Why are so many expats in Bangkok never seen with their Thai wife? Many expats have a busy social life but often that social life doesn’t include their Thai wife. How many expat friends do you have whose wife you’ve never met?
Most people I know in Thailand are in a long-term relationship. Some have been married for decades. In most cases, I never met their other half. I am pretty sure they’re not keeping me away from their wife, or vice versa. In fact, I don’t know anyone who has met their other half. It is their choice not to introduce their wife to their expat friends – and I respect that entirely – but I still find it a bit odd.
It would be almost unthinkable here in Farangland, toxic relationships aside, to have not met a friend’s wife. When we socialise here, we do it as couples. And it’s not like Thailand where the wives tend to gravitate in one room – often the kitchen if it’s a house party – and men in another, perhaps around the BBQ or in front of the TV if there’s a major sports event on.
I got to thinking about this when I saw some social media posts from a fellow I know – I’d describe him more as an acquaintance than a friend – who is currently traveling around Northern Thailand. First, he was in Chiang Mai. Then in Chiang Rai. Next was the Golden Triangle. Later, Mae Hong Son. He has been posting photos in province after province and it looks like he’s have a great time. But where is his wife?
I know he is married and as best I understand, all is well on the home front. Why wouldn’t they travel together?
It’s not just this trip he’s doing without her. He goes out to the bars alone. He eats out with friends, or alone. You wouldn’t believe he was married if it wasn’t for the wedding band on his finger.
It’s not my nor anyone else’s business how someone conducts their relationship, but this phenomenon in Thailand where many expats have never met their fellow expats’ wives is something I find odd.
Granted, some may be in a relationship that hasn’t worked out the way they had hoped. Some might even be in a relationship best described as toxic. I can understand why someone in a situation like that would take every opportunity to get out of the house, away from the wife and to the relative sanctuary of friends. But I don’t actually think that’s why so many guys just don’t do stuff together with their wife and expat friends.
It is of course completely normal to spend time away from your other half with like-minded male friends – and that can be especially so living in Thailand where it can be helpful sharing experiences with your fellow Western friends who get it in a way your Thai wife mightn’t.
But it still feels just a little bit odd knowing someone for so long, spending time with them socially but never meeting their other half. It’s even weirder that no-one you know has ever seen them in public together. I guess they have their reasons. But it still feels odd.
I’ve always thought the time you spend with your other half and the times you spent with friends was a balance. Westerners in Thailand need to socialise with other Westerners because for the most part, most of us don’t have that much in common with the average Thai – and most of us don’t have any Thai friends. And those expats who do have Thai friends know that they can be very different from us.
For pretty much my entire time in Thailand, Friday night was my night out with friends – and her time to do as she wished with friends, colleagues or family. Saturday and Sunday was typically spent doing couples stuff. Monday to Friday was when I would meet friends / do my own thing / play Stickman stuff etc. It worked well and was a good balance.
I’ve long felt that expats in Thailand who seem happiest are those who actually do some stuff with their Mrs. Whether it be a simple movie and dinner date, eating out, drinking, whatever, the happiest expats seems to be those with a balanced social life between their Mrs and their friends. I don’t get it why some stay in a relationship but never seem to do anything with their Mrs.
Last week’s photo was taken of the walkway between Benjakitti and Lumpini Parks, known to some as the green mile. This week’s is obviously somewhere along the skytrain line, but precisely where?
Stick’s Inbox – This Week’s Emails
Postcard from Pattaya.
Another postcard from Pattaya.
Pattaya Beach is very quiet with only a smattering of Indian tourists around. Soi Buakhao is busy with expat Farangs. The bars are running on less than 50% of pre-COVID numbers. Walking Street is a disaster zone with a lot of gogo bars still closed and few customers. Road works and poor lighting makes it only a shadow of its previous busy self.
What are her intentions?
One aspect of Thai ladies I really don’t get is the way some stay connected to a guy for several years, even though the relationship isn’t going anywhere romantically. It has happened with me a few times. Despite me not showing any romantic interest, she still keeps in touch, and we occasionally meet over lunch, coffee and exchange small gifts etc. I don’t mind staying connected but I don’t want to hinder a lady’s prospects of meeting Mr Right. I wonder what their intentions are. Do they wish to remain good friends? Or do they still see me as their plan B, C, D etc? Is it a cultural thing?
