Heart to Heart
In my job I have a lot of contact with Chinese business
people. The latest group (they always travel in groups) was headed up by a
woman, who made it obvious that she was interested in a little more than
brochures. This was without English or Thai languages. I’ve never been one to
turn down something that was offered like this, but I think her husband was one
of the group. So, should I give it a go, or toe the business line? If you were
in my shoes, Hillary, what would you do?
I like people who live dangerously, and you are a risk
taker, Petal. Haven’t you ever heard about the Triads? Or read about the lawyer
who had a fling with a Chinese lady and ended up having to sit down to pee after
a kind of extended Chinese circumcision? The Chinese are just as much into
revenge as the western world. And what would I do? I would make sure I was out
of town, the next time she comes into town. I can’t make it any plainer than
I’ve heard such terrible reports of what these bar girls are
like (eat you up and spit you out with the seeds was one report I read), that
I’m too afraid to have anything to do with them, though I would really like to
have a girl’s company when I come over for two weeks in October. How do you pick
a good one from the bad ones?
There is no simple go/no go test for bar girls I’m afraid.
However, to make the minefield less dangerous, you should always remember that
they are ‘working’ girls. Being a bar girl is what they work at to make their
money, and that money comes out of your pocket. That is why they call you an
ATM. But it isn’t all bad, my Petal. Keep a good hold on your wallet and you are
ahead of the game. Like tipping in a restaurant – if you think you’ve had good
service, then tip accordingly. If your lady from the bar is giving you a good
service, then tip accordingly.
I’ve got two ladies on the go. One is a stunner but no hanky
panky. The other is sensational between the sheets, but very plain. They don’t
know about each other, but both are trying to tie me down. What do you think,
Hillary? Which one should I settle down with?
Don’t rush into making up your mind. Wait until you are a
little older and more mature. About 10 years should do it! In the meantime let
them both go, that’s a good boy.
Are any of these dating services any good, or are they just a
money making have? I see some actually advertise no fees, but I’m not wet behind
the ears, they must be getting money somewhere along the way. And are the girls
Busy looking are we? You are correct that the people who
run these agencies have to make some baht out of it somewhere, and it is usually
that you can look for free, but to establish a two way communication will
require a fee of some type. Are the girls (most are ladies) genuine? Yes, I
believe so, but I am told some of them don’t look the same in person! You could
enter the legal field of ‘Caveat Emptor’ (let the buyer beware) and I asked my
friendly lawyer next door and he said that the legal premise is that the buyer
buys at his/her own risk and therefore should examine and test a product
himself/herself for obvious defects and imperfections. Caveat emptor still
applies even if the purchase is “as is” or when a defect is obvious upon
reasonable inspection before purchase. How you “test” the product from the
dating agency leaves much to the imagination!
One of the girls at my office has been very friendly to me.
Holds my hand when talking to me in the corridor, and always goes out of her way
to talk to me and smiles a lot in my direction. Her English seems pretty good,
but I don’t know if she is married or not. Where do I go from here?
From the sketchy details you have given me, Petal, it is
very hard to know exactly what is in the lady’s mind. However, she obviously
does enjoy her chats in the corridor. You say you don’t know if she is married
or not, so how am I going to know! But it is easy to find out. Next time you are
having a chat in the corridor, why don’t you just ask her, “Are you married?” is
not difficult to say, is it? If that is too daunting, ask one of the girls in
the office if she is married. All the office girls will know each other’s
marital status (and ‘martial’ status too). Loosen up a little, or maybe you’d
like to try in the local supermarket. The price check lady in the vegetable
section is unattached, I believe!
Having a problem with the wife’s boy. He’s 9 and does not take well to
discipline. She lets him run all over her, while I am trying to get him to
become responsible and pick up his clothes off the floor for example. When I
was a boy I would have got a good clip behind the ear for back chat, but she
won’t let me do anything like that. It is spoiling our relationship. She
does not seem to understand this. If it gets worse, I will just have to
I don’t think I am the one to ask, as I have not had problem children,
though all parents seem to tell me that kids are a problem, and they last 20
years. This is not really a problem between you and the child, but a problem
between you and the child’s mother, Petal. You have to discuss this between
the pair of you and try to come to some sort of a compromise. If there is no
compromise possible, then you either accept the situation, or as you say,
you will have to leave. Best of luck.
What is your opinion on the standard of dress with today’s young Thai
people? They all look as though they have been dressed by Oxfam, and
definitely “free size” with one sizing “fitting” all.
