Thai Bar Girls – Looking Through Your Eyes
A recent post on Behind The Noodle Curtain, titled Canadian boys need to toughen up, highlights the danger signals to watch for when it comes to Thai bar girls on the lookout for soft touch tourists, and expats who so easily fall in love. Rick’s excellent post, also tells the tale of two of his fellow Canadian nationals who fell victim to the honey traps often laid by Thai bar girls. One lost a lot of money, the other his life, a victim of murder when shot dead by a hitman.
Rick’s post is a must-read for anyone new to Thailand or those about to visit for their first time. Rick’s article is also a reminder to all of us that going into a cross-cultural relationship, without a grasp of your partner’s language, really does leave you open to the idiom of love being blind.
A list of life’s untrustworthy ‘professions’, would see Thai bar girls vying with airport taxi drivers for a place near the top. Many Thai blogs and forums highlight horror stories of bar girls skimming, scamming and ripping off customers, boyfriends, and their other halves. But does one bad apple spoil the whole bar girl bunch?
The post on Behind The Noodle Curtain is educational and thought-provoking but is there only one side to Thailand’s sex industry coin? I think not, so, let’s look at the Western male through the eyes of a Thai bar girl.
Looking Through Your Eyes
The photographs used in this post are for illustration purposes only and Beyond The Mango Juice in no way implies any of the women pictured are involved in the sex industry.
When male tourists land in the City of Angels, many make a beeline for Pattaya, and on arrival think they own it. We are talking about those who believe they can walk on water and rarely drink it – the type of traveller who has little respect for anyone.
Any Thai girl arriving in Pattaya for the first time needs advice and direction from someone who has circled the block many times. Know-how and knowledge put food on the table and clean clothes on the bed.
Pattaya is the sex capital of the world, and anyone who has been there will know that temptation is only one bar away. Some Western tourists thrive on that fact and fail to see, or don’t want to, the other side of the coin. Most bar girls are merely trying to make a living and doing their best for their family and trying to raise their standard of life.
Below are the type of Western characters you always see in Pattaya and how Thai bar girls might view them.
Typical Pattaya Bar Punters
- Johnny Cash – Johnny’s been hanging around Pattaya’s bars for a couple of months now. Big drinker, a heavy smoker and not that old. He’s always got money, but where’s his endless supply of cash coming from and when will it run out?. If he’s splashing big baht in the bars and living like there’s no tomorrow, he’s either a rich man or maxing-out credit cards. People with big money in Pattaya often settle for the quiet life. Take him for what you can, but don’t give him your heart.
- Johnny Nightlife – Johnny visits Pattaya twice every year for three weeks at a time, and is out every night. He’s bedded many bar girls, but only at hand-picked hotels or the girl’s apartment. You never see him in a bar during the day. Johnny’s probably a married man and spends the daytime with his overweight western wife. Go with Johnny and clean him for all you can.
- Johnny No Johnnie – When it comes to safe sex, Johnny doesn’t give a damn. He doesn’t care about HIV, or himself, and he won’t care about you. When Johnny’s in the bar, the only bell ringing should be one worn around his neck. All the single clubs and nightclubs in his home town have barred him from entry. Avoid like the plague.
- Fat Johnny – The only time Johnny gets off his bar stool is when his bladder is full or to straddle the back of his rented motorbike to whisk a girl back to his room. Johnny’s fat for a reason, and you’ll soon find out why. Every time he wants a takeaway, a pack of cheap cigarettes, or a beer from the fridge, you’ll be the one fetching it. And always, girls on top. Johnny’s simple but hard work.
- Johnny Rotten – He personifies all the qualities the Thai’s dislike. Johnny’s loud, rude and disrespectful. He’ll think nothing of swapping girls from the same bar night after night. You’re going nowhere with this one, so it’s best to shun him. Either that or hike up your price.
The Brains of a Buffalo
Most newbie bar girls soon realize a good percentage of Western men have less common sense than uncle Somchai’s buffaloes. And for some, it’s a money-making opportunity too good to miss. Unfortunately, it takes some bar girls years, and considerable heartache to switch on the warning lights.
Some bar girls who fall in ‘love’ with holiday tourists head back to hometowns and villages with a bundle of cash – also, with the promise of more to come. For many, their monthly ‘salaries’ dry up because the falang realizes his hard work is paying for buffaloes and a motorbike he can ill afford to see. When the paycheques stop, the girl’s return to Pattaya with a wiser and more hardened outlook toward western men. Rinse and repeat.
