Welcome to Thailand|Ladyboy Relationships

Welcome to Thailand|Ladyboy Relationships



In the previous article I discussed a list of points to be aware of when searching for or talking to a Thai ladyboy online. If you are serious in your pursuit of a ladyboy girlfriend you may have looked through lots of profiles by now. A pattern is probably emerging.

But what do you do when faced with the profile of a beautiful ladyboy who clearly fails one of the criteria that seem a minimum requirement for girlfriend status? Maybe she has tattoos? Maybe she has pictures of foreign men on her profile?  Maybe she is an ‘out and out’ hooker? Should you immediately right her off? Should you meet her anyway?

If she is beautiful you will probably meet her anyway, won’t you farang?

Forgive me for talking to myself, you may be more sensible and cautious than me! Seriously, although I would urge caution, there are exceptions to every rule and by not meeting someone who seems likely to be a hooker you may pass over a terrific person.

This may seem to contradict my previous and frequent advice, “don’t fall in love with a hooker”, and in a way it does but the Isan girls and ladyboys who turn to whoring as a better financial alternative to factory or shop work are not all bad, heartless, jaded, manipulative and crafty thieves. Many of them are charming, sweet things who are sexy as hell and fun to be around.

Actions and intentions are what really count. Maybe she really does want love? Two ladyboy hookers told me that before coming to Bangkok and becoming whores they imagined that the first customer who took them from the bar would fall in love and marry them. They were surprised and disappointed when this didn’t happen. Thai people are often charmingly unsophisticated. That is part of what is attractive about them.

Just like western women, Thai girls and ladyboys want someone who will take care of them, love them and support them emotionally and financially. There is nothing wrong with that, right?

The issue I have with whores is that they gain baggage like a stone gathers moss and nobody wants to deal with that. They are also immersed in a culture where money is equated with sex and love. Their job is to lie effectively; in fact they have to be skilled at lying in order to please their customers and earn money.

It’s also true that while a ladyboy whore may be a ruthless manipulator and money sponge with 99 guys, there will be 1 guy with whom she is completely loyal, loving and fiercely protective of him and his assets.

We cannot choose with whom we fall in love.

But I have been pretty clear in advising anyone who cares to listen that it is not a good idea to get romantically involved with a hooker. That is still good advice but it only works if you have yet to meet any ladyboy hookers. They are such addictive little characters that once you spend any time with them it can be difficult to say goodbye.

So assuming you have, against your better judgment, fallen for a ladyboy hooker or semi-whore, sideline girl, and that could a pretty large percentage of the ladyboy population, you should attempt to apply some damage control to your situation, if possible!

Remember what I said about being the actor not the acted upon. You have to take charge of affairs and not just go with the flow or you could just flow into economic ruin and homelessness.

Of course, in an ideal world any sensible man would seek out a girlfriend of similar age, interests and education. Ha Ha, real life just is not like that. If you are a guy out of his time, origins and of adventurous spirit, it’s certainly not.

Finding a ladyboy who is not a hooker is not as easy as it sounds. There are not many ladyboys that move in more elevated social circles while there are multitudes of them amongst the con Isan (Isan people) the poorest but most numerous people of Thailand.

So even moving in professional circles will not necessarily make it easier for a man on a mission like you! I have interacted on a daily, professional basis with only three ladyboys who were in the same work based circle as me. They were educated, professional and very nice people but I didn’t fancy any of them. That’s life.

Most of us visiting or even living here will never be party to the elevated circles of the upper middle classes or to Thailand’s elite. Although I consider myself educated and have spent the most recent 20 years of my life as an Arts professional, I have never been admitted to the ranks of the middle classes. I am content and proud of my working class roots. There is no reason to expect that here in Thailand I would be welcomed by the status conscious, wealthy Thai elite. Simply looking for a ladyboy girlfriend and openly discussing ladyboys would immediately disqualify me.

I am guessing that many of you guys are in a similar position to me? It is fairly safe to assume, therefore, that most ladyboys we meet will be Isan people or at least not drawn from the wealthiest of Bangkok’s population.

Sure, we will rub shoulders with PR execs, chemists, engineers and physiotherapists, doctors, dentists and lawyers but there will be far more hairdressers, sales girls and whores in our immediate hemisphere. This has certainly been my experience.

In my opinion, the ability of a ladyboy, particularly a whore or sideline girl to make the leap to girlfriend or wife depends on three things: time, space and opportunity.

