Internet Dating in Thailand: In Thai Language
I've read several interesting readers' submissions about using internet dating websites, such as ThaiFriendly, either to find the lady of their dreams, or to find someone up for a quick romp.
Some of the stories and events related after contacting Thai women on the website sound like the stuff of nightmares, (or paradise, depending on where your interests lie).
I assume – probably correctly – that the initial online contact and subsequent online chat between the two parties has been conducted in English or Tinglish ('me good girl, no work bar' etc).
I want to describe my own experiences with online dating in Thailand, but where the contact and conversation has been conducted solely in Thai language – spoken and written, with a smattering of tortuous English thrown in that the lady has sourced from Google Translate.
I wondered if there was any difference in how Thai ladies conducted an online relationship with a foreigner, if they didn't have to face the challenges of reading and writing in English.
Of course, many Thai women are very competent in English, but I hypothetized that most of the women who registered on ThaiFriendly would struggle to conduct a decent written conversation in English language.
As far as my own Thai language competence is concerned, I was fortunate in being able to speak very good Thai, as well as being able to read and write Thai rather well. I have lived in Thailand for 15 years and studied Thai at Chulalongkorn University.
OK, if you ask me to read a legal document in Thai language, I would struggle to understand every single word, but I would be able to translate probably about 95% of the document.
In any case, I didn't plan to discuss the intricacies of the Thai legal system with the women who contacted me on ThaiFriendly
First, I needed to create my own profile on the website. I didn't create a false identity, (perhaps by using photos of some handsome hunk in his 30's). I posted recent photos of my rather-aged face (in my 50's), as well as some full-body photos. I have never been a heavy drinker, so at least my gut was not pouring over my jeans.
I wrote my profile entirely in Thai language, with a title being something along the lines of 'If you are not fluent in English language…', then proceeding to the body of the profile itself, where I briefly explain that I can read, write and speak Thai.
I summarised my personality as easy-going, honest, calm, not a butterfly etc. but I checked all options in terms of the type of relationship that I was seeking, (casual, friends, serious and marriage). I left the preferred age range between 18 and infinity!
In order to get the most out of the website, I paid to upgrade to a Premium membership. This was not a high cost at all, and removed all of the restrictions concerning sending/receiving messages and specifying advanced search parameters.
Having not recently used a Thai dating website, it was interesting to see the typical summary text that Thai ladies placed on their profile. There was the expected 'looking for a good man to take care of me and my family' (Note – Unless you are very rich, very dim or both, I suggest you run very fast when you see this phrase 'look after my family'. It is dating web-speak for 'we think you're a walking ATM who will be stupid enough to finance our greedy lifestyle…')
What was most interesting were the large number of younger women (under 30), who stated 'No sex-chat, no cam-sex, don't send me pictures of your dick', (or words to that effect).
Clearly, ThaiFriendly had become the hunting ground for western guys who liked to expose rather a lot in their online profile. As an older guy, I found that to be rather a sad state of affairs, because it suggested to me that 'decent' Thai women on this website, (and I’m sure there were some), were not at all happy with this type of approach from Western guys, and that this disdain for Westerners was likely – IMHO – to follow through into day-to-day contact with Western men.
A suggestion – keep your dick photos for those gals who request them
Anyway, up went my profile, the text and photos were quickly approved by the site administrators, and I waited to see what type of response (if any), I would receive. I decided not to initiate any contact, but to wait to see if any women would make the move and contact me first.
I didn't have to wait long, perhaps all of 30 seconds! A lady in her 30's clicked on the "I'm interested in you" button, and then sent a message 'Sawasdee' in Thai script.
And then another lady did the same, in her 50's
And then another aged 24 did the same..
and then again… and.. again….. and again.
I have to say that the response was totally overwhelming, with contacts across the age range from 18 to almost infinity, (as I had indicated in my profile preferences lol).
It was impossible to find time to conduct an online chat with all these women. But I did respond to some of the more attractive women. (I didn't encourage conversation with the more ..er.. mature ladies of a certain age, because I didn't want to give them false hopes that they were going to snare a distinguished, educated and mature foreigner, (that means me, you fool, if you were in any doubt!).
So I responded back to several of the ladies, writing in Thai script, thanking them for contacting me, and asking typical chit-chat questions.
I can summarize my conversations:
– All of the women (that is 100% of my contacts), were very surprised to find a 'farang' who was able to read and write Thai to a decent level. It certainly put them at their ease, not having to struggle to understand or string together English words and phrases.
– It was clear that many of these women would have difficulty reading and writing complicated English sentences.
A tip if you are dating online and writing in English to them. Keep your sentences very simple, absolutely do not use Tinglish, think about possible double-meanings of what you're going to write before you send your sweet words.
For example, if you write in English 'I am not ugly, fat or rich' may be incorrectly understood by a woman with limited English skills as 'I am not ugly, but I am fat and rich'. You need to spell it out as 'I am not ugly. I am not fat. I am not rich'.
Once my contacts realized that I was not joking about my Thai language abilities, they all let flow at full speed in written Thai. No short 'yes' and 'no' exchanges. These were detailed sentences about themselves and the sort of person that they were looking to hook up with.
