The Western Woman: An Awkward Third Wheel

“You know, Bangkok is really a man’s city,” argued the editor at a magazine that I write for. We were discussing the sometimes ill-defined role of expat women in this city. In many ways, I agree with him. While there may be some opportunity for women in the corporate world, it is still dominated by the male gender, and leisure activities and advertising in particular seem to be directed far more often at expat men. I would argue that this is due, in large part, to the dynamic between Western men and Thai women. This dynamic ranges from the sordid – for example, the massive sex trade in Thailand – to the symbiotic – the overwhelming number of relationships (long-term or otherwise) between Thai women and Western men. Whichever part of the scale you examine, the dynamic is deeply engrained, and the opposite – Western women with Thai men – rarely occurs. It creates a strange, sometimes unwelcoming environment for Western women.

I share an apartment building with a number of single, Western female teachers. Without exception, all of them are attractive, intelligent, decent people. Not all of them are looking for relationships, but those who are interested are starting to realize that Thailand probably won’t deliver the goods. The majority of Western men who arrive here with their singleness intact soon pick up a Thai girlfriend. Todd has already been asked multiple times if he’s single. This is not a criticism of cross-cultural relationships – I’m sure that many of them are very genuine. However, there is something strange about a environment in which the most eligible, appealing western females can’t find a date, but even totally revolting western men are immediately snatched up, should they be willing.

I’ve discussed this topic with a variety of Bangkokians, some of them Thai, some expats. I’ve asked why they think that Thai women are so attracted to Western men, and I’ve received a variety of answers. Some say that Thailand’s male-to-female ratio is skewed, with females dominating the demographics. Others (my female Thai friends, mainly) say that many Thai men are hard to trust, and expect women to play a traditional, subservient role. I suppose this would also provide an explanation as to why you rarely see Thai men and Western women together. Western men offer more freedom, and often, more money. As to why Western men are attracted to Thai women, it’s pretty straightforward: Thai women are beautiful, often docile(in comparison with Western women, at least), and are perhaps less demanding than Western women.

The sex trade provides an additional layer of complexity to this situation. I will save an in-depth examination of the sex trade for a later post, but suffice it to say that the sex-trade in Thailand is rampant. Shows, bars, and straightforward prostitution are considered normal entertainment by many expats. It is so widespread that my friends who work for NGOs combating the trade estimate that few families in Thailand remain totally unscathed by the trade. While it should be mentioned that a great deal of the trade targets Thai men, a highly visible portion of it focuses on Western men. This further contributes to an alienating environment for Western women.*

I have to admit that I was surprised to discover the imbalance in expat gender roles in Thailand. While I was aware of the sex trade and skewed relational dynamics before we arrived, I didn’t consider some of the less obvious ramifications that they would carry for me and my expat female friends. As a married woman, I sometimes feel vaguely unwelcome, as though I should apologize for nabbing an eligible farang. For my unmarried friends, the situation is far more disappointing.

As always, I welcome your feedback. Feel free to challenge me if you disagree with my interpretation.

* Obviously, this in no way compares to the dire situation faced by Thai sex workers.

59 thoughts on “The Western Woman: An Awkward Third Wheel

  1. Pingback: The Western Woman: An Awkward Third Wheel | The Facetious Farang

  2. Being currently in the middle of some reading and viewing about the issue of the sex trade, particularly in other parts of the world than N. America, I find my eyes are only just being pried open to see the general imbalance in male/female relationships worldwide. My own(Western) life experience being what it is, I had not felt the sense of powerlessness that is the regular lot of women in most countries (and including some in my own country). Your interpretation of the situation in Bangkok sounds very plausible. I have to question why Western men go there so enthusiastically… which probably opens a whole can of worms.

    • Allow me to answer your question: In the West, men need to pursue women, sometimes diligently.

      In Thailand, the women are not afraid to make their interest known. See how Ruth describes what happens with Todd.

      Everyone wants to be wanted and while Thai ladies play their own games, it is a different game than the ‘hard to get’ Western girl game. How is it wrong to go someplace where you might be appreciated?

      You can characterize it as tawdry, but there is another side to the story.

      • I sincerely doubt you know any real Thai girls. Asian girls in general are shy, but the Thais are amongst the shyest. The girls the author writes about are either bar girls or very good friends with Todd, maybe even intimate partners at some point. I’ve met a couple dozen Thai girls and not 1 of them would approach a man first. Most won’t even respond to a one on one approach by a man unless she has had an introduction or a friend with her. Just being seen alone in the company of a man has implications (she’s used). It is REALLY OLD FASHIONED mentality. Now, apparently the younger generation in Bangkok have “Westernized”, but it is still to a small degree.

