Etiquette & Protocol
The Thai etiquette of recognising seniority through the addition of a prefix to the name of the person you are addressing has always intrigued me. So for example, if you have a younger sister or friend called Nit, then you may address her as Nong’Nit. Conversely, if Nit is older than you, then you would probably address her as Pee’Nit. This principle appears to hold true whether you are 6 or 66 and probably explains why on meeting someone new, a Thai person will often ask how old they are. The purpose in doing so is to establish their relative seniority!
Whilst reading the Daily Mail, I was amused to learn that seniority is also a concern for the female members of the British Royal Family, especially now that Kate Middleton is marrying into “The Firm”. The pressing issue is whether royal protocol requires Prince Charles’s wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall to curtsey to Kate, or vice versa. As is often the case in these matters – it ain’t that simple!
It would seem that prior to their wedding on 29th April 2011, Kate is outranked by everyone. She will therefore be expected to curtsey to all and sundry – with the possible exception of the Queen’s corgis. Once married, this will change. When Kate marries into the family, it is presently unclear as to whether she or Camilla will be afforded the higher royal rank, which in turn dictates who will be required to curtsey to who. This is because when Charles, Prince of Wales eventually ascends to the throne, Camilla will most likely be afforded the title Princess consort, whereas Kate will become Queen consort following the coronation of King William V. However, when Camilla and Kate’s respective spouses are present, then each wife will assume an enhanced status based upon the current rank of their husband. Thus, when Prince Charles is present then Camilla will outrank Kate, and Kate must thus curtsey to her. Conversely, when Prince William is present and his father is absent, then Kate will outrank Camilla, and so Camilla will be expected to curtsey to Kate. In the presence of their husbands, both Camilla and Kate will outrank the Royal Princesses Anne, Beatrice, Eugenie and Alexandra; who will thus be required to curtsey to them. However, if their husband leaves the room, then their respective statuses will revert to a level below the Royal Princesses, and thus the curtseying protocol is reversed. This has the making of an excellent parlour game. I’m sure it will keep the Royals entertained for years to come during their Christmases together at Sandringham house!
The Queen is indeed fortunate to be at the top of the royal pecking order, thereby never being required to curtsey to anyone. Indeed, legally she is above the law, as the Monarch cannot be prosecuted in his or her own courts for criminal offences. It is unclear what the protocol would be in terms of culpability, were the Prince of Wales to do away with his mother thus becoming King!
There have been a number of recent Stickman submissions’ regarding monger etiquette; in particular concerning the practice of partying without a party hat and the concealment of an HIV+ status. Earlier submissions have also raised concerns about bad behaviour, such as customers joining or even usurping the girls in dancing around the shiny silver poles. Whilst having my own views on these issues, I think it is worth making the point that mongers are a disparate group of individuals (the good, the bad and the ugly) pursuing their own self interests. There is no such thing as a universal brotherhood of mongers! They do not share a common background, objectives or aspirations other than the pursuit of pussy, nor are they bound by a duty of care – either to the prostitutes who serve them or indeed to each other. You are however bound by a duty of care to yourself and your loved ones! Mongers cannot be expected to operate under a set of rules and guidelines for best practice, as for example is the case for doctors who are regulated through the General Medical Council (GMC).
It is fair to say that many, perhaps most mongers possess a personal morality which dictates their modus operandi. It is clear from much of what has been written on the Stickman website that the vast majority of contributors conduct themselves in an exemplary fashion, treating the girls fairly and with kindness and consideration. That being said, those who do behave badly may be disinclined to write in and submit themselves to criticism. Also, observation leads me to believe there are many mongers out there who would be incapable of expressing themselves coherently in writing, or indeed verbally. It is perhaps a big assumption as I have no statistical evidence to back it up, but I suspect this educationally disadvantaged group are less likely to behave in a respectful and responsible manner. Even when considering the behaviour of well healed mongers, I am mindful of the behaviour of one particular major player whom I have met – not a contributor to Stickman’s site as far as I am aware, who refuses to ever wear a condom. The gentleman in question is both highly educated and wealthy.
Given that some mongers, and indeed many of the bargirl’s Thai boyfriends will not use a condom, then the pressing reason for doing so yourself is one of self protection rather than morality (i.e. protecting the bargirl). If you dislike using condoms, have a low adversity to risk and the girl doesn’t object, then by all means feel free to ride off into the sunset bareback. Do though consider the risk you are exposing any future sexual partner to, especially a non-bargirl!
Turning now to concealing your HIV+ status from the bargirl, this is clearly an issue of morality. You are not only endangering her life and those of her future customers, but also compromising the girl’s ability to support her extended family on an ongoing basis. If you are a “bareback rider”, then consider again the risk you are taking, given that the bargirl may be concealing her HIV+ status from you.
Drunken customers, who insist on dancing around the shiny silver poles in your favourite gogo bar, may be uncouth and annoying, but they are not in breach of bar etiquette – because there isn’t any! If the bar manager doesn’t have a problem with this type of behaviour but you do, then drink-up, pay the checkbin and leave. Paying customers have a right to go to the bar, drink, interact with the girls and have fun – subject to their behaviour being acceptable to the management. This includes indulging in banter with the girls that may be considered lewd and disrespectable by western workplace standards, but is perfectly acceptable in a roomful of Thai prostitutes. It also includes smoking in the bar. This may be illegal under Thai law, but in reality is not illegal given that where it occurs, the boys in tight brown shirts will have been paid to look the other way!
Another hot topic of debate has been whether you should negotiate an agreement with the girl as to precisely what service you require and how much you will pay her before leaving the bar. Again, I wouldn’t see this as a matter of etiquette in terms of which approach you should adopt, but more a question of style in terms of how you and indeed the girl prefer to transact business. Certainly, if you require something out of the ordinary, then perhaps it would be prudent to “seal the deal” so to speak before leaving the bar. If you are not by nature a generous tipper, then it may be sensible to manage her expectations before paying the bar fine. Where no in-bar negotiation takes place, the girl is to some extent relying on the monger being “a gentleman” who will not coerce her into doing anything she is uncomfortable with. Whereas I’m sure this is true of Caveman who advocates this approach, there will be others with a less well defined sense of morality operating on the principal that once the bar fine is paid the girl is obligated to provide whatever sexual favours he requires of her. Failure to deliver will be perceived as a “breach of contract”, with his redress being an absolute right to apply coercion to secure his rightful dues, up to and including the administration of a severe beating. For this reason, the girl might be well advised to make enquires as to her customer’s expectations before deciding whether not she wishes to leave the bar with him!
Too hard to comment as there are many different points on a variety of subjects made.