Thailand - Girls Page 2
Last updated: 28th April 2009
A correspondent who was trying to keep a long distance relationship going with a girl in Bangkok wrote in one of his e-mails that he didn't want to 'play games'. He was sending money to the girl every month but had the usual problems where she wasn't available at certain times or had her phone switched off.
He didn't know what was going on and was even thinking of getting a private investigator to check up on her - a complete waste of money, in my opinion. I understood where he was coming from but like so many foreign men who meet Thai girls, he didn't have a clue about how Thais think or act.
After sleeping and eating, play is the next favourite Thai activity. In Thailand, life isn't taken seriously. To be seen to be worrying about something or thinking too much (kit maak) is almost regarded a crime and will most likely result in an admonishment.
Ask Thai students what they did over the weekend and if the answer isn't that they slept, it will be that they played. Thais do not 'use' or 'work on' computers; they play with them. The common verb for interacting with a computer is len, which means to play.
I am firmly of the opinion that idioms provide accurate insights into cultural behaviour. If an idiom exists, it means two things. Firstly, that what the idiom describes is fairly common behaviour and, secondly, that everyone understands the idiomatic meaning. Now, consider this.
The Thai idiom for flirting is len huu, len dtaa. It translates to 'play with ears, play with eyes' and it is uncannily accurate. There couldn't be a more accurate expression to describe how Thai girls behave.
It's easy for me to pick out newly-arrived farang males who don't understand Thailand or Thai women. They are the ones who walk around grinning from ear to ear like young boys in a toy shop. The men who do understand Thailand and Thai women don't have the same stupid grin. (And a few even end up throwing themselves off tall buildings after a few years of living in Thailand.)
Everywhere I go in Thailand, I meet pretty young girls who openly flirt by smiling sweetly and telling me what I want to hear. My eyes and my ears are constantly played with. I know from experience though that unless the girl is a prostitute, it is very unlikely anything will happen beyond the flirting stage.
It's kind of strange how Thais girls you meet never admit to having boyfriends but you can guarantee that any reasonable looking girl past the age of 15 will have a Thai boyfriend (maybe more) in the background. Something as minor as this doesn't stop them flirting and playing games though.
I like to back up what I say with examples so here is an example.
A group of Thai women were trying to set me up with one of their colleagues who they swore was single. This kind of thing isn't unusual but normally it is fairly obvious why the girl/woman in question is single.
On this occasion though, the girl wasn't old or ugly. On the contrary, she was young and extremely attractive. I had severe doubts that she was really single but the teasing continued for a couple of months with the group trying to set us up.
While this was going on, the girl herself just smiled at me sweetly and alluringly, thus playing along with the rest of the group.
After ignoring them for a while, I thought I would test the situation so I asked around about the girl and sure enough, I was told she had a boyfriend. This was exactly what I expected.
However, the teasing continued. I told the group I was going travelling and they suggested I take the girl along with me. My response was to tell them that her boyfriend wouldn't be very happy. Now, knowing that I knew, her response was to tell me that she wasn't married yet. That might have been true but having a boyfriend - even without being married - wasn't exactly the same as being single. They were just playing with me and I knew it.
To my correspondent who said he didn't want to 'play games', I would respectively suggest that Thailand is not the best country to visit if you don't like playing games.
So, why do the girls do it and what's the answer?
It has a lot to do with the Thai culture of not taking life too seriously. Thinking a lot and getting heavy too early on in a relationship is not a good thing. But it's more than that.
Many Thai men and many foreign men in Thailand on vacation just want to play games as well. They are not interested in a serious relationship but just want to have their fun with as many girls as possible. The girls know this so they play games too, as a kind of defensive action.
There are different ways you can react. You can just say, "I don't want to play games," dump the girl and find another. However, the same thing will happen every time.
From my own experience in the past - and from what I have heard from other men - another reason the girls play games is to test you. Most suffer from terrible insecurity and want to know how serious you are.
If you leave after a few games, then you couldn't have been very serious. However, if you put up with lots of nonsense but still stick around, they know you are serious. All of a sudden, the games will stop and they will even apologise for having messed you around.
