Stickman Weekly 8/2/2009
Are Good Thai Girls Farang Friendly?
The realisation still hasn't dawned on Western guys that Thai bargirls are better suited to short time than a very long time and that Internet girls aren't much better. The so-called Thai good girl remains largely off the farang radar. Who is the traditional good Thai girl? How can we recognise her? Is she really the Holy Grail? And most importantly, is she farang friendly?
The idea of just what constitutes a good girl has become distorted. Many Westerners consider a "good Thai girl" as any Thai woman who has never worked in a naughty bar or any establishment where sex was available, be it clearly on the menu or a little more surreptitious.
I would contend that having never worked in such a venue has nothing to do with being a good girl.
Mrs. Stick defined a good girl last week as "a Thai lady brought up to be "reap roy" with the message from parents, teachers and people in society that they should not smoke, drink or have a desire to party or do bad things. They are also told that they should 'wait until marriage'."
The traditional Thai good girl typically lives with her parents and will do so until she marries. Contrary to what some hi-so types may claim, good girls are not exclusive to their lofty echelon of society. Good girls transcend class and the socio-economic background of the family is irrelevant.
Thai parents often rule with an iron fist and the parents of good girls may impose all sorts of restrictions on their daughter(s), some of which are quite oppressive in this day and age, and some of which may have been considered old-fashioned even a generation or two ago.
A good Thai girl will be expected to spend most of her time away from work or study or other commitments at home. Socialising should be done during daylight hours and once the sun goes down she should be safe at home, or at the very least on her way home. There could well be a curfew.
Many Thai women claim to be a good girl but in reality society would not view them as such. If she calls her parents to say that she will be staying at Lek's or Noi's or Daeng's but in reality is at your place then she isn't a good girl at all, despite what she may claim!
As such, genuine traditional good girls lead very sheltered lives. In fact they are so protected that in some ways their personal development is stunted. They may lack social skills and be clumsy and awkward in all but the most familiar situations. Their only social interactions may be with family, friends and colleagues. Spontaneous liaisons with the opposite sex are largely an unknown. Those good girls who have not had the privilege of a decent education can lack any sort of worldliness and know little about life beyond the boundaries of their village.
One of the most appealing things about Thais and Thai women is their pursuit of sanuk and the idea that everything in life should be fun. For the Thai good girl, she is constantly reminded to behave, to repress her emotions and to be what can best be described as prim and proper. To the average Western guy who has met many Thai women in a variety of environments the Thai good girl could seem like a total bore!
When interest is shown in a good girl and she is invited out on a date, she will invariably be accompanied by a chaperone, often a close friend. In the past couples were chaperoned for months and the very idea that the dating couple could have any private time alone was unthinkable! Things may not be quite so drastic today, but being accompanied on the first few dates is still not unusual for a good girl, especially if the family is actually aware that she is out on a date.
Chaperoned dates are a nightmare. What often happens is that the two girls end up chatting to one another and the guy doesn't get to know her any more than before the date. There's little chance to find out more about her and for things to develop into something more than friendship. There's no private time and no chance for even the most basic intimacy, the periods of no chat and "sweet eyes", brushing your hand against hers, those subtle but discrete moments that remind your date that you're interested in being more than just friends. Of course if money is tight, the date is going to cost you considerably more with a third wheel. The worst chaperones can be quite overbearing and seem to forget their role is to take a backseat.
Good girls seldom drink and even an innocuous glass of wine with a meal might be declined on the basis that good girls just don't do that! So much for trying to put her at ease with a little alcohol.
But good girls don't remain good forever and some go from good to bad in no time! In fact it's a phenomenon you're more familiar with than perhaps you realise. Many of the girls working in the gogo bars and other naughty establishments of Bangkok, Pattaya and beyond were once good girls! The man they married and to whom they built a family with may have been the only man they ever dated. Their naivety and overly trusting nature may have given him ample opportunity to stray. When she eventually realises that he has been unfaithful to her, her world of ideals is shattered and the relationship ends. She's got little or no relationship experience to fall back on and she decides to rebel and go against everything that she has ever been told. After all, she did all that she was supposed to do and things still didn't work out. The transformation from good girl to bad girl can be rapid. Many a so-called good girl becomes highly promiscuous if their heart is broken.