1. Time-has the length of time she has been a whore damaged her, made her too cynical or resistant to change? Is she ready to change her life? If she is working in a factory, office or shop, does she have the time to date? Thai people may not necessarily work harder but they work longer hours with less holidays for less pay than us.

2. Space-Being surrounded by the same people and in the same place she was whoring may prove an obstacle to her changing. I think she has to be in a different environment to change.

Here’s a grim truth for you: Neither other ladyboy hookers, foreign men or ex-customers want her to give up whoring and will do whatever they can to drag her back into the scene. They will try to do this by sowing seeds of doubt in her mind, trying to involve her in easy money sex opportunities, calling her and messaging her online, even when they know she has a boyfriend.

3. Opportunity-meeting her when she and you are ready to give it a go and give up whoring.

Bitter experience taught me that a whore cannot be saved. It may appear that you have saved her but in fact what you have actually done is offer her a monthly stipend and improved lifestyle to PREVENT her from being a hooker. That’s not love nor is it a relationship based on love.

I doubt that many foreigners meet a hooker in a bar or on the street and say, ‘If you stop being a whore I will be your boyfriend’.

How many whores would agree to that with without financial incentive? She will certainly need another source of income if she quits the bar scene but why should you provide it? Nobody in their right mind could expect her to live on air but should you ‘keep’ her?

If you are living here she could live with you and so benefit from a situation in which you provide food and accommodation if not an allowance in order to prevent her from whoring and then it all starts to sound a bit Victorian and tacky doesn’t it?

On the other hand, she will probably not be well educated and therefore be somewhat limited in the range of jobs she can aspire to. Even 7/11 demand a high school certificate for the 9,000 baht salary on offer.

What purpose would it serve for her to do that kind of job. She would probably work 10 hour shifts for six days a week at least. You would never see each other! The money would go straight in her pocket so how would a change of jobs like that benefit either of you? There is the rub!

Part of the problem with dating in Thailand is that you may find yourself in a relationship and living together much too early in your relationship. Don’t do it as it may be a recipe for disaster.

Making a considered decision to ask someone to move in with you is one thing. Not preventing a ladyboy from doing so, is quite another. If the ladyboy you are dating is poor and living with other ladyboys or alone the chances are that she will jump at the chance to live with you. Dissuade this.

Only move her in at your own pace, not hers. Don’t be passive. Don’t feel sorry for her, think long term. A Thai ladyboy will move herself into your apartment with little or no invitation, she will just bring and leave her things at your place until she has no reason to go back to her room.

But, if you are still a visitor to Thailand, paying a whore a monthly stipend after you return to your home country is like paying rent, buying love or placing a whore on retainer. Sooner or later that decision is likely to bite you in the ass.

Why? Because she knows that you don’t want her to be a whore and that gives her far too much power over you and your economic welfare. Any demand she makes, if not addressed by you will find you face to face in a bedroom or in a digital facsimile of reality as she threatens to go ‘back to working’. I lived through that and even though it hurt like hell at the time I am glad that my, frankly, pathetic attempts to save a whore failed. Whores don’t want to be saved. They want your money

What needs to happen for a relationship with a whore to blossom and flourish is that you meet her at the confluence of time, space and opportunity when magical things can happen. Really. The problem you will have is recognising such a confluence without a divining rod, and I don’t mean the one in your pants!

In truth, I actually do believe that it’s possible for a hooker to turn her life completely around but she has to be ready to do so of her own accord. I don’t mean that she volunteers to stop being a whore when you decide to send her money every month but that she has decided to find different work altogether, with or without your money.

You also need to be brutally honest with yourself; Are you sure you want a REAL relationship or is it just a fantasy? Don’t give her hope then get bored and screw around. There is no need to do that. Don’t make any promises you may come to regret or cannot keep.

The opportunity of a real relationship must be there for her to see and aspire to, if indeed it is something she wants. You cannot be the one that does all the work to provide that opportunity but just be sure it’s what you really want.

Find one who has already quit and don’t blame her for her past and don’t expect the changes to take place overnight. Don’t ask the impossible from a Thai Ladyboy. Give her time.


Life Together

Another point to consider when choosing a ladyboy as your girlfriend as is the toxic affect her working environment may have had on her. Most Thai people in normal jobs get up in the morning and go to work just like you do.