I have lots of sympathy for Thai girls and understand why they act the way they do. There are good Thai men around but there are a lot of rascals. It's the same with farang men in Thailand. Along with the good guys, there are a lot of sex tourists and sexpats who don't really respect individual girls.
If you don't like playing games in relationships, avoid Thailand and Thai girls. If you want a Thai wife or partner for a serious relationship, expect lots of games initially but if you hang in and pass the test, you might still achieve a happy ending.
It also helps if you treat everything in Thailand as a game - a joke. If you are old, fat, bald and ugly without much money and you tried to date a gorgeous 19 year-old girl in the Western world, everyone would think it was a joke and they would laugh.
It's the same in Thailand except that the gorgeous 19 year-old is also in on the joke and makes out that she is serious about you. When she leaves for another man who is better looking, younger or richer, don't be sad. Remember that it was only a joke in the first place. How could anything so utterly ridiculous have been genuine - even in Thailand? Think about it.
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Last updated: 28th April 2009
It starts with the famous Thai smile.
If I had one Baht for every time a good looking Thai girl has smiled sweetly at me, I would be a wealthy man by now. It started the minute I stepped off the plane on my first trip to Thailand in 1987 and it has never stopped.
A sweet smile from a pretty girl in the Western world might mean that she is interested in you. Thais smile for all manner of reasons but I heard from a resident farang (who had been told this by a Thai) that only one kind of smile is good. What a sweet smile doesn't mean - necessarily - is that she is interested in you. Even girls who are as uninterested as it is possible to be will still smile very sweetly.
It's not a problem. It's better to receive a smile than a scowl or a mouthful of abuse. It's only a problem if you start misinterpreting smiles and other actions and, as a result, start to get the wrong ideas.
But it goes beyond smiling. If a Western girl agrees to a dinner date, it probably means that even if she may not be that interested at the time, she at least wants to find out more about you. It's generally a good sign. To a Thai girl a dinner invitation means free food.
A large proportion of Thais baulk at the thought of spending more than about Bt100 on a meal. However, many like pizza. Pizza isn't considered an expensive meal in the West but it is in Thailand compared to the cost of a standard Thai meal of rice or noodles.
It is therefore no coincidence that on several occasions in the past when I have invited Thai girls out to dinner they have wanted to eat pizza. Also, when a meal offer comes along from a 'rich' farang (Thais believe that all foreigners have bottomless pits of money at their disposal) it isn't unusual for the girl to invite several of her friends along to share in the feast.
She may not even mention this but what you thought was going to be an intimate meal with just the two of you turns into a party for a bunch of hungry Thais and your primary responsibility is to pick up the tab at the end of the meal.
If it's a first date where she is nervous and wants to bring along a friend, that's fine, but on the occasions when I've fallen for this it has been obvious her friends were just there for free food. Also, the argument that she is a little afraid of being alone with you - which is why she brought a bunch of friends along - doesn't quite wash if you have already been out alone together.
I thought I was wise to all this but even so, I was taken again by a girl I once met in Bangkok. We met and got chatting, and she hinted she was hungry so I invited her to eat. She didn't have a chance to call any hungry friends and there were no pizza restaurants nearby. We went to a very ordinary Thai-style restaurant near the main road.
She browsed the menu and told me she wanted fried rice. It was about Bt30. However, when I wasn't paying attention she slipped in an order for a huge portion of the biggest tiger prawns I have ever seen in my life. They were the most expensive item on the menu.
I was waiting for a couple of plates of cheap fried rice to arrive but Moby Dick's younger brothers, covered in batter with a sweet sauce, arrived instead.
There was so much meat on the prawns that she couldn't eat them all but so long as a stupid farang was picking up the bill, she did her best to get through as much expensive food as she could. She wasn't going to miss an opportunity like this.
The prawn dish she ordered was about Bt600. I spoke to her a couple of times on the phone afterwards while I was in Bangkok but we never met again. She wanted me to take her and a group of her friends out dancing so that I could pay for their evening out but I declined her generous offer.
I tried calling her again after I returned home from Bangkok but she just stopped answering her phone. I had served my purpose and she had now lost interest.
