Stickman's Weekly Column November 22nd, 2009

Sukhumvit Soi 33 Revisited


Just a 10-minute walk east of Soi Cowboy along Farang Boulevard is what is supposed to be the epitome of the farang bar areas, a lane of high-end establishments where elegantly dressed beauties with superior English and better manners delight discerning gentlemen. At least that is the gobbledygook that soi 33 proprietors would like you to believe. The reality is something entirely different.

The farang bars in Sukhumvit soi 33 have been on the naughty boys' map for a couple of decades. Once known as millionaire's row, it is often referred to these days as the artist bars – many of the longer established bars feature the name of a famous artist.

The typical soi 33 bar format is that of a hostess bar with most venues spread over the ground level of a double shophouse featuring an open bar area with a long counter bar. Girls dressed in evening wear enchant customers from the other side of the counter; the offer of a lady drink allows them to come around to the customers' side. Venues are attractively designed and decorated, often with a more traditional and conservative theme than what is found in the more popular farang bar areas. The music is softer and you're less likely to hear the latest hits blaring at full volume. The ladies of the house are supposed to be more refined, better educated and able to carry a conversation in English. Supposed to be…

With more comfortable surroundings and supposedly more attractive women, it should be no surprise that soi 33 has the reputation of being more expensive than the other farang-dominated bar areas but with that said, prices have not moved in some bars in the soi for years. In a typical soi 33 hostess bar, a standard drink runs 80 – 90 baht at happy hour – which seems to finish at an almost universal, soi-wide 9 PM. For the rest of the evening, standard drinks run 150 – 160 baht. A decade ago that made your choice of poison twice the price of the likes of Nana and Cowboy but they have since caught up, hardly something to boast about. In terms of drinking, soi 33 is no more expensive than the big name bars of Cowboy and Nana and not much dearer than the many British pubs in the neighbourhood.

But when it comes to the cost of a barfine, it's a different story. Different bars charge different prices and weekends see increased rates in some venues. Soi 33 barfines run from 1,000 – 1,800 baht which seems even more expensive when you factor in that some soi 33 minxes may shirk amorous liaisons later in the evening. In a throwback to when the soi first got going and when the bars really were full of drop-dead gorgeous, English-speaking university students adorned in fine evening wear, barfining was no guarantee that you would be doing anything more than wining and dining her. In this respect it's little different to many of the hostess bars so popular with local men. Some women go. Some don't. Some will say from the outset that they do not do that while others may not say anything until later in the evening. After that late night seafood feast and hours on the dance floor, she very well may tell you that she has to go before putting out her paw and announcing, "You must to now pay me the money, 3000 baht!"

The soi mainly caters to Westerners but there are venues catering exclusively to the Japanese which started springing up around 10 years ago and the soi threatened to go all Japanese at one point. That never eventuated but there are perhaps a dozen Japanese only bars. You don't see streams of Japanese parading in and out. Like the rest of the bars in the soi, one wonders how viable they are. Few bars ever seem to be that busy.

It's ironic that the most successful bars on soi 33 are those which don't try and fit in with the original hostess bar concept of the lane. The Australian-owned Office Bar has been the busiest spot on soi 33 pretty much since its inception. Drinks are cheaper, the girls friendlier and the food decent. It's a sports bar, restaurant and girly bar all in one as well as being one of the few venues with reasonably priced drinks all night long. You don't have to be Einstein to realise such a concept would be a winner. Live sport is shown on the many screens with a particular emphasis on sports matches from Down Under.

The other venues currently popular are all recent additions that eschewed the hostess bar concept. The Music Station is gaining a following amongst those who like live music and Demonia, previously known as The Cave, one of the two fetish clubs in Bangkok, does a decent trade. Of course there is also Tenderloins bar and grill, a pleasant spot with excellent food – but no hostesses. Not one of the hot spots on Sukhumvit soi 33 fits in with the original theme of the soi. On the main road, Wall Street is arguably the best place to watch rugby in Bangkok, with Douglas never failing to provide colourful expert commentary. None of these venues are in the mould the forefathers of the soi envisaged. They may be located on soi 33, but you wouldn't call them "soi 33 bars". When you think of soi 33, they're not what comes into mind.