For my side, reading their Thai was usually a rapid process. But many of these women made various spelling mistakes in their written Thai, perhaps using the wrong Thai letter (such as for the equivalent of the letter 's'), or using the wrong tone mark. Since I was used to reading grammatically-correct Thai, this did add a further challenge to me reading their replies at a quick pace. Perhaps it also showed their lack of education in learning to write in Thai, with many women indicating on their profile that they only had an elementary level school education.
But I felt the need to reply back to them with a similar flow of text in Thai. Since my typing skills only utilize one finger on each hand, (and I can type English quite fast in that manner), I found myself typing like crazy with an extra effort to ensure correct Thai tone marks etc, all on a keyboard where the Thai letters were rather worn and not easy-visible.
So my responses in Thai were a little slower than those of my female contacts, but every time I wrote a detailed sentence in Thai, it seemed to encourage them even more to respond with a whole paragraph in flowing Thai.
(A note to readers who have minimal or zero knowledge of reading Thai. The use of spaces between words is usually confined to the start of a new sentence or a new subject matter. So a typical Thai sentence is one long string of letters. To read this, (at least my own method), is not to try to interpret each individual letter, but to recognize word patterns of words that I know. So a general chit-chat sentence can be very quickly read and understood.
The problem is when one encounters a new word whose pattern is not yet stored in my memory. The first thing I do is to ‘isolate’ the word from the word proceeding and after it. This is done by knowing the details of Thai grammar and spelling, recognizing a known word pattern for the word that follows the unknown word, and knowing what letters cannot occur at the end or beginning of a word.
Having isolated the unknown word in my brain, I then ‘read it’, based again on my knowledge of the rules of reading Thai language. Don’t think that you just read Thai words from left to right! For many Thai words, the initial sound of the word may start with the second or third letter, perhaps in the centre of the word.
What this all means is that reading a sentence in Thai where there are words with an as-yet-unmemorized word pattern can be a challenge, especially if you are doing this in ‘real-time’ and applying your knowledge of perhaps 100 or more different Thai language reading and pronunciation rules.
In my own case, and being a little short-sighted, it also explains why singing Thai songs in my local karaoke requires me to stick my face close to the TV screen to view the song’s Thai script, and to insist that I only sing slow songs where my brain has enough time to process new words…)
Back to Thai dating.
It seemed to me as if these women had been previously held back from expressing their full feelings, due to their lack of knowledge of English.
In a few select cases, we proceeded to further contact by speaking together by telephone. I found that initially, many women were dubious about voice contact. This was not because they feared that maybe I was some sort of pervert, (which of course, gentle reader, I am not lol). Rather, it was because they doubted my own ability to speak in Thai. This probably was because many Thais can read and write English to an ok level, but are very weak at speaking English, because they never get the opportunity to practice chatting with a native English speaker.
(For foreigners, it is usually the opposite case – the foreigner can maybe speak some Thai, but has zero ability to read and write Thai).
Once voice contact was established, the Thai language chat between us flowed freely.
In my online profile, I had given no indication of my sexual intentions. But during numerous written and spoken conversions in Thai with these women, a common, unprompted offer emerged. 'Teach me to speak English and I'll sleep with you'.
I should emphasize that it was not my hansum body that caused such direct offers, (more is the pity). But it was because I was able to converse in both written and spoken Thai, making the process of teaching and explaining English words and phrases to them in their native tongue more easy.
(Off-topic, but one of my previous career paths was as an English teacher and school manager, so the women would actually get value-for-money, or should that read 'value-for-sexual-favours'?)
'Why did they want to improve their English language abilities' I asked. 'So that they could chat in English with more men on ThaiFriendly' was the reply.
So many (MANY) of the contacts with me on the website were purely for me to act as a means of empowering those women to contact other, perhaps more hansum / rich / sexy / stupid foreigners.
In summary, for me, using a Thai dating website only in Thai language was a bit of an eye-opener. I can say that if you are able to read, write and speak Thai language, it opens up a whole new ball-game. That is especially so if you profess to being able to improve the English language skills of these women.
As for me, I'm still single, but am reconsidering whether or not I should offer private English language lessons in return for .. er… some sort of 'alternative payment'.
Finally, perhaps you'll like to know the total number of Thai women on ThaiFriendly who initiated contact with me over the course of about 1 week after my profile was posted.
I just checked my profile stats and the number of women who contacted me was a staggering 236, (well, I was staggered and would probably stagger and totally collapse if all wanted English lessons from me, in return for sexual favours).
Of course, your own mileage may vary, but can I suggest that here is a very good reason to improve your written and spoken Thai language abilities.
I should open a language school…
Thai language skills certainly opens up a whole new set of Thai women to foreign men in Thailand. I used to chat with some Thai women online on ThaiCupid where they would send me messages in Thai and I would respond in English. I can read Thai just fine but my ability to type Thai is poor and I type Thai painfully slow so I could not type fast enough in that language to keep up a conversation.
Enjoy the English lessons