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Why do some men ignore their girlfriend?
Dear Emma
I am relatively new to Thailand and new to Chiang Mai and I must say I was quite surprised the other night when I bumped into a relatively new acquaintance at a pub with his girlfriend. While we were having a great conversation I was stunned to see him turn his back on his girlfriend to converse, completely excluding her from the conversation. Yes we were talking in English but her English seemed quite okay. If she is good enough to be a girlfriend surely she is good enough to include in the conversation? Yes this was a western man, and yes I am a western woman, albeit a bit older.
Surely I am not so fascinating. I felt quite awkward and worked to include her in the conversation, which she seemed happy to join. Yet his back was still turned and she was almost physically blocked from joining the conversation.
I must say that as a woman, if my partner were to do this to me, I would be quite annoyed. Whilst I may not show it publicly he would certainly get an earful later on. I don’t know if she expects to be excluded or if she did give him an earful later on but really gentlemen, if she is your girlfriend then treat her like one.
Dear Lindy
Thank you for this report, it is a phenomenon I have also seen myself and one I do not really understand. Perhaps if the wife or girlfriend did not speak English very well it might make some sense, although frankly it would still be rude. However, when she does speak English then I am really at a loss as to why this occurs. Perhaps some of our gentlemen readers would care to clue us in?

Dear Emma,
I have big feet! OK, in the US where I am from my feet are not so big but here in Thailand it is often difficult to find comfortable shoes that fit my feet. Even more difficult here in Chiang Mai. I wonder, do you know of a shoe maker? I don’t need anything very fancy but some nice dress shoes that fit my large and wide feet would be great.
Dear Ed,
I am afraid I do not know of a maker of men’s dress shoes precisely. However, there is a woman on Nimmanhaemin soi 5 at Palmy Shoes, just at the end of the Le Marche shopping center/glass box set of shops. She does make women’s shoes, its true, but she may be able to help you and if she cannot she may be able to recommend someone for you. Palmy (the owner and designer) speaks fluent English so make sure you talk to her directly. She studied design in the United Kingdom and even earned a degree in footwear. She is, of course, not extremely cheap but her shoes are well made and of good quality.

Haze masks
Dear Emma,
Well it is that time of the year again and short of going to the seaside for fresh air (and one I am seriously contemplating) it is time for a new face mask. I understand those surgical masks that are so popular really do not do much. Is this true? If so, then what should I do? Is there somewhere to buy a good quality face mask that will filter the air? Also, I wonder if I should buy one of those room air filters at Central. Do they work? They seem pricey but if they work then I would not mind spending the money.
Can anyone give me guidance on this?
Thank you,
Dear John,
I have heard that the surgical masks don’t really help because they don’t filter out the particulate matter which is the real problem during the haze and smoke season. I purchased several masks on a recent trip home to the UK as I wanted to make sure that I got a high quality mask. So, I am not sure where to purchase one here in Chiang Mai. I would suggest trying a large chemists shop, perhaps not a Boots but a proper chemist.
As for the whole room filters, I am afraid I have no idea if they work or not but Emma does have a good friend who swears by them. However, the friend said to make sure that you buy one with a removable and washable filter instead of one that you have to replace as finding replacement parts is not always the easiest thing to do in Thailand. Central in Kad Suan Kaew certainly has some on their housewares floors I believe. I would say, especially if you have breathing issues, give one a try, it certainly cannot hurt and it just might help!