The availability of afternoon delight.
The decision to allow alcohol sales in hotels during the afternoon means absolutely nothing, as I have never found any hotel that refuses to sell during those hours. It is yet another of the countless laws in Thailand that are unenforceable. Customers know that, the hotels know that and the authorities know that so just ignore it. Everyone ignores such pointless and unenforceable laws, which is fine. But the problem is that such an attitude becomes so much the norm that other more relevant laws are ignored and the result is the anarchy of everyone doing as they please, often with impunity. Of course, that is the very thing that attracts some foreigners to the country, as an escape from what they feel is the excessive political correctness they experience back home.
Lucky dog didn’t get lucky.
In my early 40’s, I found myself single, when one day a beautiful young Thai lady caught my eye. She was in her mid-20’s and stunning. She agreed to go on a date with me. She was very nice and charming when I picked her up but once we got to the restaurant it went downhill fast. While waiting for our table we sat at the bar. She downed three mixed drinks. Once we were seated and through dinner she had several more drinks. By the end of dinner she was having a weird conversation with an elderly couple sitting at a table next to us. When we left she wanted to stop off at a bar for a drink. It’s turns out this bar was a club. I’ve never been a club guy, so I was not a happy camper, but I did dance and have a few drinks. We actually ran into a friend of mine who took one look at her and called me a “lucky dog”. To make a long story short, I left her at the club dancing on a table. My buddy saw me leaving and asked me, “What’s wrong?” I pointed to the drunk lady dancing on the table. He just laughed. I was thinking that if I was in my 20’s I may have been really into her, but then I realized she would have been too much for me back then too.
This Week’s News & Views
The rainy season has arrived in earnest with downpours in Bangkok on Monday, Tuesday and Friday. Monday’s rain came in the early hours of the night, killing trade on what is already the quietest night of the week. But Friday proved the most-damaging, with pouring rain, thunder and lightning all night.
There was no rain on Wednesday and Thursday and both Nana Plaza and Soi Cowboy were buzzing. Cowboy, on Wednesday, had enough people strolling the soi of sin that some said it felt like how it was before the pandemic. The vibe has improved appreciably on Soi Cowboy – but it still can’t compete with Nana Plaza’s fun factor. The plaza was weekend busy on Thursday with good crowds everywhere and a smorgasbord of languages heard in and around the bars.
If Thursday night was good in Nana Plaza, last night (Saturday June 25th) was something else, and might just have been the busiest night since 2019. Nana Plaza last night was described as “absolutely banging.”
Billboard was insane, so busy that a friend dropped in 3 times in between visiting other bars and could not find a seat. Many customers who could not find a space to park themselves in Billboard walked across the way to Butterflies, which had its busiest night since it reopened. The vibe was described as fantastic.
Spanky’s started filling up at 7:15 and never slowed down with standing room the choice for many.
You know the tourists are clearly back in the bar areas with many farang women spotted around Nana Plaza. Spanky’s manager Captain Hornbag mentioned to a friend that there were, “Tons of new faces.”
If there was a medal given to the country with the most men in Nana Plaza, India would win the gold. Given the dearth of Chinese, Japanese and Koreans, bar owners and girls alike are delighted to welcome all the horny Indians.
But it should be noted that Indian customers can be a bit more work than others. As one bar boss noted, “We welcome all tourists, but there’s a lot of babysitting required, to make sure they’re buying drinks or not nursing a Coke for an hour.”
Erotica was another bar described as “nuts” last night with one happy customer buying drinks for 7 dancers and service staff, including the 40-something door woman with huge assets. And a Thai bird was having fun, throwing 20-baht notes supplied by her boyfriend. Fun was being had in every nook and cranny of the plaza – and not just the big-name bars.
It took a little longer to get the hot new promotion up and running at Whiskey & Go Go, but drop by starting tonight for a deal you don’t want to miss.
Blondie opened earlier this month with not only the best-looking design you’ll find in a gogo bar, but a unique theme appealing to fans of Japanese pop culture. From the anime video on the outside LED to manga-vixen costumes, Japanese comics were the inspiration for Blondie’s entertainment. While the anime concept was great to open the doors with, it was always expected Blondie would evolve based on customer demographics and their expectations. With very few Asian tourists in Thailand currently, Blondie is now mixing things up, putting its growing crop of new girls in some sexy stockings and suspenders and other skimpier outfits.
