The Art of Manipulation
Being a woman I believe we have our bag of tricks to get what we want from men. Please correct me if I’m wrong, but I always think that when the bag of tricks is put together in a foreign culture, it’s hard for the guys to tell. With this unproven theory, I’m betraying all my fellow Thai women and giving away our common aspects of ‘Art of Manipulation’ by most of Thai girls that Stick readers come across. This may not be new to Thailand veterans but I’m sure there’re people out there who still want to know.
“Take me out shopping”
I used to laugh at female profiles on dating websites that say “I love shopping” because I know a lot of them mean “I love shopping with your money”. Going shopping with you for us means, I shop, you pay. It’s as simple as that. Don’t you ever notice that we never needed anything until we’re in your presence? There’s not much to do in Bangkok other than going to malls anyway so it’s very easy to “innocently” wonder by cosmetic counters, shoes stores, etc. We’d need you opinions on what looks good on us. Get you involved a little and give you the ego boost you needed at the same time. You’d feel you have the taste and we trust your aesthetic judgment.
Now at the cash register we may act differently from person to person. The inexperienced ones of us would just look at you expecting you to pay. The subtler ones know you might not feel comfortable if we do that so we’d reach into the purse slowly, and when you say you’d pay, we’d faintly say no, you’d insist, and they say “Awww… that’s so nice of you!” Of course there are a considerable number of us who’d genuinely need something when go out with you. If we pay for our own things without hesitation, you might want to consider marrying us!
Thai girls are not confrontational (until we lose it and start to throw tantrums!). We are expected by both Asian and Western men to be submissive, and are taught to be so, so it would not be womanlike to be forward with our wants and needs. The negotiations along the lines of “No new shoes for me, no sex tonight”, like what our sisters in the West may come up with, is just too blunt and not Thai-like for us. So what we can do is pout. Our famous puppy face comes very naturally for us. Guys fall for this trick all the time. They don’t want to hurt their girl’s feelings.
“You’re the man and I’m helpless”
We know consciously or subconsciously that there are men regardless of race who want to feel in charge, as a result, feel better about themselves. These men, knowingly or not, can’t wait to ‘help’ us out with whatever we need. We’d call them for stupid stuff like directions. You’re foreigners and we’re local, but that’s not the point. The point is to make you feel you’re a great helper and we appreciate you so much. We can’t get around with you giving us directions, or tell us how much it costs to take BTS from one point to another. We may call you just to ask, “I’m waiting for a GIRL friend and SHE’s not here yet. It’s starting to rain, what do I do? Should I keep waiting?” It does surprise me that a lot of men think it’s cute.
A lot of us Thai women can no longer live our lives the way we lived before we met you. We used to be able to go home by ourselves, go to bank by ourselves, what else..hospital, eat, pay for bills, you name it, all by ourselves. Now going home is scary as our homes are cheap 2,500/month apartment in bad neighborhoods. We need you – the macho man and our sole protection—but that mainly mean a free taxi ride home instead of three connections of hot sweaty bus and a dirt splashing motorbike taxi ride down the stinky soi. And tagging you along to some places that involve expenses does us double goodies. Chances are you’re going to pick up all the expenses (we’ll do that Hesitant Wallet Yanking trick again), but if you don’t, you’d feel important anyways. It’s a win-win situation for us.
“Your jokes are hilarious!”
We know men want us to laugh at their jokes. We’d laugh even though we have no clue what you’re talking about. You point out to a white girl passing by and say, “That girl has such a big nose. She must be from Israel, either that or New York!” (Mean joke, I’m sorry) Hey, you’re talking too fast we don’t catch the word. And even if we catch the words, we still don’t understand. It’s too “intellectual”. What does it have to do with big nose, Israel, and New York anyways? Oh well…we’ll just laugh when we get a cue from you. Whenever it sounds like a punchline, we’ll laugh. That’s easy. Sometimes we even laugh at your effort to make it funny. And now you’re impressed with us.