        • You would be wrong. I know many. Currently, with the sexpat culture inflicting their nation, of course Thai women are very shy having anything to do with Western STRANGERS.

          However, considering Todd is MARRIED, and Ruth wouldn’t let her husband hang around bar girls, that means that a) these are not bar girls and b) he hasn’t been intimate with these ladies.

          And yet they still seem to be hitting on him. There are some strange cultural dynamics in play in Thailand and the rise of the ‘Goldern Girls’ seem to be increasing. This has lead to the “Tom/Dii” lesbian relationships. In some cases, it is because the woman in question can’t find a ‘suitable Thai guy’ and is still a human needing intimacy.

          But when they see an adequate foreign man who is NOT demonstrably a sex fiend, yeah, suddenly the rules change, at least for some.

          • I am married to a Thai lady, live in Thailand and generally find all the negative and often false statements about relationships or the sex trade here are born out of jealousy and frustration on western women and their mangina’s behalf.

            Get on with ur lives and let others live theirs.

            We do not seek nor need your validation.

          • Thai women shy yes but thats part of the game. If a Thai women sees what she wants she will give herself every best chance of success. Western women are so jealous and off the pace with these visceral arguments but I can understand why you are intimdated. Subserviant no respect yes. Live and let live.

          • “Ruth wouldn’t let her husband hang around bar girls..”

            Isn’t that a form of control of his freedom deemed abusive? It definitely is if a man tells his spouse who they can associate with. The normal hypocrisy.

  3. I’m in a cross-cultural relationship. I’ve been dating my boyfriend for almost two years and he doesn’t live here. But whenever he comes and visits, I have to keep warning him not to do PDA in places like shopping malls or train stations as I’m aware that people are looking and I know what exactly they’re thinking. They think I’m his pros. What I hate most is their ‘disgusting stare’ as if I’m doing something immoral. It’s stereotyping, isn’t it? “Oh look a farang guy and Thai girl. She must be his bird.” Sometimes I feel really offended because I have a good job, education and come from a nice family and I’m completely financially independent from him. What I like to do is speak to my boyfriend loud enough so they can hear that actually I’m educated and not ‘one of those girls’.

    On the other hand, my boyfriend’s mate was totally lured into ‘Pattaya girls’. He’s an absolutely nutter he came here about 10 times in less than three years and every time he went straight from the airport to Pattaya. When he thought he found ‘the one’, he quit his job, sold everything he owned and moved here a few months ago. She stopped working as a bar girl to be with him. Of course, flaws started to show. They spend 24/7 together and chemistry dries up all too soon. It’s a typical mistake over and over again – the girl has a family to support and relies on her farang boyfriend’s money. Who knows when he’s going to run out of cash and get dumped.

    I have no sympathy for farang men involved in this sort of ‘love stories’ and I think expat women are better off without these s’expats/sex tourists. Or even worse, dating a Thai guy who is immature, needy, controlling and still lives with his parents. That’s how they’re brought up, correction, that’s how most of them are brought up. For Asians, having a son is like an achievement – someone to carry on the family name. If a boy is raised in a family like that, he’s likely to grow up to be a jerk – self-centered and has no respect for women. When he brings his girlfriend/wife into the family, she has to be extra cautious and respectful to everyone. But to them she’s there to produce an heir, hopefully a son. That’s why the monster-in-law story is such a classic in Thai soap. They can pick up the story and reproduce it over and over again and it’s still a hit.

    • Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts on this! It is really helpful to hear a different perspective on this dynamic, and I appreciate you sharing your own experience. I know that there are a lot of healthy, real relationships between expats and Thais, but this fact often gets obscured by the creepy sex industry culture. It’s really sad that you need to “prove” that you have a real relationship with your boyfriend – no one should feel that pressure. Thanks for the reminder that being judgmental doesn’t solve anything, and often leads to people being unfairly categorized.

      Everyone is better off without the “sexpats.”

      • One of the things I was least prepared for when I moved to Bangkok, I have to say, was the (sometimes quite aggressive) anti-western women sentiment displayed by (s)expat men. Admittedly, this is mostly on web forums…but on the few occasions I’ve tried to look up some visa advice and stumbled across one of the many threads on the topic, it’s left me speechless.

        By virtue of being a western girl in Thailand, it appears that I must be arrogant, insecure, entitled, and bitter. All at the same time. We are too demanding, but also, too ‘easy’.
        I am in a relationship with a western guy, so I must be paranoid that he will run off with a Thai girl when he visits and I will judge ALL cross-cultural relationships harshly and unfairly. (I doubt I need to point out that those particular statements are insulting to…well…everyone).

