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Heart to Heart with Hillary


Dear Hillary,
When you go to any function here in Thailand, there are always some fabulously pretty girls as hostesses or promotions girls. How do you get to know these girls? Can you just bowl over and chat them up, or what? I’d love to be seen with one of these on my arm. They’re almost too delicious to be true. My mates at home wouldn’t believe it if I could get a piccy with one or two of them.

Dear Kendrick,
What sort of name is that, my Petal, that your parents lumped you with? They must not have liked you very much, I fear, but I’m sure you’re over it now and don’t hold grudges. Well, I hope not anyway. But back to your lusting after the “pretties” you see at functions. Yes, they are very pretty, and they are chosen for the position because of their looks. To look as immaculate as they do, most of them will spend a couple of hours before the function on make-up and hair styling. (Not like me, I can bolt out of the dormitory in under three minutes, but then I’m not a “pretty” am I?) You see, Kendrick, these girls are employed to be hostesses and promotions girls. That means they are paid. It’s their looks that they are selling. That is their job, and they have to do it well, or they don’t get another gig. So now you know how you end up with one or more of these “pretties” on your arm - you pay for the privilege, Petal, and you may even find that most of them don’t speak English. They are there for their looks, not for language skills. And you will pay a lot more for the photo opportunity than you would on Walking Street, Loi Kroh, Nana or Cowboy. And the girls from Walking Street, Loi Kroh, Nana or Cowboy can at least speak English, such as “Hello sexy man!” if nothing else. That’s on top of “Welcome” and “Sit down please.” Amazing linguists some of them.

Dear Hillary,
I invited one of the girls from the glasses shop in the shopping center to the movies and she said OK and would meet me there last Saturday after she had finished work. I thought everything was understood and I got there early and all, but she didn’t turn up! I know Thai girls don’t understand time, so I didn’t get angry, I just waited for an hour, but she was a definite no-show. I went back to the shop on the Sunday, but it was her day off, so I went back Monday and she just said, “Sorry, I forget.” Was that it? Do I try again, or will it be another slap in the face with a wet fish? What’s your opinion, Hillary?

Dear James,
You must be blinded by this girl’s beauty, as you certainly have not picked up on the message she was giving you, Petal. She was trying not to disappoint you by refusing your invitation, which is what Thai people do in these situations, so it seems as if they have accepted. OK, this does mean telling some white lies if the other party tries again, such as “Sorry, I forget,” or “Mother sick so I stay at home.” Should you try again? I don’t think so, James, unless you are really into wet fish.

Dear Hillary,
What is it with these Thai women? They don’t seem able to go anywhere on their own. I asked one sweetie to go to the movies, and she said yes, so I was looking forward to a good evening and you never know where it might lead. She turned up (late), but had another woman with her, who she said was her sister. No reasons given and it was expected that I pay for her ticket as well. I did, as I didn’t want to spoil any future relationship with this woman, but as soon as the movie was over, she and the sister just said goodnight and not even a thank you. Is this the way Thai women work? I don’t think I’ll bother in the future.

Dear Bill,
You don’t happen to know James (letter above), do you? I wonder if you went to the same movie? Was it any good? I’m sorry Bill, but you don’t seem to understand Thai women at all. The one you invited out was not someone from the entertainment industry (sounds better than beer bars, you must agree). The “sister” was taken along as the chaperone, as Thai women know what you farangs want with your “you never know where it might lead.” She knew where it might lead, and it doesn’t happen on the first date, my Petal. Or on the second. Or on the third. Thai women want to get to know what you are about and what sort of person you are before the relationship advances. And with good reason. Look at yourself and your question! Wham, bam, thank you Ma’am is not the way to a true Thai romance.

Dear Hillary,
Will any children of mine born here be Thai or American? My GF is Thai and she’s saying any kids we have will have to be Thai, not American (like me). I don’t like this too much, as I’m proud to be an American. This is developing into quite an argument, so much so that I’m on the point of walking out. It is all so stupid, but she’s really got the knickers in a twist over this one. Can you give me the answer, so that I can show her that she is wrong?

Dear Rob,
What am I now? The American Embassy or something? You can easily find the answer by going to the US Embassy web site, Petal, but as far as I know, any child born here is automatically a Thai, but if you were born in the America, I believe you can apply for American citizenship for any legitimate child of yours. This means they can have dual citizenship, but the child has to make up his or her mind by the time they are 18 and go for one or the other.

However, I think this is all a bit premature. You are talking about children that are not even born yet, so you are at least 9 months in front of yourself. You want me to tell your Thai GF, who is refusing to budge that she is wrong, when I believe she is correct anyway Rob. So anything I write does not help your cause or allow you to stick the Mail under her nose and say she is wrong. It does look to me that you should be seriously looking at your relationship, before even contemplating having children. Take your American passport, Rob, and run! Neither you nor the GF is ready for parenthood. Sorry.

Dear Hillary,
I will be going home to Belgium for a couple of weeks later on this month (Brussels is my home town), and knowing your love of Belgian chocolates I will bring some back for you. You have never been specific, but is there any particular brand that you like? Soft centers? Milk chocolate? Dark chocolate? Let me know, and they’re yours, as my thank you for some great fun-filled Fridays.