I have always liked the girly bar at Livingstone's, a pleasant little bar located next to a large swimming pool. In the early days parties were held around the pool and bikini-clad girls would often end up in the drink. I'm not sure if such events are held these days. The problem is that the bar itself is hard to find – you have to walk through the entire complex right to the back to find it. A number of bars, The Office included, are stuck down dark side sois that are known to locals, but which visitors may not dare explore.

The big problem with soi 33 is that the women are no more attractive than what you find elsewhere with many substantially older than their sisters in the gogo bars. You could be mistaken for thinking that they got on the bus from Isaan and were heading for the beer bars of Pattaya but got off at the wrong stop. OK, so you might find the odd hot, young English-major Ramkhamhaeng student on soi 33 but that's very much the exception these days.

Once upon a time the women found on soi 33 were better educated, more attractive and perhaps, in some cases, more refined. But today they most certainly are not. Search hard in any bar area and you'll always find a diamond in the rough but for the most part the women of soi 33 are just that, rough. Many wouldn't pass muster next to a chrome pole at Cowboy. And these days the average age on Soi 33 is much older than what you find in Nana or Cowboy. Maybe the 33 refers to the women's average age? In some bars it might even be higher.

The competition for the naughty boys' baht is fierce in Bangkok and it's disappointing that soi 33 does so little to entice you there. OK, so it offers something different to what's available elsewhere and makes a change from the British pub / gogo bar rut that so many of us fall into. But with that said, this Bangkok local feels that, as soi 33 currently stands, once a year is enough. When you're bored of Cowboy and Nana and pine for a change, that's when you go to soi 33 – but then you vow never to return, only to break that vow a year or so later.

Soi 33 needs to either reinvent itself or go back to its roots. If done properly, the original concept – genuinely attractive women with good English and proper manners – would be great, but the current implementation of this concept in many soi 33 bars is a disaster.

Last week's photo


Where was this photo taken?


Last week's photo was taken inside Queen's Park Plaza in soi 22, looking out on to the soi itself. This week's photo was taken outside of Bangkok. The first person to email with the correct location of the picture wins a 500 baht credit at Oh My Cod, the British fish and chips restaurant. The second person to correctly guess the photo wins a signed copy of Stephen Leather's superb Private Dancer, which many refer to as "the bible". It's regarded by many as the best novel set in Thailand's bar scene! The third person to get it right wins a copy of John Daysh's Illicit Islands, his first novel set in Thailand. PLEASE SPECIFY WHICH PRIZE YOU WOULD PREFER!

Terms and conditions: The Oh My Cod prize MUST be claimed within 14 days. To claim the book prizes you must provide a postal address within Thailand now. Prizes are not transferable. Prize winners cannot claim more than one prize per calendar month. You only have one guess per week!

FROM STICK'S INBOX (These are emails from readers and what is written here was not written by Stick.) Preference may be given to emails which refer to the previous week's column.

EMAIL OF THE WEEK – The mobile phone danger too.

I frequent the naughty nightlife areas and try to avoid having my photo taken. There are definitely possible negative consequences down the line if you star in someone's holiday video or your photo is taken in this environment. Let's say you've been a sex tourist and you quit your wicked ways and hitch up with a woman back home, a scenario that might happen for me. Now, what if she saw photos online with me and some bargirl in Thailand's red light areas? I don't think even the best of lies could convince her it was something completely innocent! So I do my best to shy away from any lens but as you say, having walked down Walking Street I most certainly am already caught on someone's video. One thing I think is compounding this dramatically is the quality and widespread use of mobile phones with cameras. I never used to bring along my digital camera at night myself because it was often inconvenient, but my present mobile phone has 5 megapixels and a flash function. So now I too have a collection of photographs and in some of them there are fellow farangs easily identifiable. The number of cameras out there is just too high to avoid having your photo taken. So you are definitely right when you say that the only way not to be photographed in the naughty nightlife is not to be involved in it which, to me, is not an option.

Nightlife photography holds no interest.

