Money troubles

There is no such thing as free sex in Thailand or anywhere else in the world. You probably knew that already, but this tale emphasises the point that, here in this crazy, upside-down country, good girls can be more expensive than bad girls.

I met Som in Ayutthaya in January last year. She was in a bar and I wrongly assumed she was a bargirl. Embarrassingly, I tried to bar-fine her only for it to be pointed out that she was a customer. She was angry at first but eventually was able to laugh about it. We became friends.

Som was 32 with a beautiful face and great figure. She had a teenage son living with her estranged Thai boyfriend. She said she eventually hoped to marry but was in no hurry because she was enjoying her independence and building up her clothes shop. I was soon making regular trips to Ayutthaya from Bangkok, where I live and work, to spend long weekends.

We had a curiously old-fashioned courtship, going for long walks and enjoying each other’s company. But IT never happened. Sometimes I felt as though I was the only farang in
Thailand having a celibate relationship. At least I had novelty value.

When I broached the subject of sex, she said other Thais would assume she was a bargirl if she was seen going back to a farang’s hotel and that I would have to wait until she visited me in
Bangkok.

Eventually, after 15 months, she came to Bangkok, accompanied by her best friend. I ended up sleeping with both of them in a literal sense – that is, we shared the same bed but without any contact.

The next month, my frustration went off the scale when Som agreed to accompany me on a five-day trip to Hua Hin. I assumed we would do the dirty deed at last. I was wrong. The condoms stayed in the packet. She said she didn’t know me well enough.

My last throw of the dice was to do nothing. When she rang a few weeks later asking me to go to Ayutthaya, I said I would think about it. Instead, I went to Pattaya and didn’t ring her back. My strategy was to give her a taste of rejection and see how she reacted. It worked.

I was at work one day when my mobile rang. It was Som demanding to know why I had not been in touch and asking me to go to see her. “I can stay with you if you like,” she said. Something about her tone told me it could be pay-off time.

Nothing happened on the first night and I decided to not even mention sex. In the morning we sat on the hotel balcony and she talked about her recent week in a temple (she is a devout Buddhist) and her uncertainty about what she would do in her life.

As always, she asked if I ever went with bargirls in Bangkok. Usually I lied, but I decided it was time for the truth. I told her that Bangkok could be a very lonely place and occasionally I felt the need for some company. She asked if I used condoms. I said I had no wish to die of AIDS and always covered up. “I am not scared of you now,” she announced. “I think we can have sex.”

The sex was great. She was not the Miss Frigid I had feared she might be and seemed to enjoy herself. But from that moment, our relationship changed for the worse. Som started to use sex as justification for unreasonable financial demands. I am not mean, but I have to live within my budget, like everyone else. That soon became impossible.

As I packed to return to Bangkok, Som asked if she could come with me. This placed me in an awkward position. Jeab, a bargirl, had been staying regularly and loads of her clothes and cosmetics were lying around my flat. But I could not really say no.

When we arrived at my flat, I managed to hide Jeab’s clothes while Som was in the bathroom. But she quickly noticed the cosmetics and seemed suspicious. Feebly, I said I bought them for myself. Thankfully, she did not ask why a farang would need whitening powder.

Soon Som was demanding up to 3,000 baht each day for shopping trips. I was happy to take her out on the town and buy her occasional presents, but this scale of spending was blowing my budget to pieces.

I tried to give her a lesson in basic economics. After paying my bills each month, I have about 20,000 baht to play with. That works out at about 700 baht a day. If I were to give her 3,000 baht each day, I would have a deficit of 70,000 baht at the end of the month.

My argument hit a brick wall. “Farang have big money in their own country,” she said. “All you have to do is get some more from there.” As she had quickly drained my Thai bank account, that indeed was my only option. I went to my English internet account and shook the farang money tree. Zap! It was in Thailand in seconds.

Som stayed for three weeks and I virtually had to beg her to go home before I became totally insolvent. Fittingly, I even had to strike a financial deal. It was a bit like a divorce settlement. The terms were 2,500 baht for yet another shopping trip, followed by 500 baht for a taxi, bus and refreshments on her journey home. I was happy to pay just so that I could stop paying.

She had arrived in Bangkok with a plastic bag containing a few clothes and left carrying a holdall (mine, of course) packed with half the contents of the Siam Centre, including enough shoes to keep Imelda Marcos happy for a year. Bargirls get a bad rap but at least most of them are working to send money home; Som was just selfishly buying clothes she didn’t really need.

I didn’t always accede to her demands. On one occasion I refused to buy her a new swimsuit as we were about to leave for a weekend in Hua Hin. I told her to buy it herself with the 3,000 baht I had given her the previous day. She refused and said she would not go with me unless I bought it. I called her bluff and went away for the weekend alone, but she was still in my flat when I returned.

If it had been a bargirl making such demands, she would have been out of the door within seconds, but it was harder with Som because she was someone for whom I had built up a lot of affection over a long period of courtship.

The irony is that Jeab, who is ostensibly a hooker, often comes round bearing food and cleaning utensils, stays the night and doesn’t ask for a bean. She says she likes my company, the air-con and not having to sleep with three other girls.

It is hardly a new phenomenon for a Thai girl to regard a farang as an ATM. But this episode left me asking many questions. Som never made any financial demands in the 18 months before our relationship became sexual. Why did sex change everything? Is it part of Thai culture that a boyfriend must virtually bankrupt himself once sex is involved? Why do some Thais believe that farangs have a limitless supply of money?

I don’t know the answers.

8 thoughts on “Money troubles

  • August 17, 2007 at 12:31 pm
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    Very true. I had a the same experience last year. Met a good girl, dated for a long while before having sex and now I feel like I am the ATM for her entire family.

