Stickman's Weekly Column March 2nd, 2003

Country Girls



My email box is at times busier than Sukumvit Road at rush hour. Sitting at my computer, MSN Messenger is constantly beeping, informing me that new email has arrived. Amongst the many emails that I receive, a few themes repeat themselves over and over again, and the most common email still remains, "how can I find a nice Thai girl to become my girlfriend or wife"? So today I'll do a little to try and point you in what I think is the right direction.

This is a very complex question, and one which largely depends on the type of person that you are. What follows is my thoughts on the type of lady who I think the *average farang* has the best chances of having a successful relationship with.

This is obviously a very simple answer to a very complicated question. I preface what follows with the following points:

– If you have been doing the bargirl thing, STOP. If you are not prepared to stop, you are probably not ready to settle down with someone. I say this not from a moralistic standpoint that sleeping behind your girlfriend's back is wrong. I say it because people need to remove the other options. If there are other girls in the background, it is easy to not make a real effort with the main girlfriend, and walk away if things get too difficult. Put yourself under pressure to really work on the relationship. Bargirls provide a great distraction.
– Whether you are an oil painting or otherwise, make sure you always dress neatly and ALWAYS make sure you are clean. Thais abhor bad smells, especially body odour. Personal hygiene is a huge issue for Thai people.
– Thai women require a far greater amount of attention than your average farang women and are a lot more demanding. Rather than the average farang woman who seems to want to be told that she is beautiful, the average Thai woman wants to know that you care for her, and that you are concerned about her. Pay great attention to what she says and does.
– DO NOT LET THE RELATIONSHIP ACCELERATE TOO FAST i.e. do NOT jump into bed immediately. Do not consider marrying her after a few weeks or God forbid, less time.
– Thais and farangs are very different. Even when she does something that you think is mindblowingly dumb, bite your tongue and shut up. Try and understand what she is getting at.

Thailand is a class conscious society and farangs largely fall outside of the hierarchy. Hierachial status is determined by a number of things ranging from who your parents are and what their jobs are, to how much money you have / make. While we as farangs have a comparatively high income, many Thais have realised that not all of us are deserving of good status. The bottom line is that they find it hard to accurately place us at the right point so we largely fall outside of the hierarchy. We have the hi-so types who choose a different model Mercedes Benz from their garage, depending on the day of the week, right through to those girls who have just stepped out of the jungle, having grown up in a family that literally went hunting each morning in for their breakfast. Thai people tend to have long term relationships with someone of a similar status, although women are far more conscious of "marrying up".

Ladies from the countryside, and here I mean ladies from smaller, poorer villages, have been brought up in an environment that is very, very different from what most Westerners have ever experienced. These people are in some cases so desperately poor that they have to scavenge and scrounge for food. Women from such backgrounds will typically have had a minimal education, often just 6 years. In some cases, they may not have had any formal education. With the lady lacking a real education, communication can be just one of many problems. And with a horribly poor family who may well see you as their financial saviour, a gift from the Gods, you really are up against it from the start as request after request comes for financial assistance. Women from this sector of society have very limited employment prospects so you may well find yourself in a position where you need to support her – which you may or may not find agreeable. Sure, you can make it work with such a lady – and many guys have – but I still think that a guy targeting a lady from this background really needs to understand both Thailand and the Thai language well, to make it work. If you are the type of guy who is less concerned about intellectual stimulation from your spouse, then a women from this background may be suitable for you. Certainly, women from this background do seem to make good housekeepers.

At the other end of the scale, former Miss World Bui's recent marriage to an American businessman with a reported 10 million US dollar dowry shows us that the true hi-so in Thailand are financially out of the reach of most farangs. There are few farangs in Thailand with that sort of money. Money, status and face are big issues for the hi-so types and while it does occasionally happen, your average English teacher doesn't usually marry into this sector of society. They have the education and English skills that so many of us are looking for, but many hi-so Thais may not see us as either worthy or suitable. Sad, but true.

Another potential target group, and the group that so many Westerners inadvertently target, is middle class Bangkokians. On the surface this would seem like the ideal target group. With much of central Bangkok resembling a modern, Western city, one could deduce that women who have been raised in the capital would be a Westerner's best bet. Western culture and ideas have influenced Bangkok for a long time and the Bangkokian subculture within the greater Thai culture is reflected in Bangkok people typically being a little less friendly than their provincial cousins. This may not be the ideal target group, but there are many, many women who group in the capital who would be ideal.