For the good girls who move to Bangkok or another big centre, perhaps to further their studies or to seek employment, breaking the shackles of their parents' control can also see their personality change overnight. Out of their parents' sight, they go wild as they discover just what they have been missing out on and try to make up for lost time. Of course when they return home they resume the persona they left behind, and that which their family expects of them. Many Thais maintain a certain persona with their parents and family that bears little resemblance to "the real them" or their actual lifestyle. It's all about maintaining face and preserving the family's reputation.
With Bangkok serving up something of a sexual buffet, the good girl's determination to wait for marriage can be a bridge too far for many Western men. Spoiled by the opportunities that our exotic looks give us (this is, sadly, not what it used to be) as well as the advantage that our (often perceived) financial situation gives us, many Western men will discard a local woman if they don't get their wicked way quickly. Few Westerners play a long game and few see that the so-called good girl may in fact be a better option long term.
Of all my friends in Thailand, and all the guys I have met over the years, I only know two guys who married a so-called good girl. Only two! And guess what? They probably have the best relationships of all the guys I know. In each case she's honest, hard-working and seems to do a good job raising their kid. In a country where infidelity is chronic, I have no doubt that she'd never even think of cheating on him.
The good news is that the so-called good Thai girls are generally open-minded to Western men, but they will insist on doing things their way. The downside is that the pace of the relationship can be just too slow for the average Western guy, impossibly slow for someone not living in country. Tourists can pretty much forget about finding a traditional good girl.
The traditional Thai good girl is what Thai seek when choosing a lifelong partner. There are more hoops to jump through and she might not have the joie de vivre of her naughty sisters, but in the long run she may well be a better bet.
I maintain that as much as 90% of your happiness or your misery comes directly from your choice of life partner. Choose wisely. Why so few foreign guys seeking a Thai woman for marriage don't actively seek out a genuinely good girl I'll never know.
Where was this picture taken?
Last week's picture was taken of Soi 8 Bar in Soi 8. If you are hungry and money is tight, they have a nice free buffet every Friday night. The first person to email me with the correct location of the picture wins a 500 baht credit at Oh My Cod, the British fish and chips restaurant. The other prize is offered by ThailandFriends.com, an online dating community that boasts over 50,000 members, hosts live events in and around Thailand and allows basic members to send 5 messages a day for free. The prize offered is one month premium membership which adds more to the ThailandFriends' experience with unlimited messaging, detailed member searches, 24 profile pictures, and a whole lot more.
Terms and conditions: The Oh My Cod prize MUST be claimed within 14 days. Prizes are not transferable. Prize winners cannot claim more than one prize per month.
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 Joys of Motoring in Thailand!
Friday afternoon, 5:08 PM. Having finished a day's work, I am riding my motorcycle north along Petchkasem Road back to my condo, which is located a kilometre south of the airport. Some 800 metres from my destination is a police road block. Hua Hin's finest have narrowed the road with cones and are stopping nearly all motorists heading north towards Bangkok. Then I remember: it's close to the end of the month, and the local PC Plod usually like to net themselves a little pocket money before pay day which helps to tide them over, you see. Sure enough, a burly looking uniform complete with shades and an air of arrogant authority steps in front of me with his right arm raised. A heavy Smith & Wesson revolver is prominently holstered to his right hip. Very macho. Slowing down, I pull over to the right as indicated. "Where your driving licence?" he asks. I reach into my right trouser pocket, and hand over my wallet, open to my laminated International Driver's Licence, obtained for 1,500 baht in Pattaya back in 2005. (Oh, oh. Wrong move. I remember the advice too late: never hand your wallet over to these guys. Just hold it out and let them inspect it). Mr. Plod seems satisfied with my laminate; but he deftly removes a 1,000 baht note from my billfold before handing it back to me. "Okay, you go now", he says. "But what is the 1,000 baht fine for?" I ask, quite reasonably. "No fine", he says, "This special road tax." Then he laughs and waves me on. I pull back into the lane of traffic and drive on towards home. Well, they got me this time; but hopefully lesson learned: Never hand over your wallet, but if you have to, remove your paper money first - just as any sensible person would take the bullets out of a gun before handing it over to anyone. Policemen do not operate in a subtle way in Thailand. Some people say they are uniformed robbers; licensed bandits.
