Thai chat-up lines

If I were to see a portly Thai in England, I would not dream of running over, poking him or her in the stomach and saying: “You’re a fat bastard.” So why is the reverse acceptable in the Land of Smiles?

It has to be said that I am not the man I once was. I look at my wedding photographs of 20 years ago and see a handsome man. Now I look in the mirror and see a fat, bald 50-year-old who drinks too much. The march of time is relentless and unforgiving.

The great thing about living in Bangkok is that, provided your wallet is reasonably stocked and you are not visibly insane or incontinent, you are Robert Redford, despite your age or appearance. The only difference is that you have greater access to gorgeous women than Robert Redford. Welcome to paradise.

In this upside-down world, stunning women chase extremely unattractive white men, some of whom are so revolting that I really do feel like Robert Redford in comparison.

But the hunters have some unusual chat-up lines. “You pompooey (fat),” is the usual observation of 25-year-old Isaan supermodels desperate to get me into bed. A slight variation is the ultimate in backhanded compliments: “I like pompooey.” The conversation generally then moves on to how bald and old I am, not to mention “kee neeow” (it means tight-fisted but literally translates as “sticky shit”, meaning your money sticks to your hands) after only buying them three 150-baht Bacardi breezers in half an hour. It is a good job I have the sensitivity of Mike Tyson in a bad mood.

Having softened me up with such sweet words, the hunter then moves in on its prey with the words: “You pay bar me?” Sometimes I agree. After all, I don’t know when I am next going to meet a woman who likes fat, bald, old, deep-pocketed farangs.

I actually enjoy this slightly childish banter and even the very personal enquiries about my finances, the reasons behind my divorce and even how often I have sex. Thai people, not just bargirls, are much less reticent than Westerners about asking for intimate details of people they have known for only a few minutes. But not everyone sees the funny side.

Some years ago, I was sitting in the Golden Bar outside the Nana Hotel. It is a great place to observe the lunacy going on over the road around Nana Plaza. I was chatting to an American at the side of the bar nearest the road when an elephant approached us. It had a harmonica in its mouth and proceeded to play “When the saints go marching in” without a note out of place. That scale of surrealism only happens in

Anyway, back to the American. He was stick-thin. In fact, he was so thin and wasted-looking that I thought he must be terminally ill. Suddenly a bargirl appeared from nowhere. She poked me in the stomach and said “You have baby” before doing the same to the American and saying “You have HIV”. The bloke went ballistic. He screamed at the girl, paid his bill and stormed off. Perhaps he did have HIV.

An English friend and his wife had their first holiday in Thailand last year. They stayed at an upmarket hotel in Cha Am. As they were collecting their key at reception one evening, the receptionist said to Tony: “How is your baby?”

“What do you mean? We don’t have a baby,” he replied, perplexed.

Giggling, the receptionist pointed at his admittedly impressive beer gut. Unaware of how pompooeyness is a huge joke in Thailand, he went crazy and demanded to see the hotel manager. Peace was only restored when the receptionist was disciplined and a bottle of wine was sent to his room as compensation.

The odd thing about the whole pompooey issue is that Thai girls hate it when you turn it on them. Most are convinced they are morbidly obese even when they barely tip the scales at 40 kilograms.

I used to have a girlfriend in Koh Samui who would hold a cushion over her stomach at her bar so that people could not see her fat belly. This was ridiculous. If anything, Wan was underweight, but nothing could convince her that she was not plump and unattractive.

One night we were at her bar when a farangette waddled past who was so fat that she must have been American. She was living confirmation of the power of McDonald’s advertising. “You same same farang lady,” I quipped to Wan. OK, it was hardly wit of Oscar Wilde proportions, but it amused me at the time.

Nothing could have prepared me for her reaction. She started wailing and sobbing about how she knew I was telling the truth and that she would never be able to find a husband unless she lost a lot of weight. It was unbelievable.

I had dug a hole and kept digging. “Don’t worry,” I reassured her. “I like pompooey.”

22 thoughts on “Thai chat-up lines”

  1. Lol, very good post and so true. I often see friends girlfriends teasing them about how fat they are but go into complete sulk mode when the tables are turned.

  2. Very funny 🙂 We don’t really care what our boyfriends look like, when we love someone, we love no matter. But we want look good for our boyfriend. That why we get upset when they tell us we getting fat.

  3. Pingback: Koh Samui August 11, 2007 4:07 am | My WebLog

  4. I think “chan chop poompooi” then tell them you like them so that there is no doubt that the comment is about them. Or better to say that you like morbidly obese girls “chan chop hu-an”.

  5. Most Thai girls have very poor image of their bodies. Another thing that can make a Thai girl wail and sob is telling her how dark her skin is. The degree of the reaction maybe less, but the damage done emotionally is pretty much the same.

  6. @Dariya: I think we all know that many Thai girls have low self-esteem but I think the big question is why then do they feel it perfectly okay to comment on other people’s physical attributes?