I truly believe that the best Thai ladies to meet if you wish to pursue a serious relationship are Thai ladies from provincial capitals who grew up in the provinces but who have a tertiary education, be it educated in their province or birth, or Bangkok. These ladies may be based in Bangkok or may still be in their home province. Ladies brought up in provincial capitals will have been brought up in a more conservative way than the average farang and will likely still cling to many of the traditional Thai values – something I personally believe is a good thing. But coming from a city of some size, they will have experienced slices of farang culture as our way of life has filtered through to all of the provincial capitals. That these ladies have a tertiary education means that it is much easier to communicate as she will likely have some English skills – and will have a greater breadth of education and ideas to call upon. This is in my opinion, your target group. Remember that less than half of the Thais living in Bangkok were actually born here so finding such a lady in Bangkok is not as difficult as you may think.

It must be said that there are quite a few generalisations made here. Not all wealthy Thais are beyond the reach financially of farangs. There are rural Thais who would be quite capable of stimulating the average farang intellectually and there are more than a few rural women who would not make a good housekeeper. However, I stand by these comments as applying to a good deal of the people in the said groups.

The path to finding a nice Thai lady for a serious relationship can be a rocky one. However, patience along with a well thought out game plan will help you to reach your destination sooner rather than later.

So, now you know my thoughts on the type of ladies with whom I believe Westerners have the greatest chance of making it work – but where and how do you meet them? Ahhh, we'll save that for another week.

* So, what do you think? Do you agree with me that ladies from this background are the best for a serious relationship – or have I got it seriously wrong? If you would like to provide feedback, please do email me. Remember, I reply to all emails! Many people post their thoughts on my articles in various places online, some of which I read, and others which I don't. Due to time constraints, I will only reply to those people who email me, as I simply do not have time to scour all of the message boards and newsgroups.



Where is this pic?

NOW WITH THREE DIFFERENT PRIZES EVERY WEEK!

Last week's pic

It was the Classics Movie Lounge.

This week's pic

Last week's pic was taken inside the Classics Movie Lounge in Sukumvit Soi 4. Please remember that there are now THREE prizes offered for the where is this pic. One person, irrespective of location, wins the prize of $25 worth of goodies from ClubHombre. In addition to this, the first Bangkok based person to answer the pic correctly wins a tube of MyCreme sexsational cream. To win the MyCreme, you MUST be in Bangkok as the prize is delivered to you, but the other two prizes are open to anyone worldwide! So, to all Bangkok based folks, make it clear in your email that you are Bangkok based so that you qualify for the cream that will send your teeruk to heaven! The third prize comes from the good guys at the Classics Movie Lounge who will provide you with a 500 baht credit to use at their establishment!

EMAILS THIS WEEK INCLUDED :