        Gah. Obviously, some of the bile spewed online should just be completely ignored but it seems to be such a prevalent attitude. (Incidentally, male friends in regular, happen-to-be-cross-cultural relationships have expressed, similar to shinytuktuk, discomfort with the perceived implication that they must be sex tourists, because they are with a Thai girl. If it’s any consolation – I wouldn’t be judging (and probably won’t even notice) at all unless something is clearly at odds).

        Having a preference for/’type’ you fancy is no biggie. Feeling the need to justify/identify that type of preference in the context of hating on another strikes me as symptomatic of something much darker.

        • Sorry for the late response! Great point about the anti-western women sentiment in Bangkok – it would be one thing if many (s)expat men simply had a preference for Thai women, but it often seems to be linked to bitterness against women from their home countries/the West in general. On-line forums are the worst for spewing vitriol. And I, too, hate the assumption that because my husband is Western, he will probably leave me for a Thai woman. It makes me wonder if this phenomenon happens in other countries – or is it unique to Thailand?

    • I am Chinese American and it is true with the Chinese-this son thing, but I thought that the Thais cherish their girls more, as girls are the ones who care for their parents as they age. Also, girls bring in sin sot. Was I deluded?

    • The usual stigma’s that women use against men’s freedoms in Thailand, to summarise (although we have heard it all before):
      …according to these ‘lovely” ladies all men who go to Thailand are anti-social losers who cannot get a wife at home(as if we want one) (or we are cheating husbands) who go to Thailand and exploit poor dirt poor farmer under aged uneducated girls with no choice except to shag us or starve to death, then these same girls will marry us and then come to our home country and suddenly stop being dirt poor farmer under aged uneducated girls and switch to gold diggers who will rip us off and ruin our lives.

      Does that cover all the usual guilting and shaming tactics.

      Oh and we are all fat, bald, old men with small genitalia too, right?

  4. Great post! It is very strange that many attractive western women are left by the wayside here. Obviously the “sexpats” looking for working Thai girls wouldn’t go for western women, but it’s interesting that even the businessmen with good jobs and morals intact online want to get into the Thai dating scene.

    I’d love to hear more about your experiences.

    • Thanks for reading, Jason. It is a really interesting dynamic, and one that I still wrestle with, even as a married person. On one hand, I think it’s important to remember that there are lots of healthy relationships between male farangs and Thai women. On the other hand, the trend is so extreme that it can be disturbing. There are obviously a bunch of dynamics at play, and it’s hard to make any simple conclusions.

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    • I suggest you go past the looks and gaze on the feminist attitude which prevails and you will see why western women get ignored in Thailand and very much so back home nowadays too.

  5. I’m a western girl and I’ve been in Bangkok now for over four months and am beginning to feel the lack of attention. I’m happily single but I love to have a flirty chat once in a while which is just not happening here. I tell my friends that Bangkok is the opposite of a sausagefest. I find myself starting to get slightly more motivated to take initiative in making conversation with attractive men. In addition, I’ve had a couple traumatic experiences with Thai guys I’ve met in a just friends context going completely bonkers on me if I don’t contact them within a couple days. I’ve been called obsessively 10x/day by one, and fiercely insulted, basically called a whore and a bad person by another- seemingly normal local guys I just met and exchanged numbers with and didn’t call back. The combination makes me feel like the social scene with men in Bangkok is quite desperate, which either calls for more desperate measures, or a year of abstinence, sisterhood, and introspection. o_O

    • Oh dear. I can understand why you feel that a year of abstinence, sisterhood, and introspection might be a good option! It is pretty painful to observe the incredibly skewed gender dynamics in Bangkok – they affect so many aspects of social life, and the inability of truly eligible farang women to find dates and relationships is only one of the most obvious signs. I have no doubt that it has made many farang women reconsider whether they want to stay in Bangkok. I just wish that less drastic solutions were available. I hope that opening a dialogue about it at least makes the topic less taboo.

      • This is a culture where the women are unafraid to express an interest in a man. I have been chased by Thai women. If a woman continues to use Western female dating techniques (hoping someone interesting asks you out), she will continue to fail.

        I am also living in an expat community where the number of Western men is limited. I have been to TWO social gatherings. Both times, the single women there who actually understood the market dynamics GAVE me their numbers unsolicited.

        When you consider Thailand is an even more competitive market than where I am, women who WANT to date can’t sit on their laurels. They need to be aggressive.

        This is simple economics.

  6. Hey Ruth, i am an expat who has been in Thailand since 1997. I would like to get to know western ladies coz i cannot have an intelligent conversation with many Thai. Any ideas you can suggest will much appreciated.
    P.s. there should be a dating site for western women.

