The Golden Age Of The Farang, Part 4
I was born, raised and educated in New York State — both in upstate and New York City. Living in New York is just like Frank Sinatra said, “If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere”. Indeed. Big city living helped me to adjust quickly during my very first time in Bangkok, and I hit the ground running. Yet, you can never be ready enough for Bangkok. Having street smarts and a well-honed distrustful-nature kept me from falling victim to all of the Thai street-scams. And I probably blew off a few well-intentioned Thais who perhaps just wanted to help me out. But I wasn’t taking any chances. “Better safe than sorry”, I thought.
I did a fair amount of research before my first trip to the Kingdom. I also spoke with two Vietnam vets who did some R&R in Bangkok and Pattaya. They filled me in on the “wanna boom-boom bars”. They actually painted quite a helpful picture, but it wasn’t nearly complete. A few weeks in Bangkok for R&R isn’t enough experience to more than scratch the surface of Thai culture — or Thai women. For example, one aspect that makes some Thai women so damn deadly is that they are adroitly groomed in the art of pleasing (and manipulating) a man. And that womanly skilfulness takes more than a week or two to actually be experienced and fully understood by a Western man. Thai men know, because it’s their culture, too. Because some Western men are clueless, they easily fall victim upon first contact with the Thais.
I learned fast, but still not fast enough to remain totally unscathed and avoid putting a skeleton or two in my closet. I remember sometime during my first year in the Kingdom I was told this story about how a long time ago a Thai woman was sent off to a Burmese king in order to please him and curry his favor so he wouldn’t attack and destroy the Thai Kingdom. Now this Burmese king was a mortal enemy of Thailand, and he was hated by the Thai people. But the Thai woman who was sent to him did her job well, and convinced the Burmese king not to attack and destroy anything in Thailand. The Thai woman who told me that story added, “The man is the head, but the woman is the neck. The neck turns the head. The man thinks he’s the head and the boss, but the neck is really the boss”…. and she gave me a wry smile. She and every other Thai woman I discussed the story with were proud of how that Thai woman manipulated the King. I got the feeling she was a role model to Thai women, and they admire such manipulation of men.
Most Thai women who work in the bars feel absolutely no guilt when they manipulate a farang, and it’s the last place that I’d expect to find a woman worth dating long-term. The Thai women are actually proud of how skillful they are in concealing their ulterior motives. Does that mean that Thai women are sociopaths who are emotionally incapable of falling in love with a farang? No, absolutely not. Thai women have feelings just like Western women do. But the culture is so different that it might at times appear to the Western man that Thai women are as duplicitous as a sociopath. And this difference in culture often creates BIG problems. Thai women play by a different set of rules. And they won’t change, so don’t even try. That’s not to say that it’s impossible to find a Thai woman who can’t assimilate into Western culture, but it is difficult to say the least.
One thing I’d like to point out to the inexperienced Western man is this: if you think that you can play the role of the knight in shining armor and save a bar girl from herself, it is YOU who shall get played, my friend — and there won’t be a happy ending like in some Western movie were the man rescues the woman and she falls in love with him for it. That’s not how it works in Thailand. Thai women have a different view of right and wrong than we do. Are there exceptions to this rule? Yes, of course, this isn’t true of all Thai women. So let’s be clear: the bar areas and the bar girls by and large think and act much differently than women who do not sell their bodies. But even the good girls in Thailand have a somewhat different culture and a different set of rules than their Western counterparts. And that culture takes some getting used to. Some men shall never make the adjustment.