“You knocked me up, now you’ve gotta marry me!”
This knock up trick is so classic and it works every time with softies. We’re not all stupid and we know how birth control pills work. A pack of birth control pills only costs 15 baht. That’s US$0.50. We can easily get them over the counter. Even if some of us are bargirls, would you really think we don’t want to protect ourselves from pregnancy? If we get pregnant for real, chances are the baby was intentional. And doesn’t matter if the baby is conceived, the intention is to get your attention. We simply want you. We may really love you, we may want your ongoing support, we may want to steal you from other girls or even your wife. Who knows. We can, all of a sudden, have a miscarriage once you are not giving us what we want. “It must be the hot weather.”
“That’s it. I’m going home!”
When all the pouting, sulking, crying have failed to work wonder, we still have this hardball “I’m Leaving” card. Surprisingly to some, we do share some traits with our Western sisters. When we say one thing, we may 90% of the time mean the opposite. It’s a universal gender issue. We get influenced so much by Japanese cartoons. When we get up and leave our apartment key, just like how girls in a Japanese cartoon would, it doesn’t necessarily mean we’re leaving for good. It simply means you’d better come for us. We really love this trick because it’s a great indicator that tells us how well we have you wrapped around our fingers. You’re supposed to call us and want to talk about what’s wrong, and that’s when we demand of you what we want. No N-word, “Negotiation”, here.
If you are quiet for 24 hours, then we’d start to think there’s something wrong with our trick. Maybe we pulled it in a wrong way? Maybe we somehow pushed the wrong button along the process? What if you take the message literally and don’t call? What if you come across another girl when we’re gone? All these maybe’s and what-if’s would just drive us crazy. We’d be on pins and needles. We’d start to bombard you with our SMSs. If those SMSs are not responded to, we’d start our phone calls. If you don’t pick up the calls, we’d go ballistic.
If we show you the signs at 5 points on our Ten-Point Ballistic Scale before you get back to us, the next time around we’ll do 5.5, 6, 6.5, and keep increasing. The time you take ignoring our behaviors before coming for us for a “talk” tells us to make sure we do more next time to get what we want. It’s simple behavioral psychology. The sooner you decide you’re not going to put up with this crap, the better it is for your self-respect and sanity. You can rest assured that we’d increase our ballistic level, but you just need to make sure you totally ignore us and be consistent. After a while when we realize we’re not getting you for real, we’d move on.
“Please don’t leave me. I can’t survive without you”
As if we’d forget how we’ve lived our lives before having you! A friend of mine is young and brainy and goes to one of the most competitive major at Thammasat University. She had a French boyfriend from the time she was an exchange student to France. The guy wanted to move to Thailand to stay close to her. Once he was in Thailand, girls jumped on him. Old sin nature got the better of him and he slept with (at least) one girl. She proclaimed her everlasting love to him after a few days. After two weeks the guy decided to come back to his ‘steady’ girl friend—my friend. The new girl threatened to commit suicide. She couldn’t live without him. The guy, being new to Thailand, bought it, left my friend, and stayed with that psycho girl. Of course, my friend was sad for a few weeks then she was off with another farang..
C’mon you naïveté. We’re not going to kill ourselves. There’re a lot of white fishes in the sea. We just play our roles and get carried away when our old tricks don’t work. When we get desperate we can pull that suicide stint but we’re not going to do it. Give us a break. You think we can love you unconditionally after a few days of being together? If you put your feet down and tell us that you’re not going to buy any BS we cook up, we’d just give up and move on to the next fish. We’re not time wasters here.
It’s hard to give all the details on how our manipulation can be done. We have a vast number of variations here but the principal stays the same—make the guys feel good about themselves. As long as we hold the principals dear and be patient, we can be as creative as we want in designing the approaches, and we wouldn’t have a problem implementing the approaches and get what we want in no time as long as guys don’t know how we do it!
There we are, for those of you who claim that you came to Thailand to avoid the BS / games playing / manipulation of Western women, you are in for a bit of a shock!