    • Hi David. It is intriguing to hear this from a farang man – most of the complaints I hear about dating in Thailand come from farang women. I don’t have any great tips yet. However, the magazine I work for has been tossing around the idea of running a speed dating event for expats. I’ll keep you posted!

  7. Ruth, the Thai girl/farang guy/farang girl dynamic is truly a fascinating phenomenon but your take on it – like that of most farang women – is breathtakingly one-sided. Just imagine for a moment that most farang guys don’t seek out Thai girls because they are feminine and graceful but not stupid or submissive. Imagine that most of these guys are not “losers who couldn’t make it with women in their own country” or “frightened by independent women” etc etc. Imagine that most Thai women welcoming the attention of farang guys are not whores or schemers or just economically desperate and vulnerable. In particular be open to the idea that many many western guys are utterly fed up with the may men are now treated and portrayed (lampooned) in western society and that maybe maybe western women might need to look in the mirror and think about some issues about how their attitudes and behaviour might be part of the reason why so many guys now despair at the prospect of finding a good caring and decent life partner in western countries.

    Now having stepped back many yards in your current assessment of the situation, read and consider with an open mind the comments from readers here: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/expat/expatlife/9972174/The-Old-Sexpats-Club-members-and-their-young-Thai-women.html#disqus_thread

  8. Hmph. Let me change a single word in this quote: “Without exception, all of them are attractive, intelligent, decent people. Not all of them are looking for relationships, but those who are interested are starting to realize that AMERICA probably won’t deliver the goods.”

    This is the MALE dating experience in America. Welcome to our world.

    So, if they want a learning experience, they can reflect on how it is to be a gender which is ignored and invisible…which is the majority of men in America. Men face this sort of experience CONSTANTLY. Their solution? Play the game by asking TONS of women to finally get ONE who is bored enough, interested enough, or lonely enough to finally say ‘Yes’.

    For this, Western women consider men pigs for acting this way despite creating the environment which necessitates that behavior in America. Yes, SOME are players, but some are just looking for ONE PARTNER. (Note how many men DATE or MARRY a single Thai girl when they click)

    Here…well…allow me to offer another blogger’s comment.

    **
    The men will try any gambit to avoid speaking frankly with expat women about The Topic – which is the refusal of Western expat men to date Western expat women.

    Here is what many men would like to say but don’t:

    “Look, I think I’m a smart, attractive, successful guy, but dating back home was a continuous assault on my ego as woman after woman – many depressingly average — decided I wasn’t good enough to date or sleep with. Now I’m living in East Asia [or Brazil or the former Soviet Union], and young local women who are so sexy they could walk unquestioned into the most exclusive clubs back home will sleep with me on the first date. And I can do this every day, because the cost of a night on the town is so cheap here and the number of beautiful, interested women seems to be in ever-replenishing supply. So, no, I’m not interested in dating Western expat women. Not one bit.”

    **
    So can you really blame them for reveling in NOT having to jump through 50 different hoops and tests to be ‘spongeworthy’?

    That being said, I disapprove of how some Western Men treat the Thai women. This will cause a lot of animosity down the road. They are reveling in this…but it isn’t necessarily good for them emotionally.

    I understand the pain of rejection, probably better than the women do. But I can’t help but feel a touch of schadenfreude.

    • Interesting take. I guess our experience of life in North America (I’m Canadian) differs, because I knew lots of decent girls at home who were looking for a solid, dependable man for the long haul. Sounds like we’re both using anecdotal evidence.

      I don’t doubt that many Western men in Thailand faced rejection back home, and for that reason, are no longer interested in dating Western women. Based on both my own observations, and comments by some readers, I know that there are many healthy Western/Thai relationships out there, and I’m definitely not trying to criticize these. But I think in other cases, Western men just don’t want to be challenged, or engage in a relationship of equals.

      However you look at it, it is clearly quite a phenomenon.

      • I expressed myself incompletely.

        I think it a bit of an over exaggeration to say Western men QUIT dating Western women, though that is true in some cases. I would say that the negative memories of dating at home compared to the Exoticism, Novelty and Abundance of Local Ladies makes it a very unfair competition. The Market Forces are against Western Women here.

        The authoress noted there were a variety of factors as to why this is so without getting into details. Let me rattle them off: broad fantasy of Asian Woman, a loosening of morals by being away from the disapproving eyes of one’s culture, currency exchange rates and the cheapness of goods and services, loneliness and isolation, excusing one’s behavior by citing ‘cultural norms’ (though what happens here is anything BUT normal in Thai society) and Western male unfamiliarity with the difficulties of cross cultural relationships.

