Heart to Heart: Bar hopping or bar hoping?

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Bar hopping or bar hoping?
Dear Hillary,
One of my colleagues at work keeps on suggesting I go out with him to go bar hopping one night. When I asked which bars he intended to visit, he was very vague and was trying to dodge the issue. What do you think he is trying to do? He would be around 40 years old with a Thai wife. I am 27 and unmarried.
Perplexed

Dear Perplexed,
Why are you trying to “read” something into a situation before it has made itself evident? You are in charge of your own destiny and if you don’t like the bar, then you move on. If you think he is trying to seduce you, then again you are in charge of the situation. Nobody is going to throw you flat on your back on the bar counter, are they? Suggest to him it would be a great idea to go out and to bring his Thai wife with him. His next move will show his hand, I am quite sure. Unless his wife wants to seduce you!



Thai alphabet a good bet?
Dear Hillary,
I am about to try and learn the Thai language (for the third time) and I have been getting some conflicting advice and am hopeful that you, dear Hillary, can put me on the right path. Some of my friends say I should just learn how to speak conversational Thai and forget about reading it, while others I know who speak Thai fluently say I should learn to read and write the language at the same time. I’m confused enough as it is, what do you think?
Confused

Dear Confused,
No need to worry. Look at it this way, do Thai children learn to read and write first or learn to speak the language first? Do American kids learn to read and write before they speak English? Of course they don’t. Children learn like parrots (but eat like pigs). Sure, it helps to recognize some words in Thai, but take the easy way and you should start like any Thai child and speak before you write.



Bank loans in Braille
Dear Hillary,
I met a wonderful girl in a new bar the other night. Beautiful nature, beautiful skin, lovely smile and figure, in fact I just fell for her. She comes from Udom, and that’s about all I managed to find out after about four hours and several “lady drinks”. The biggest problem was that she doesn’t speak any English, so I was trying to talk to her through a friend of hers who also works in the bar and who didn’t speak much English either. By the end of the night I was pretty drunk and did lend her 2000 baht. What should I do? Should I keep going, or should I give up now before I get in too deep?
Nelson

Dear Nelson,
You’ve really got the telescope in the blind eye, haven’t you petal. You spent four hours (and several lady drinks) getting to know this lady and she can’t speak your lingo. What means of communication did you use? Braille? One thing’s for sure, young man, she certainly could talk her way into your wallet. Her fingers did the walking! Or was that “talking”? Kiss your two grand goodbye and stick to the old bar. It sounds safer.



Not a Cheap Charlie
Dear Hillary,
How do I stop my husband tipping? I know it probably sounds mean, but he is always leaving 20 baht here, 50 baht there and it all mounts up. We have retired here from the UK and live off his pension which is not all that much every month. When I chide him about it he just says that everyone has to live or words to that effect. How do I show him that the amounts he leaves are excessive?
Mona

Dear Mona,
You certainly are a little moaner aren’t you my Petal. Leaving a tip for people in the hospitality industry is how many of these people survive because their wages can be amazingly low. There are not strong unions as there are in your country, so there is no guarantee of minimum salaries, even though there may be legislation to that effect. Provided you are living within your means, and your husband is tipping within those means, let him feel good about it and let the recipients enjoy their added “extras”. They’ll need it more than you do, my Purple Petunia.



Massage Madam
Dear Hillary,
I met this attractive lady at a concert the other evening. She was well dressed (not provocative) and spoke good English. We chatted for a while and I felt we got along rather well. I asked if she had a business card and she gave me one. When I got back to my condo I looked at it and it turns out she works for a massage agency. This is my problem. How could I introduce her to my mother, for example? Have I been taken in, or is she just a slippery customer?
Gerald

Dear Gerald,
A gal’s gotta do what a gal’s gotta do in this world. Look at me, replying to drivel like yours every week! Let your Mum find her own massage parlor.