They come home in the evening, have a social life if they can afford it and usually live with their parents until they are in a serious relationship or married. If they have come to Bangkok to work they may live alone or with a member of their extended family.

Hookers do not live that kind of life and if your girlfriend used to be a hooker she will need time to adjust to normal waking and working hours. Hookers are like vampires; they sleep all day and stay awake all night.

That is a sexy analogy which is not useful in preparing you for the ghastly sight of a ladyboy with bad skin and no make-up blinking in the morning light that you have insisted she enjoy!

She will need time to adjust to a life in the normal world and that can be difficult so she will need some help, patience and perhaps a judicious kick up the arse.

When you are living the life of a tourist; going out on the town every night and going to bed in the very early hours a hookers lifestyle will be simpatico with yours.


But living here and holding down a job will mean you cannot sleep all day and you will not appreciate her doing this either, believe me! When you are tired after a day at work a hooker will just be waking up . . .this mismatch will not make for harmony unless you work nights!

So she will need time to adjust to a more typical routine that matches yours.


Move away from the scene of her whoredom and your whore-mongering.

The space must be right and by that I mean you need to move yourself and your lover away from the scene. With the best will in the world it will be difficult for either of you to succeed in a relationship when you are surrounded every day by hookers and bars. I could not do it. I could not resist the temptations being placed in front of me every day.

It would be difficult for her to be faithful because quite often the friendships shared amongst ladyboy hookers is not real friendship at all but a form of passive, aggressive competitive rivalry and face-making.

The ladyboys who don’t have a boyfriend will be constantly telling your girlfriend how lucky she is whilst undermining her at every turn by begging her for money, encouraging her to ask you for money, deriding her if she does not go along and encouraging her to smoke crystal meth. Misery loves company and she will struggle to make a new life for herself in Pattaya or near to the scene of her recent whoring activity.

You may not really get to know your girlfriend until you have been living together for a while. Don’t fall for marriage and relationship scams.

I have heard of several foreigners who have been told they have to buy a ladyboy out of the bar she works at in order to become their girlfriend. Sometimes the sum has been 20,000 baht and sometimes 30,000 baht and more.

This is patently a scam designed to extract money from a foreigner. If this has happened to you, dump your girlfriend now as she has been complicit in the scam!

Bar-girls are not indentured slaves, they often have a contract and pay slips every month just as you do. If they choose to leave their employer, they do not have to pay for the privilege. The buy out scam is invented just for farangs.

She may have shared this money with her mama-san but even if she did not, she knew you were being scammed.

What was her motivation you may ask?


How stupid, you may say!

Why would she risk losing out on a chance of real love for a few baht or to boost her ego?

She is Thai.

They do not think too mush and even if they do, she will not expect a relationship to last so she may as well get something out of it while it lasts. It is a kind of special Thai fatalism













Sin-sod is another scam. This one has its roots in Thai culture and like dowries up to the Victorian period in England is really and truly a thing of the past; a dusty relic brought into the light of day for occasional use.

I asked at least fifty Thai men and women about sin-sod and the overwhelming opinion was that it can be used as a tool when a family do not want a man to marry their daughter. They will ask for too much and maybe put off the would be groom. It is used as a token and is sometimes returned to the groom and bride after a wedding has taken place.

In the context of a foreign man marrying a ladyboy it is a case of an aspect of Thai culture being subverted to extort money from a gullible farang. Where have I heard something like that before?

This practice can be particularly divisive if the ladyboy in question pretends it is her parent’s decision/demands and that it has nothing to do with her.

If she really loves you a ladyboy would tell her family to ‘go to hell’ if she thinks you are being exploited. Lots of Thai apologists (usually those who have been duped) will try to tell you that it’s normal practice. Believe them if it’s your pleasure. I certainly don’t.

Lots of ladyboys begin life in poverty and are just trying their best to take care of their family and make a better life . . . yaddaa yadda yadda! That may or may not be true but either way it will not matter to you if that long drop from the balcony begins to look inviting after a lying Thai hooker has stripped your assets.

I have seen first hand, and heard stories or news reports about many more, foreign victims of Thai violence and blackmail. Enough is enough and in a country where you will not get any help from the authorities you should be aware of the danger you may be putting yourself in by forming a relationship based on money.

Don’t Become a Fish-Sauce Bump on the Veranda of the House you paid for in Nakhon Nowhere.