        So I am sometimes (frequently) appalled on my trips to Thailand at how some of these men behave publically! It reflects badly on me as well.

        That being said, I noted a somewhat universal sniff of disdain by the women folk at this phenomena. Okay, yeah. I understand where they are coming from. However, in the West if I have to ask 20+ girls to get one date and here I have to ask 5…I know where my business is going. It is NOT because men are JUST pigs. They have rational reasons for behaving this way.

        That the Western women are not liking the turnabout is a bit entertaining to say the least.

      • Yes that want that man to provide for them but the women in the West bring far less to the table to offer in return.

        Whats killing relationships in the West? Feminism.

      • “Western men just don’t want to be challenged, or engage in a relationship of equals”

        Isn’t this the very core of the issue being made here, which it seems you may be perhaps missing, somehow?

        I am a western man, currently researching the Thai culture, having never visited Thailand before, with the sole purpose of finding a Thai partner. I am doing this purely because I am sick of this expectation that women and men should be equal. This notion has been stretched to such an extent that men are no longer allowed to be “men” (I mean the demonstration of those attributes which are almost instinctive to us but are developed implicitly within a boys’ cultural development – the “ladies first” ethos) but find instead, frustratingly, that in the west we must suppress these impulses and instead honour the “male attributes” in females, which I might add are grossly unattractive, really, I can’t emphasise this enough, quite gross. Simply, men and women are naturally not equal in many ways but that’s really okay – or should be – because they are complimentary if allowed to be so and, in my opinion, meant to be that way. Until the tide turns and women realize they are suffering under their own misguided beliefs because they can’t find “real men” for partners, men, like myself and others here, will (thankfully) become enlightened as to the wonderful feminine delights that Thai girls have in abundance. It’s no wonder that so many men (and yes this is anecdotal, generalized and I speak of the UK only) are overweight, depressed, emotionally flattened shadows of what they should really be. Western women have squashed the focus of their aspirations, made it taboo to be chivalrous (I, for one, think twice about holding a door open for a female in case I am considered a chauvinist. At some point, in the boy-to-man transition, we men must suppress the “ladies first” rule and I think many struggle to reconcile male instinct with western female cultural preferences from this point on.

        I shall not think twice about leaving the ‘Doc Marten boot brigade’ behind. It’s like coming in from the cold.

  9. I am a bit outside of the picture because I am a gay Thai guy. But I kind of got what you meant in this post. I used to work in a organization with intercultural atmosphere . Most Thais are female while most expats are male. Whenever there were new expat employees or interns, if it was a male he would effortlessly get along with the predominant Thai female colleagues. They would invite him for lunch and hung out after work a lot ( not for dating purposes even) . But if the newcomer was female, the dynamic was going to be totally different. She would mostly go to lunch by herself, with other expats or with the gay guys in the office. Another thing that I found quite interesting is a few times now when I hung out with Foreign female friends, people would simply ask if I was a tour guide. It seems that most locals still could not imagine friendship/relationship from Thai men and foreign women, but the other way around.

    I wonder if Tinder has changed the face of dating in Bangkok though. The last time I faked being a straight guy on the apps I saw there are great mixes of Thai and expat women. My Thai female friends who are attracted to western men seems to be able to match with 90% of the men she clicked Yes. I wonder if that was also the same case for western women.

    • Thanks for the comment – such an interesting perspective! I’m really curious about the female dynamics in your office – did the Thai and expat women seem to deliberately avoid each other?

      Yes, it will be interesting to see what affect Tinder has. A few of my (expat) female friends have been using it, and they seem to be having some luck!

  10. Farang women are jealous that Farang men get treated like rock stars and have the ability to date and sleep with almost any Thai woman they want. That includes the married ones, single ones, and ones who are engaged and waiting for their visas to live in foreign countries. If you
    don’t believe me, then ask any long term expat who has lived in Thailand. With money, you can sleep with almost any category of thai woman from the lo-so to the hi-so. Money is the thing worshipped there and with money you can have 95% of the women there. I never believed it when i first lived there, but after a few years I heard the stories and witnessed it with my own eyes.
    Thailand became like a comic book existence. Great country and great people. Just different set of ethics when it comes to sex. Ain’t nothing wrong with that. Thai women love sex and they love a lot of it.