Concerning photography, I have no interest in producing footage that has already been digitally archived a million times already. The nightlife areas are not where I would take a shot for holiday memories. I might take pics if I climbed the Matterhorn or the Eiger North Face to document a once in a lifetime experience, but just making it to Walking Street is not really noteworthy. Neither do I find it special seeing secret footage of bikini-clad girls in the gogos. I mean everybody with an internet connection has access to so much first class p0rn that watching a few dancing Thais in an out of focus mobile video is simply a waste of time.

The dangers of photographing in the nightlife areas.

I worry about people heading to the bar areas with cameras, not because some guy will get his mug on the net, but because it can be very dangerous for a casual tourist to be out there pointing a camera around. The potential for even misunderstandings is high and in Thailand the punishment is often very hard, much harder and much more swift than most westerners can even contemplate. As much as I love photography, the free press, etc. I tend to not glamorize shooting in the nightlife and actually discourage it.


Thai ladies in Bangkok, Pattaya, and all over Thailand

The alternative for bargirls?

I'm sick and tired of hearing guys who married bargirls post on your website that 'this and that' should be blamed. The fact is, if those girls wanted to have a nice life for their kid, they could make a lot more selling food at the market. But this requires 2-3 hours a day of cooking / marinating the food which is too much work for most of them so they end up going clubbing and banging guys left and right. My girlfriend wanted to make quick cash to help her mom when I was low on funds. We bought meat, a table and some cooking supplies and voila, she made about 1,000 baht a day in profit for almost 2 months selling BBQ sticks in front of the road for 4 hours a day. Much more than a bargirl makes in a month, and the fun is she gets to talk with nice people the whole time instead of talking to sex depraved monsters. All in all, bargirls are for the most part extremely lazy.

There are Indians and there are Indians.

I would like to clarify to readers about Indians in the bar scene as a British-born Indian who regularly visits the bar scene and has experienced bar girlfriends etc. The Indians you see with 5 straws in 1 drink and sharing 1 girl are typically budget travellers from India who are taking possibly their first ever vacation. However Indians come from varying backgrounds. I am a generous spender, and drop 2,000 – 3,000 baht at some of my favourite bars in one go. I think the people in charge of the entrance to a bar should be better informed by the management. If an Indian is well dressed, smells good, is on his own or with just one other person and speaks good English they should be able to differentiate and let them in. I generally don't have a problem, perhaps because I carry my western passport around. But I find it ridiculous that the bar rejects entrance to some of my high class Indian friends. This is an issue that needs to be dealt with, as Indians are a growing portion of the pleasure seeking tourists.

Does mediocrity transcend faculty at Thai universities?

There was a recent question about the standard of Thai universities. Chulalongkorn rates 320 in the world and Thammasat 505. A group of soon to graduate English major students from an upper middle uni here will graduate with A and B grades. They recently took the TOEIC test and 90% scored 230 or less! And speaking to Thai English major students around the capital it's clear that the standard of English tuition is shockingly low. To put this in perspective, from my teaching experience in Europe, average English language students easily exceed this TOEIC score by the time they are 15 or 16 years old. Are language faculties alone in being of a particularly low quality or do such standards stretch across all faculties? This would mean the average Thai graduate has a standard of education comparable to that of a 15 or 16 year old average European student.

Credit card woes.

Following a declaration by NatWest Bank in the UK that they had cancelled my MasterCard, due to the fact I had been found guilty in not using it during the past two years, I then took up the momentous challenge of trying to have it re-instated. Two things here: Once you have left the UK lock, stock and barrel it is more or less impossible to re-apply and be issued with a new one. Secondly, once it's cancelled I was informed repeatedly that it's impossible to have re-instate it.

Pretty Lady Bar in Nana Plaza is throwing a Thank You Party on Friday, November 27, to say thanks to all customers for their continued support. The bar will have new mirrors installed around the middle stage and will replace the stage on the left with new dancing tables, all of which will be ready for you to check out at the party. The bar will serve FREE food and there will be a wheel of fortune spinning all night long with chances to win drinks and barfines. It sounds like it'll be worth going out of your way for.