Be aware of uninvited physical contact.
For years I have been mindful of pickpockets. Yet TWICE last night I let my guard down enough to nearly lose 1,000 baht each time. The first time was in Rainbow1 in Nana Plaza. Attractive number 57 noticed my attention and asked me to “buy whisky.” I was put off by her aggressiveness and refused, so she playfully started going through my pockets to “buy whisky.” I am careful to have no more than 1,000 baht in any one pocket in guard of such situations. Sure enough, I sensed something amiss, and pried a 1,000 bill out of her fist. Playful only, but would she have given the money back if I had not discovered it? Possible, but unlikely. Later, walking along Sukhumvit to Soi Cowboy, under the Asoke station, I nodded hello to a girl surprisingly pretty for a street urchin. In the process of her showing me her substantial cleavage and offering short time, I was accosted by a ladyboy. Fending off the nuisance, I walked onward, but quickly realized that 1,000 was missing. I went back and threatened the ladyboy with calling the police if my 1,000 was not returned. “Yak bai kook mai?” (want to go to jail?) I asked. Before I was able to flag down a policeman, the ladyboy said it was actually the girl who took my 1,000 bill. After heated discussion in Thai, luckily in front of gawking passersby, the girl gave my 1,000 back. There is fault to go around, including the victim who put himself in those situations. One wonders to what extent the severe class differences, the exploitation, and the resentment it creates is partly to blame for extortions of money you see on many levels.
Where are my nuts?
On my first visit to Pattaya I was always pleased to be given a cold towel and a small bowl of peanuts when I visited open air beer bars. In the past 2 years the towels have vanished unless I request one. This past Christmas, the only nuts I saw I purchased myself from 7 Eleven. One bar owner told my wife that he no longer purchased them because the staff eats them and leaves nothing for the customers anyway. An unneeded expense during quiet times...
The embarrassing forum...
I think you recently wrote a commentary on the problems with expat forums about Thailand. I wanted to share my impressions with you. I have had one experience with <edited to avoid embarrassment - Stick> and it has not been pleasant. Based on my observations, any post is often met with an attack from other members. Any question is often replied to in all of the following ways:
1. I am labeled as stupid for needing to ask the question.
2. I am labeled as stupid for having gotten myself in a position such that I have to ask this question.
3. I am told that I deserve my misery because I should have known better than to get myself in this situation in the first place (this could be for almost any question).
4. There are all kinds of insulting conclusions about my motivations and about me as a person that are usually wrong, and are not based on any information that I provided in the post.
5. Many of the posts do not attempt to answer the question I posted at all.
It is brutal. I only post when I need factual information. I give out very little information and do not engage in discussion at all on this forum.
The bane of modern day living.
Your recent column about the abuse of mobile phones struck a chord with me. Last week we went to Udon Thani and I believe I experienced the worst possible abuse of these horrible things. Our stay in Udon lasted longer than expected, much to my liking for once, and I ran out of contact lenses. So a one night detour from the village to the city it was. I must admit that after three days of Thai food, which was delicious mind you, my farang gut demanded steak and chips and the trip was used to kill two birds with one stone. The next day, slightly jaded after a night of bar hopping, myself and the Mrs. entered the shopping mall. It was a Sunday. I had lost track of which day it was; quite easy in a village. The place was teeming with people doing nothing but walking around with no intention of buying anything which tends to get the blood pressure increasing. Anyway, we found the optician's shop. The shop assistant was on her mobile. No worries. That's normal as the shop was empty. I stood for a few moments trying to get her attention then had to approach her to distract her from talking crap. Then the most amazing thing happened. She got up, with the mobile still to held to her ear, and walked towards me still talking THEN stood in front of me and continued the conversation. I was so surprised at this act of insanity that I just turned around and walked out but for the first time in a long time I just looked at the Mrs. and laughed. That has to be the rudest use of a mobile, doesn't it?