From a Thai female. A bit difficult to understand…

Some foreigners they think they want to go to Thailand for sex but some of them they want to go to Thailand is not only for sex I have many foreigners friends because I work with falang company I try to ask my colleagues many time about "Why do u want only sex in life?" seem it is funny and stupid question because I know sex is natural and they said because Thai girl they want to have a good life but they don't know when the foreigners stay in their country they just are normal in their country but when they are in thailand they get some experience because thais like to admire them (and their money : only about rate and the cost of living). I am Thai also but I think if those prostitute they have a job it is not only bar and club they will not think only money then they want to get off to be bar girl then they have to find some one for being better life …. Yeah !!! Falang will be founding a good girls in Thailand. Not only prostitutes. Can't buy love….but you can buy experience. I think so :) If they were daughters, what would he have done with them?
Does Korea appeal to you?
Here in South Korea, where there is no longer the grinding poverty that one finds in many
Asia and hence less of financial push into prostitution, Korean men are sometimes upset at the sight of any of "their women" with non-Korean men. Drunken Korean men will sometimes yell insults (in Korean typically) at a Korean woman walking down the street at night with a Western man. For example, the woman might be called something that means basically "foreigner's whore" even though the man she is with is more likely than not to be a real boyfriend, husband, etc.
Is there anywhere safer than here?
I certainly hope that the Western countries led by America and Britain are now satisfied for putting an unnecessary burden upon this tourist season in Thailand. The alleged terrorist attacks that were definitely supposed to happen in Thailand but did not, definitely unnerved more than a few people. WTF! Everybody I talk to feels far safer here than in America or Britain right now. With with tanks and soldiers all over London airports recently and America still recovering from the infamous September 11, it seems that it would be safer TO fly to Thailand. If this Mexican stand-off continues in the Gulf, then the whole world is still left on hold, not just the stock markets and investors but also the tourist industry. One bright light for Thailand is that Americans and Europeans are flying to Thailand to escape the terror and turmoil of their own countries. Hopefully this trend will continue and all I can say to the warmongers is Som Nam Na! (Serves them right!).
Another 33% for overtime!
What is worth adding to your words about the 100 baht per day menfolk might earn in Isaan, is that the money for unskilled labour in and around Bangkok is not much higher than in the sticks. One of my wife's cousins works for Thai Airways in their catering division, delivering catering supplies to aircraft. On overtime, he can make 20 baht per hour, with 15 baht being the normal going rate.
Are us Western Bangkok residents all aliens?
Some foreigners find the term “Farang” derogatory, an accolade that it is certainly not disrespectful. By contrast, in the US, all foreigners are legally defined as “Aliens”. How can this be? My wife did not come from another planet, her skin is not green, and according to our family doctor she is a human being – 100%.
It is not easy in the provinces.
Though your point is a good one that there is a lack of opportunity for marriage and relationships because of the drain of women away to the night life areas, I think it is only one of many bad aspects of being one of the rural poor in Thailand. Probably even more distressing to the men, given the importance put on family in Thailand, is the inability to adequately support their families, both immediate and extended, because of a lack of employment options. I too am surprised Thai men are not more hostile. I just think the issue of women is only one of many problems they face in their lives, and not even the most pressing.
There is his story, her story, and then there is the truth.
The vast majority of Thai prostitutes provide their services for other Thais- not Farangs. Therefore, if anyone is to be blamed for reducing the number of marriageable females by creating a demand for prostitution, then certainly it is Thai men who deserve the lion's share of the blame. On another note, after talking with literally hundreds of bar girls over the years, I have met precious few who say they entered the trade before first having a go at marriage with a Thai man. Nearly all say that they tried their damnedest to make it work, but finally became disgusted with husbands who only cheated, drank, gambled and beat them. Of course, this is only the women's' side of the story. It would be interesting to hear the men's.
There have been a lot of rumours recently about not if, but when, the prices in naughty bars will go up. To get the story from the horse's mouth so to speak, I sent an email to Larry, the colourful character who has been steering Rock Hard to its continued success for so long. To the question of what will happen to the prices of drinks in bars, Larry responded as follows:
Ah, the familiar squeeze on the men in the middle. Shit, what are we supposed to do? With biz down, war looming, Police preventing shows, spirit taxes hiking, Revenue Department checking & fining heavily, labour department leering, Tourist Police sniffing, piss testing of customers and now maybe tacking on another 10% tax on Go Go REVENUE (an effective 30% of profit) as all discos pay now. If you can stomach it, go to a disco & check their new price list. OF COURSE Go Go Bar prices must increase!!! By how much & when is another question. As you may know, everything in Phuket is 10-20% more than Bangkok, because it's Phuket. Go figure… As always, we try to limit costs and theft as best possible. It's not us businessmen who are killing Thailand as an economical holiday spot. It's the greedy, nationalistic, morally superior (HA!) Thai pricks holding the puppet strings that have made it nearly impossible for foreign-owned businesses to survive. To the customers: Keep looking for F&B bargains, because despite the ramblings above, they will always be out there – just not as many of them."
Larry, Rock Hard.

The bottom line is that prices are going to increase. When you look at Larry's reasoning, it is hard to argue with. And as I have always said, price increases tend to affect locals, that is poorly or lowly paid locals, more than anything else. I mean if you are paying $US 500 – 1000 for an air ticket to get here and another good chunk of change for your accommodation, what is an extra 10 baht per drink? Sure, no-one likes to see the prices of anything increase, but we haven't seen a major round of price increases since mid 2001, so I guess another increase is about due. My guess is that punters should expect a price increase of around 10 baht per drink. Will bar fines be increased? That remains to be seen. Personally, I think any bar already charging 600 for a bar fine might find resistance if they go any further…but what would I know, I haven't paid a bar fine in years.