Farang Ted on a Motorcycle David Bonnie Bangkok Thailand davidbonnie.com


Some Thai girls and ladyboys realise that while they like the idea of a relationship that gives them status amongst their friends and family, the reality is not so pleasant as the fantasy.

One of the full time hookers I met, a very famous one at that, would have made a great girlfriend. Why? Because I met her at the confluence of time, opportunity and HER readiness to quit the scene. But she was a singularity. She really was cut out of different cloth than most people I have ever met and I don’t mean just Thai hookers.



Some people are like that. They are not afraid to go against the flow. The ladyboy in question did not spend more than 5 minutes doing her make-up. She did not spend hours looking in the mirror. I repeat, she did not spend hours looking in the mirror. She had her own money and never asked me for any. She was tough, beautiful and smart. She would have given up prostitution and could have turned her good business sense to any other money making operation and been successful.

I spent lots of time with her up in Ratchada once upon a time but our friendship, at least for me, became more important than sex. She taught me a lot about ladyboys and a lot about myself too.

I cannot, therefore, agree with the maxim of never fall in love with a whore but the timing has to be right and you cannot be the one urging her to quit, ‘for you’.

Sadly, the exceptions that are ‘different’ also make it possible for the liars to be successful. Most of the other ladyboys I dated, excluding the 20% that were not hookers were terrific girlfriends for about a week until they seemed to implode from all the bullshit and lies they told. At first it’s difficult to believe that someone will go to such lengths in lying to you but

It is easy to detect after a while.

Late night phone calls, mysterious visits to the temple or to see friends that just don’t add up, tardiness, cold hands (a tell-tale sign of yabba/ice ingestion), evasiveness, the inability to have a straightforward conversation or make eye contact are all marks of the whore.

I was always disappointed that I caught them out relatively easily and there were times that I was hoping against hope that they were honest.

Ladyboy can be and are often great in the sack, funny, good company, happy-go-lucky, attentive and loving but . . . the vivacious, sexy and charming Thai hooker you took back to your hotel every day for a week last time you were in Pattaya will not be able to keep it up forever because it is an act. A convincing one, but an act nevertheless. She can’t keep the girlfriend experience up indefinitely.

They often do not have what it takes to be a girlfriend and once you have explored every sexual variance possible and had sex while she is dressed in every possible uniform, set of lingerie, shoes and gloves known to man, there may not be much else going for the partnership.

That moment of girlfriend implosion, imagine the Hindenberg going down in flames, will come as the door to the Departures lounge at Suvarnabhumi Airport hits your ass as you leave Thailand.

If you are already living here there will be no moment of release for your poor facsimile of a girlfriend and she will take herself out of the game, metaphorically speaking by one ridiculous act or another.

Perhaps, a strange departure at midnight, a jealous and violent argument or a mystery illness in the family? One even told me there was a ghost in my room that didn’t like her so she had to flee to a temple. I never saw her again!


Ladyboy Candy Everyone Wants

If lust and hate is the candy
If blood and love tastes so sweet
In a way both women and ladyboys but especially whores give us exactly what we want when they get some power over us. Fooling us in love is the only way a whore has, in Thailand at least, of redressing the balance of power in the customer/whore dynamic. We lose our power as the purchaser when we lose our reason and logic to ‘love’.

Something about love and longing is so attractive to many of us it is akin to the Greek philosophical tenet of ‘Thanatos’. This is the idea that if man does not destroy his fellows he will destroy himself. We do this anyway with alcohol, drugs, bad love affairs, motorbikes, whores.

I have been stupidly in love twice in my life and both times I felt simultaneously ‘alive’ and desperately unhappy and self-destructive.

Normal women in the west use sex as a way of winning the power struggle but Thai ladyboys and women use love.

The whore ‘mentality’ can remain even when a whore is no longer a whore. It can be present even amongst women and ladyboys who have never been whores for real.

Annie and I meet a lot of couples here in Bangkok and often they are men with a ladyboy girlfriend. It can be disheartening. Both Annie and I are aware of the discrimination against ladyboys but frankly the ladyboy whores or ex-whores can make their own gender look terribly bad at times.

Ladyboys can be very controlling and demanding and men don’t often like confrontation or arguing and are too often consigned to the ranks of the legion of sorry men who placate their wives or girlfriends by surrendering their own will and freedom and giving in to her demands for more money for her family, gold, houses, handbags or heaven forbid some kind of phony marriage ceremony and sin sod.