It’s not just Thai youngsters, Petal. The real culprits are American, with
“styles” adopted by Korea, and then by Thais. In some states in the US you
can be fined for having low slung jeans with the underpants showing. As
their parents do not dress like that, it is just a form of protest by the
younger generation against the older generation. When the younger generation
becomes the older generation they will conform. Same as you did, Gordy.
Fan trouble again. Wants to go out with “the girls” at least four times a
week This is OK because she says I can go out with “the boys” four times a
week as well. Now I’m not against her having girlfriends, but since it would
seem they all have a “Gik” or two, I don’t want my fan going that way too.
You have a problem here. There is an old saying “Birds of a feather, flock
together.” If you are really sure they are all cheating on their husbands,
where does that leave your girl and you. You don’t say how long you’ve been
together, but I think it is time to put the running shoes on and let her go
out with her girlfriends seven nights a week. Remember that if you love
someone, let her go – if she comes back, nobody else wanted her either!
Since everyone uses emails these days, how do you know whether the letters
are genuine? I reckon some of them are using the fact they can hide behind
nicknames and the email system to pull your leg. Do you honestly believe
everyone who writes to you is real?
I am an Agony Aunt, not a detective, my Petal. Does it really matter if
someone tells a few porkies? But I can recognize that behind every nickname
there lies a frightened little boy who is having some kind of relationship
problem, usually with our young Thai ladies. So, what’s your problem
With all these men writing to you to say how they have been tricked or
cheated but not everyone has a hard-luck story. Certainly there are
differences between Thai women and European/American women, but that is part
of their charm. There are also differences in culture, so to say that
looking after sick or needy relatives is an imposition means that the man
does not understand the “family” culture here, as opposed to the selfish
culture of “me first” above everything else, which is the usual situation in
the west. Certainly the relatives stay with us when they are in town, but it
is a small price to pay. I think many of these men who write to you are
selfish in their attitude, and they bring the end results upon themselves.
To those men who complain about all the problems they have, I say treat the
Thai women with consideration, respect their culture, this is their country,
not yours and you will be rewarded with a deep and satisfying association.
It pleases me very much to see there are some men over here who are prepared
to admit to and respect the fact that they are guests in this country. Sure,
there are societal differences as this is not America, this is Amazing
Thailand. Fitting in as you have done is very much better than trying to
make the women and the customs conform to your western ways. By the same
token, you should carefully choose your life’s mate, slowly and
thoughtfully, just as you would do when looking for a mate in your own
countries. One night of passion is not the basis for a strong and lasting
union, something many of you appear not to have understood.
I had to laugh at the last nickname you gave me which was Evil Knievel. A
few years ago I gave a lift on my motorcycle to an English woman who gave me
the same nickname. The following day she bought a car, not sure if it was my
riding had anything to do with it! But Hillary Anger Management is the way
to go, it works wonders, now I don’t get angry, I get even! Seriously I am
only joking, as you know we have to realize that probably 50 percent or more
motorcyclists and motorists have paid for their license, never having taken
a test. Although by what we see it seems like 99 percent have bought their
licenses, 5,5,5,...sorry, that should be Ha, Ha, Ha... Dear Hillary never
give up your column, it makes many peoples day, mine included of
course....All the very best...
Evil Knievel (The Resurrected One)
Dear Resurrected Evil,
I am so glad to read that you continue to be alive and kicking, though I am
sure your current steed would have an electric start rather than the old
kick start lever to try and break your ankle. As far as the lady passenger
was concerned, no wonder she went for the safety of four wheels. Wouldn’t
catch me sitting side saddle behind you with your history of up-enders and
that’s on top of the motorcycle crashes. Thanks for the kind words.
I feel a special sorrow for the closed shops I see on major streets. Tukcom
was delightfully busy today I am happy to report and the mandated removal of
so many stalls within the place has made it much safer to shop in the event
of a need of an evacuation should it be required. There is room for
customers to escape a fire now. So things are better and worse. Fewer
Russian tourists and more Chinese in “all inclusive” buses clogging the
streets, filling hotel rooms and fixed priced prepaid dinners, but less for
You have certainly got your ear to the grindstone, or something like that.
