Not So Average After All
I very much liked Average Thai Girl's first submission. So much so, that I emailed her and asked her to write another one on sex; she responded quickly and politely, saying she was working on another piece. It recently came out, and she was again as cheerly descriptive, and non-judgmental as her first post. I must say I'm very impressed with this young lady's intelligence, English ability, and calm demeanor. She seems like a lovely person.
However, her latest submission unnerved me.
I suppose the first concern I had was in the third paragraph, when this average, middle class Thai girl talks about "A maid at home" and that maid's promiscuous activities. The phrase suggests that this young lady does not have just one, but more than one maid in her house (I know this could be an issue of a non-native English speaker, but I doubt it; her English is impeccable elsewhere). I know labor is cheap in Thailand, but having more than one maid is, even by Thai standards, a sign of opulence. <It absolutely is not; I know teachers with salaries of 40,000 baht a month or so who have a maid – Stick> It could also mean that this average Thai girl's perspective is actually that of the more conservative Thai-Chinese upper echelon who, let's face it, have exploited the rest of Thailand for their own socioeconomic gain for centuries.
With this in mind, I became concerned about her other insights. For instance, take her comment that Thais believe "love alone is not enough to build a successful relationship. Other factors, such as compatibility of lifestyle and personality are considered when choosing a partner". If the author were western, I think I'd know what the phrase "compatibility of lifestyle" means. My wife and I are introverts and homebodies. I couldn't marry an extrovert; nor could my wife. I couldn't keep up with a partner who goes out past 11 PM, which is usually my bedtime. This is what compatibility of lifestyle means to me.
I am not sure that's what it means to a Thai-Chinese, though. I think it means that the (male) partner needs to have the ability to provide a certain socio-economic standard, and the (female) partner needs to know the proper way to behave in a certain socio-economic group and needs to look a certain way (fair skin, thin, etc.).
Because of her perspective as the daughter in a household of multiple maids, the dismissal of Thai men being unlikely to consider a girl who works in a bar as a partner is suspicious. Sure, for the Thai-Chinese; likewise the girls in Greenwich, CT would never consider a man who earns less than $500k per year. This says a lot about the Thai-Chinese upper echelon and little about the rest of Thailand.
I think Average Thai Girl would agree and admit as much, since in her next section she admits that "it's not uncommon for a man to date a woman from a lower class." Class is complicated and confusing in the west, especially in English-speaking countries, but I'd say what she says also applies to people of certain socio-economic positions. For the middle class, though, things are much messier. I think Average Thai Girl doesn't see this messiness because she is not actually in the middle class.
This brings me to the issue of sex. Throughout her article, Average Thai Girl says some odd things, such as:
"many women believe that they are eligible to a guy’s money after they have sex, because sex makes a woman a man’s de facto wife"
Now this statement might apply to Thai women, but that doesn't mean it's part of Thai society. Let's think about it this way: if Thai women see sex in transactional terms, as something that is given at a certain price (whether it's a wife giving her virginity to her husband in exchange for a marriage, financial security, and a lifestyle of a certain standard or a bargirl giving sex to a customer for 2000 baht), then it makes sense that they would try to get as much pay for the service as possible. This is repeated ad nauseum on this site with the bargirl done me wrong stories where we see Thai girls trying to milk the sexual transaction for as much cash as possible. And western men, duped by western notions of romance or love or whatever, pay up.
But my biggest concern with Average Thai Girl, and where she loses credibility, comes with this statement:
"Westerners who believe cheating is not a serious offence in Thai relationships are dead wrong. Men usually get away with it, because their girlfriends don’t know. When we do know, it usually becomes a hell of a fight, which more often than not ends in a break up."
I have met plenty of foreign students at universities in the west. The Asians are usually very soft spoken, nice, and reserved. Usually, they don't drink, they don't party, and they study very hard before graduating and going back home where they inevitably rise to the top of their societies (since they often started rich in the first place). Because of this restricted lifestyle, these students have an extremely limited perception of the country. It's like if you spent three years in Oxford, dividing your time between the library, your room, and your classes. Just how much would you know of English life? How in touch would you be with the mechanics of Sheffield or the bankers in the City or the council flats of Salford?
We often do not realize it, but this same logic applies to these people's home countries as well. People like Average Thai Girl spend their time in school, with their upper class friends, at family gatherings, and in high society hangouts like Central World and Siam Paragon. Their perception of Thai society is shaped by this.
When in these high society hangouts, they occasionally catch glimpses of western men with prostitutes. It's our fault. We lack tact. We're not discreet. We don't hide our transgressions. But Thai men have this notion of face and they care very much about it. They hide their transgressions, their acts of prostitution, and their cheating. Therefore Average Thai Girl thinks Thai men don't cheat as much as western men think and cheating is punished severely when it's caught. This is wrong.
Thai men cheat, they cheat a lot, and they love prostitution. Whether you go by the Duralex survey that shows Thai cheat more than any other nationality, or you look at the old posting on this site where a poster goes to a brothel with a Thai man where a naked woman spins on a lazy Susan-type device in the middle of the table, or you read Stickman's recent account of the fishbowl place he went to, the evidence is clear.
Just like I wouldn't expect a freshman at NYU to know about the Asian massage parlors in Chinatown, even if they live a 10-minute walk away, I don't expect Average Thai Girl to know about the seedy side of her own society. Therefore, her expertise is extremely limited.
That doesn't mean she isn't nice and isn't worth reading, but it does mean what she says on Thai relationships should be taken with a grain of salt. You wouldn't want someone to learn about American dating and relationships culture from a wealthy blonde freshman, would you?
You have drawn a long bow on some points and display an astounding ignorance on others, making comments and assumptions about stuff it is pretty clear you know little about. To just assume an Average Thai girl is Chinese Thai and then fail to conceal what appears to be almost contempt of Chinese Thais is poor form.
Let's take the maid issue, for example. You appear to assume anyone with a maid is not average. Hello….this is Thailand and there are a lot of maids here employed by many very average folks. I know of Thai families with a modest income who have maids. I know of bar owners with a 50,000 baht a month salary (and I bet not a single satang in the bank) who have a maid. I have one retired friend who lives on around 40,000 baht who has a maid. Many average people in Thailand have a maid!
I received a few emails saying that I should have awarded An Average Thai Girl's submission a green star. I thought her article had a lot of very useful and interesting information from a unique perspective. The only proviso I would make is that many western guys involved with Thai women meet Thai women who are easy to meet, that is women in bars or women on dating sites, most of whom drop their knickers in a flash. The really desirable women An Average Thai Girl talks of are not met so easily and with so many foreign guys in Thailand chasing relatively small pool of Thai women, some of what she says might not apply to dating those women.