Mine’s a soda water


Dear Hillary,

I have been reading your column and have enjoyed it very much.  As I am going to be over there in September for the first time I am writing.  It seems that everyone I ask (single men like myself) talk about being at the bars as the way to meet the Thai girls (workers).  I’m not a big drinker so will I offend if I do not drink a lot or wish to leave to go see music, movies or see the country.



Dear Roger,

I can assure you that the ladies from the bars have not the slightest interest in how much ‘you’ drink, only in how much ‘they’ drink, while you are paying of course!  This is because they receive a percentage of the cost of the ‘lady drinks’, while they get nothing from the price of your drinks.  This is how they make money, as they are ‘working’ women, getting their monthly salaries plus extras.  It works like this, since you have not been here before, Petal.  They generally receive a small wage (or retainer), and then their lady drinks percentage plus a percentage of the so-called ‘bar fine’ which is what the punters (like you) pay for the honor and glory of taking one of the blushing young ladies away from the bar to see music, movies or the country.  Anything else is a private arrangement between the lady and the customer, as you have to realize that there is no prostitution in Thailand, because the government said so.  And in the statute books has said so since about 1966.  While you are paying for things, you will not offend. However, when the money runs dry, then it is a different story.