Yes, the Russian numbers plummeted as quickly as the ruble. We don’t get
much directly from the Chinese influx, though the flag makers are doing a
brisk trade on yellow flags on sticks, and a whistle. However, escape a fire
in Tuk Com? The elevators can’t be used and the stairs are so narrow it
would be impossible to use them with three notebooks under each arm, a
pocket full of GoPros and two printers. There has to be an upside as well as
Further to old chaps being ripped off by the younger and smarter ladies. The
old coots with poor eyesight think they are “hot desirable stuff” however,
and arrive off the plane a few bricks short of a full mental foundation.
I think you are being unkind, but I love the “full mental foundation”
concept. However, what are these older gentlemen leaving behind? A council
flat where they are in the minority group? Weather that defies logical
choice. Who wants to freeze to death in winter? And the “old coots” as you
call them don’t think they are “hot desirable stuff”, but the clever young
girls make them think that way. Some of my sisters are very good at
separating a man from his millions even better than the Ufun scandal.
I came to Thailand for a two week holiday and met a young girl, as you do.
We got along well, so I paid for her company up till the day before I left.
That was when she started ringing me up and asking to see me, saying she was
in love with me. Even if she couldn’t be with me for my last night she
wanted to come and see me before the taxi picked me up. I felt bad about
this but all my mates told me to forget about her, but I kept on answering
her calls, but the mates stopped me from giving in, but I still felt bad
about it all. What do you think I should have done? Mike
You forgot where you met this young lady who fell madly in love with you
after 10 days. You paid for her company, my Petal. It was a business
arrangement, not a matrimonial contract. By making you feel indebted to her,
she was much more likely to extract even more money from you, which is why
she wanted the face to face meeting, even on that last morning, you never
know what you can get, even if it is just what is left in your wallet. You
don’t say how old you are, but you are obviously a babe compared to the lady
from the bar. What should you have done? Just what you did do, and that was
to cut the relationship once the period of hire was completed. It was a
short-time holiday romance, and a paid one at that. Next time you come over,
you will hopefully be more mature, more wise and keep a tight hold on your
I stalked your work place and, when you emerged, agreed, you are indeed a
“sight that makes eyes sore.” Not so good at typing but think I got the
thought right! You were the one in heels with the beard, right?
So you are the one we had to get the security to throw out of the office,
and I hope the arm wasn’t fractured, but you did carry on a bit. I can vouch
for the fact that none of the staff have a beard, though some do need a
shave, I will agree. I don’t know who you mistook for me, as I was away all
week at an Agony Aunt conference in Bangkok. However, instead of banning you
from the area, I have informed security that you can be let in as long as
you are carrying a nice cold bottle of Veuve Clicquot. But if VC is too
expensive for you, then even a half decent Prosecco will at least get your
leg in the door.
Further to some of your correspondent’s woes with Thai females. No need to
be confused it’s happened to all of us at one time or another. This week’s
word is “Back Dooring.” As one walks out the front there is someone waiting
Here are some other things to look out for:
Your girlfriend phones and tells you she is in Bangkok, when in fact she is
at Naklua with her German lover.
Arriving late for work? She was stopped by police who will keep her m/bike
until she pays a fine. You pay for me teerak?
You give her the money and she adds it to the wad she has made for the
afternoon’s “short times”.
These women know their time is short so they must make a nest egg before
they lose their looks. Some say they live from day to day and spend all
their money, but be assured Mom is getting her share and when the time comes
to quit, there will be a piece of land and a house waiting for them in
Thai logic is not like ours and you will be forever confused by it, so lay
back and enjoy life here and keep the key to the back door in a safe place.
(No you jerk, not in your wallet.)
You have certainly been around, haven’t you, my Petal, and I thank you for
helping educate some of the newbies. But you shouldn’t be too hard on our
ladies of the night. They have chosen that line of business, and remember
that it can be a business to do pleasure with you, or some similar
Is that guy for real, who wrote in a couple of weeks ago asking how to
transfer big wads of money to his ever-faithful sweetheart? He has fallen
into the Thai trap of bringing everything back to financial terms. “You want
go with me? Give me 2,000 baht. You love me? Give me 20,000 baht. You
really, really love me? Give me 40,000 baht. You love me forever? Give me
100,000 baht!” Relationships are not based on money, but on trust and that
wonderful emotion called love. Not infatuation, which is the bar girl’s
stock in trade. These old dudes start believing the lies that this 18 year
old has fallen in love with him, so “just send me some money honey and I’ll
leave the bar and go back to the village and wait for you coming next year.”
So the infatuated dork sends the money over to his “sweetheart”, so that she
doesn’t have to spend her nights going to bed with the endless supply of old
losers like him. Hillary, you do try and warn these poor saps, but I think
you should have just tell them to stop being an idiot and wake up to
themselves. Remember, “You can take a girl out of the bar, but you can’t
take the bar out of the girl!”
