I am a newcomer as far as wines are concerned. Is there a fool-proof way to pick a ‘good’ bottle of wine? I have started dating one of your “good” girls and don’t want to look foolish.
Join a wine club. In the meantime, Veuve Clicquot makes a very fine champers. You now owe me one!
I do love your column and it is the first one I read every week when the Mail comes out. What gets me though (I’ve been here for almost 10 years) is the fact that all these newcomers think they’ve got it all sussed out. They meet the only bar girl in this world that is still a virgin, the only bar girl in the world that hasn’t asked for money (even to buy sum tom) and the only bar girl in the world that doesn’t have children staying with granny and whose husband didn’t run away. Saying nothing about the family buffalo, which is in a picture of bovine health. Help me, Hillary, I meet a couple of these deranged people every week. What should I do?
It would be too easy to give them a ticket back home, and also expensive. The best you can do is to give them a copy of Stephen Leather’s book Private Dancer and make them read it aloud, with you standing there. On second thoughts, with you sitting there with several beers will be better, as I am sure these people will have difficulties with words which have more than four letters.
What should I do about the maid coming on to me? If we pass in the corridor, she gives me a big smile and touches my arm, and holds my hand just a little too long for it to be a coincidence. When I am lying down in the bedroom some afternoons she will come in and insist that she brings me a coffee or cold water and stays too long talking to me. She is married to our driver, so they came as a package, so I haven’t said anything to my husband as he could fly off the handle and sack them both on the spot, and I don’t want that. How do I gently get the message across that I am not interested in her, and get her to just go about her maid duties without coming on to me?
You have to be a little careful here, or you may precipitate a major incident, which would also reflect badly on your husband and his work, as well as the driver. You do not say what your command of the Thai language is like, but unless it is very good, you really need a native Thai speaker to help you. Get your Thai friend to gently tell her that you are a very busy woman and you don’t have time to chat while she is working. Thank her and say she does a wonderful job of keeping the house clean, and your husband also says what a good job she has done. After that just be a little cool in your relationship with her and the problem will go away. Best of luck, Petal.
I never realized I was smart until I came to Thailand one year ago. I always used my common senses back home and here in Thailand and I never had any problems but too many foreigners just can’t help themselves. Thailand receives the world’s biggest jackasses and fools and every week I see or hear about some guys who gets into problems with bar girls and complain and cry about everything and everybody here. I’m tired of these fools bad mouthing Thais and Thailand. If they don’t like it go home. Why do we get so many foolish, ignorant farangs who makes us all look bad in front of Thai people?
Dear Happy Here,
You don’t sound all that happy to me, Petal, your letter is full of grumps and grouches. I agree that there are many foreigners who don’t seem to use much common sense (why is it called ‘common’ when there’s so little of it around?), but I think you are overstepping the mark when you start painting your foreigners as foolish and jackasses. I agree that there is nothing to be gained by foreigners when they start bad mouthing Thais and Thailand, and you do have to wonder why they left their own countries in the first place. There can be many reasons I believe, and not all of them are lawful! Of course it is not too difficult to see why some of these people become cannon fodder for the sharp-shooters in the bars. It must be difficult to survive the “Buy me cola, darling” when all they are used to in their home countries are women who want to put them down all the time. “What are you looking at,” being a standard western woman’s response to a bright appreciative smile I am reliably informed. Perhaps you should be producing a lapel button which says “Don’t complain to me - I like it here!” Finally, don’t let the idiots spoil it for you. You don’t have to drink in bar beers, and if you take the effort to learn the language, then you don’t have to talk to the foreigners either, as there are 60 million Thai people out there who would like to know about you and your country of origin.
You see all these older chaps strolling along with their trophy wife in tow, don’t they know there is nothing genuine about the relationship? She’s out for the money, not for a healthy walk. Why do these older men never learn? Is it something in the air?
I think you are being a bit hard on some of our older men. The relationship is one that works for both parties. She gets a source of steady income, and he gets a companion. I would call it a win-win situation. However, it does remind me of an old joke: 70 year old chap arm in arm with his 17 year old sweetie and his friends asked him how he could attract such a young and gorgeous girl. He replied by telling them that he lied about his age - he told her he was 90!
I am starting a relationship with a very nice young woman and I would like to take her somewhere good for dinner. I have not been here very long, so can you suggest a couple of restaurants I should investigate?
I am not the one to ask, as I can’t afford the som tum stall at the end of my street, but the person who can help you is Miss Terry Diner, our food and wine critic, who has a page every week. Her review covers all kinds of restaurants, right from the top venues like the Royal Cliff, right the way through to roadside budget eateries. You can use the website to go back through the places to go and choose one you think will be suitable. I’ll just make do with the champagne and chocolates!
Found the “nice” girl you are always telling us to look for, but I had hoped for a bit more than holding hands. Not even a kiss goodnight and that was on the second date, not the first. I mean I am not looking for my life’s partner here, but a bit better response is needed if I am going to keep on looking for your “nice” ones.
Have you stopped to consider that you may not be the “nice” chap she hoped you would be. It looks to me as if sex is all you want from the relationship, and if so, the place for you is in the go-go bar, where the girls there know what and why and how much. And your name “Jacq”, where does that come from Petal?
I don’t believe the bar girls are anymore “out for what they can get” than the fellows pursuing them. They have a job, often entertaining foreign undesirables, do it well and deserve what they earn. The percentage of “baddies” is quite low!
I agree with you, Petal. As I have written in this column for many years, the ladies from the bars are doing a job, bringing in millions of tourist dollars, and as you point out, “entertaining foreign undesirables.” However, let us not forget that their “occupation” is still against the law. Not a well-policed law, but it is there in the statutes, nevertheless. I do receive reports of successful marriages between bar girls and foreigners, but I also get a greater number of sad letters from disillusioned men.
What is the real deal on getting married in the village? I came over last year and met a nice girl who looked after me for the two weeks. I did send her some money afterwards, but nothing regular. I let her know I am coming over again in December and she wants to know the dates as she wants to take me to her village where she says we can get married and that way I will know that she will always wait for me. She will stay in the village with her mother when I am not in Thailand. I reckon it’s all a bit rushed, but she really is a stunner and I like the idea of having her waiting for me, and I’d come over more often than just Xmas time. Looks great, but I’m just not 100 percent sure. What do you think?
I don’t know how old you are, but I get the feeling you are fairly young. You also did not say where you met your future “bride”, but I will guess in some bar or other. Sorry Petal, but you will be running for a huge disappointment if you go up country and marry your sweetheart that you have known all of two weeks. She won’t stay in the village, but will be luring some other young chap with the promise of marriage as well. These girls are very good at selling the dream. If it helps you to make up your mind, village weddings are not even recognized as legal weddings, even by the Thai government, let alone your own one. No Rob, don’t do it!
Some time ago I dressed in a women’s outfit for my girlfriend now my ex she informed my in laws of what I did and they are not pleased with me as it was a shock for me to get an email from them and now want nothing to do with me. I am going out with new girl and very happy. I have some personal details that would hurt my ex but I am in shock as she promised she would not tell anyone what I did and when I called to ask her what she had said she told me she did not tell anyone. I am in shock and do not know where to turn as I am ashamed.
Dear Thank you,
All this about a bit of harmless cross-dressing. Just what are you on about, my Petal? Cross dressing is everywhere. Even I have been known to wear a pair of trousers. Forget it and get on with life.