Several months ago I hit you with a curly one dealing with table manners. You came up with the right answer. Now I have a question on the English Language. Somehow I believe we have been taken over by stealth. Being of the older group, I always used the word “Got”. Now when I read a book the word “Gotten” appears over and over. Which is correct? He had got on the bus, or he had gotten on the bus? I suspect one is English and the other American. Hear from you later?
So where’s my bottle of bubbles for having got (gotten) the right answer before? Now you want me to enter your latest quiz as well! However, you are quite correct, my Petal. The Americans, having been English and taken over the English language with the Mayflower and then proceeded to massacre the purity of communication (along with several scores of Red Indians). However if you think “gotten” is bad, how about the song sung by Lauryn Hill which goes:
“You’re just too good to be true.
Can’t take my eyes off of you.”
What is this “off of” may I ask you, this being your turn to answer the questions, until I get my rewards from last time!
Is my girl serious? I have been to Pattaya three times and I have been with the same girl every time. I am 36 and she is 27 and she has been working in the bar for about nine months. She asked me that next time I come to Thailand she wants me to go to her home near Chaiyaphum to meet her family. Is that a sign that she wants to have a serious relationship with me or does she have other motives?
Dear Papa G,
Open your wallet and say after me, “Help yourself!” You have now joined the bar girls retirement benefit fund. So help me! You have been to Pattaya three times and met a lovely young lady of 27 who has only worked in the bar for nine months, and you are wondering is this paragon of virtue (other than the last nine months or so) wants to have a serious relationship with you. Give me strength! You hardly know this woman and she hardly knows you, other than the fact you paid well last time. Is this what you base “serious relationships” on? She has serious designs on your bank account Papa G my unsuspecting Petal, that’s all that is happening here. I suggest that instead of losing your money to the 27 year old (and probably much older if truth ever be known) from Chaiyaphum, you just donate it to your favorite charity, or buy me several cases of French champagne, and then climb back under your rock again
Have Thai people some amazing bladder control or what? There’s no public toilets so what do they do when caught short? I’ve seen adult size pampers in the supermarkets, but I’m damn sure that not everyone has secret underpants. Enlighten me, Hillary.
So it is the lack of public toilets that makes for “amazing” Thailand for you, my Petal? However, I can relieve you of all the mental (or bladder) strain very easily. Just do as the Thai males have done for centuries - look for short time rooms. But think of the plight of us ladies. We are far too polite to go to ST rooms on our own, so we have to be a little bit smarter. With so many hotels everywhere, we just march straight into the foyer, and the toilets are in the far corner on the right. Check it out!
I had always wondered why Thai people don’t trust each other. They will only use “family” as their staff, because I was told that only family would not steal. After spending many years in Thailand, I have begun to see just why Thais don’t trust Thais. Many of the people who write to you, Hillary, complain that their Thai GF or wife is having a relationship behind their back. There’s too many of these for it to be a one-off. Then there is the famous “gik” and every Thai woman has at least one of these friends with extra benefits on the go. They don’t trust each other, because all of them are untrustworthy. The only reason to employ “family” is because the person can lose face very quickly in the family circle, and they can’t escape from that.
Dear Trusting Thomas,
I get the feeling that you are hurting somewhere, Petal. Time fixes everything, even though the time frame may be painful. You are right about the only people Thai people employ are “family”, but remember that “family” has a different meaning in Thai than in the West. Many times it can just mean someone from the same village, or even the same province.
My husband and I have been reading your column for some years, even though we live in Canada these days. You do hand out some very wise advice, so I am hoping you can help me. We are both in our 50’s but feel we need to spice up our relationship after 30 years of marriage. So we are thinking about a holiday in Thailand where we could perhaps explore a little more than we could do at home! We live in a small country community, so confidentiality is of utmost importance. Some suggestions, Hillary?
Lucrezia (obviously not my real name)
Dear Not My Real Name,
Tread very warily, my Petal. That is a minefield you are looking at. Certainly there can be plenty of distractions here, if you look just a little, but are you and your husband ready for something that might change your lives? It is something you both have to discuss honestly and openly before even getting on the plane. Careful, careful, careful.