After a slow restart, long-time favorite Angelwitch has added popular manager Tony, whose CV includes (the now defunct) Lighthouse on Soi Cowboy and The Game. The painters and cleaners have been in and a new DJ is now pumping out all the rock classics fans of Angelwitch expect. And, after a false start, Angelwitch’s signature shows are now back on weekends, with more nights to be added. There’s also an updated menu with Beer Lao lager and dark, plus the O’Hara’s Irish stout and red ale available. The only thing missing is Dave The Rave’s dulcet tones on the mic, announcing show-time.
O’Hara’s, mentioned here last week, is now not only available at The Game and The Old English Pub, but in Nana Plaza at Angelwitch, Lollipop, the Bus Bar, Obsession and, from July, Witchcraft.
Speaking of The Game, the sports bar below the Nana BTS station also has a new and popular manager, Mick, most recently of Scruffy Murphy’s and previously at The Kiwi and a raft of other pubs over the years.
Across the road from The Game and on prime Sukhumvit Road, just a few doors along from the start of soi 8, a single shophouse that had been empty for some time is to become the area’s newest bar. A banner went up across the store’s frontage in the Thai language this week announcing it would be the newest Buddy’s Bar. There are a few Buddy’s Bar & Grills around Bangkok already so I assume this is a new location from that group. Workmen are inside so it shouldn’t be long before it opens. I wonder what the monthly rent is in that location?
With the return of legal opening, normal hours and bigger crowds, you’d think the first thing Suzie Wong on Soi Cowboy would do would be dump Lee Shamrock on Saturday nights. But what seemed like a pandemic-era Hail Mary while dancing was banned has continued to be a genuine business driver. Last Saturday, there were more people outside on the patio to watch Lee than there were inside to watch Suzie Wong’s growing group of attractive ladies on stage.
In the middle of Soi Cowboy, Oasis is doing well. One wonders how long until it becomes the busiest bar on Soi Cowboy. My prediction: Come high season Oasis will be the place to be on Soi Cowboy.
I recently mentioned a new promotion at Demonia – free-flow drinks on Friday nights for 1,500 baht, all in. This promotion proved popular and Demonia will continue the free flow promotion on Fridays. Demonia has another special this coming Saturday, July 2nd with a special Pizza & Wine Evening. A glass of wine and a pizza plate will set you back just 450 baht. Further glasses of wine run 150 baht. For those who choose this promotion, there is no entrance fee. If you’ve never checked out Demonia on Sukhumvit soi 33 (which is nothing like your regular Nana or Cowboy bars) this is as good a chance as you will get to find out if it’s for you.
The mask mandates were done away with this week (yee-ha!), meaning legally you are not required to wear a mask when outside. Of course, private property (shopping mall, public transport, shop, museum etc) owners still have every right to insist on a no mask, no entry policy. But for sure, it’s a massive step in the right direction and if reader emails are anything to go by, the vast majority of you agree with me.
Along with the June 23 publication in the Royal Gazette of the order ending Thailand’s mask mandate was convoluted language that gave the OK for bars to resume normal 2019-style hours now, instead of July 1, as expected. But, as always, it’s the police that control hours and, no matter what it said in the published order, cops will determine when bars are allowed to go back to 2 AM closing, most likely depending on how big the donation to the party fund is.
Hundreds of people have joined the new Bangkok Bargirls Facebook group since its launch less than two weeks ago. High-quality photos are posted daily from many popular Bangkok major bars. Check it out at: facebook.com/groups/bangkokbargirls.
Down in Pattaya, a reader suggested that Walking Street might be a candidate to be renamed as “India Street”. When I asked him if he meant that there were a lot of Indian restaurants opening up, he said no, that wasn’t what he meant. It’s not just Nana Plaza proving popular with our Indian friends.