I did not survive three marriages without recognising the signs or taking a few bullets along the way.

If you are willing to embark on a relationship with a ladyboy there are some things you have to ask yourself.

Can you live with her present?

If she is still working as a whore can you deal with her coming home to you smelling of another man’s semen? I speak bluntly because this is a serious issue. If you cannot shower with her and seeing bite marks on her neck not flinch, don’t even try to live with or love a hooker. It will kill you.

Can you forget her past?

Once out of the ‘scene’ can you open the web and search for Ladyboys with an untroubled mind. Our lives are digitalised and for years to come some ladyboys will be stuck in a virtual bedroom sucking another man’s cock, licking his arse and being rammed by his enormous member. She will seem to be really enjoying it. Can you live with that? Maybe you are secure in your manhood but is it watertight? All your friends will know. Is she worth it? Really? Jing Lor? If you can, I salute you brother.

Can you really leave her alone in Thailand while you go back to the west?

Do you trust her? Do you really believe her or only believe her because you are in too deep and have no choice. Do you care if she is unfaithful? Is it better ‘not to know?’ If I was back in England for six months I am not certain Annie would stay faithful no matter how much money I was sending and I trust her. It’s too much to ask that a young ladyboy become a monk and stay in her little room hugging a dolly and staring at a picture of you for two or three months at a time. I am sure many of us have met and been ‘entertained’ by ladyboys who have boyfriends “boyfriends” back in their home countries of Norway, Britain or Australia.

If you truly want a girlfriend then put your energy into finding someone who at least has the prospect of becoming the partner you want. If that sound a little like a line from a modern day ‘Pygmalion’? In a way, it’s true that you will probably shape and mould your ladyboy girlfriend even if she has an education. She is likely to be younger than you and Thai education does not create or encourage free thinking and independence.

Thailand is a collectivist society which is why your girlfriend will be influenced so strongly by what her friends do and say even if it is, in your opinion, stupid. You will find yourself guiding her. It can be rewarding but it can be tedious. She will probably listen to friends more than she does you in the early stages of a relationship as you are simply not Thai and so are deemed as being ignorant of her culture, such as it is.

Be patient, tolerant and appreciate the things she brings to the relationship. She may or may not be clever regardless of the level of her education but her cleverness is most likely to be an intuitive kind of intelligence. Annie once said to me, ‘I am so happy when I can make other people laugh’. I will take that as a sign of sensitivity, good humour, innate intelligence and wit any old day. It’s an old-fashioned idea in today’s overtly feminist/feminine world but you will be the boss in your relationship, or at least need to be when it comes to big decisions. Thai people are a little unwordly when it comes to, well, the rest of the world.

You will argue and these arguments may be complicated by cultural misunderstandings although most of these are possibly smoke screens used by the little minx to get what she wants! Language can be a barrier to understanding. Just be patient and ask her to be the same with your poor Thai!

In my experience it does not pay to demonstrate the same kind of willingness or desire to ‘talk things out’ as we have been conditioned to do in the west. Thai men do not do this and Thai women have not been conditioned to view this as manly or useful. State clearly what you want or your position and leave it at that. If possible say nothing at all. This pretends a strength she will understand. Don’t shout as that demonstrates weakness and an inability to maintain control of your emotions.

Be really, really clear as if you are talking to a child but don’t patronise her, just understand that she will say she understands what you have told her even when this is not the truth. Culturally your girlfriend will have been conditioned to nod her head and agree with anything she hears from a teacher-type figure and like it or not, that’s what you have become. Use your status to your advantage. Be patient (a lot and often).

Any Ladyboy who cares about you will complain if you are drinking a lot. Alcohol can be a frightening subject for some Thai girls or ladyboys as many of their fathers may have been alcoholics or even have died because of drinking. It is the curse of the Isaan farming classes.

If you continue screwing hookers when you have a girlfriend be careful you don’t get your cock chopped off. Thai people have a limit that once reached is nuclear in its ferocity. Not a joke, a warning!

Jealousy is another major hurdle you will have to cross if you want a successful relationship with a Thai ladyboy. It’s possible that ladyboys are even more insecure than Thai women and consequently are more likely to be jealous toward any perceived threat to your relationship. I suggest you keep enough cash in a safe place like a safety deposit box to make a fast exit if your relationship goes south. Not a joke, a warning!