Personally, I was quite lucky, because some street-wise expats helped me not doubt my opinions of Thai women. Thai women are good at getting you to second guess yourself. One thing worth mentioning that really helped me validate my opinions of bar girls later on down the line sometime in the year 2001 was when Stickman published a naughty boy’s guide to nightlife. I still have a digital copy of that guide, which just goes to show that once you put something on the Internet it never really goes away completely. That guide actually helped me maintain my low opinion of bar girls, which, in turn, helped me to not get involved and taken in by their deceptive charm and cunning lies.. Back in New York City we had a saying: “There’s two kinds of girls; the kind you fuck and the kind you marry, so learn the difference between the cxxts and the good girls”. Stick’s naughty boy’s guide was helpful inasmuch as it revealed and mapped out the dark underbelly of Bangkok and convinced me to move away from Bangkok and stay far away from the cunts. So I went north. And it was there, in northern Thailand, that I found what I was looking for. What was that? For one thing, Northern Thailand was a region where I could walk down the street and not feel like I was looked down upon as a sex tourist. Of course, a farang can never be completely free from that stigmatization anywhere in Thailand, but back during that time it was a better place to be for a guy like me than say, Pattaya. Back then, any Western man in Pattaya was viewed as a John. And I didn’t like that. In fact, I’d never admit to anybody that I actually visited Pattaya. The situation was better in Chiang Mai. Up north I felt better about my self-esteem; and the environment made me behave as a better man; and live a normal dating life. Were there cunts in Chaing Mai? Yes, but not nearly as many as in Pattaya. Overall it was a much better experience to date Thai women up north.
Back then I actually looked ten years younger than I actually was, so it was quite easy to go out on a regular date with both Western women and Thai women who were in their 20s and 30s. Chiang Mai had a very vibrant nightlife; and by nightlife I don’t mean a pay-for-sex nightlife. Yeah, there was that, too. Loi Kroh Road was were you could barfine some really hot looking girls. But it was “Spicy”, located on Chaiyapoom road, that was the hottest place to be in Chiang Mai. Spicy really called the hot ones in, e.g., drop-dead gorgeous Thai women aplenty every night of the week with nice white skin, but especially on Friday and Saturdays when there would be standing room only. Spicy had it all: Western girls who were visiting Thailand; expat women; English teachers; and some of the best looking freelancers I’ve ever seen. The owner of Spicy was well-connected, too. Spicy was the last nightlife spot to close down at 3am. This gave the place an obvious advantage as most others had to be closed by 1am. I celebrated the 2004 new year at Spicy. It was a night to remember. One reason I remember it so well was because I met and hooked up with a 27-year-old woman from Australia who was traveling solo. She was an amazing woman in every way, and the kind of woman we all dream about. But that was how it was back then in Chiang Mai. The place attracted some phenomenal persons from around the world.
After a while I actually developed a great routine in Chiang Mai. And I had a lot of fun. I’d play guitar at a bar called the Guitar Man on Friday between 7 – 9 PM. Then I’d sit down and socialize among a diverse group of musicians, local Thais, expats and usually a few tourists. At 11PM I’d head over to Spicy and play a few sets there with the local talent. Then I’d socialize until closing time. I remember meeting the police chief one time. He was very nice to me. He gave me his number and said to call him if ever I needed help. “You have problem. I like help you”, he said. Normally before 12PM and I’d already have a date by then; if not, I’d call up on my cell some girl who had expressed an interest in me earlier in the evening. I’d ask her to have some soup and tea at a place called the Tea House. If she couldn’t make it, I’d phone somebody else until I found somebody who was free to meet up with me. There, at the Tea House, we’d sit down and get to know each other a little better and maybe hook up or perhaps make plans for a Saturday night date. Either way, by 4:30am Baht Man was back in his Bat Cave and on his Bat Bed before dawn broke and sunrise happened.