Some people maintain that 70% of Pattaya gogo girls have a Thai boyfriend, either present with them in Pattaya, or back in their village. Whether this percentage is true or not, I really do not know, but I would suggest that it is in the ballpark. However, there are a few Pattaya gogo bars where the percentage of girls with boyfriends is much higher, some would say as high as 90%! Superbaby and Supergirl are both mooted to have much a higher percentage of working girls because in these two bars, the girls are encouraged to only go short time. That way they can come back to the bar after the business has been done, and go again – thus making more money for the bar because the next punter has to pay the bar fine again. 90% though? Seems awfully high! Might be true, might not, I'm not sure.

It seems that Happy A Gogo in Pattaya is trying to implement a pay before you play payment system. As with working girls in the West, the customer would be required to pay (for everything) before he leaves the bar. This is one of the fundamental differences between prostitution in the East and prostitution in the West – and the lack of an explicit exchange of money in Thailand is one of the things that so many punters like – it makes it more like a "girlfriend experience". I simply cannot see customers accepting this new policy and can't see it implemented without a strong reaction from punters.

Quote of the week "Looking forward to seeing if you have anymore info on the Text'n'Talk Academy. I want to go there but my parents visited and said it looks like, and I quote, "a roach breeding closet."

So, you want to send your girlfriend to learn English? Where is the best place to send her? Oooh, this is a far more complicated question than you would imagine. The best language school in Bangkok is generally acknowledged as the British Council. As the fees are quite high, the students at this school tend to be hi-so types from wealthier families. If your lady friend is at least middle class or higher, she should fit in just fine. However if she comes from a lower class, she might feel a little bit left out – or even downright excluded and snubbed – in which case she would be better off studying elsewhere. The cheapest school with farang teachers remains AUA although anyone contemplating studying there needs to have attended school until at least M3 level (grade 9). If your girlfriend (and I hate to say this – but Thailand is a VERY class conscious country) comes from a lower class and you want her to study with a foreign teacher, send her along to Siam Computer and Language. This school has reasonable fees, farang teachers and students from a variety of backgrounds. It would probably be the best fit.

Free VIP memberships are still available at Blue Zone. All you have to do is go down to the club, fill out your details and you will get you VIP card, there and then. Thursdays are getting more popular so that is probably the best day to go.

If you are resident in Thailand and watch a bit of TV or go to the movies, you may well have seen the excellent Visa card ad featuring James Bond in a tuktuk. Pierce Brosnan goes screaming through the capital with the tuktuk driver from hell in what is one of many excellent locally made ads. With James Bond as the main character in the ad, Visa must have paid a fair bit, and I just hope that this ad screens overseas. It can only be good for tourism in Thailand.

A friend who uses a mobile phone on the DTAC system has complained of the late delivery of SMS messages both sent to him and from him. SMSs sent to and from his mobile have arrived between 12 and 24 hours after they were sent. As a One-2-Call user, I have experienced no such problems. Taksin Shinawatra may not be the most popular man in Thailand with the resident farang community, but the owner of AIS, the country's largest mobile company, runs a business that seems to work just as it should. Not only does everything seem to work well, getting service IN ENGLISH when you need it is easy too.

Loxinfo used to be one of the better internet service providers, and the one that I have been using for along time. I notice recently that engaged tones are becoming the norm and it can take up to 15 minutes to get a modem that answers. What's more, the connections seem to be less stable than before with rogue disconnections becoming more and more common – and this from various computers – suggesting it is not a dodgy setup at my end. I guess with the increasing demand for net services, they have not been expanding as fast as they could.