    Or better yet, someone please explain to me why the Thai guy standing next to me in the bathroom thinks it’s perfectly okay to peek over and look at my dick. 🙂

    Anywhere else in the world you try that and you’ll get a severe ass beating.

  7. Hi again Ruai,

    I don’t really know exactly why we have to go and do that since it’s not a very nice way to treat people. Maybe it’s a way to make one feels better about oneself when they make fun of other people. Jealousy is a part of Thai culture. So, when they see other people are better in some way, they find a way to put those people down to give them a sense of triumph. The easiest and the quickest way to do it is spotting a flaw on their appearance. Thais do it so much that now they do it unconciously and thinks it’s normal and perfectly ok. I even slip a negative comment on someone’s look sometimes and later regret about it. People used to make tons of not-so-nice comments about my skin tone. And I had suffered a lot from that. Now, when someone calls me too dark or dark in a look-down way, I say “it’s not dark, it’s tan and farang man likes it”. The sentence never fails to shut them up.

    Oh, and concerning your dick, they are just obnoxiously curious to see if it’s really bigger than theirs. I think you’ve been in Thailand long enough to know how overly curiuos some of Thais can be. But hey, after all those have been said and done, I know you like Thailand anyway, or else you would have left long ago 🙂

  8. @Dariya,

    I hope you know I was asking more to be funny than anything else. I know Thais can be a curious people but sometimes it’s so blatantly obnoxious you have to laugh.

    One of the things I’ve noticed about Thai people is they really don’t seem to grasp adjusting to negative feedback. I see businesses driving away their customers due to how they staff behave or some sort of bs policy and you tell them that farangs don’t like this or that and they don’t change. Even when business starts to drop off they just cry louder and louder that they don’t know what they can do.

    BTW, that’s not something you should feel you should have to respond to. It’s just an observation.

    I was catching a very late night drink at one of the mobile street bars and was looking around and noticed that the one I was out was deserted but the others were full up with customers. I know the owner so I felt I had to show some loyalty but it got me thinking and suddenly it dawned on me that she had Isaan music blaring while all the other bars were playing farang songs.

    I told her, “You know, you might get more customers if you played farang music.” She responded “Maybe, but I don’t like farang music. I like Thai music.”


    She operates her business for an audience of one – her. There sure as hell aren’t any Thais hitting the street bars in lower Sukhumvit unless they’re prostitutes and they don’t buy their own drinks anyway.

    But every time I see her she always complains that everyone else is doing good business and pouts about not getting any customers. Of course, trying to drive out the one customer she does have she often will try to call every one of her friends within 100 mile radius and have them come over and beg me to buy them a drink until I have to get up and leave.

    Again, not for you to respond to but an observation which I think it offers a little more dimension to Thai behavior and why people do things that they know they will get a negative reaction to.

  9. @Ruai,

    I know you asked just to be funny, so I just saw it a plain fun to made a response. Many of your comments really give insightful details of my culture –Thai culture. So, I’m just interested to know how foreigners see us. Just out of my curiosity though, how long have you been in Thailand?

  10. @Dariya,

    I have been living here for less than a year but I have been coming here quite often for about the last six years. And I do have a lot of Thai friends from all different levels of Thai society so I like to think that I have a rounded view of Thai people and the culture. Of course . . . I might not 🙂 haha

    Most of the time I make observations about Thai people or parts of Thai culture and I am not necessarily passing judgment but just noting how it appears to me. Like my friend with the bar; she is still my friend even though I think she’s a terrible business person 🙂

    But that is my nature. I can sit for hours in a crowded mall and just watch people. Study their body language, how they walk, how they interact with each other. Without ever speaking a word to them I can often tell you a good deal about them.

    And for me it’s been a very enlightening experience being in Thailand. Many people like to use the term “Thai culture” but the more I am here the more it seems like certain things are only “culture” to certain sub-groups of Thais.

    It’s actually very funny because when I tell some of my Thai friends about things that happen to us farangs they cannot believe it. They can’t believe Thais would do such things.

    If I’m walking down the street with a Thai friend or girlfriend almost no Thais will speak to me. But if I walk down the street alone every few feet there is some taxi or tuk-tuk driver offering to take me to see “good pussy.”

    Or not too long ago I met a girl and asked her for her phone number. We spoke a few times on the phone and then one day she asked if I wanted to have lunch with her. We met up at MBK and after lunch we walked around MBK and she tried to get me to buy her a 15,000 baht mobile phone heavily implying that if I didn’t buy it for her she wouldn’t see me again.

    Needless to say she didn’t get a phone and I haven’t seen her since 🙂

    I know this is not Thai culture but this is what many farangs experience as Thai culture.

  11. @ Ruai

    I must say I still can’t believe many things that farangs claim to happen to them in this website. I, too, can’t believe Thais would do such things. But, oh well, what can I say? I’ve never been to Soi Cowboy nor have I run around BKK with foreigners enough to know that it’s actually not like what some of them say.

    Haha…presuring you to buy 15,ooo baht phone on a first date, huh? How and where the heck did you meet this girl? Gosh…I wish I had just half of her nerve.