Exchanging phone numbers is something else that means very little with Thai girls. This may be a good sign in the West but in Thailand it means little. Even if things start off well, the girl's interest can end very abruptly.
When I used to come to Thailand as a tourist I made lots of observations. I noticed - naturally - lots of lovely girls. But something else I noticed was the behaviour of farang expats who had been around for a while. I noticed that the girls they were with weren't exactly anything to write home about, and also that the men didn't seem to pay much attention to very attractive girls.
That seemed most strange. You could spot the tourists because they were the ones with their tongues hanging out, but the expats just ignored the good looking girls. Why, I wondered? Well, now it has become a lot clearer.
I have been led down the garden path so many times by Thai girls before I realised they weren't interested (and they had never been interested in the first place) that now I can't really be bothered.
At a place where I worked, I taught mainly females but didn't show any interest in any of them. One day I heard some gossip along the lines that I must be gay. I asked the girl who told me why people thought this.
She said some very complimentary things about me to the effect that I was quite eligible but they couldn't work out why I paid no interest to any of the girls. I told her that I don't like to get involved at work because if a relationship doesn't work out it can get very awkward.
But also - and more to the point - I knew that any girl I was interested in was 99.9% certain to already have a Thai boyfriend so there wasn't any point in making a fool of myself. She thought about this for a moment and then told me, "You're right." I know I'm right.
So, is all lost? Is it possible to find a great girl in Thailand who isn't just after an ATM on legs to provide for her, her extended family, and any sick livestock?
Of course it is; there are still plenty around. However, it is not as easy as it may first appear when you arrive in Thailand. When I first arrived, I honestly thought I could pick any girl I wanted. Experience has shown me that definitely isn't the case.
The only thing that has changed is my knowledge of Thai behaviour and that now I no longer misinterpret signals. If a beautiful Thai girl smiles at you, smile back, feel good, let it boost your ego, enjoy the moment, but don't be misled.
There is a very good reason why Thailand is known as the Land of Smiles.
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Last updated: 10th April 2013
There is a saying in Thailand that Thai women are the hind legs of the elephant. They do all the hard work in the background. The work they do is essential, but it often goes unnoticed because it is done behind the scenes. I totally agree. Most Thai women work quite hard.
Here's an example. If you visit a dentist in Thailand, the chances are that it will be a woman. All the work on my teeth has been performed by women in Thailand and in all the dental clinics I've been to I have never met a male dentist. The girls study hard and they do excellent work.
If the women are the hind legs of the elephant, what does that make the men?
From my experience of living in Thailand, around 40% are the head and shoulders of the elephant providing leadership, strength and direction.
Of the remaining male population, 59% are elephants' arseholes. The ones who aren't even worthy or capable of being an elephant's arsehole become minivan drivers.
As a tourist and new expat to Thailand I quite liked Thai men. In provincial England there are gangs of aggressive hooligans who want to fight with males they don't know if those males have the audacity to stray on to 'their' territory. The UK is a violent country, and much of the violence is fuelled by alcohol.
As a tourist in Thailand whenever I saw a group of males drinking beer and whisky (a favourite pastime for Thai males) they would hold up their glasses and invite me over. I wasn't interested in drinking alcohol with them, but I appreciated their friendly gestures and the lack of aggression.
After living in Thailand for a while everything changed. Before I go on I need to state that I've met some wonderful Thai men (the 40%). The Thai doctor who employed me for several years to teach his staff some English was highly intelligent, worldly wise, kind and compassionate to everyone he met. He is not the only one.
Unfortunately, a significant proportion of Thai men are completely the opposite. Two things started to change my view. The first was talking to many Thai women about their relationships with Thai men.
Upon going for a massage on one occasion the girl seemed very keen to show me bruises all over her body. She had been working hard in a beauty salon in Phuket. Her Thai boyfriend only worked a few months a year in the high season buying bottled beer for Bt16 a bottle and selling it to stupid farangs at the beach for Bt50.
He liked to drink and was apparently very social among his male friends but when he got home drunk he would beat her. This must have turned him on because after beating her he would also have non-consensual sex with her. Rape would be another word.
He ordained as a monk for less than a month and told her the experience had changed him forever but the drinking and beatings continued. Leopards never change their spots, or rather tigers can't get rid of their stripes as the equivalent saying goes in Thai.