  11. Could western men prefer Thai women, because of their inherent femininity? I have never been to Thailand, so I’m not your typical (s)expat, as you derogatorily characterize farangs who socialize with Thai women, but having lived in Middle East for a number of years and having associated with Asian ladies, not necessarily in a sexual relationship, I too am begining to feel an aversion for western women. Fact is, western females are too demanding, assertive and self-centered, whereas Asian females are, to a great extent, the exact opposite. I believe that western women should really contemplate on what makes Asians so attractive to westerners and try to adopt some of their ways, rather than belittle farangs. I don’t see any ounce of self-criticism in your female readers’ posts, which is really disappointing and only goes to show why this trend will keep spreading.

    • I just have to point out that the OP and most of the responders have made a clear differentiation between ‘sexpats’ (i.e. men who come here exclusively to buy sex) and guys who happen to socialise with Thais. I very much recognise the difference, however it seems that (as per) things have taken a rather defensive tone. I am not self-critical, because I have no reason to be annoyed by a man preferring to date a Thai woman. What I am questioning is why, when I have NO problem with that, I am railed against just for – apparently – having a problem with that.

      What’s happened on this thread is a perfect example of what baffled me in the first place.

  12. I don’t know what y’all are bitching about when you said it’s hard for expat women to find men in Thailand. I’m a white western woman and I’ve been in Bangkok for over a year now, have had tons of dates with both foreign and Thai men. Women can find men anywhere in the world, if all we want is a hook-up.

    It’s a little different if you’re looking for something long-term, like a good, solid, healthy relationship based on mutual interests, respect, communication, and affection. I don’t think that’s easy to find anywhere in the world, but in my own personal experience, it has not been any harder for me to find it in Thailand than elsewhere. I’ve lived in a few different countries in Asia and North America for my work, and I’ve met good and bad men, had good and bad relationships, in all places.

    Currently I’m dating a Thai man, we’ve been together just about a year now. He treats me very well. We met and live in a very small community (muay thai gym), so everyone knows everyone else’s business and everyone gossips, but from what I can tell, he is faithful to me. I would know if he weren’t, because someone in our small community, foreign or Thai, would gossip and tell me. So he’s either faithful OR he is really careful about keeping his whoring out of our community. Either way, I appreciate it! We spend time together every night, and I’ve seen him drink all of twice in the year we’ve been together, once when a big group of us went out, and the other time at my company’s Christmas party. So not a drunk, doubtfully a gambler, and probably not a much of a cheater either. Reading posts in forums on the internet about how bad Thai men are, or how bad Thai women are, or how bad foreign men and women are, for me just serves to make me paranoid. I think all humans are individuals. You cannot dismiss cultural trends, but you also cannot expect every person in a culture to follow the stereotypes. If that were the case, we wouldn’t have any outliers, rebels, or innovators.

    This all being said, I don’t know if my relationship with my Thai gentleman will turn into marriage. We have a very healthy relationship and we love each other, we are very kind to each other, but I am not sure if we want the same things for the future. He has made it very clear that he is dating me seriously, with the intention of marriage. I would like to go back to my home country soon, and ideally start a family closer to my parents and siblings (as in, within a 5 hour plane ride of them, instead of a 20+ hour journey of over $1,000 to get to my home country from Thailand, plus visa issues). However, my gentleman wants to stay in Thailand because he loves his home country, which I understand and respect. But hence my reluctance to commit to a marriage with him. I love and care about him and want to do right by him. I don’t want to drag him to the western world unless he truly wants to go. I’ve been in Thailand a year and a half right now, learning Thai, reading and learning about the culture, truly trying to understand. Not sure how much longer I want to stay here, though. I’ve had a few negative experiences with others in my community in Thailand, both Thai and foreign (not my gentleman; he’s been the bright light amid all the other BS), so for me it’s left a bad taste in my mouth for life in this otherwise beautiful country. This, coupled with ALWAYS being a farang no matter how good your Thai is or how long you’ve lived here. But is it fair of me to bring him to my home country when I know he wants to stay in Thailand? Tough decisions! Anyone else have any experience with this? I would really love to hear others’ thoughts on this.

  13. Your decision is tough. Let me provide you with a little perspective. What you feel as a farang in Thailand is about 1/100 of what your boyfriend will feel in US or Oz!! Unless you live in Los Angeles, San Fran or Seattle. Anywhere else and your boyfriend will be miserable, even if unstated. Best of luck in deciding.

  14. I respectfully disagree with Tom in some ways. I married a Thai girl who stays in the States. In all of our time together, I have SEEN two negative reactions: one, a rude comment in a restaurant and a second where a Southern lady, taken by surprise, was flabbergasted at my choice of bride.

    How much INTERNAL racism we faced, I have no idea. And while I have asked occasionally, she has not indicated she’s faced anything too grueling. I have never had her come home crying about some horrible thing which happened to her.