Street-wise Pattaya bar girls view most tourists and expats as honest, good-hearted people. However, they soon learn most Western men are easy prey for a good-looking girl. Regrettably, the Johnny’s, among those westerners, have over the years, soured and disillusioned too many girls and some are now wise to Johnny’s game. Now mistrust, dishonesty and jealousy are birthmarked on too many minds – both, Sout-East Asian and Western.
Pattaya’s apple has churned into cider and gout, but don’t always blame the bar girl.
Photograph Two Thai girls by mark_karasek/Webshots
Photograph Thai girl by mark_karasek/Webshots
Martyn, another classic. Really enjoyed the read.
Perhaps you could add Johnny Walker to the mix?
.-= Mike´s last blog ..Wat Khlong Wan(วัดคลองวาฬ)Prachuap Khiri Khan =-.
Martyn, very perceptive. How did you take your eyes off the girls long enough to be so observant? Good choice of pics, too!
.-= Lawrence´s last blog ..Boun Pravet: Procession to the Wat =-.
Martyn , you did leave out one Johnny and that is one that if the truth be told many a Bar girl has found him and now they and Johnny they are in America or the UK and many still living up north in Thailand, and living happily ever after( along with their families) and thats JOHNNY ANGEL (remember the 50’s song).
Great read and a must read for the newbies and short timers , But life in Pattaya would be pretty dull without all the Johnnys and a lot of Thai folks would be planting rice with their hands and without the use of that new buffalo Johnny bought for them with the money(ATM) machine(AKA Johnny) they( the smiling bar girls ) have discovered.
.-= malcolm´s last blog ..PAPAYA THE CANCER FIGHTER =-.
Mike as always thanks for the read and comment. I must admit I’m not a traditional whisky fan. Wilai who drinks on the very rare occasion is like so many Thai’s a whisky drinker. After sampling lao khao I can understand the Thai people getting a taste for whisky, anything is an improvement on that. I’ll stick to beer and Jack.
Hi Lawrence, good morning from a very sunny looking Wiltshire and it’s only seven morning time. The girls in the photos are rather nice but they are not my pictures. I sometimes use Webshots for my posts and these came from there, credits are at the bottom of the post.
Malcolm I did think about including Johnny Good but the post is more about those to be wary of rather than those many decent people. The Cash’s, Fat’s and Nightlife’s make little or no real willing contribution to the villages at all, they’re too much into their selves to do that. I don’t recall the Johnny Angel song as it was a bit before my time. If you sing it loud enough I might hear it from here. Cheers.
love the post certainly seems to catch a few of the typical stereotypes iam sure i fit in there somewhere
we falangs seem to be cash cows for sure the girls will take your money for a little honey
but be polite and play the game and keep your head on and a good time can be had but let the little head rule the big head and your heading into deep trouble
seen too many old boys spend the lot on a bad one and end up heading back to Europe never to return totally broke
some of them deserve it some do not
Johny big tummy some money and a little honey
.-= john´s last blog ..new Thai biometric passport in london =-.
Martyn, another fine thought provoking post. Rick’s post was definitely one for the newbie and seasoned traveler as well with a lot of sound advice.
Being around Pattaya quite a bit I have seen all the different Johnny’s and the different type of bar girls as well. I think for the most part both sides take their knocks when there is probably a good mix of all in every Johnny and Bar girl.
I’ve heard one guy speak poorly about a girl while another says she is the sweetest thing in the world and likewise I have heard the girls speak the same way about the guys. It all comes down to individuals.
I read too many times from jaded tourists and expats alike that the newbie traveler to Pattaya or Bangkok should beware the famous Thai smile as it belies the truth…when in truth there is usually more to be wary of from the same expats and jaded tourists.
I don’t know if I’ve been lucky or or not but I have been treated very well by all the Thai’s I have met in Pattaya and Bangkok and the same by expats. I think for me it comes down to being nice, having a good time and minding my own business.
The one Johnny that I have noticed in the past year or so is the Johnny come lately. The young guys finding Pattaya and coming in groups. They seem to care about nothing but getting drunk and causing trouble whenever they get the chance. The girls don’t tend to care much for them nor do the expats and these new breed of Johnny’s seem to go home in body bags at an alarming rate.
.-= Talen´s last blog ..Pattaya International Music Festival 2010 =-.
John as always you’ve given a thoughtful comment which also provides a little insight into your previous and younger Thailand days. I followed similar rules to yourself when I dealt with bar girls, I was always polite and respectful. I think that goes a long way with the girls and whilst there’s no guarantee it’s a little insurance against getting ripped off.