She bought a pickup truck in her own name and was paying instalments of Bt11,000 a month but he used the truck for his beer business. He would also steal money from her to fund the drinking sessions with his friends.
After one beating he ran off, taking her pickup truck and money with him. She told the police but they weren't really interested. She fled for her own safety (she had two children to take care of) and was left with some serious financial difficulties.
The girl I really wanted to marry had an abusive boyfriend who didn't see her often. Despite leaving her alone for weeks on end, he would get furious if she left her house to meet friends. She was terrified of him and too afraid to leave because he would tum raay (do bad things). With this sector of Thai men, bullying and physically abusing girls is common.
The second thing that changed my attitudes towards Thai men (and no single thing has changed my opinion about Thai men more than this) was when I started driving regularly in Thailand. As I've said elsewhere, Thailand is the 6th most dangerous country in the world for road accidents, surpassing many countries that have far bigger populations.
The unsavoury sector of Thai men all think they are racing drivers and all believe that they have the right to get ahead of every other car on the road. They have huge egos and believe they are better than everyone else. I believe the reason why so-called 'loss of face' is such a big problem in Thailand is because of massive egos and an inflated opinion of self worth, especially among Thai males.
They constantly use the wrong lanes and constantly break traffic laws just so that they can get ahead of other road users. The bully boy attitudes are still present, except that many are quite small physically and they can't intimidate other men in the same way that they can intimidate small Thai women.
To compensate for their small stature they like oversized pickup trucks and Toyota Fortuner type SUVs, which are bigger than most other vehicles. They hide behind dark tinted windows and think that with a bigger vehicle they can bully and intimidate other road users. Some also carry guns to increase the level of intimidation.
The most aggressive and dangerous drivers on Thai roads are those who drive passenger vans for a living, which is why I gave minivan drivers a special mention above.
Another example of violence among Thai males is the rivalry between technical colleges in Bangkok, which frequently results in running street battles involving guns and other dangerous weapons.
Thai girls understand Thai men very well, but despite the way many men treat women the girls won't leave. I think a lot of this is down to fear and a case of 'the devil you know' as opposed to a farang who could be the devil they don't know.
When the men are chasing girls they act like perfect gentlemen. Once they enter into a relationship they change and then appear to regard the girl as their own personal property. The men believe they are free to go out drinking with their male friends or to chase other women, but the girl isn't allowed to do anything. If she does anything against his will she will get a beating.
Every Thai TV soap opera features scenes of violence against women and this seems to be how some Thais carry on in real life.
Money is always the top priority in Thailand. Foreign men who meet Thai girls are expected to hand over money all the time, however, I have met a few Thai girls who work and support a boyfriend who doesn't work. Even the girls' close friends think it is strange, but some Thai men appear to exert considerable power over some girls.
This may also seem strange, but because of the importance of money some Thai men will happily have girlfriends who are prostitutes. They seem to have no qualms that she has sex with many men. The main thing is that she can earn a lot of money and the men therefore don't need to work.
If a foreign man gets involved with a bargirl/prostitute and wants to take the realtionship further, he will normally find out eventually that there is a Thai boyfriend or husband in the background. Normally the man will be a typical Thai bad boy, but the girl will probably be reluctant or afraid to leave.
Why are there so many problems with Thai men? Here's my theory.
When I lived in a rented house there were young boys living next door to, and opposite, our house. During their play sessions in the street I observed them urinating all over the place. It was disgusting.
I spoke to my wife and also to the boys' parents about this. Their reaction was to laugh and tell me, "They are boys." I asked if it would be acceptable for young girls to do this. "Of course not." They looked disgusted at my question.
In Thailand boys are given special privileges from the moment they are born. They can do what they want and no one will tell them otherwise.
In a book I read about Thai cultural behaviour (it was probably Mulder) the reason given for this is that making merit is of the utmost importance to Thais and that merit can only be made through monks, who are always men. This has to do with the Thai belief system and the way in which Thais believe merit should be made. It's actually complete rubbish, but this is what Thais believe.