The ‘Real’ thing
Dear ‘Real’ thing’,
I think you are being a bit hard on many of the correspondents, my Petal.
There have been many relationships between bar girls and older “sponsors”
which have worked well for both parties. The problem is getting the old
chaps of this world to understand that it is a two-way street. She gets the
benefit of an income, while he gets the benefit of the company of a lovely
young girl. That works well for foreigners living here, but I don’t think it
works as well for the ones living overseas and coming over for their three
week holiday each year. It really is asking too much of the girl that she
gives up all opportunities of gaining money for the other 11 months 1 week.
Would you? If there is money to be made, then why not? Even 100,000 baht a
month does not guarantee faithfulness, when the relationship is only based
on money, I agree. And always remember, “You can lead horse to drink, but
you can’t make it water!”
I think foreigners should read “Only 13” to get a clear understanding of
what these girls’ mindsets may be. I am not saying there are not great girls
out there, but this girl is scary and perhaps western men should get a clue.
Yes I know the book and have read it. As you say, she is quite ‘scary’, but
what you have to remember is not all Thai girls are like her, with psychotic
tendencies. Another book I recommend is Stephen Leather’s Private Dancer
where the girl is perfectly sane, but out to get whatever she can. Do I get
the feeling that you’ve had a bad experience recently?
Over here we are being told that Thailand is not safe, there’s a military
coup, soldiers everywhere, not allowed to have more than five people
together at one time. It sounds like the Balkans. What has happened to the
Land of Smiles?
I don’t know where you are getting your information from, but it is wrong,
wrong, wrong. We are not walking around in flak jackets and tin hats. I
haven’t seen a soldier for weeks, and you wouldn’t know there was an army
appointed government if you didn’t read the newspapers. Thailand is better
than it has been for quite some time. But don’t take my word for it, my
Petal, just come over and see for yourself. Hotels will never be cheaper
than they are right now, caused by the financial problems in the world.
Nothing to do with the Thai economy, which is in good shape. Tell you what –
come over and you can buy me a coffee and you will see just how cheap
everything is here.
I do get tired of reading about all these people who complain they have been
ripped off by Thai women. My first Thai wife and I had a wonderful
relationship which only ended after 10 years when she died. My second Thai
wife has just been so loving and caring. She was a friend of my previous
wife and she knew the sad story, but was there to support me. The men who
write in to you, Hillary, should start to look at older women and not these
flirty young gold diggers they see in the bars.
It always pleases me to get emails like yours. You are correct that Thai
women can be the most supportive women on earth. You are a very lucky man
William, who looked beyond the beer bars.
My Thai GF no sooner finishes eating than she’s ready to go again. She’s as
thin as a rake, but eats all the time. Her mates are all just the same,
finish one round and they’re ready for the next. It gets me, I go out after
the third course. What’s the secret, Hillary?
Is that “wondering” or “wandering” I wonder? What do you do between courses
four and five? No, Petal, eating is more than just a meal for your Thai GF,
it is a very social time when friends can get together and share the food.
That can occur at any time of day or night, but the food they eat, such as
the favorite som tam is not high in sugar and calories, so that’s why your
GF remains thin. The chilli also hurries the food through the system. As the
TV program warns “Don’t try this at home!” The real som tum can be far too
spicy for foreigners.
I need your advice urgently, Hillary my Petal! I know I should have known
better, after all I am not new to this country, but there I was at my usual
bar and met this vision of loveliness. She spoke very little English but
seems like a very genuine person and we got along just fine. She comes from
Udon Thani, but that’s about all I managed to find out about her after about
four hours and several “lady drinks”. The biggest problem was only that she
doesn’t speak much English, but we got by OK. By the end of the night I was
pretty drunk and I ended up lending her 5000 baht, which she was going to
return three days later. It’s now a week later and I haven’t heard from her.
What should I do? Should I go back to the bar and ask for my money? Should I
keep going, or should I give up now before I get in too deep?
You’ve got the telescope to the blind eye. Haven’t you! After four hours of
lady drinks you give this “vision of loveliness” 5,000 baht. How were you
communicating with your vision? It wasn’t English, according to you, so I
presume it must have been in Braille. That is 5,000 baht you will never see
again. But look at it this way – there is a very grateful buffalo up there
in Udon Thani, thinking about you. And by the way, I am not your Petal,