I’ve also seen a few old boys ripped off never to return. It’s a big basket but my advice is never put all your buffalo shit into it. Keep a bit back for the garden.
Talen I’m very much into your way of thinking. I have also been very well treated by the patrons of Pattaya. Adding all my Pattaya days together I have spent well over one year of my life there and cannot recall ever having a real bad day out of that lot. Sure I occasionally got overcharged on a bar bill but that also happens here in the UK. Unlike most western male visitors to Pattaya I have a lot of time for the bar girls because I’ve seen what’s under Pattaya’s glossy surface and that life isn’t that great for the girls themselves.
I’m a little undecided on whether ‘you can take the girl out of the bar but you can’t take the bar out of the girl’, I just know there’s a lot of western assholes who go in them. I also know there’s a lot of good honest falang as well.
I’ve always spoke up for the Thai bar girls and I will continue to do so. If you give respect I find you usually get a big slice of it back.
It’s sunny here in Phana too, but that’s not so strange.
I saw the photo credits, I read every word. No, as your reply to Talen says, you’ve spent a lot of time in Pattaya bars, but still found time to do some ‘farang watching’. I like your inclusive take on Thai society and agree with what you say about respect. You would have to be totally deluded to think a bar girl’s life is an easy one.
.-= Lawrence´s last blog ..Boun Pravet: Procession to the Wat =-.
Lawrence we’re expecting another sunny day here tomorrow with a high of 12 degrees, Thailand will be way above that at two in the morning.
A Thai bar girls life certainly ain’t easy but the Buddhist way of smiling through everything fools the falang newbies into thinking they’re happy all the time. There’s a lot of pressure and rivalry in the bars for the girls to earn money. I think they have to be a tough nut in many ways to do what they do.
I was laughing all the way through, Martyn. Good stuff.
First, the girls are there to earn money, but it doesn’t mean they do not have a heart. I believe they do and once you look past their skimpy costume and hot brown skin (pausing for a moment to collect myself . . .) , they are just like you and me, always happy to chat with a respectful, cheery, honest soul. I, like you, have met many very nice girls. I think what observant and experienced folks might want to say to the newbie is be wary of the odd girl who’s a little bit too nice, a little bit too enthusiastic, a bit too good to be true.
Now more to your point, I’ve met probably 10 times more asshole farangs than I have “Bad Girls.” But then I (think I) can spot bad girls from a few rai away.
BTW, Martyn, a very cool twist on my post theme. And thanks for the mention.
.-= Siam.Rick´s last blog ..Looking for Lao in all the wrong places =-.
Rick – Laughing…..this was meant to be a serious post.
Rick like you I like to think I can spot a dodgy bar girl or even an iffy falang from a mile away but I’m sure there’s been a few slip under my radar. Your 10 – 1 ratio is a pretty good guess in my book because I’ve met hundreds in my Pattaya days. The ones I really dislike are those who have been to Pattaya once before and try to tell me how I should go about my business. I nod and smile but behind my mask I’m thinking you’re going to get the ass ripped out of you. I also dislike those who pronounce Pat-tay-yah Pat-thai-a and won’t be corrected.
you would think most of the guys that lose the plot completely are just not that smart but from my experience there’s a lot of successful people with huge houses and egos to boot that walk blindfolded into the big house big car scenario
don’t waste your time trying to give sound advice to this type they will not listen even when things go wrong
you see they’re in a big hole and way too scared to get out of there
they take your advise as nothing more then coming from a another jealous falang which in issan and Thailand there are many to be fair.
if its your first time to Thailand spend the first couple of years getting to know the place before you jump in head first and chances are you will survive
.-= john´s last blog ..Phu Phra Bat Historical Park, Udon Thani =-.
John many men may be smart when it comes to making money but a pretty face and cute ass are also sure fire assets to relieve them of it as well. We ‘falang’ don’t tend to take advice on board very well at all.
Your last sentence is sound advice and probably the biggest word in the ear you could give to any Thailand newbie.
John, good observations and advice. And you and Martyn are right, though: farangs do not take advice well, and most not at all. But they have other problems, such as lack of sensitivity and empathy, poor social skills, no control mechanisms . . . I could go on. You know what though, not our problem! Although they do provide lots of blog fodder, which is a good thing, I think!
.-= Siam.Rick´s last blog ..Looking for Lao in all the wrong places =-.
This is an excellent post Martyn! I think your observations are spot on. I think that these girls do have a crap life and sure the money is great, but I bet all of them dream of so much more. We take our little two up two down houses for granted but it is probably a dream for people who support themselves off their little patch of land.