I taught at an all-boys school for about a month. It was so bad that I walked out after a month. Again, the boys had the attitude that they could do whatever they wanted to do. They were also extremely defiant and didn't like being told what to do, especially by an inferior farang. When I tried to discipline one little kid he stood up and wanted to fight me.
The school had a special department for discipline, but when I spoke to the people working there they weren't interested. In Thailand, males can do what they want.
When boys are very young their parents allow them to do whatever. In their teenage years there is no discipline at school and they continue in the same way. When they grow up and get cars and motorbikes they can do what they want on the roads because there is virtually no law enforcement on Thai roads.
This is the way that many Thai males grow up. They believe they are the centre of the universe and that no one can tell them what to do. It's very cultural.
Thai men. As with every aspect of living in Thailand there is good and bad. You can't generalise because the men are all very different. You will meet some real educated gentlemen in Thailand, but at the lower end of Thai society the men can be a real problem.
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The Oldest Profession
Prostitution and Thailand are synonymous. This isn't a fact many Thais like but they only have themselves to blame if they don't like it. Lots of Thais (and not just the girls directly involved) make a very good living from the industry.
Prostitution is actually illegal in Thailand but the Thais have convenient ways to circumvent laws. The huge massage parlours in Bangkok officially just provide a massage service so there is nothing illegal about that. Whatever else happens is just between two consenting adults.
It's a very difficult subject to discuss and evokes very emotional debates.
The girls I have met who sell sex weren't forced into the industry. They come from poor backgrounds and have little education. Because of their social status and education they will never get a decent paying job in Thailand.
They have the option of doing menial work for a pittance of a salary, or they can live in a fun tourist area where they can sleep until noon and let foreign men pay them to take them out eating and dancing.
They can earn a lot of money this way so what is the best option? Hard, menial work for a very small salary or a high monthly income just by having fun? The latter option means having to have sex with strangers but for many poor Thai girls it is a small price to pay.
There is a huge difference between prostitutes in Thailand and elsewhere. In most countries men just use prostitutes for sex. In Thailand, foreign men fall in love with them.
It's not impossible to find a good partner this way but the fact the girl has chosen this career path means that her primary concern in life is money.
A genuine good Thai girl would be horrified at having to sell her body to make money.
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Thai working girls are not representative of Thai girls
On the first page about Thai girls I spoke about the different types of Thai girls. Many Internet resources I have read purport to be talking about Thai girls when actually they are talking about Thai prostitutes. There are apparently many men who have encountered bar girls in Thailand, have been ripped off, and now have a view of what 'Thai girls' are like. This is a little unfair, to say the least.
They are not the same and this is a very important point to make. This career option is not the only choice, but for some it is an easy and convenient choice. By choosing to do it the girl has prioritised money as the most important thing in her life above morality, trust, integrity and honesty.
If you choose to get involved with a bar girl and end up getting cheated, what did you expect? However, this is what happens. Foreign men arrive in Thailand and within a matter of hours encounter bar girls. I understand why they do it and it is because of some very basic human needs but there are big risks attached.
Have fun with them but don't believe anything they say and try not to get emotionally attached because that's when the problems begin.
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When I speak to farangs about how conservative many Thai girls are, there are still some who roll their eyes in disbelief as if I am completely stupid. One guy told me the girls' supposed virginity was all an act just to make them more desirable.
After all, Bangkok is the sex capital of the world, isn't it? It only follows then that Thailand is the nearest thing we have these days to ancient Rome - just one big orgy.
I'm sorry to shatter illusions but actually it isn't and it says a lot about farangs living in Thailand who think otherwise. It also says a lot about the kind of Thai girls they associate with.
I know lots of Thai girls in their late 20's or early 30's who have never had a boyfriend and have no sexual experience. They are quite scared of men and terrified of sex although many are very inquisitive. I don't believe this to be true; I know this to be true.
Southern Thailand is the most conservative area of all but this type of conservatism exists everywhere. The Thai term riep roi is often applied to good Thai girls who don't mess around. Getting involved with such girls means several things.
Firstly, they will be very reluctant to meet you alone and will often bring a friend. Forget about going to their place or them coming to your place. Not only will they be scared of what you might try to do but they will not want to be seen by other Thais going to a man's place. They have their reputations to think of.
