Hello, how are you? I need money!

It is the phone call or email that any Westerner who has had even a brief fling with a Thai lady inevitably receives. The initial reaction can often be one of pleasant surprise, hearing from a woman with whom they had shared a few days together, full of sightseeing and pseudo-romance (the so-called girlfriend experience). Those fellows who are especially new to the game may even be flattered (“She has not forgotten me!”).

Well of course she hasn’t. But her sudden interest has nothing to do with your charm; you have simply been pegged as someone she thinks she can get money out of. Most likely she has a list of “donors” and your name has come up. Time to make the pitch.

Her reasons for needing help are usually family related: her mother is ill; her daughter requires school money; her grandmother has died (again). On occasion the crisis may actually be real, but that is beside the point. These predicaments, which have been polished and successfully tested on earlier flings and boyfriends, are simply devices used to elicit knee-jerk sympathies and pry open wallets.

Nevertheless, the need for money is quite real. For many women, there was a past boyfriend or husband who left them with children to raise and no support. Others have family obligations such as parents (or maybe a lazy sibling) to take care of.  

But this does not explain the entire picture. Many go-go dancers actually make good money, especially if they service a customer at one of the short-time hotel rooms a few times a week. The problem is that the girls have cash management skills that would make Enron blush, lending to friends and spending frivolously. Money does not merely slip through their fingers, it dissolves there. 

Another reason for the perpetual poverty stems from people’s attitudes. The Thais’ idea of long-term planning is deciding what to order at McDonalds. The Aesop Fable about The Ant and The Grasshopper would find no traction here. Why save for the winter when there in fact seems to be no ultimate season of grim reckoning? Just get by…day by day.

So what to do when one of your former one-and-only true loves tries to get back in touch? The best solution is to ignore them, though their persistence may surprise you. One of my ex-communicated harem members, after a month’s hiatus, recently called me three times within a five minute interval with a dozen rings per attempt. She was both desperate for more money and fully aware I was avoiding her. Her neediness oozed out of my ringing cell, making me want to hide behind my sofa. But I have not heard from her since, meaning I can safely venture outside.


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