Soi 33's Music Station will host a fetish night next Saturday, November 28. There will be special fetish shows performed by the mistresses of Demonia, also on Sukhumvit soi 33.

Christopher G. Moore will be signing the first copies of the new Calvino novel, "The Corruptionist", at the Lonestaar Bar in Washington Square from 1:30 PM on 26th November. He will also have The Vincent Calvino Reader's Guide with all of the Calvino laws and essays about the series. There'll be a free Thanksgiving meal as well.

Bourbon Street is always the most popular spot in Bangkok at Thanksgiving for the American contingent. As every year, Bourbons Street's spread this year will be extensive and include heaps and heaps of turkey as well as other Bourbon Street favourites. You can be a pig at the trough for 1,058 baht on the 26th November from midday until 10:30 PM and again the next day from 6:00 PM until 10:30 PM. For those unable to make it down to Washington Square, you can order it out too. Bourbon Street can be VERY busy at Thanksgiving and it is a case of first in, first served.

Not to be outdone by Bourbon Street, Bully's Pub Thanksgiving Day Feast kicks off at midday and the feeding frenzy runs through until 10 PM. You really could make a pig of yourself if you hung around for much of the day. Of course it's on the same day, Thursday November 26 and runs a reasonable 590 baht per person which effectively means it's almost half the price asked at Bourbon Street. The following day there will be a set menu available with roast turkey, mashed potato, dressing, giblet gravy, cranberry sauce and choice of pie for a reasonable 490 baht per person. Also available is a takeaway feast including a 20lb slow roast butterball turkey with all the traditional thanksgiving items including cornbread dressing, cranberry relish, mashed potatoes, maple glazed carrots and broccoli, pumpkin and apple pie at 6,900 baht for the entire set. Orders should be placed by November 24th. The Bully's Thanksgiving menu, like that at Bourbon Street, includes all the goodies – too many to list.

Another Westerner has bought into The Sports Academy, near Soi 15, Ruamchit Plaza. With more venues of this type popping up on Sukhumvit, it's fast becoming a competitive sector of the market – in other words, you've got to be brave to invest there!

A reader advises that the world's best-known sex tourist hotel, the Nana Hotel in Sukhumvit soi 4, is now limiting the number of ladies you can take to your room to one at a time! That's going to have some of you naughty boys up in arms and I fully expect my email inbox to burst this week with a deluge of complaints. So if you're a Nana Hotel guest and are horned up and looking forward to a spicy night, the hotel requests that just one lady accompanies you upstairs, before you send her down to play tag team and another comes up. It sounds kinda crazy to me and I believe this is a new policy. Often new policies in Thailand are a knee jerk reaction to a recent event so I wonder if some sod found himself the victim of some crime when he took two (or more) to his room recently? That's abut the only situation I can think of that could prompt a policy change like this. It has to be said that I have never ever heard of this policy at any other hotel in Thailand and to be honest, I would have thought the Nana Hotel of all places would be about the last place this would happen. Maybe they are trying to find a new niche in the market and become family friendly?! After all, the bars of Nana Plaza only have three and a bit years left on the lease. Perhaps the owners of Nana Hotel are thinking ahead and trying to reposition themselves in the market ahead of what is widely expected to be the end of Nana Plaza at the end of 2012?

Christopher G. Moore has been a busy boy. In between supporting his beloved Arsenal (proving that he is not perfect), Chris has an interesting new book out. Titled "The Vincent Calvino Reader's Guide", Chris provides an overview of the main character of many of his novels, Vincent Calvino. There's Calvino's worldview and he discusses the creative forces that over the years have shaped this popular series. Also included are several essays that transport the reader inside the life and times of Vincent Calvino, the private eye, who continues to work the mean streets of Bangkok. Since Spirit House, the first Calvino, was published in 1992, the Vincent Calvino series has enjoyed international acclaim and an ever-expanding readership with the novels now available in twelve languages.

Bank of Ayuthaya never used to charge for ATM withdrawals but last week started to charge 15 baht. It's still a good deal compared with the other big Thai banks. There may be different charges between using a credit card and using a debit card. I don't know as I did not try both.