I also think that your privacy may become a thing of the past. The days of adding random, hot chicks on Facebook are probably gone forever. Emails, phones, SMS, all your social media sites will be checked and checked again for any signs of wavering on your part or aggressive take-overs on the part of any other ladyboys or girls.

On a serious note, it’s my opinion that you should keep passwords especially to online banking very secure and complex. I was advised recently by a good friend that not only can hackers compromise your economic health but girlfriends can too!

It could be argued that we foreigners are our own worst enemies. We behave in a way that no Thai man of our age would be seen behaving.

Some male behaviour and appearance in Thailand would draw stares and censure in our home countries so imagine for a moment what ordinary Thai people think of us when they view that behaviour and what they regard as a marked lack of self-respect. Having a Foreign boyfriend can give a poor Thai girl or Ladyboy, “lift-up” status among her contemporaries but not if he is poorly dressed, likes to get drunk, or is crude or rude. Being overly affectionate in public is also a bad habit to get into. Your girlfriend may be embarrassed.

I think I may be right in saying that our sometime devilish behaviour or very casual dress code is, perhaps a response to our lives in the west. Rules and societal codes of behaviour and dress have battered at our sense of freedom since we were young men and when arriving in Thailand we feel we have cast off the yoke and are finally able to ‘do whatever we want’, we have earned it’!

I agree in many respects and concur that having survived for fifty odd years and possibly been dutiful husbands, parents and breadwinners, we do deserve time to do exactly as we want and not what is expected of us by either women or society. We walk hand in hand with brown-skinned, ‘mai jamook’ (no nose) Isaan prostitutes and flaunt our sexual exploits.

Now, don’t misunderstand, Thai men screw hookers more than we do, but, they keep their behaviour out of the public eye. There are lots of brothels in areas you may never visit that cater to Thais and their sense of discretion.

But, if you are on holiday, why should you care what anyone thinks of you and by association all westerners?

Do as you wish, just don’t be upset when Thai people don’t show you the same respect and consideration as they would another Thai.

Even the most hardened, rude, violent ladyboy hooker will almost soil herself when confronted by a senior Thai man. I don’t mean a corrupt cop either but a (Phoo Yai), a boss like father figure. Phoo means ‘elder or senior’. Yai=big. This is because of the Thai culture of patronage and ‘buhn kuhn’; the act of indebtedness and favours owed in return for care and protection. If you think this sounds like something you would see written about the Cosa Nostra, you are correct but as well as being the mafia-like people that surround the power of the Thai village headman or Kamnan these are also respected senior men in government, education and corporate positions throughout Thailand. In general, those men behave with poise, grace and respect.

In contrast, I have seen a Norwegian man of advanced years grab, fondle and ‘suck-face’ with a tiny Thai hooker on the street. The girls gathered at the front of the bar where the incident happened looked no more than seventeen or eighteen years old and the Norwegian mistook their cries and squeals for pleasure as he spun each of them around his head. He could not understand the names they were calling him. The display was utterly graceless. He didn’t care.

Thai people believe that a man should behave with dignity and tolerance toward those younger than him, not treat them as equals or behave sexually in public. The point being, if you want to enhance the status of a Thai ladyboy and receive her love and loyalty in return, don’t behave like a drunken sex tourist in public. Wait until you are behind closed doors to assault her!

Your behaviour, however important it may be, is unlikely to guarantee success in a relationship. Your choice of the right partner is much more important.

Having ‘saved’ your girlfriend from the temptations of Sukhumvit soi 4 you may find yourself bank rolling her parents, her divorced sister and her brothers and their families, forever! If you are currently doing this, I feel eternally sorry for you. I cannot over estimate the obligation Thai girls and ladyboys feel to take care of their families.

All Thai girls or ladyboys have an obligation to take care of their families. Ladyboys perhaps feel the sting of this obligation more than genetic girls because for many of them their childhood was a time when they may have felt that they disappointed their parents by taking the gendered path they chose.

Or do they? Is it just a con to sponge money from a farang? Yes and No. It depends. Thai parents gain karmic credit or boon if their son enters a monastery and becomes ordained as a monk. Ladyboys can and sometimes do join a monastery for a spell but it becomes increasingly difficult for them to do this especially as they would have to shave their heads. Lots of ladyboys have supportive parents but many do not.