Another Thailand guide book can be found on the shelves. The first edition of Let's Go Thailand was published recently and can be found in bookshops now. I remember backpacking around Europe in 1990 with Let's Go Europe and remember the book being fairly useful to help you find guesthouses and budget accommodation, but a bit thin on actually providing anything more than could be found amongst the free promotional material and brochures in the local tourist information centres. Flicking through Let's Go in the local bookshop, this books seemed much the same. At 895 baht for a mere 430 odd pages, I think Lonely Planet have little to worry about. The Lonely Planet guide to Thailand is far and away the most popular guidebook for Thailand, and I believe it is Lonely Planet's best seller. It might cost 100 baht more than Let's Go's offering but it is more than twice the size and love him or hate him, Joe Cummings, LP Thailand's author, really does know Thailand.

Down in Hua Hin on the two South African (?!) television channels that are available, the cricket World Cup matches can be seen. Hua Hin presently seems to be full of Scandinavians so I wonder if we will soon see Denmark, Sweden and co. soon become test playing nations?!

Construction is coming along well at Sheba's at Soi Cowboy.

I couldn't resist that steak and cheese sandwich so Stickgirl and I once again wandered down to The Londoner this week to enjoy what must be just about the best steak sandwich in town. Sitting there, enjoying the food whilst watching the cricket world cup live on TV, a treat that Stickgirl just couldn't appreciate, I noticed more than a few Western women were present too. I had just about forgotten that Westerners come in a female variety, but was reminded of it at that point in time. Anyway, I noticed that quite a few of them looked a bit sad, a little distant and I wondered just quite why that may be. Western males resident in Bangkok often joke about how this is the last place on earth for a Western women, but it got me wondering – is that really the case? So, to you Western women who read the column – and I know there are plenty of you – just what is it like for a Western women living here? Is it it really the hell on earth for you that so many make it out to be, or is it an undiscovered erotic paradise that you are staying tight-lipped about? Send me your thoughts and I'll publish them in the reader's emails section in next weeks column.

Stickgirl's Corner

Stickgirl, contrary to what I have said in previous columns, is not your typical Thai girl. She is fascinated by farang culture and the behaviour of us foreign barbarians in her beloved Thailand. Each week, Stickgirl will answer questions about Thai / farang relationships and general issues that baffle the average Westerner in Thailand. Please forward questions to her, via me, at the usual email address. Two questions will be chosen each week and answered in the following week's column. The responses are hers and NOT mine although I do butcher her English, generally making it worse. I may not necessarily agree with what she says! Please note that she doesn't have the time to reply to your inquiries via email.

Question 1: If (and this is understandable) a Thai girl expects the farang to provide sums of money in times of need, and I am talking here of a "good" Thai girl AND times of need where a Western girl would not expect a western male to help out, is she also prepared for the farang to also take on other Thai male characteristics e.g. mia noi or local "knocking shop" and presumably the outright lies that surround such activities (I am asking the question on the basis that those activities ARE as common as the internet, etc. suggests).

Stickgirl says:

If you do a lot more for your Thai girlfriend than you would do for a farang girlfriend, this does not give you licence to do things that would generally be considered bad, such as having a mia noi or visiting prostitutes. And let's face it, if you are going to see mia nois or prostitutes, that is a big sign that you are not happy, and not getting everything you need, in that relationship. If you are doing what you consider to be "too much" in a relationship, then you have to decide if you are getting enough out of the relationship, if you are happy, and ultimately if you want to continue that relationship or not.

Question 2: You introduced Stickgirl as a Thai lady that "enjoys jazz music". Can the Thais make good jazz music?

Stickgirl says:

Thai people don't really do our own jazz music, but more copy the farang style. We are a lot better at pop music and other styles than jazz. It is not a lot of Thai people who appreciate jazz music. My favourite place to listen to jazz music is Brown Sugar on Soi Lung Suan, near Lumpini Park.

If you were down in Soi Cowboy last night, you may have noticed a sign out in front of Cactus Bar stating that the bar was closed or a private gynaecological seminar. This was in fact my bachelor's party, as was printed on the T-shirts of the 50 odd people present. Despite a few hiccups, the party was a great success. Thanks must go out to the organisers, Whosyourdaddy, The Mad Stockbroker and Loo Doot. Special thanks go out to Dollhouse Darryl, Electric Blue Andy, Angel Witch Matt and his show team and to Tony, distributor of the Swedish cider Kopparberg, which can be found in more and more Bangkok bars, including the Dollhouse.

Your Bangkok commentator,

Stick

Thanks go out to Rock Hard Larry.