For those of you who depend on little blue pills for performance but have always worried about whether or not you were buying the real thing, the good news is that Boots (the UK pharmacy chain which has branches all over Thailand) has started selling Viagra and Cialis over the counter. At 2,000 baht for four 100mg Viagra tablets they are only slightly more expensive than the street price – but at least with Boots you can be sure that you are getting the real thing! Of course you could always take your chances with what comes out of Cambodia where a pack of blue diamonds will set you back 100 baht for 4. Not that I would know anything about that, of course…

I was looking at Google maps today and discovered a recent upgrade. If you click on a bus stop it shows you the bus numbers and after a few clicks it tells you the bus route and provides a map. It's a nice feature – and it would have been even nicer 10 years ago when I rode the buses most days.

Sunrise Pies which became a big hit two years ago have until now only been available at Sunrise Tacos branches. With these items becoming more and more popular, they will now be offered at three Villa Supermarkets in Bangkok (Thonglor, Sukhumvit Soi 33/1 and Sukhumvit 11) starting from this past Tuesday and through until January 2nd. All during the holiday season you can select from apple pie, apple pie with no sugar added, key lime, pumpkin, pecan, very berry, wild blueberry as well as cherry pie. Limited homemade pies will be available each day at the aforementioned Villa stores or you can order 36 hours in advance to be assured you get your favourite at the Sunrise branches at Siam Paragon, Emporium and Sukhumvit Soi 12. You can also call for 24 hour delivery on 02-229-4851.

The 2010 AfterDark Calendar goes on sale this week priced at a very reasonable 300 baht. It will be available at popular bars including Secrets in Pattaya, Spanky's and Angelwitch in Bangkok's Nana Plaza, as well as online at AfterDarkAsia.com.

If anyone has a Thai girlfriend that speaks good English and is looking for a job, opportunities exist at Sunrise for waitresses. You can all Khun Bhun Monday to Friday from 10 AM – 6 PM on 02-642-0213. The salary with tips and service charge should give around 12,000 – 14,000+ baht per month. Also if anyone knows someone who can work in the kitchen as a prep cook cutting veggies you can contact her as well – and for that position no English is required. Pay will be around the same 12-14K+ per month. It should be noted that the standard pay in restaurants is 7,000 – 9,000 baht a month so this is a much higher pay rate for the right person.

In last week's column I asked about the strange lady of Pattaya, the one who has been highlighted a few times in this column. Many, many readers responded saying that they had seen her in Pattaya recently. Some said she looked much the same as she did in the photo I posted last week while some said she looked a little worse for wear. I received an intriguing email from one reader saying that she can be found on ThaiLoveLinks where she lists her address as Bangkapi and is trawling for guys late at night, Thai time although said reader could not provide an ID number for her.

The Thailand driver's licence testing system requires the driver to successfully complete a number of tests, including a practical test, on a small, closed circuit at the testing centre. There are a number of basic manoeuvres one must perform, such as parallel parking and reversing in a straight line. One task the driver must perform appears simple…but this is Thailand! You have to drive on to a small bridge, stop at the top, wind down the driver's side window and put an envelope into a mailbox. Sounds simple, right? Think again! I just always knew that this would be a real challenge for Somchai but never quite imagined quite how much of a mess could possibly be made. At the Khon Kaen testing centre, a woman set about the practical test and when she drove up on to the small bridge she somehow lost control of the vehicle, performing a manoeuvre that seems almost impossible. She put the vehicle over the side of the bridge, rolling it and it ended up on its roof! If ever there was a Kodak moment, that was it.