A ladyboys obligation to ‘take care’ of their family is not necessarily dependent on the quality of parenting they received. When you enter a long-term relationship with a Thai you become responsible for her family unless she has a job herself. A more blissful life can be assured by marrying an orphan

Once again you must make a plan concerning family and how much you help them financially because you will almost certainly face this issue. You may find that your ladyboy’s parents are younger than you and yet you will be expected to support them to some degree! My criteria would go something like this: Who, why, how much, how long?

If her parents are not working, why not? Are they very old or sick? Why should you support her brothers who seem to sit around the village drinking whisky most of the time? Trust me, this stereotype of Isan men is one that even Thai people believe and laugh about.

Another reason to run for the hills if you begin to have feelings for some Thai girls or ladyboys is that before you came along she was using her possibly, ill-gotten gains to take care of her family. She will either have been earning a lot of money or she will tell you that she was. Either way you will get laced into a monthly stipend to replace her wages that will almost certainly be more than you want to pay.

I give Annie’s grandmother, who is 86 years old, 2,000baht every month to help to buy food and necessities. That’s it. I made it clear that; first, if over and above the 2k she needed help to pay medical bills etc, I will do so and second, that far from being my duty or obligation to help take care of her, it’s my choice. She raised Annie and has nobody else to take care of her. Annie’s mum gets nothing and her Dad is dead, unfortunately.

Helping take care of an Isaan family is not a duty but a choice

Of course there are a lot of very, very rich Thai people and if you are lucky and smart a middle-class Thai ladyboy may well fall in love with you. Fate may take a hand in directing your fortunes. Who can say?

Do you want to support an Isaan family forever and how much is too much? This is a question for anyone who is in love with a poor Thai girl or ladyboy, not just hookers. This is not academic, this is a really, really tough choice and one you should make sooner rather than later. Lots of ladyboys and girls may not be full time hookers but are very adept at finding customers or meeting men whom they can manipulate into spending all their money on her family.

I have been a close witness to a variety of men being duped by one ladyboy in particular. This ladyboy is not a hooker but in the last two years she has earned enough money from both Thai and foreign men to build a house, buy her father a 60,000 baht gold Buddhist medallion, an expensive pedigree dog and cover herself in gold jewellery. She has been invited to the United Kingdom, Finland and America, each time being refused a visa. The guys will never know how lucky they are. Finally she has found a guy who has taken her to Europe and lavished money on her. She once asked me if I think she is a bad person. I told her that she was playing a game with the hearts of these men. She tried telling me that she does it all for her family. Draw your own conclusions. Mine are that her family does not ‘need’ gold, cars or motorbikes.

Keep your head in the clouds but feet on the ground.

I have spoken here about the mostly negative things that can happen when searching for your perfect girlfriend and it’s true that things will go wrong more than they will go right during that search. But that is only one side of this many faceted and beautiful country and that’s what makes visiting here a complex business and living here an almost impossible one.

You may have already met the smiling people who are generous and kind, and it’s not an act. They hold those virtues dear as they ‘tam buhn’.

Your girlfriend and maybe even her friends will come to appreciate and understand you beyond the superficial, who knows?

But if you openly acknowledge your ladyboy girlfriend, as you must if a relationship is to be successful when you are show respect and interact with Thai people as equals you may both be tolerated but just don’t ever doubt that in Thai eyes you and she will be the most reviled of creatures. You compound each others lowly place in the Thai heirarchy.

Ladyboys and Farangs are Outsiders

Your girlfriend and you are the targets of not only the police but also the work shy, drunken young men you encounter at every Thai festival from Khao Yai to Koh Tao and those words the Thai motorcycle taxi guys are shouting are not greetings, farang.

Your girlfriend will never tell you what they are shouting; she knows the score and has learned to fear taxi drivers and their like, but you can guess can’t you farang? Moving away from places like Pattaya will make life easier but you will almost certainly lower your status by loving a Thai ladyboy. It’s a price that I am prepared to pay, how about you?

Both good and bad exist in any country and you will probably encounter the good more frequently than the bad. I have experienced infinitely more kindness, mysticism and compassion, not to mention love and some great adventures.

Remember, in Thailand the magical really can happen.

Communicating may be a problem even if she seems to speak English well. You need to be aware that Thai people will usually tell you that they understand what you are saying because they don’t want to lose face. If you ask them to repeat what you have just told them back to you, or summarise you will make her lose face, but do it anyway. A lot of problems can be avoided this way. Be gentle and patient and remember that although she seems self-assured her past conversations may have been limited to the very basics. I think you know what I mean.



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