Dear Charles,
My very, very, very dear Charles (but you’re not the Prince of Wales are you, by any chance?) there’s lots of great chocolate makers in Belgium as you very obviously would know, coming from Brussels, but if you really want to spoil a girl, how about Pierre Marcolini who is known world-wide as a premier artisan chocolatier in Brussels. You will find it difficult to get his chocolates outside of Brussels which also makes it special, but you will be right there. Ooh! I can’t wait. Hurry back soon, Charles. By the way, if you’re feeling expansive, you can get Veuve Clicquot (vintage, darling, vintage) at the Brussels Duty Free too, if you really want to spoil me.

Dear Hillary,
My problem just keeps on getting worse and worse. I meet a girl in a bar called Lek last year who looked after me real good when I was over for my holidays in December, but I can’t get any reply to my letters, and I’ve sent heaps of them. I am sure Lek would reply as we got on terrific. I sent one letter a week for the first couple of months, but since I didn’t get any reply I only send one a month now. The bar is in Soi 8 about half way up on the right hand side and they have red neon lights inside. Lek said she would write back to me, but I don’t have her email either, so I sent letters to the address of the bar (sorry I haven’t got the name of it). If you could put an advert in your paper, I’m sure she would reply. Can you help me find my girl?

Dear Eric,
Are you pulling my leg, Petal? You don’t even know the name of the bar your wonderful Lek works in, so you’ve been writing letters to what address for the past eight months? How can this poor Lek girl write back to you after you write letters to “Half way up on the right hand side, Soi 8”? Even if your letter gets delivered to any bar in Soi 8, all that will happen is a quick check to see if it has any money inside it and then it will be filed in the rubbish bin.

Now what kind of advert are you suggesting you want me to place on your behalf? In the Lost and Found category perhaps? Something like “Girl called Lek lost half way up Soi 8. Please return to Eric.” That should get an instant response, especially if you offer a few thousand baht reward as well. There will be a line-up of Lek’s by 2.30 p.m. on Saturday afternoon. Some days I just don’t believe my in-tray!

Dear Hillary,
Happy New Year and I want to wish all your readers a Happy New Year as well, though I’m a bit late. I look forward to reading your journal every couple of weeks, after a couple of beers. Always seems to make the world spin a bit faster, eh? Anyway I hope your team wins in the cup and you get lots of champagne to celebrate.

Dear Irving,
I don’t know what you’ve been taking, my Petal, or even what you are reading, but this newspaper comes out every week, not every couple of weeks. And you are completely correct, New Year was about eight months ago. That’s slightly more than “a bit” late. Nevertheless, it’s nice to hear from you and I hope you’ve got tickets for the 2008 Olympics. You wouldn’t want to miss it, would you? (Where do these people come from? And they allow them to breed!)

Dear Hillary,
Against my better judgment I came over to Thailand on holiday from the UK and I am shocked by what I see here, going on night and day. I can (almost) put up with the rows of beer bars with young women trying to get people to sit down and drink. I can put up with the fact there are gogo bars with women displaying their bodies as some sort of tourist attraction, but I cannot put up with the way old men walk around with young teenage Thai girls hanging on to their arm. They all have such smug looks on their faces with a ‘Look at me, aren’t I clever’ expression. Don’t they know, or doesn’t anybody tell them that they are just being taken for a ride? They’re not clever. They’re being stupid. It’s disgusting. I feel like going up and giving them a damn good kicking.
Derbyshire Dad

You amaze me, Petal. I didn’t think the Old Prudes Society was still going. It must be difficult to get enough members these days, but then I suppose with the pills that are available these days, trouble with the members isn’t like it used to be.

When you say, “They all have such smug looks on their faces with a ‘Look at me, aren’t I clever’ expression,” are you referring to the old men, or the “barely teenage” girls, Petal? Honestly it’s about time you got off your sanctimonious soapbox, Derbyshire Dad and stopped being so judgmental. Have you ever stopped to consider this - they are smiling because they have found themselves in a situation which is good for both of them.

The young girls have found a financial ‘sponsor’, whilst the old men have found themselves a gorgeous young companion who will take care of their every need (until the money runs out). They know what the name of the game is, Petal. So what is so wrong with it? It is a win-win situation, so no need to be shocked. Can the man down the pub get a deal like that back home in Derbyshire? No, he’s more likely to get a “What dya think you’re lookin’ at?” kind of response.

Dear Hillary,
My boyfriend (who comes from Manchester like me) generally has a few drinks with the lads after work. The other day he came home very late and very drunk. He said the bar they use as their local bought him a birthday cake the other day, and the girls all made a big fuss of him. Is this the usual thing around here, or have I got something to worry about? I have no real reason to suspect him as it only happened the once, it’s more that I think I need reassurance.
Worried GF

Dear Worried GF,
You have nothing at all to worry about, unless he starts having birthdays every week. The girls in the bar are happy to celebrate anybody’s birthday, especially if they get a drink and a slice of cake too. That is the way things are done round here, so stop worrying immediately. What you should do next year is arrange the party in the bar yourself, then you get some cake and drinkies as well.

Dear Hillary,
I’m from America and I am not used to going into a bar to be propositioned. I don’t want to have someone ask me where I come from. It is my business only if I am married. I don’t want people to know how much money I make. How many children I have is my affair. Why doesn’t someone tell these girls in the bars that not everyone wants to tell them personal details? All I want is a quiet beer!

Dear Charlie,
What are you worried about? These girls aren’t from the CIA or the IRS, they are just doing their job as well as they can and you’re lucky they can converse as much as they can. If you don’t want the girls to talk to you then don’t drink in beer bars. You can buy a bottle of beer and sit alone in your room or drink in more up-market watering holes!