One of the very best novels set in Bangkok, Jake Needham's "The Big Mango" is right up there with Private Dancer and the best of Chris Moore. After an absence from bookstores, The Big Mango is once again available with a new updated edition from Marshall Cavendish Ltd, the book publishing arm of the Times Group in Singapore. It is available now in bookstores in Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia, and will be available by December in Hong Kong, the Philippines, and most other countries in Asia. Also, beginning early in 2010, it will be available in Australia and that fine country of New Zealand. Whether it will ever be available in Thailand remains to be seen. The reason Jake's books, mostly set in Thailand and about expats living in Thailand, are largely unavailable in Thailand is a little bizarre, to say the least. Asia Books is the monopoly distributor of imported books in Thailand now that it has acquired the Bookazine Group, previously its only real competitor. If Asia Books won't import a book, it becomes nearly impossible to obtain here, and Asia Books has refused to import and sell any of Jake's books for years, ever since he began publishing with a Hong Kong publishing house rather than with them. Of course, Asia Books has been entirely out of the publishing business for five years now, but their grudge against Jake for not publishing with them has gone on unabated and all of Jake's books published outside of Thailand continue to this day to be unavailable through Asia Books in Thailand. The Big Mango was first published in 1999 by Asia Books and has been republished numerous times all over Asia by a variety of publishers and in a number of languages. It has also been pirated and republished several more times in unauthorized editions. A total of nearly 60,000 legal copies are now in print in four languages, but it has been entirely unavailable anywhere in English for the last five years. A movie version of The Big Mango was even in the works for a while. James Gandolfini (Tony Soprano in HBO's 'The Sopranos') signed a contract to play Eddie Dare and Jake spent several weeks on 'The Sopranos' set working with Gandolfini on the script. Before the film actually got made, however, the production company and Jim had a falling out and they dropped him from the cast. After that, the whole project eventually floundered and has now gone away altogether as far as I know. Jake took the whole matter in his stride. "At least I got paid," he told me! You can find out more about The Big Mango here and more about Jake's fine novels at JakeNeedham.com.

Quote of the week comes from one of my few Western female friends and was her responses to me telling her stories about Western guys who just give in to their girlfriends and pay, pay, pay in Bangkok. "Why do all of your friends give in to this extortion? That's what it is, EXTORTION!"

Reader's story of the week comes from Mac, a really excellent balanced piece on being a sex tourist titled "About Mongering" that I gave my highest award to, a green star.

A degree in Latin prepares you to go native and work the fields in rural Thailand.

From the New York Times, Thai massage is taking off in Prague.

A long-term French expat is accused of murdering his girlfriend and dumping her body in the boot of her car. No more visa extensions will be necessary for him to stay in the Kingdom.

Thailand slipped to 84th least corrupt country in the world. Which fine country topped the list?

An American is sentenced to 20 years in the big house for sex tourism related charges.

The Daily Mail reports that a young British woman was raped in Pattaya this week.

Not Thailand-related at all, this traveller vs. tourist piece from the Sydney Morning Herald struck a chord with me.

The Star's Philip Golingai opines that we should not discuss certain things in Thailand.

Ask Mrs. Stick

Mrs. Stick is happy to answer any questions regarding inter-racial relationships as well as cultural peculiarities that may be confusing or baffling you. The questions this week were all better answered by Mr. Stick than Mrs.

Question 1: I have met a very nice Thai lady that I intend to marry next month. I am not worried about her past or anything like that. My simple question to you is only this whether I should arrange for a prenuptial agreement before marriage – and what would be the benefit of that? I am not a rich man. My house is owned by my Thai company, and I have invested 2 million baht in a restaurant with a friend from my home country. The wife is not involved in that as she has her own job, so what would be the benefit of a prenup? She has a child from before I am taking care of and I have told her if we get married I would like to adopt the child as mine, since this will be easier from my employer's side (insurance, tuition fees, medical etc ) and she has no problems with that.

Mr. Stick says: First of all, it should be noted that while hardly common, prenuptial agreements ARE accepted in Thai law. To reduce the chance of the prenup being challenged later, I would recommend you get it drawn up in both English and Thai. Also, to be recognised it MUST be filed at the time of the registration of the marriage at the district office. Simply raising the issue with your fiancée will not be easy. My brain tells me that it is the right thing to do but my heart tells me that a Thai woman would not be at all pleased – and raising it with her so close to your marriage date is asking for trouble. I think this is a really tough situation and one which only you know the answer to – just how will your wife-to-be react when you raise it with her?! It could cause her to get REALLY upset and could put a lot of doubts in her mind about you and your commitment to her, notwithstanding that it is a legitimate issue to raise. One thing to remember is that Thai law specifically states that any assets that were yours before marriage are yours forever, and only yours. Should you later divorce, she will not have any claim to those assets. All assets accrued during the course of marriage would be split if things go bad. This means assets accrued AFTER you REGISTERED the marriage.

