargirl tricks. Unconsciously, you make a deal, you chose to pay her to keep your fantasies alive.
Some thoughts on Katoeys based on my clinical experience. Thought I should be clear on that. Did you ever burn your finger? You know, you feel a painful sensation, snap your finger away and yell ouch. Actually that is not what happens; your body has many automatic functions, in the wiring so to speak. Once your finger touches a burning object, a sensory neuron automatically carries the message to the limbic system, which automatically sends a motor neuron to move your finger. The sensory neuron continues on to the cerebellum where you feel pain and have cognitive thoughts about what happened. It just seems that you feel pain and then move your finger, because it happens quickly. The same thing happens sexually, when you see that hot woman, you are turned on before the thoughts as to why you are turned on. It’s in the wiring, same reason why some men prefer Asian women and yet there were no Asian women in their teenage experiences.
Katoeys are transgendered, they have a deep desire to be treated like a woman and they didn’t choose it. Most have these thoughts by age 10. So when they look at women, that is what they want to look like and it turns them on because it’s in their wiring. No one would choose being transgendered, because it comes with too many problems beginning with a lack of acceptance which leads to feelings of shame and depression. My point is that you should respect them as people, but be careful, as all those problems means they are more likely to engage in high risk behaviors.
Golf and of course the power of the dollar are also major reasons why I love to come to Thailand. I have golfed in Phuket, Pattaya, Hua Hin and Bangkok. If you don’t play on the weekends, you get the best prices and are less likely to encounter an army of Asian players in front of you. Got a foursome, how about an eightsome or a tensome, yup, 10 players on one hole. Just tell your caddy and she will figure out a way figure out how to jump ahead and play that hole later. In Phuket, I thought the Phuket Country Club was excellent, but the Blue Canyon courses were the hardest. And take advantage of the clubhouse facilities, they were top notch. My favorite is Laem Chabang outside of Pattaya. It has 3 nine hole courses, but don’t play the Mountain course unless you are good. The Royal Army Thai course in Bangkok is challenging as water comes into play quite often. On one hole, you are near a firing range, a little unnerving to try to hit the ball with automatic gun fire going off. I was not impressed with the courses in Hua Hin and recommend the courses outside of town, however, if you just want to hit the ball around, no problem. If you are playing solo, let your hotel call the course and find a tee time when other English speaking players are there to join. I have had a lot of fun playing golf with people from all over the world. As for course conditions, it all depends on the weather and quality of the club. The greens on the better courses are fast, but with a good caddie, you can score. I have found the caddies to be a delight and often very helpful. Tip them well, they deserve it. Last, bring a good umbrella, not for the rain, it is better to play when it’s cloudy or a light drizzle, but for the sun. You need to keep that sun off you and drink lots of water.
I’ll be back in a couple of months and will be writing a research grant with one of the Thai Universities. Who knows, an extended stay may be on the horizon.