    But bear in mind, it IS an odd relationship. If anything, I believe we’ve gotten any number of invitations and social ‘credit’ because we are an ‘odd couple’. BUT…a Male Farang/Female Thai marriage ‘fits the mental script’ of Americans. I haven’t seen an Asian Man/American Girl relationship. Not sure why.

    My wife has been in the States for decades and she has her country club set, friends, the respect of her co-workers etc. She’s ‘different’ but accepted as an American. That will NEVER happen in Thailand. You are correct there. My wife is very happy in America, so she is a bit of an outlier.

    But you need to be sensitive to the fact your husband has a career path and status in Thailand (Muay Thai?). He would have none of that in the States. Perhaps a flight over to see a few temples in Thailand so he can get a feel for the expat Thai community. An investment.

  15. I really bristle at the stereotypes put forward regarding both western men with Thai partners, and of their Thai partners themselves. These stereotypes are wrong 90% of the time, that is unless you are conducting your survey in Walking Street, Pattaya!

    I share the views of others who have suggested that feminism – and the attitudes and behaviours that it promotes – plays a significant role in this phenomenon of western guys avoiding western women in Thailand (and elsewhere). I maintain a men’s rights blog and have included a post on this issue (click on my name to visit it).

  16. I always have an issue with this ‘white men can’t deal with strong women’ meme. It just sits in my craw wrong. I happen to have a very strong willed Asian woman in my life. We have many conflicts. HOWEVER, she has personality aspects which I value more than what many white women consider ‘strength’. If being opinionated, arrogant, difficult, pushy, needy and imperious is ‘strength’, then give me weakness any day! (Yes, men have these traits too)

    I find it more likely that women who have negative aspects to their personalities, who ‘fail’ in the mating game want to rationalize their failures as a flaw in the other gender. “Don’t they see what a precious snowflake I am?” Well, no.

    But even leaving this sort of ‘attack’ alone, it is also market forces. If the Asian women are offering all the things that men want at a lower cost fiscally, in self respect, and in couple conflict, why would any rational man spend more than he had to? Yes, there are cultural benefits but they mean less and less every decade. If power is a zero sum game, even in relationships, who wants to grab less than they can get?

    I think this sense of market value to white women is very scary indeed, particularly when they put such store in ‘social capital’. Men put a lot less store in that…and women, particularly feminists, are trying to artificially bolster, or at least try to villainize the men who ‘go rouge’.

  17. You know guys its also about attitude. Im a Thai guy who grew up abroad and love many western women. and am only attracted tot them.. But most western girls here just doesn’t think Thai men can make conversation and understand .. and are approachable .. even though they see me standing talking to another western gang in perfect English .. I think to be honest most Western women only prefer to date western guys and dont open up to Asian men unless it is in work or other circumstances they could not avoid meeting ..

  18. I think part of the problem is that back home Western women are use to getting lots of attention and having their pick of guys. And when this comes to a sudden grinding halt in places like Thailand and other Asian countries it is very jolting and disconcerting. It is especially jarring for them when they see Western men that they would consider completely undatable back home with the equivalent of runway models, while they themselves are…. invisible. Rejection hurts when you not use to it.

  19. I’m a 18 year old western girl and I was in Thailand in July this year. I visited my grandfather who lives in a town where it’s very rare to see foreigners, espesially girls. So I got many looks of course from both men and women. I saw many good looking Thai guys and most of them smiled at me and seemed to be very nice.
    I wonder, can Thai guys imagine themselevs to date western girls?
    I have heard that many Thais think that western girls are slutty and stupid. But I never saw people look down on me when I was there.
    And another thing, one day I stood outside a little store and waited for my grandfather and suddenly an attractive Thai guy who stood nearby, turned to me and said something in thai and just kept smiling at me (a very firendly smile). I don’t know how to explain it, but it seemed like he was interested. I’m not afarid to flirt with guys, but I had no idea how to react to this since I didn’t want to seem like a “slutty” girl.
    So my other question is, what is it about western girls that Thais find slutty? Is it the way we dress or behave or what is it? Is it even true?

  20. I have read your piece and i would like to add my view. I was in Thailand 5 years ago and since I return I have only dated adian women who live in ireland. The reason is quite simple. Asian women are sweet kind loving understanding gentle feminine sensual naturally beautiful hard working great at sex and clever. People say “if you go black you will never go back” well it’s crap it should say “if you go asian you’ll never go white”. Western women have a lot to learn from asian women, I pray they will learn quick.”