Question 2: I am a 30-something attractive Caucasian Canadian woman who saw your website and other articles from men talking about how Thailand is an "adult Disneyland" as addictive as hard drugs. One guy wrote how he'd had the best sex in his whole life. I had an Israeli boyfriend who broke my heart by having countless flings in the "Land of Smiles" and ever since then I am trying to understand the psychological dynamics of the Western man's addiction to Thai women. I just wanted to ask your opinion on why so many men say they have the best sex in Thailand with bar girls. What is it about the sex that makes it better with Thai women than with us "farangs"? Do they have some special secret techniques that we must learn? Are we being "outsourced" to Thai women? This really disturbs me and I was wondering what kind of advice you have for me about this phenomenon. What can we, the farang women do to our men to make their lives better than with the Thai women. How can we compete with them? (Can we?) Can you recommend other sites that deal with this? Is there a support group for farang women who have to deal with this.

Mr. Stick says: I don't think the appeal of Thailand and Thai women to Western men is about sex per se. I think it is more about freedom, the availability of young, attractive women and for those who keep things casual or commercial, the lack of BS. A lot of Western men are just sick and tired of the BS involved with relationships in Western countries and many men are also, very rightly, fed up with the way that the law of divorce is very heavily slanted against them. Many Western men are saying enough is enough and are searching for alternatives – and they are finding a very attractive alternative in Thailand. While I am still in my 30s, I have friends in my 50s who do very well with Thai women – and I am not talking about women for sale. An older Western man who is well past his prime can still enjoy himself with a Thai woman in her 20s. There's not a lot of chance of that happening in the West unless he is paying. Many Western women, especially younger Western women, have lost not just their sense of femininity, but even their desire to be feminine. With this the man's role has become blurred and many Western men have become confused about just what their role is. Many feel that they are still expected to play the traditional role, but not reap the benefits that could be previously have been expected. The pendulum has swung too far and Western men, in ever greater numbers, are saying enough is enough and turning their back on Western women.

Question 3: What do you think of the repercussions of encouraging a Thai girl to work in bar to support herself rather than sending her money? Now put simply, I refuse to be a sponsor so expect her to earn her money. She accepts this and wants to go to Patong to work. Now I'm cool with this as it suits me. However, do you think she can actually long term live with such a situation. Will she effectively just decide I'm no long term prospect due to my attitude? Now considering how Thai bargirls work in general, I love the girl I've met but haven't explored other options in Thailand. How do you think she would take it if I explored those options, with a view to returning to her if that's what I decide is best? Now obviously in the West what I just suggested is totally unacceptable and insane. However I'm not sure if I'd be better off with a hi-so girl who will have a lot more similar background to mine than a bargirl from the country.

Mr. Stick says: If you truly loved this girl you would not want her to work in the bar. Yes, some girls cope ok with life in the bar but many do not. Sure, they may smile and put on a brave face but believe me when I say that they become damaged – both emotionally and physically. Some girls can work for a long time and not suffer too much whereas others can be damaged quickly. If you truly loved this woman, you would want to get her out of the bar scene. I think it is fairly clear that you do not know what you want – and there is nothing wrong with that. Just treat each woman you meet nicely and with respect and eventually you will meet someone who is right for you. I very much doubt this is the right woman for you.



You may have noticed that there was a little less nightlife news in this week's column. The reason is that I am trying to cut down on drinking. It's not that I am an alcoholic, more that I notice when I drink I slowly put on weight – and I feel a little slow the next day. When I don't drink I feel a lot better. I am planning on staying off the alcohol for a few weeks although it won't be easy with the holiday season approaching and lots of events to attend. With alcohol off the menu for the time being, that means I won't be venturing out into the bars. The bars are not a fun place to be if you're off the alcohol. There will be less nightlife news for the next few weeks although it won't be entirely absent. For those of you who have said there's too much nightlife coverage this should come as good news!



Your Bangkok commentator,

Stick