If there is one thing that brings out the not-so-nice side of people, mainly foreign women in Bangkok, the thing that makes them incredibly unhappy, the thing that makes them distressed to the point of seeing red, is – you guessed it - seeing an older foreign male walking with a younger Thai woman. Not all foreign women, of course, but enough to make such couples realize not everyone approves of their arrangement.

I have seen unhappy women before I moved back to Bangkok. When I lived in Manhattan, I often noticed women fanning the air near their restaurant table because someone sitting twelve tables away had lit up a cigarette. The smoke was nowhere near them but, unhappy in their own lives, and unable to deal with their various problems, they found they could take their anger out on cigarette smokers. I hate the big tobacco companies and their lies as much as the next person but, truth to tell, I hate healthnazis even more. So I usually sided with the smoker.

When I did smoke I never lit up in a non-smoking restaurant but I noticed while seated in a smoking restaurant that anti-smokers (almost invariably women) would not hesitate to ask that I put my cigarette out. Of course, the way they asked was incredibly impolite. I always politely pointed out that it was a smoking restaurant and if they persisted (they usually did) I informed them that the owner of the restaurant would put them out before I would put my cigarette out. These were not non-smokers, of course, but rather anti-smokers.

The American government has also taken up the cause officially and ridiculously: A picture of the artist, Jackson Pollack, was made into a postage stamp, and Americans have gotten so fanatical that they took out the cigarette dangling from his lips. Censured it. Deleted it. Poof! Never existed. This reminds me of the editing out of Communists from photographs during the time of the Soviet Union. Once they had fallen from favor they were non-persons and all trace of them had to be eliminated.

But I digress. Coming back to, let us say, 56-year-old Bob from Oklahoma shopping at the Emporium Shopping Mall on Sukhumvit Road with 24-year-old Oy from Kalasin. As they walk, they sometimes receive scowls of disapproval from foreign women. Why? What business is anyone’s relationship except the people in the relationship? People who are happy in their own lives do not overly concern themselves with the pairing of others. Yet, it does indeed stick in their craw to such an extent that they have to rundown Bob with the usual cliches: “Can’t get a girl in his own country,” “socially inept,” “afraid of accomplished older women,” ad infinitum, ad nauseam. Oy will of course be seen as a gold-digger who simply wants to latch on to an affluent farang. But even if all that were true, every word of it, what business is it of anyone’s except Bob and Oy? What these women need is to get a life of their own. But, of course, the happy pairing of Bob and Oy represents a threat to their already unhappy lives: Bob and men like him have a choice; while the choices of men available to these unhappy creatures is therefore narrowed even further.

I emphasize that most of the foreign women in Bangkok do not scowl at the Bobs and Oys, and do not go bananas when they see them at the Emporium or anywhere else. But wouldn’t it be nice if the minority, the unhappy ones, would find a mate or get a life or at least realize that life is too short for such silly-assed bullshit.

Any comments?  Dean Barrett can be flamed at:


Back to the Welcome Page