Cobra Gold is taking place early this year now but the number of US military in Pattaya is very low compared to previous years. At a time when Sin City really could have done with an injection from the sailors, sadly, it will see very little... It is said that the lucky bunch in Sin City number only a few hundred while thousands are up in Chiang Mai. Funnily enough though, the directive from command is that the soldiers are not supposed to drink and most certainly not supposed to have any liaisons with maidens of the night...not that that ever stopped any of them!
It's all go at Hollywood Carousel in Nana Plaza with the action starting as early as 9 PM as punters flock in to see some of the filthiest shows in Nana.
There's a Beer Lao shortage in the Nana area again with a number of venues out of stock as one of the major distributors for that area has been unable to source any of Laos' favourite export.
Oh, and Beer Lao and Leo Beer are two quite different products. Beer Lao is a premium lager from Laos that is imported into Thailand and Leo Beer is a cheap and nasty locally produced budget brew. Don't mix them up as some readers have!
Down Pattaya way, rumour has it that X Zone has taken over the lease of the empty spot in the Covent Garden area which was once home to the ill-fated Babewatch and Taboo. It is said that it will be converted into a 2 storey "super gogo bar". Let's wait and see...
After the much publicised raids along Beach Road last week that saw working girls rounded up and given a lecture of the evils of perpetrating crimes against tourists, there has been a not unexpected drop in the number of girls practicing their English along Pattaya's beachfront but never getting beyond that most basic phrase of "I go with you". For fans of picking up from the Beach Road, have no fear for these crackdowns are common and the effects don't last long.
The rumours that had Spanky's in Nana Plaza being up for sale are only partially correct. When I asked The Arab about it, his frank reply was that it is not for sale but like anything, it is for sale at the right price.
Pattaya's soi 8 used to be one the liveliest night spots in Fun City but over the past year or two its character has changed. Where once it was the scene of an open air party with punters dancing with screaming happy go lucky Thai sweeties, it slowly went stale and become an area just not worth going out of your way for. But things have changed once again and soi 8 has improved with more girls which has brought the punters back. But as improved as soi 8 is, it can't compete with soi 7 which was always the quieter soi but now soi 7 is party central and where all the fun is. Soi 7 was positively pumping this week and the atmosphere enjoyed on soi 8 in years gone by can be found again, this time on soi 7.
And to show that things in the bar industry aren't static, two weeks ago Mirage in Pattaya got the thumbs up but this week it had gone right off the boil. Nothing seemed to be going right and even the free pizza being given away was more akin to tomato sauce on cardboard. With seemingly no manager or mamasan on the premises the bar was one right mess and felt like a monkeys' tea party.
Which leads me in to one of the problems I notice in a number of Pattaya bars, often smaller bars, but the odd medium-sized venue too. If the manager or mamasan isn't there for whatever reason the venue quickly resembles a kindergarten with total pandemonium, the girls running around, screaming, yahooing and doing whatever they please. You can sort of see why Thai managers are total control freaks - it seems to be the only approach that works.
Amongst the things that Thais do particularly well are shopping malls and Pattaya's newest beach front mall, Central Festival, is no exception. I had reservations about it, what with the location jammed between Beach Road and Second Road and I wondered if a mall this size - it is typical Thai mall size i.e. huge - would be able to make it in these depressed times. I expected it to open with only half the shop space taken and see only dribs and drabs of customers passing through. I couldn't have got it more wrong. All but a few spots are taken and customers are flocking there in great numbers. The place is chock a block with restaurants and when I passed through many were full and some even had queues waiting. There are a number of nice touches including outdoor viewpoints where you can look out over Pattaya Bay. Central Festival is a winner!
And so there has been a not unexpected massive drop in foot traffic in Royal Garden Shopping Centre since Central Festival opened. A lot of the shopkeepers in what was once Pattaya's only beachfront mall look awfully glum. All the fast-food joints with choice locations out the front continue to do a good trade but for vendors inside it's a different story. The new competition down the road as well as the drop in tourists can only mean one thing - some shopkeepers are going to be joining the dole queue. Doh! I forgot, there are no dole queues in Thailand!
