Increasingly, young western women are moving to Thailand. For decades it was the men who arrived in Southeast Asia; soldiers, engineers, adventurers, perverts, losers. But now the region is an equal opportunities dream wholesaler, and in Sukhumvit bars you’re as likely to meet a bubbly 19 year old blonde from Shropshire as a wifebeater-adorned 65 year old retiree from Hamburg. The expat population here is becoming ever more diverse.
First, a disclaimer: the essay you’re about to read makes many generalisations, and there are of course exceptions to every point, but I write what I write based on what I have observed since moving here several years ago.
The oft-heard gripe of the western woman living and working in Thailand is that her dating options are limited. And in all the times I’ve heard this complaint it’s never been followed up with any recognition of why this is so.
This incomprehension rests on an ignorance of the western woman’s position on the sexual pecking order that exists here. Purely by virtue of the fact that she lives here she’s dropped several rungs on the ladder. The pool of men she has to choose from is much smaller than it is at home.
If she’s not going to consider Thais as potential boyfriend material (and I almost never see farang women with local men) then she needs to accept the fact that she’s got mere thousands of men to pick from and ten million women as competition: ten million women who – for the most part – are slim, don’t drink much, who cook, clean and, unless you’re some idiot who accidentally wifed that bargirl with the sick buffalo and sick grandmother, are always loyal to their man.
This isn’t to say western men are somehow better or that they deserve all of this. The truth is western men are spoiled rotten here and are totally overvalued. But that doesn’t make this strange, unfair reality any less true.
Western guys living in Thailand in many cases a) find Asian women particularly attractive or b) they find western women particularly unattractive. Often they’re just relieved to be dating women who’ve never heard of Andrea Dworkin and think third wave feminism is a dive shop on Koh Tao. Before the game has even started the odds are against thirty-one year old Kelly from Portsmouth. Since her market value is high at home she thinks it’s just as high in Thailand.
It’s not. A western woman arriving in Thailand is like a brand new BMW leaving the showroom: a quarter of its value disappears immediately into the ether.
Despite a general apathy to the idea of dating Thai men, western women continue to maintain the standards they had before they left Europe or the United States. As a result, I know many girls who essentially live like female eunuchs, going months without sex because they’re waiting for Mr. Right.
This is where the “Navy analogy” needs explaining. In the Navy you have all these fit young men and just a handful of women. The guys on these ships aren’t stupid. They know competition for the few women on board is rife, so they lower their standards. Guys who might date beauty queens back home are fighting over ordinary looking women when out at sea because they have restricted choices. Western women in Asia are in the Navy. They just don’t know it.
These western girls are, as I mentioned earlier, in fundamental denial of biological reality. They see their menfolk out here and initially seek to emulate the lifestyle. They go to beaches and start travel blogs, but they get bored quickly. Most of the western men in Thailand come to work, are then charmed by the local women, get married, and start a family. They integrate. This is seldom a realistic option for western girls who usually intend to go home after a few years. In order to put proper roots down it’s often necessary to marry a local, and as I pointed out earlier, that rarely happens. Why? I’ve never received a clear answer on this point.
Interestingly enough a couple of models lived in my last building: a stunning Russian — who looked just out of a Victoria’s Secret catalogue — and her Thai boyfriend, who was tall, handsome and muscular. She seemed happy to me, but my impression is that the average western girl out here needs a boyfriend from closer to home. Men, adventurous by their nature, love the exotic, but when things get serious (kids, marriage, long term plans, etc.) women prefer the reassurance of the familiar.
Finding happiness here will always be a far greater challenge for western women than for men. Perhaps it’s time they recognise that, stop sitting on the outside of the culture, inject a little pragmatism, and start to integrate into the society they live in. If they’re not going to do that then at the very least they might stop complaining about the place.