A Positive Story
Stickman's Guide to Bang kok
After a couple years in Bangkok I thought I would throw in a little about my relationship to a Thai girl, as it seems most articles are negative. I thought the article Money, Lies and Love, Fear and Face, had some truth and good advice in there but most not very accurate. I would have to completely agree with Stickman's comments, that if the writer substituted Bar Girl instead of Thai Girl Friend, the article would be a lot more accurate. So I decided to use that article as a template using my girlfriend as the sample case, you may think that she is a an average Thai girl or not, I will just say she is a good example of a large population of girls in Thailand that exist.
Girlfriend basics: 25 years old mixed Chinese family middle class graduated from international university in Bangkok oluent in English office job at an international company. Salary 40K – 50K a month, plus 10K – 15K expense allowance, and a quite large end of year bonus.
Me basics: American – not over 30 years old lived in Thailand for 2 – 4 years good job as far as Thailand goes age similar to my girlfriend's University educated middle class
Money: I asked my girlfriend why she didn’t ask me for money, her answer, “why would I take your money, you worked hard for it not me.” Of course she would like more money and to give more money to the people she cares about, but to her the source of money is important also, if it is at the expense of your values, morals or the people she cares about, then it is not just a More Money More Money attitude to her.
Pressure for Money: My girlfriend doesn’t ask for money from me, long ago she told me “that is why I went to university so that I could get a job and not rely on other people (i.e. family, boyfriend, etc.) to support myself” She supports / partially supports members of her family, but doesn’t expect me to. Never take your girlfriend with you to purchase a capital expenditure: I take her every time, she is way better at negotiating then me I always feel bad when the sales guys put on that pathetic face, and tell you about how they not making a profit. There is nothing more pathetic to me than a 35ish year old guy, looking like he is going to cry because you want a discount larger than what he wants to give. And Thai guys have this act worked out to a science. I just cave and pay so I don’t have to witness the desperation and humiliation they are willing to put themselves through for a 2% profit increase. But not my girlfriend, she takes no enemies, when they whip out the face she knows it is an act, and more than once I have seen her up the discount she was asking, just out of spite because that tried to pull that on her. Why wouldn’t she try and save me money on the purchase of a condo in Hua Hin, if she can get a discount maybe their is enough left over for us to take a vacation somewhere. The is no question of authority in situations like this, if it is my money, and I don’t understand a detail that was discussed in Thai, my girlfriend tries her best to translate it exactly, because their fundamental rules between us that are understood before ever going into a situation like this.
Rules: My girlfriend will try to help me to the best of her ability, but it is my money (I have 100% authority), and I have to take full responsibility for everything that I agree to. She will try to translate if I don’t understand something, but if there is a misunderstanding due to language, I have to take responsibility for the outcome, even if she translated (explained) something incorrectly. The underlying theme is that it is not her fault that I have been lazy and my Thai is not good enough to conduct the entire transaction by myself. The opposite situation applies when she is making a purchase, she has 100% authority. If both our money is involved than of course the authority is shared. Fear I don’t know much about this but most Thais I know are superstitious about the dead and ghosts and stuff. But most working class Thais holding any job that requires some use of intelligence, I don’t think have the time, energy, or interest in letting a hobby of superstition consume there life. But of course, the Thais that don’t work for one reason or another I am sure, have plenty of time to think about spirits, prayers, and aliens and anything else that will consume the endless span of free days. I would coin it Thai Dungeons and Dragons phenomenon. Who was it that played Dungeons and Dragons when we were kids, it was the guys that didn’t play sports, get many girls, or have any other interests to consume there time and energy, so they fantasized about Wizards and Trolls all day. That is basically the same as the ultra superstitious Thai with no desire to work, its just a case of too much time. So basically my girlfriend is superstitious, but it doesn’t have a major impact on everyday life, as she has more important things to do.
Anger My girlfriend has never gotten violent, one she is pretty weak even for a Thai girl, but she just chooses to ignore and walk away from me if she is angry. She knows that I like her, and that I can’t just go out and find another girl like her on the next soi. So if I did something wrong then I better apologize if I want to talk to her, or at least make an effort to accept some blame. Or if it is misunderstanding, we talk about it, she doesn’t even yell, and her description of girls that do is naa gliat. The reason why so many foreigners have problems with jealous girlfriends and anger problems, is because many of them choose average or below average girls, and the girl knows that her boyfriend could dump her and walk 100 meters down the soi and find 15 girls just as good as her. Secrets I don’t exactly understand the complexity of the secrets games with Thai women, but I think the basic game is played by just about every girl in all social levels. I think that Money, Lies and Love, Fear and Face article took about as good a stab at it, as I could come up with. It is a very complex game the Thai girls like to play, for what reason I don’t know. Seems to me it is for a number of reasons, power games and just plain fun to name a few. American girls play it also, and I don’t understand there version either, but I think Thais girls take it to a whole other level.
Relationship, Marriage and Sin Sot: I talked marriage loosely with my girlfriend, and she said she was too young to get married. I am sure if I pushed her she might discuss it more seriously. But no rush, we have known each other for 2 years and dated for less than a year. She said that if marriage ever came about, her mother and father would expect some sin sot, but she has already told her mother (probably didn’t tell the father 555), that they won’t be getting any sin sot, as she thinks it is an old custom that should only apply in needed situations. But I have a feeling that we might need to make some compromises in that area when the family is involved, as face will be an issue, and that is something that of course her and her family still care about. I guess the only point I am trying make is, not all girls are like most of the women described on this site. Why do foreign guys choose girls from
backgrounds where social behavior such as sincerity, good moral values, character, and social skills are not required or even looked upon as valuable to have, and then complain about all of their flaws in these areas. To me it's as stupid, as buying a Pepsi, and then complaining to the the guy at 7 / 11 that their wasn’t Coke inside. Many foreigners like to play the culture card, and blame it is a different culture, and they are still in the progress of learning it, adapting or accepting it. Or my personal favorite, they are in the process of modify to suit their needs. To me that is just crap, its the same situation in any country. Better to just blame it on the fact that you are in idiot, regardless of the country you are in. I am middle class American, and I don’t go to inner city ghettos or backcountry communities in America looking for a girlfriend that comes from a different social background. And if I did I certainly wouldn’t complain when her social skills, behavior, or values do not match those of my own, my friends or my family.
My resolution for 2006, is to stop the complaining about this, so help me out the next time that some guy, starts to complain about his bargirl wife / girlfriend, don’t say a single word, just nod your head, until he becomes tired of the one way conversation.
Sounds like you met a really down to earth, modern woman. Well done!