There’s a lot more in this column about Bangkok than Pattaya. This is – and always has been – a Bangkok-centric column. Sure, I like to include news and gossip from Pattaya and other locations around Thailand, but just as the site is called StickmanBANGKOK, this column remains Bangkok-centric. And that is probably a good thing at this point in time with most reports I hear from Pattaya being a little depressing. A couple of hot-spots aside – namely Soi LK Metro and its immediate surrounds – the nightlife industry as a whole in Pattaya has not bounced back anything like Bangkok has. If you’ve been away from Thailand since before the pandemic started and you’re keen to party, consensus seems to be that you’re better off in Bangkok than Pattaya. Maybe wait until high season comes around before visiting Pattaya.
The Simon Beer Bar Complex on Walking Street is being rebuilt and knowing the speed with which bar constructions teams work in Thailand, it will likely reopen before too long.
This coming Friday, July 1st, Patpong Museum will host a special event, “Shrimp Cocktail” with Patrick Gauvain. If the name Patrick Gauvain or the moniker Shrimp don’t ring a bell, this fellow was once one of the foreign names in Thailand, a renowned photographer who produced calendars of scantily-clad Thai beauties many decades ago. Patrick will be at Patpong Museum to showcase some of his work. Sounds like it could be a fun event and one I’d love to attend if I was in town. If you’d like to go along, you need to send an email to RSVP at : firstname.lastname@example.org.
In Thailand you would often hear everyday Thais complain, “Setakit mai dee” – or in English, the economy is no good. You heard it all the time when I first arrived – and fair enough, the economy was in the toilet back then. You didn’t hear it so much after Thaksin came in to power when the economy was humming and people were spending again. When the Global Financial Crisis hit, “Setakit mai dee” was once again a favourite line for taxi drivers, bar staff, street food vendors and the like, working-class Thais who love to complain. With things looking uncertain with the world economy, am I going to be hearing this when I return?
For anyone looking for help in the bedroom, there is a counsellor / therapist in Bangkok who may be able to help. Sex therapy is one of the most misunderstood mainstream therapies and because of that, some may miss out on a rewarding sex life. That can include quality, quantity, frequency and performance. For women it can make the difference between faking it and enjoying the real thing, or getting past a traumatic experience. A surprising number of men have never discovered their full potential. At the same time, many have sexual hang-ups passed along by others who have their own sexual hang-ups. Even religious beliefs can stand in the way of the best possible sex. If you think you want to see if sex therapy is right for you, get in touch with Bangkok Counseling which is located next to the Thonglor BTS station and has long been working with people in Bangkok on intimate matters.
You’ve got to love the Thais’ entrepreneurship. Pop-up stores are said to be appearing all over with ganja / cannabis / weed for sale and now there are weed trucks like the one pictured below, on the busy stretch of Sukhumvit between the Nana and Asoke intersections. Thai weed sellers have responded to the decriminalisation of cannabis in the country with lightning speed. In a twist of irony, Reader H, who took this photo, said that less than 20 metres either side of the weed truck were African gentlemen greeting all who passed by, trying to peddle their own illicit substances. Are weed trucks going to be the next big thing in areas popular with tourists?
Thailand-Related News Articles
The BBC looks at the situation with cannabis in Thailand.
It’s official, the face-mask mandate has been lifted and the unpopular face nappies are now voluntary.
Bars are now back to 2 AM closing, at long last.
The Thai media runs a cannabis conspiracy theory fiction as fact.
Cannabis might be decriminalised in Thailand but smoking pot outdoors looks likely to be banned.
How did a YouTuber manage to secure 20,000 tickets to the much anticipated Liverpool vs Manchester United fixture in Bangkok?
A knife fight between two foreigners on Walking Street saw claret dripping from one of them.
It was kind of weird writing the column this week, digesting material provided by friends on the ground, putting everything together and, frankly, really wishing that I was there. Airfares to Bangkok remain high – but not totally out of the question – and there are seats available on most flights. I could fly out to Bangkok in the next few days and be there in time to enjoy the show at Spanky’s on Friday night. But I still haven’t pulled the trigger. I forgot that next week is the mid-year school holidays and the local catteries are all booked up by those who, unlike me, had planned ahead. I can’t just abandon my cats so I will have to wait at least a few more weeks until I fly out. I guess like so many of you, when it comes to planning a trip to Thailand I put pussy first.
Your Bangkok commentator,
Stick can be contacted at : email@example.com