A customer walked into Angelwitch Bangkok this week, peered at the girls, slapped one on the bum and then walked out. Filthy bugger.
Did they have Harry Nicolaides in mind when they placed a job advert for a part time prisoner liaison officer? Oh, what a depressing job that would be, visiting Australian prisoners stuck in Thai jails for the Australian Embassy. A worthwhile job of course, but horribly depressing.
The Arab as we love to call him, who is in fact an Iranian with an American passport, gets plenty of grief from punters and bar owners alike. But the truth is that he is a major player in Soi Cowboy and it was him who was very much behind the massive face lift Soi Cowboy has undergone in recent years and its ascent to that of Bangkok's best nightlife area. It is his bars that are the best designed and decorated and have the elaborate fronts that make you feel like you're on the Las Vegas Strip, not amongst Bangkok strippers. So while he gets plenty of grief for certain practices, one can't deny that he has played a major role in the sprucing up and current success being enjoyed by Soi Cowboy.
The poor old Indians get a bad name in Thailand and the Thais just love to rag on them. The problem the Thais seem to have is that the Indians are rather successful in business - and I think this breeds much jealousy amongst the locals. The Indians are also said to be keeneow, or cheap, an insult that Thais use rather liberally and often in a manipulative way when they are not the recipient of something free, often unearned. Anyway, a certain not particularly attractive lass - and that is being kind - in a big name bar just off Walking Street was approached by an Indian customer, a Sikh, this week. The Indian had just been refused entry into at least two other bars and ended up in this particular bar where he found a lady to his liking and yes, she was willing to be barfined. She was not seen in the bar for three days and some of her colleagues were getting a bit worried. What had the Indian done to her? Where had she gone? She turned up in the bar three nights later with a huge grin on her face. It turns out that the Indian presented her with 50,000 baht to compensate her for the three days of her time. Are Indians really keeneow?!
This year Valentine's Day falls on a Saturday so if you want to send some flowers to your loved one's work address then you may consider arranging for them to be sent a day early with delivery on the Friday, that is assuming she doesn't work at the weekend. GogoFlorist is a long-term advertiser on this site and they can deliver flowers anywhere in Thailand for you. If you want to make the best impression it's worth remembering that Thai ladies like to receive flowers at their work places in front of their friends so they can gain much face!
There is a very clear trend that more and more guys are pursuing Thai women online for serious relationships but experiencing not just little success, but many of the same problems as guys who pursue Thai women in the naughty bars. In fact I think it would be fair to say that many have no more luck than a guy who chased a girl who works at night. It has got to the stage where I receive on average an email a day, a tale of woe, of how a Western guy met a Thai bird online, pursued her, only to find that she was doing EXACTLY the same thing as her bargirl sisters and had a bunch of Western guys on the go, some of whom had never met her but were providing her with a monthly stipend. One can't help but think that while the internet is a good place to meet local women for a good time, the sheer numbers playing the online game mean the chances of success online are only a smidgeon higher than with a bargirl.
Warren Olson strikes again! The former Thailand-based farang private investigator has another book ready to hit the shelves this week. What started out as a compilation of case reports / studies looks at investigation procedures from his past cases including some that were a bit too spicy to include in the first book highlighting his adventures in Thailand, "Confessions Of A Bangkok Private Eye."
Drink driving farang beware! The tea money to get off can be as high as 10,000 - 20,000 baht as one local foreign guy found out on Sathorn Road recently.
The new branch of Himbali Cha Cha near the Nana intersection is not winning any friends with its small portions, service issues and order mix-ups. In an area with no shortage of Indian and Middle Eastern eateries, they are going to have to pull their socks up if they want to win custom from locals. They may be an established name but it's a highly competitive market in that neighbourhood.
If being grabbed by touts and aggressive girls bothers you, avoid Sukhumvit's soi 7/1. As the girls realise that the high season is never going to materialise and their Thai boyfriend's yaba habit beckons, they are getting more and more desperate and have resorted to grabbing any hansum man who walks past. It reminds me very much of Patpong - which most definitely is not a good thing.