Most Saturday nights I was back at the Guitar Man, and ready for round two. I’d leave the Guitar Man before 10PM, but instead of Spicy I’d head on over to The Brasserie. Tuk was the owner. Tuk was the most talented musician in Chiang Mai, and he used to play in a band with Eric Clapton. The Brasserie is where some really great jamming took place. Tuk was a far better musician than me and out of my league, although he was nice enough to invite me up to play a song or two from time to time. But I didn’t really go there to play guitar, anyway. The Brasserie is where I took my date out so we could split off from our friends over at the Guitar Man and get to know each other and have a good time. If there was some chemistry developing between us, then I’d invited her over to Bubbles disco for a change in atmosphere. Bubbles had a mix of Thai locals and Western tourists. I’d say a majority of the Thai girls were available to be picked up by Western guys. I actually seen some older men there at times hooking up with freelancers. The older expats (say, in their 50s and early 60s) had it made in Chiang Mai. They made out well, if they were looking for the girlfriend experience and they went about it discreetly. What do I mean by discreetly? Well I had a few expat friends who were discreet when it came to freelancers. They would never walk out of a place hand-in-hand with a young lady. Nope. Instead, they’d ask her to meet them back at a hotel or someplace where they didn’t enter in or exit out together. Everything was arranged beforehand, so as to have privacy. What was done was all done in private. If the older man and the young lady hit it off, they’d take a trip out-of-town together where they’d could play some slap and tickle and walk around together out in public without anybody knowing who they were or where they were from.
Yeah, I liked Chiang Mai back then. Still do. Times have changed, however, and it’s much more expensive now. There are some things which are better now than the way it was 15 or 20 years ago. Technology makes it much easier to connect with women. A man could live in Chiang Mai and find somebody to date very easily without leaving the comfort of his room. Dating has become very easy, almost like ordering a pizza. The demographics have changed in Chiang Mai. There’s a large community of digital nomads who live there now. Some call Chiang Mai the “Digital Nomad Capitol of the World”. And some of those nomads make a very good income. So, there are now more opportunities than just teaching English. And some of those opportunities are quite lucrative with a very low overhead. They still remain unregulated and untaxed. I think that’s a good thing. Medical care in Chiang Mai is better now than it was, too. There are more Western food options, and options are always a good thing. Safety really isn’t an issue in Chiang Mai. I had one of my guitars stolen out of my truck once, but that’s the worst thing that ever happened to me in 20 years. Wow! And that really means something, especially when a man gets older and can’t defend himself as good as he used to be able to do. It’s good to know that I can go to the Night Market or Walking Street in Chiang Mai and not have to worry about getting violently accosted. The air quality is better than Bangkok. Depending on what part of Chiang Mai the air quality is much better. That means something, too. I like to get out and exercise. And there’s nothing worse than breathing in dirty air.
So, the bottom line is that I’d still rate Chiang Mai an 8 out of 10 as a place for expats. So, if you’re in the LOS and want to experience some place different, give Chiang Mai a try.
This ends the series. For whatever it’s worth here is some advice offered to any man contemplating visiting, starting a business and/or retiring in Thailand: Thailand is a place where you can stack a frightening amount of skeletons into your closet in an amazingly short period of time. Thailand is also a place where you can avoid most of the skeletons by spending your time avoiding the seedy areas and instead socializing with better people. I understand everybody’s situation and needs are different. And I make no moral judgment. I totally get why some men want to experience what I call, “the bar life”. I only say that meeting and dating a Thai woman who has a normal job and a normal life can be very rewarding. And you don’t have to try and sleep with every woman you go out with, either. Sometimes it’s better to make a friend and network that way. The finest Thai woman I ever dated longer-term was a friend of a woman with whom I went out on a date but never slept with… We didn’t sleep together, but through her I met some really great people… So, what I’m trying to say is worry more about networking and making friends with good people than you do about bedding a women every night. Develop a well thought-out social-routine, e.g., like a business plan. Try and learn a little Thai. And keep it a secret. I learned just enough to understand what the Thais really thought when they talked between themselves about me. And I never let on that I knew just enough Thai to avoid getting bullshitted. If you don’t know Thai and you really want to know what they are saying because your heart and money is on the line, then go out and buy a voice activated recorder and have what they say translated. Is that fair? That’s up to you. But if I had any doubts about going into business or marrying a Thai, then it’s up to me. And I’d want to know for sure. And up to me means you’re damn right I’d bug them, and I’d hire a PI and have them fully investigated. Remember: ” a fool and his money soon part”. Don’t be the fool. Be sure.
Chok dee krap!
The author can be contacted at : [email protected]