I have a tip for the guy being ripped off by a Thai woman who has a few foreigners on a string. Choose a woman with different nationality. I tried hard with two different Thai women and lost a lot of money. I am happy now with a South Pacific woman. Wonderful women there. Fly to Fiji, they will take care of you and your happiness. No money required for the family. Be smart and try something different.
Unfortunately, the grass on the other side of the fence is always greener. Relationships are never easy, and some different cultures make relationships even harder. Not many foreigners really understand their Thai partners, and it is probably the same with a Fijian lady, though I don’t know first hand anything about them, Petal.
Why do so many of the guys who write to you want to paint the Thai women in a bad light? These bar girls sacrifice a lot to give their families a better life than they would otherwise have. I wonder if these foreigners are getting what they think is a rip off because they are treating the girl like dirt in the first place. What goes around comes around, as they say.
My own experience is that you can meet some great girls and fall in love with a lady from a bar. You can also be treated like a king and rest easy with the feeling that you have found a long term partner. I have been with my Thai wife for some years and have been incredibly happy, and have never felt that I have been ripped off.
My own experience of a former western wife was that she gave up work once we were married and expected to never have to work again. She took more money from me in a month than my Thai partner has taken in two years and when we split up, she took anything left. I will take my chances with a bar girl any day over a falang lady. With any woman you will have to pay, one way or another. The Thai way is cheaper in the long run, believe me, and all you guys out there, start thinking and stop whining. Start doing the right thing by the women you meet and you will get the rewards double or triple, believe me.
You are quite correct, my Petal, though you have to be a bit careful, in fact very careful, when selecting a girl from the bars as your life’s partner. You have to be sure that you are not being given the political promises. There are good reasons why you should be wary, but I am glad your situation looks as if it is working out for you, even though two years is not a long time.
With so many of your letter writers being out of Thailand for a while each month, the question they have is always one of fidelity. Can a Thai woman be trusted? My advice is simple. If you have the doubts that you obviously have, then trust is gone and so is the relationship. I have little doubt that she is fooling around when you are not there, private investigator is the best way if you really want to know. If it were me I would be out of there already.
That’s all a bit negative advice, Petal. Though I agree that if the evidence seems to be pointing all in the one direction, then perhaps a PI for a short time (oops!) is a good idea. If nothing else it will confirm your fears, or show that it really was a som tum hens’ party. You can expect to pay quite heavily, by the way. One way or another, this relationship is going to cost you money.
A couple of weeks ago, a writer, James, did make one very good point on relationships, saying, “The right person for you.” If as he says, “they are all the same” to him he need look no further than the lowest common denominator that suits his definition of a love relationship. Then he can write his tortured novel for the education of all us old fogies who don’t know as much about adult relationships as he does. I see a lot of attitude here. The attitude is not infatuation as much as “it is all about me.” If you care about someone James it is not just “good party times” it is about truly being a helpmate for that person’s future and yourself being a part of it.
Thank you for the very sound advice for James. “Love” relationships are certainly difficult at the best of times, but there are more traps for the young and unwary in Thailand, than many other places. Like you I will wait for the tortured novel, but I don’t know that I like being called an “old fogie”.
I read somewhere that all Thai girls want is to get their hands in your pockets, and once they have cleaned you out, that’s it. No money, No Honey as the T shirt says. Is this really true? I have met a few nice girls every time I’ve come over, and although I pay for everything when we’re out together, I think that’s natural. I pay for everything back home when I take out a woman, so what’s the difference?
Dear Confused Chuck,
The difference is you get more fun out of the relationship here, my Petal, or that’s what I get told by my gentlemen friends. It is nice to see there are still gentlemen in this world, and if you are paying, I’ll have a bottle of Veuve Clicquot when we go to dinner. Of course you can have what you want (to drink, Petal) as well, I’m not stingy. Please let me know a week or so in advance, as I will have to fit you in to my crowded appointment book, though with promises of Veuve Clicquot you do go to the top of the waiting list.