.-= Emm´s last blog ..Wordless Wednesday ~ 15: Spiralling =-.
Rick – John always comes up with a good comment, be it in the form of advice or one of his stories from the past. Your description of farang and their make up shows a lot of the problems they have, I wonder if we all have a slight bit of one of them in us all.
Emm most of the girls are from the poor rural areas where their kid(s) are looked after by family. A lot of the girls will be working for a basic wage of between £40 – £100 a month and have to pull customers to top that up.
yes its true if your in your 50s and considered over the hill in your home country There may still be chance of love in Thailand but beware saying that i know plenty of happy old boys’ who don’t mind there young girl playing around on the quiet so long as they get there bit of fun
from £40 – £100 a month to all found some falangs are hot property in the land of smiles
on the hole Thai girls are great mums and wife’s so tread carefully and find one and hopefully you will never look back
a firm but fair attitude is what I think wins hands down in Thailand my wife still calls me a tight arse after 10 years but where still going strong
johny happy out
John being older in Thailand is a great advantage in many ways for farang. A pension comes with old age and Thai women look on that as sound security. Older men are also less liable to stray and they haven’t got the ‘energy’ in the bedroom that the younger men have. Reaching 50 also makes it a lot easier to stay in Thailand on a more permanent basis.
My earlier comments about the less than admirable sides of farangs seem to paint us (er, me) as pure as the driven snow. No such thing of course, as you correctly point out Martyn. We can try though to show our best sides and with patience and especially understanding, live life in sync with our surroundings.
I’m with John on the “firm but fair” attitude. This applies in lives both west and east. But funny thing about Southeast Asia, it’s real easy to be struck by Weak Knees virus.
As for over 50 benefits, never thought I’d be happy to be over 55 until my company offered a better deal to those 55-65 to get out! And then Thailand offers a long-stay one-year visa for those over 50.
Yep, life’s not bad.
.-= Siam.Rick´s last blog ..Looking for Lao in all the wrong places =-.
Rick you really have struck gold with your company’s offer and I bet you’re counting down the days to when the Land of Smiles is your home base.
I’m certainly not as white as the driven snow myself but I have stopped urinating in it. My snows a little dark and slushy but it is getting purer with each passing year.
myself iam looking forward to getting older and hopefully wiser hoo don
life in issan our anywhere in Thailand as got to better what ever problems then sat in some working mans club winging about the weather and life in general
lets survive a few more years and retire early my college told me yesterday about is best man 43 fit as a flee just passed away with bowl cancer 6 months ago he was playing rugby
so if anybody reads this and you have the funds to kick back in the land of smiles make the move you only get one shot at this life
John as I read your comment I was just about to set off to my local working men’s club for a few Sunday lunchtime drinks and to watch the football. I know what you mean about moaning, the clubs are real bitchy places.
….If anybody reads this and you have the funds to kick back in the land of smiles make the move you only get one shot at this life……interesting statement John…..How much do you reckon someone at the age of 55 would need to last them in Udon for 10 years until their pension kicked in. Lets assume they have their village house paid for and have a car. My guess is about £75,000. Higher or lower.
Good post and some food for thought.
It’s interesting to see how one owns perspective and expectations change over time, including the whole bar scene in Thailand. A bit of respect goes a long way though but one shouldn’t go over the top!
By the way, jack rules indeed, especially in the gentleman version.
.-= Camille´s last blog ..Driving in Thailand [del.icio.us] =-.
Camille thanks for your views and once again yours points to the same common theme of many others. Respect. Be it on the high street of your native hometown or in the sex soi’s of Pattaya, if you show respect then in general you’ll get a huge spoonful of it back. Especially so in Thailand.
Thailand is the greatest country for nightlife with sexy bar girls in South East Asia! Enjoy!
.-= Thailand Nightlife´s last blog ..Yes Bar Koh Chang =-.
sadly plenty of farang make bad decisions under the influence of love and drugs.
some of these relationships do work out obviously it’s the ones that don’t that do the gossip rounds and end up talked about on the various forums.
Pattaya – Love, drugs and alcohol are an expensive cocktail in Pattaya. Sure plenty of relationships do work and I tend to find most forums to have a more weighted input from negative commentators.
I visited your sight and that’s some cute photos you have on there.
Clearly the girls need to be on their guard with a lot of the guys who hang around the bars. I guess they can spot each type a mile away. That pretty much sums up a lot of the men you see hanging around the clubs on a Friday night.