  • August 17, 2007 at 4:19 pm
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    an interesting and strange story….makes you kind of ask why? after 18 months. perhaps sex is the power they believe they have over the foreigner – which to a degree is true – the key to the treasure chest. I wouldn’t get too disheartened though, there must be plenty of genuine ‘good’ girls out there who are looking for a decent chap. Going by yours and BangkokBob experiences I think that probably we underestimate the Thai perception of farang wealth and the gulf that exists between our standard of living and theirs.

  • August 22, 2007 at 4:46 pm
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    ‘On Nutter’ – for several reasons, I really enjoyed your article.

    Firstly – I thought I was the only one who had a non-sexual long-term relationship with a Thai girl. You would have read about Princess and I in the recent article on this site ‘Love and Assault in Chiang Mai’.

    I am her first boyfriend and being a very traditional girl, and coming from a close-knit community it is very important to be a virgin when one marries. As I am not sure that marriage is a long-term possibility -I have chosen to honour her until I can be sure. You are probably the only one who believes me on this issue – my friends and family think I am ‘full of it’ – how could one possibly go out with a Thai girl for two years and not have sex???

    In some ways it is wonderful because the relationship in not cluttered with the sex issues.

    However, and getting to my second point – it is still not plain sailing. This is probably why I hesitate on the marriage decision. As you said they just don;t get it on the money issue. I am divorced and have had many relationships with Western girls over the years and I cannot ever remember money being an issue or even one of them asking for any.

    I even flew Princess to Sydney for Xmas hol’s last year so she could see what life is like in a Western country and how expensive stuff is. However my sister reckons that it would be easier to explain the theory of relativity to the family dog that to explain to madame that I am not loaded – she just doesn’t get it!!

    She is basically a good girl and mostly never asks for money – however when the proverbial hits the fan – guess who she always rings.

    Her family home was recently about to be reposessed by the bank – her dad had mortgaged the family home a few yrs ago and shot thru with the dough. She rang me so casually and asked for the 400,000 Bht as if one were asking the neighbour for a cup of sugar. She just doesn’t get it!!

    Then each time I have to say no then she sobs and cries like its the end of the world. All of our issues get back to money – we don’t have problems over anything else.

    The last request for 45,000 Bht for new computer and laser printer etc – to start her typing business – I actually agreed to. However on the proviso that she never asks for anymore until I see her in
    Bangkok in December of this year. I am waiting for the phone to ring!#$%&!!

    It is so sad really – she is an awesome girl in every way – but the ‘take care’ thing is such an all encompassing thing to take on that I really wonder if any guy could ever marry one of these girls and be happy?

    Bunter

  • November 12, 2007 at 4:08 pm
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    sheessh, sometimes I dont get it why men are willing to fall deeper and deeper into a trap they had “helped” set up initially.

    no offence there but sometimes you just gotta “WAKE UP” coz it ain’t happening!

    🙂

  • June 12, 2008 at 5:24 pm
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    aren’t these girls just con (wo)men?

  • August 22, 2011 at 5:28 am
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    Well, I must say 45ooo baht for a new computer is…well… not so much. If she is really your girlfriend, can spend once a year.

  • September 13, 2011 at 3:39 am
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    TBH, after being here (the LOS) for 18 years I don’t even think that this expectation that Thai women have about males giving them money is even a farang thing. I know a couple of middle class Thai guys, with good paying jobs, and they’ve told me it’s even the same for them. For what it’s worth, this is what my take on the “take care me” scenario with Thai women. I truly believe that the “Sin Sod” thing has alot to do with it. It creates a mindset among the women that their bodies are like property with a value on it. Now I know that Sin Sod is supposed to be for gaining face, and just for show, but, never the less, it sets up a situation where any union (marriage) with a Thai lady will be dependent on the payment of a fee. Most of them will be expecting something to be bethrothed to a guy. An extension of that is what we see now; a girlfriend expects money, toys, gifts, and financial aid, when needed, in return for the use of her body. Among ladies with well paid jobs, or those who’re financially well off, this may not be as prevelant, due to the fact that they have the means to be financially self supporting. Unfortunately the poor old farang often ends up with ladies who hail from a poorer, rural background. In this situation the farang is often seen, first and foremost, as a financial leg up in life. What compounds this even more is that virtually all ladies from a poor ruaral background, be it good girl or bar girl, are brainwashed with the idea that they’re expected to “take care” of the family back in the village. Upon entering into a relationship with a farang they automatically assume that the farang is going to help with the “take care” as well because he (the farang) must pay something for the use of her property (body). I know there will be lots that call me out on this but I defy you to prove to me that it’s actually not this way. My advice to any farang regarding getting into a relationship with a Thai lady is this:
    1. If you don’t want to get caught up in the “take care” scenario avoid ladies who are from poor, rural backgrounds, or ladies who have low levels of education or who don’t have a decent paying job.
    2. If a lady has been married before, or has children from previous relationship, you don’t have to pay sin sod. A Thai man wouldn’t so why should you. The lady is second hand goods. If any lady persistantly pushes this idea on you, dump her.
    3. Only pay for things, or buy things, that will have a direct benefit to you, ie; a small notebook (netbook) for staying in touch, or chatting, if you are apart from time to time. Netbooks can be picked up for around 15000 baht. If she complains, find someone else (you will see the ingratitude right there and then). If her English language skills are poor, and you can’t be bothered improving your Thai, send her on an English course. Things such as hospital bills for her family members or other outstanding bills, or debts, have nothing to do with you so don’t pay them. If she complains, find someone else because this situation won’t improve.
    4. Finally, use your big head to think and not your little head.

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