  21. it just seems like there isn’t much of a market for single western ladies. I’m one of them. It’s something I’ve accepted – and never say never. But I agree with the invisibility. That said, I don’t go out and socialise much as there aren’t that many ‘normal’ bars. I don’t feel that Ruth was down on men or painting them in a bad way. Just talking about her feelings. And invisible women would like to be heard somehow! Thanks

  22. I am an Korean woman. Don’t assume all Asian women are same. Thai girls are very different from Korean women. What is different? Korean women generally don’t request financial support from men who they date. This is not about western women versus Asian women. Thai girls have culturally prostitute mentality. They are way too uncivilized than east Asian. In Korea, white females would not think this city is men’s city because there aren’t sex trade for white males. Loser white guys go to Thai bar girls because it is easy to them. They marry one of the prostitutes because white guys in Bangkok are naive. There are so many Japanese and Korean sex tourists as well in Bangkok but they never marry one of them. Because Asian understand the function of prostitution in the society better than Western.

    Old white guys come here and bar fine a girl because they can do it easily.Thai girls go for older white men to get financial support.

  23. I am an Korean woman. Don’t assume all Asian women are same. Thai girls are very different from Korean women. What is different? Korean women generally don’t request financial support from men who they date. This is not about western women versus Asian women. Thai girls have culturally prostitute mentality. They are way too uncivilized than east Asian. In Korea, white females would not think this city is men’s city because there aren’t sex trade for white males. Loser white guys go to Thai bar girls because it is easy to them. They marry one of the prostitutes because white guys in Bangkok are naive. There are so many Japanese and Korean sex tourists as well in Bangkok but they never marry one of them. Because Asian understand the function of prostitution in the society better than Western.

  24. Considering that Wimmin’s Lib has spread it’s toxins in the west, maybe you could apply that most liberal of concepts, Multi-Culturism, and leave Asia alone? It’s none of your business and as you may have noticed, you are not too welcome here.
    I live nearby in a nearby country and the women who stay and enjoy themselves adapt to the local culture and not try to change it to suit their wishes.
    If you don’t like it here, just go back home.

  25. Well I’m a western Women and to be honest I am not into White western guys at all so I don’t care who they date or marry. Basically it would be absured to since I don’t so I prefer they go somewhere else. Each to their own you know what I mean? I mean I find Asian Men far more Masculine and attractive then Westerners.

  26. Sorry but I read a lot of negative commentary and it never ceases to amaze me …people are just people and if someone is using someone remember people do that to each other all over the world. Relationships can be trying on all sides not just domestic but family, work, friendship their is no easy road Any one resenting you because you are Married and white it’s not about you. it’s about them. Maybe some of your friends are having difficulty because they are not looking at ‘Men’ but looking at ‘white Men’ in a predominantly non white country.I’m not suggesting anyone take a risk on their safety .Not only that but looking only at Western guys could amplify the wrong type of person? Who would you rather see as your equal. George Costanza from Seinfeld (if you haven’t seen it check it out pretty funny), still lives with his parents, no back bone, treats partners pretty substandard or say a Bruce Lee, successful, grounded, accepting of others, broke down preconceived notions, you get what I’m saying right? If she want’s an equal partner then the fellow who is coming to a country to take advantage of other’s (I’m not saying any one is I am just using an example) is that really what you would want to equal you or one of your friends? Certainly not strength in a person and nothing Masculine about using people for one purpose.
    If a white guy is going to Thailand to party whatever. That’s fine! I read this and I think that all women provide the same things (superficially) so what are you competing with? (Let’s face it) the competition is within your self. Looking outside and thinking you are competing with other women for someone who wasn’t looking for you in the first place. I would never go to another country to find a date and I don’t understand that mentality! You travel to live and learn and experience and grow as a person the only thing you really look to fall in love with is the greater world and how similar our needs can be. You know women from all different cultural backgrounds aren’t stupid but have their own needs and reasons…A western women is not an awkward third wheel any where it’s just showing respect but not caring too much how others respond to you other wise you take someone’s stupidity and ignorance too personally. And that is about them individually not you….Also sometimes the situation being taken advantage of works both sides.

  27. as a japanese men born and raised in thailand as my parent living in thailand(they’re migrant expat though). i find farangjin and thai women are most hideous looking in asia XD.. sorry i’m not mean hurt anyone. but i really hard find expat japanese women in bangkok 😦 so i just dating chinese-thai women either, as it easy since i can relate with chinese community and thai male friends,, mostly farang women is pale though but their strong feature and lack of skinny procedure are not attractive for me >_< as in thai women, i find them quite small. but their dark skinned same goes like black women whose make me turn off ~.~ i not even meet people from east asia yet,, i find them very very rare ;(( but i wish many many east asian women choose SE asia as work international prospect 🙂

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