  12. @Dariya: You don’t have to go to Soi Cowboy or Nana to see this kind of stuff. I live near the Grand Hyatt and every day when I walk past there the taxi drivers all ask me if I want to go to Happy Hour (at 9am in the morning), get sexy massage, go get “good pussy” and just about every other illicit thing you can imagine.

    Like I said, I try not to pass judgment or to think all Thai people are like these people but it’s so easy to see how many people form their views about Thailand by constantly being surrounded by these types of people. Anywhere farangs go these types of people swarm.

    But like I said, if I’m with a Thai they won’t say a single word to me. They know it’s out of line and would never say that kind of stuff in front of other Thais.

  13. It might be worth checking out two recent posts.

    Big Trouble in Tourist Thailand
    Phuket acts to clean up jet-ski woes

    I tend to take Ruai’s point of view regarding not passing judgment since I know way too many Thais who are nice, hard-working, honest people but how do you think all the people who have been ripped off by this scam view Thailand and Thai people? Especially when those who have gone to the police are told there’s nothing they can do.

    Granted a lot of the other footage doesn’t paint us farangs in a great light but the show is intended to sensationalize the trouble Brits get into in Thailand. Most of the stuff that happens to farangs goes unreported. Nobody goes to the cops over dual pricing. Nobody goes to the cops when fake monks come begging for money. Nobody goes to the cops when they get taken in the ping pong show scam in Patpong. Nobody goes to the cops when they get ripped off in a gem scam. Or even if people do go to the cops how exciting would it be to watch the police take a report and then do nothing?

  14. @ Ruai

    I know what you are saying. It’s easy to form my view about foreign men in Thialand after constantly reading tons of comments and articles they make on Thai girls for 2 weeks so far. But I know that we are from different backgrounds and have different experiences. So, I’m definitely not here to make any judgement.

    I read the articles and I saw the news. There are bad people all around the world, but I’ve been too naive when it comes to my own people.

  15. @Dariya,

    Well, this site and others like it are sort of unique in the sense that my guess is that 99% of the people who find their way here are farangs. So in many ways these discussions you are seeing are what might occur between two farangs when they don’t think any Thai people are listening. Either venting our frustrations or giving each other tips on how to deal with all of the things that happen only to farangs.

    Similarly, I’m sure if we were to go to popular Thai websites and message boards and read what they have to say about us farangs . . . well, let’s just say that I’m pretty sure a lot of it wouldn’t be highly flattering. haha I’m sure there are Thai guys out there pissed off that many Thai women have no interest in ever dating a Thai guy again. I’m sure there are plenty of Thai women who have been burned (cheated on, lied to, etc) by a farang and think we’re all evil. And I’m sure they express those opinions amongst other Thais when they think we’re not listening 🙂

    I’m fairly sure that I’ve said things here, in person, and on other sites that some people will find offensive. Heck, I can guarantee I’ve said things people will find objectionable. But you also have to look at within the context of who I’m saying it to and under what circumstances. I’m going to use certain words or tones to express my views in a way that another farang will understand. What I’m saying isn’t intended for Thais.

    For instance, you said you are naive when it comes to your own people. I know that. I know that because so many of my Thai friends simply cannot believe the stories us farangs tell them. But for us, we see this every single day. For us, these are the realities of living or traveling to Thailand. The very worst people in Thai society seek us out so most of the people we encounter are the worst kind of people. So in many cases when we say things like “Thai people . . .” we know we’re talking about those people; not all Thai people.

    But you don’t see that. You don’t know how bad it is. You don’t live in a world where you worry about getting drugged and robbed when you go out (and yes, I personally know two people this has happened to). You don’t live in a world where girls ask you to buy them 15,000 baht mobile phones on the first date. You don’t even see this world.

    So when I talk to another farang about these kinds of things there are certain things that shape our understanding of Thailand and Thai people that you simply never see or have to experience. But if I were having the conversation with a Thai I know that I would have to use a different tone and different words because not only am I trying to express my views but I also need to communicate why I have those views.

    I do have a lot of Thai friends and I noticed that the more time they spend with farangs the more they understand why we have some of the opinions we do. They know when we talk about scamming Thai women we don’t view all Thai women that way but they also have seen enough of us get scammed that they understand where the emotion is coming from.

    So, I apologize in advance if you read something I’ve written that you find offensive but also try to understand that I wasn’t talking to a Thai when I wrote it. I was speaking to other farangs who live in a world which is very different from the one you live in.

  16. @Ruai,

    Thank you for taking your time to respond to my comments. This is sad that foreigners here are targeted by the very worst people in our society. If I were in the same situation, I would have opinions like many farangs here do.

    It’s just very interesting to see what foreigners have to say about Thailand. Of course, there are comments and articles in this website that I find quite disturbing or offensive. However, they are also entertaining to see what farangs talk of Thais when they think we’re not listeniing (or reading) Like I said I’m just here to observe and maybe drop some of my comments here and there where I see fit.

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