Saddle sores

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Dear Hillary,

I’m a bit new to Thailand, so I’m probably not the first to ask this, but why do Thai women sit sideways on motorcycles? When did it start? Have they always done this? You would never see anything like this in England, so it really blows me away every time.

Sideways Sam

Dear Sideways Sam,

You seem to have your eyes open here, but you must have had them closed in the UK. Go to any horsey event and you will see the women riding side-saddle. Even the Queen of England rode side-saddle for the trooping of the color. However, getting back to your question regarding riding side-saddle here, it is for the sake of decency, young man. How can a woman in a long skirt, or even more in a short skirt, look polite and decorous with the hem hitched up above the hips, and legs hanging down each side of motorcycle (or horse, buffalo or elephant, take your pick)? Thai women have had wrap skirts for years and rode buffaloes side-saddle, long before the motorcycle arrived in the villages.