Intimate contact can take a very long time. It is not a case of waiting three dates before making your move as might be the case in the UK or the USA; it may be a case of waiting years. One girl I know had a Thai boyfriend she saw for two-and-a-half years and all he was ever allowed to do was kiss her on the cheek.
Thailand is full of contrasts and this is just one of them. There are thousands of bar girls and naughty massage girls everywhere, but if you want to find a good girl you go to the other extreme.
It can be confusing because even the good girls like to flirt.
Quite a few girls that have flirted with me and suggested meeting later haven't bothered turning up. I know for a fact that many riep roi girls flirt online these days with foreign males. They can explore what it is like having contact with a male while being very safe, thousands of miles away sitting behind a computer.
I would say to any man who 'chats' online to a Thai girl to be very wary and not to have high expectations. Some girls deliberately lead men on but some just have no idea why foreign men are chatting to them.
One of my Thai friends is a very respectable, well educated girl. She has a boyfriend and is planning to marry. She told me she had been using MSN to chat to a foreign man. Naively, she only did this to improve her English.
I don't think the foreign man was chatting to her to improve her English though. The conversation started off normally and they must have exchanged photos. She's a very attractive girl.
She said that he then started asking 'bedroom' questions. After this, he declared his love for her and said he wanted to marry her.
She explained she had a boyfriend and wasn't interested, at which he told her to f*** off. Nice guy. What this demonstrated to me is how so many farang men don't understand Thai girls, and how so many Thai girls don't understand farang men.
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The Bride Price
Last updated: 28th April 2007
Unlike countries such as India where a dowry is paid to the groom by the bride's family, the culture in Thailand is the other way round. When a marriage takes place, the groom must pay the bride's family.
The first point to make - an important one - is that this isn't another scam dreamt up by the Thais to squeeze a bit more money out of unsuspecting farangs. It's a very traditional part of Thai culture.
When a man takes a wife, this is the way he expresses his gratitude to the girl's parents for raising and educating her, and turning her into the woman he deems worthy enough to be his wife. After many years of care and nurturing, he is taking away a valuable asset from them so some compensation is required.
There is also an aspect of 'face' involved. The amount is not a closely guarded secret. People will know what it is and obviously a higher price is good for the girl and her family. If, as a farang man, you plan to marry a Thai girl, don't think of this as a con. It's not and you need to be very sensitive about the issue because there is a lot of 'face' at stake.
There are two basic components associated with the bride price although it seems to get a bit more involved with very 'hi-so' girls - more about that in a moment.
sin-sot (สินสอด) is a gift of money and kong-mun (ของหมั้น) is a gift of gold.
Naturally, upon being told about this, I was interested to hear what kind of amounts are involved. There is no set amount and - to some extent - it is open to negotiation between the groom and the bride's parents. There are various factors involved.
How old is she? How beautiful is she? What kind of family does she come from? How pure is she? (You can start to understand now why Thai society continually drums into girls the importance of remaining chaste.) What kind of education has she had? What kind of work does she do? How many female siblings does she have?
The girl who told me about this is very virtuous and well-educated. She is very good looking, from a good family, an only daughter, and has a good job. Her sin-sot value was assessed at Bt400,000 and her kong-mun value at five baat of gold. (One baat of gold is equal to 15 grammes and worth about Bt10,000 at current market rates.) In addition, her boyfriend has already bought her a new car and various other gifts.
The lowest values would be about Bt30,000 to Bt50,000 in cash and one or two baat of gold for a country girl with a very basic level of education.
With the very best girls that Thailand has to offer - actresses, singers, and the general 'hi-so' crowd, there are apparently no limits. A lot more money and gold obviously but also land, a Benz, a condo, a large diamond ring. The list can go on and on.
The payment can be made in one instalment at the time of the wedding or, if the couple decide on a period of engagement, half can be paid when they get engaged and the remainder when they marry.
I mentioned the 'face' aspect and a big bride price buys a lot of public face for the bride and her family. However, once the sin-sot and kong-mun have been handed over, the bride's parents can (if they so desire) give some of it back to the groom privately without anyone knowing. This is purely a face-saving measure.
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