There have been few really outrageous ones, the kind that contribute to the sterotypes that "all bar girls" are ripoff artists, thieves, cold hearted, poor performers, mercenary and show utter disinterest in and even outright disgust for a customer (some deservedly so).
Yet, foreigners frequently meet and marry bar girls. I’ll note only one thing (oft repeated in Southeast Asia): you can take the girl out of the bar, but you can’t take the bar out of the girl. Or can you? There are success stories despite the odds against.
But let’s not jump to marriage yet! Let's start off slowly with the relationship.
A good friend, Paul Spurrier, speaks pretty good Thai. It’s probably a natural result of living in Thailand for most of the last 11 years. Oh, and studying his ass off.
He’s in the entertainment business, and has directed, produced and distributed a well received film in Thai called P, [Wikipedia film entry, Thai film journal entry, official film site] which is the English phonetical translation from the Thai, ผี for “ghost.”
Paul [Wikipedia entry on Paul Spurrier] was also director of photography for a Thai language TV series and an epic historical serial on the founding of the Thai nation. Pretty heady stuff for a foreigner to achieve.
You might say he knows a thing or two about the culture and the language and can shift into Thai at the drop of a “WELCOME!” from a Thai bar girl’s lips.
During his expat existence, there were frequent visits to the Bangkok bar districts. Because of his Thai language proficiency, he could unearth a side of Thai bar girls’ lives unknown by the typical punter or tourist.
It is with not a little sympathy to the girls that Paul offers his advice on foreigner relationships with Thai bar girls, which he had written about a year ago. It contains many grains of truth. Having just reread it recently, I asked his permission to republish it:
- Don't risk any more than you are prepared to lose -- not only financially, but emotionally.
- If you have expectations, she will disappoint you. If you have none, she will constantly surprise you.
- Accept that you probably have never been as poor as she has, and that you can never really understand how that affects someone.
- Understand that due to everything she has been through, in the West she would almost certainly qualify for free psychotherapy -- and she may need it.
- Understand that she probably will never love you as much as her parents, and that she will always choose them over you, if made to decide.
- If you dump her, your life won't change that much. Hers will change utterly.
- Her jealousy may be a nuisance to you, but it is a greater burden to her.
- If you want her to love you for more than just your money, you have to be able to offer more than just money.
- If it doesn't work and you split up, it doesn't mean the relationship was a failure -- it was just a temporary success..
- Ignore all advice about dating bar girls.
Intro by Siam Rick.
UPDATE: Paul recently completed an assignment to photograph all the dancers at Long Gun and Rawhide go-go bars on Soi Cowboy, Bangkok and revise their websites. The sites have just re-opened. I'm sure you will appreciate the quality work. Here are links to Rawhide Lounge and Bar and Long Gun Bar.