Earlier this month, Bangkok Nights published a piece I wrote in reaction to one of Stickman’s old blogs on the topic of dating bargirls. Around that same time, I also happened to read an article on Coconuts about the desperate state of dating culture for foreign men in Bangkok. Stickman couldn’t understand why men would date bargirls, and the lady who wrote the Coconuts article (rife with bitter bias) berated foreign men who date Thais as desperate pedophiles and lowlife dirtbags. But they both missed a larger truth, namely that you can’t shove the square peg of a Buddhist girl raised in Asia into the round hole of Western Judeo-Christian relationship ideals. They’re diametrically opposed. So while SM accurately pointed out the folly of dating bargirls, and the lady-writer tried to discourage men from dating Thais in general and steer them back towards foreign women, I would like to submit a different—and I think more realistic—take on the topic, which is DON’T date at all. So here’s the 2nd top 10 list in a series called “Seven’s 10 top 10.” It’s titled “Dating. Don’t.” and it’s the top 10 reasons not to date in Thailand, and why if you are attempting to date, you’re retarded. Here we go:
1. Thai women don’t understand dating. Mistake number one for the Western daters in Bangkok is the assumption that both parties know what dating is and agree on its purpose. This couldn’t be more untrue. Traditional Thais are thinking about marriage from date 1. In fact, the occasional arranged marriage still takes place in these parts. So the thought of prolonged casual dating or being a “girlfriend” isn’t on the minds of many Thais. Now, because of the influence of Western dating culture—mainly through movies and TV—the idea of dating has influenced Thai society to a degree, but they don’t fully understand the purpose and aren’t sure what should take place and when. When should you first sleep together? When should she take you to meet her family? What does it mean that he pays for everything? What’s the difference between being a girlfriend and being a wife? How much power does each person wield? These are all confusing and convoluted concepts for many Thais.
2. Thai women don’t understand Western morality. Another fundamental mistake made by men and the farang women who judge them is something that should be obvious to everyone. The sense of morality and monogamy that the West gained from a long history of influence by the Catholic Church, an ideology that instilled ideas about “right and wrong” in relationships, never made it to Thailand. Thai morality comes from Buddhism and a culture of conservativism based on not losing face or causing embarrassment for oneself or one’s family. This applies to sexual behavior, fidelity, and the fear of abandonment and single motherhood. So if you came to Thailand thinking dating would be a breeze, you picked the wrong country.
3. Thai women don’t understand Western gender roles. Never mind how confused farang women are about them. Thai women are even more confounded, because what they know from a Thai point of view is based on patriarchy, and what they see on Western TV is that women are the boss, so they are torn in 2 opposite directions at once. In the end, they have no hope of grasping their role from a Western perspective. The only way she’ll be happy is if you abandon all your ideas and ideals about dating and assimilate to the Thai way, which will probably make you unhappy.
4. You can’t pay your girl to be faithful. If you’ve gone back to your home country and you think that by leaving your Thai girlfriend in Thailand with a monthly stipend, it means she’ll remain your girlfriend in your absence, stay home every night and light a candle next to your portrait and wait dutifully for you until your return, you are a moron. She will see your money as a generous gift from a very nice farang and make no connection between that and fidelity. She will continue to go out, possibly screw other dudes for cash, and/or get herself another foreign or Thai boyfriend and not feel a bit bad about it. Because again, Asian cultures do not attach the same moral hang-ups to sex that Western cultures do. If she was OK with sleeping with you, a bit of bedroom gymnastics with someone else doesn’t carry any more moral weight than regular gymnastics.
5. Thai women are in general overly emotional in relationships. There are always exceptions to the rule, but this one is pretty accurate. One need only watch the string of popular soaps on the TV to see where they get this from. Thailand is a very old country, but in some ways it’s very young. At least, the recent generation is, to put it bluntly, emotionally stunted.
6. The temptation to cheat is ever-present. Unless you take her back with you to your home country, you will be living in an adult playground surrounded by temptation that presents itself every time you leave the house. How long do you think you can hold out?
7. Thai women can’t be fooled forever. If you’re a loser, a liar, a lowlife, or a lothario, you may believe you can come to Thailand and re-invent yourself. And some do. But there are some things you can’t change, and more often than not, the people who run here trying to escape themselves wind up finding that they’ve brought their problems with them. If you can’t successfully morph into someone new, no amount of fakery will work. Your Thai mate will eventually suss you out.
8. Thai women don’t understand what you’re saying or doing. Every time you open your mouth, you invite the very likely possibility that you will be misunderstood, and your Western habits are weird and ridiculous in the eyes of a Thai woman.
9. Thai women live in the moment. It’s a Buddhist trait to not dwell on the past or long for the future, but instead to live in the now. If she wakes up and finds herself unhappy with you, she won’t wait for things to get better or invest time and energy in you if the relationship might not pan out. Unless you can trap her with a kid or financial dependence, she’ll run for the door at the first sign of trouble…..or someone better.
10. It’s not her—it’s you. In a story from November 2016 titled “Finding Miss Right in Thailand” Stickman pointed out that meeting a Thai lady has never been easier. Which is true. That’s not the problem. The meeting part happens almost effortlessly. It’s the subsequent getting-to-know-you, and opposing expectations and behavioral norms that burn the relationship down. But more than anything, the component that is the most incompatible, and one that won’t ever change, is you, the farang. Maybe the reason you couldn’t find anybody in your home country wasn’t the current toxic dating climate. Maybe it wasn’t that all women are b*tches. Maybe the factors that kept you from finding a mate at home are the same ones that make you unsuccessful in Thailand. It’s just a thought. There’s more to making a relationship work than finding a girl who’s responsive and pretty. Both of those fade in time, anyway. Then what are you left with? What have you brought to the table? If you think some money and Y chromosomes are enough, then you deserve to be alone.
So how does this all shake out? Simple. You picked the wrong country to project your hopes of happily-ever-after onto. It is possible to be happy here, under the right circumstances. Some guys get lucky and find a compatible partner, though it demands a lot of work, growth, and compromise from both parties. I’ve taken a different approach. As I said in an earlier blog, I personally have never had a bad experience with a Thai girl, though I believe that’s because I’m not looking for a girlfriend. My quest is for a different kind of relationship, one which I plan to lay out in a later editorial. But you can get a feel for it in the above list. I’ve avoid the pitfall of looking for, hoping for, or believing in a fanciful ideal that doesn’t exist—namely that a farang can date with the intention of finding a fairytale love relationship like the one he dreamed of when he was too young and stupid to know better. It’s time to grow up and face reality, if you haven’t already. More on that later.
That said, people can and do find good relationships here. It’s just less likely than you probably thought. So if it works out for you, great. But if it doesn’t, see the above list for why, and then take the time to learn how to be alone and be OK with it. That’s the first crucial step in the right direction.
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