There are more and more hobbyist bar owners out there, it seems. When a bar is doing well, certain bar owners are not shy to let you know and will make claims, often exaggerations, about just how well they are doing. But when a venue is not doing so well the same guys can be heard to say "This bar is just a hobby". I have heard from quite a few bar owners recently that their venue is just a bit of fun, nothing more than a hobby...
All Big Macs are supposed to be the same, but I can assure you that pricing at the various McDonalds branches is not. Between Bangkok and Pattaya there's a big difference in the price of a Big Mac combo. In Pattaya you can pay as much as 142 baht whereas the same can be had for as little as 103 baht in Bangers.
I note that the Ibis chain hotels are opening up clones all over the place. Sukhumvit soi 4, Pattaya's Second Road and Soi Ngamduplee are just some of the locations.
Quote of the week. "If you are easily led or not mentally strong in Pattaya, it is possible for the dream to become a nightmare."
Will Thai working girls tempt punters with specials like their Kiwi sisters?
The Thais are getting grief from the Aussies over the boat people debacle.
Australia's ABC says Thais enter the sex industry to fund affluence.
The Washington Post ran an article on the economic downturn in South East Asia.
A swingers' party organised by a Brit was busted in Bangers by the boys in brown.
The Times ran a piece highlighting Harry Nicolaides' life behind bars 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.
Question 1: I recently returned home from a trip to Thailand. There I met with a Thai lady that I had met on the internet. She agreed to meet me for coffee, which turned out to be dinner, then ice cream, then drinks at an upscale Martini bar atop a very tall building and then another romantic low lit bar after that. I thought we were building a good rapport and I also thought by the signals I was receiving and the way the night had progressed that she was interested in me. So I kissed her in the last bar. At first she seemed shy about it but soon she was the aggressor. Then out of the blue she said she was leaving and I still do not know why. It ended so abruptly and I was confused by it. She was a classy girl and I liked her, but I did not think the way she ended the night was classy at all. The next day she texted me a message asking if I wanted to meet for dinner. I already had plans and that was the last I heard from her. Where did I go wrong? Or was she just playing me?
Mrs. Stick says: We don't usually kiss a guy in public, especially on a first date. It's really strange behaviour for a Thai lady. Maybe she had a lot to drink and was not sure what she was doing. Maybe she didn't feel safe and wanted to get home so she left you. Anyway, I think you don't need to think about it too much because she wanted to see you the next day so she liked you.
Question 2: I am engaged to a Thai girl who I certainly want to marry after two years of being together. She's great and is as honest as the day is long. We will soon be moving to Singapore as the work in Thailand has dried up for me in the construction sector. The problem is that I have heard that Thai women lose their right to own land / houses if they marry a farang in Thailand. Is this true? If so I cannot marry her (formally) because her parents want to give her all of the land (a lot!) in Isaan soon and to be very honest I just want it to be hers and nothing to do with me. It's very important that we do not screw up her inheritance. Any ideas on this issue?
Mr. Stick says: A Thai woman can purchase property and have it in her own name irrespective of whether she is married to a foreign national or not.
Thai ladies in Bangkok, Pattaya, and all over Thailand
It's painful watching a train wreck happen in slow motion but that is exactly what I have been doing for a while now. A pal and I chatted at length this week about a mutual friend of ours who married a nightmare. We've both made subtle hints to him that not only is she lazy and foul-mouthed, she brings nothing but misery to his life and is systematically going about separating him from his gold. To make matters worse, while he is employed and earning what seems to be a decent salary the truth is that it was a matter of luck that he got the job in the first place. When things go bang, and they will, it will only be a matter of time before he is bled dry and left with nothing. His employment prospects aren't good and with no retirement plans the future is grim. It's painful watching his slow demise. I know talking with him bluntly just won't work and would probably result in the end of our friendship which is a shame because as his mates we have only his best interests in mind. So I just sit back and watch it happen. Mate, I know you will read this, and I know you won't have a clue that it's YOU I am talking about... Wake up!
Your Bangkok commentator,
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Stick can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org.