A reader recently made the brilliant comment that what bar boys really need to take into consideration is farang’s face. Face, an important but difficult to define cultural concept, holds great sway in many Asian countries. It’s about your reputation, your image, your honor, and the esteem you are held in by others. But more. It is at work 24/7 whether you realize it or not, and greatly impacts your relationship with a bar boy be that a 15 minute one or one that has been going on for several years. Farang who care about what their boy du jour thinks of them, and those who like to treat their offs with respect, consider the guy’s face in how they conduct themselves.
The importance of face to a bar boy, and the cultural oddities that stem from that concept, are a popular subject on the gay Thailand message boards with numerous pundits weighing in on what is important to the working guys and how best to not dis them. Asian though farang may not be, face is important to Thailand’s visitors too. It’s just different than that for the locals. A successful relationship is incumbent on the actions of both parties involved. Yet the idea of farang face seldom gets aired. That may have a lot to do with how little respect many farang are deserving of; countless punters throw theirs away within the first few minutes of hooking up with a new guy. And then wonder why they get burned, land a dud, or get taken for a ride so often. Face, like respect, is something you earn. Like your reputation, it is something you should protect. And not being Thai, from the bar boys’ viewpoint, you are already starting off at a disadvantage.
Farang face too is much about how others view you. And how your boy du jour treats you. What he expects of you, and how he conducts himself in your company impacts your face greatly. And Thais know the greater face their customer – ooops, I mean boyfriend – has, the greater face they themselves gain. With that in mind I offer the following tips for Thailand’s bar boys on how to best protect your Farang’s face because he will be clueless to that need:
1. Time Is Relative.
Farang don’t quite get that time like most rules in Thailand is best ignored.. They mistakenly believe 8:00 pm means 8:00 pm and not the 10:00-ish it really denotes. Nothing will frustrate your farang more than you constantly being ‘late’ for an occasion, when everyone knows the party really doesn’t begin until you make your appearance anyway. Your inability to live your life in accordance with the dictates of the fake Rolex he wears on his wrist will cause him to lose great face among his fellow farang who are equally obsessed with the hands on a clock even though they have nothing to do with their time. Of course actually changing your own perception of time would be silly. So instead wait for him to fall asleep and set his watch forward by a half hour or so. Problem solved. Face disaster avoided.
2. Impressively Yucky.
Farangs live to impress and think their financial status actually has something to do with face. Why they continue to try to impress bar boys with their spending habits when all they accomplish is to give proof to that old adage that a fool and his money are soon parted is difficult to understand. But then if the fool didn’t part with his money as often as he does, your family would lose its major source of income. So suck it up. Just pray you don’t have to on an empty stomach ‘cuz your farang will love to impress you by taking you to American chain restaurants where the meals costs about the same as what you spend in an entire week on food. Pizza Hut is the worst.
Farang don’t understand that if it doesn’t have at least five red chilies, it’s not real food. They also don’t get that most Thais are lactose-intolerant and the idea of eating something smothered in what is really nothing more than curdled milk is disgusting. Why farang can’t learn to eat grasshoppers like the rest of the world is a puzzle. But no problem. Smile, make sure whatever pizza he orders has lots of pineapple on it, and then when it comes to the table douse it with heaping spoonfuls of crushed red chilies. And don’t worry about your farang noticing what you had to do to make your meal palatable, he’ll be too busy being pissed off at how late your waiter was in delivering his food to the table.
3. A Whiter Shade Of Pale.
Your farang will gain great face by showing you off to his fellow sexpats as though you were some great find. Little does he know that you have already spent quality time with everyone he knows or is likely to meet. Been there, done them. Regardless, looking your best is important to him and for some unfathomable reason farang think the darker you are the more handsome you are instead of knowing that dark skin means you are a peasant who spends all of his time in the fields doing manual labor. Unfortunately this means at some point he will realize all of the skin whitening creams and lotions he’s been paying for are counterproductive to his ideal of beauty.
Fortunately farang think Thais are some exotic species and their bodies operate differently than the rest of humanity. This can work to your favor. Tell him sperm on your skin turns it white. If you are lucky his face will mean more to him than his orgasm does and he’ll take to having a wank in the toilet instead of forcing you to witness – and participate in – that disgusting act. If the Buddha is looking kindly upon you, you may also get away with blaming eating cheese for this problem and can kill two birds with one stone.
4. The Gift That Keeps Giving.
At some point in your relationship someone will tell your farang that all the bling that he’s been buying you is really just a ready source of cash; that as soon as you can you return it to the closest gold shop for what you really wanted: baht. Farang hate to be taken for a fool. Yours will quickly stop buying you gold bling as proof of your love for him, thinking he is saving face by doing so. Fortunately farang don’t realize you have the same deal with just about every vendor and store in town. Tell him instead how hot your loom is and that you need an air-conditioner, or that you need a refrigerator to keep your cheese in, and that wallet will appear quicker than an underage boy at Mic My bar. Sure it’ll cost you a few extra bucks to get a large appliance back to your favorite retailer, but you can always tell your farang you need 500 baht for taxi money, and that’ll cover that expense.
5. You Lie Him, You Really Lie Him.
Savvy farang quickly learn that you are telling him a little white lie when you say you lie him or that he is a hansum man. Assuming ‘little white lie’ is Thai for a fib the size of a sexpats prodigiously ballooning stomach. Not that he’ll ever stop you from saying so, or will tire of hearing you say it. Because fantasy and face have nothing to do with each other. But telling him those things in front of his fellow sexpats is a different story. They can barely stand to be in his presence themselves and your obvious lies will cause him to lose face. It’s just a shame that face isn’t the one attached to the front of his head. On the other hand farang gain much face for knowing how to speak Thai, so they all learn the same cute phrases. That no self-respecting Thai ever actually uses. Jai Dee is a good example and the perfect compliment to pay to your farang in front of his fellow sexpats. He’ll think you are saying he has a good heart. The other bar boys within earshot will know you are marking him as a fool who will dig out his wallet at the drop of a hat.
6. Hello Mudder – Hello Fadder.
Inviting your farang to meet your family will give him major face among his peers. It shows that you really lie him. If you are lucky, you are an orphan and can rent some old people from your village to play the role of your mama and papa. If you are less fortunate, you’ll actually have to introduce mama and papa to their meal ticket. But this is a form of merit making; they will give you major kudos and tons of sympathy when they actually see how disgusting your ‘boyfriend’ really is.
Having been brought up well, your farang will want to waste his baht on purchasing small gifts for your mama and papa even though everyone knows nothing says respect like cold hard baht. But will not have a clue as to what is an appropriate gift when meeting your relatives (uh, hello? Baht!). But he will believe that you papa will enjoy a bottle of Johnnie Walker (which you can then take back to your bar and exchange it for cash) and your mama will love a basket of fruit (even though she no longer has enough teeth to make headway on an apple). After he has purchased his gifts, volunteer to wrap them for him. You can save yourself from what would have been an embarrassing moment by using the baht in his wallet or hotel room safe to wrap his gifts. Then when he hands them over it really will be a Kodak moment. Everyone say cheese!
7. Love Means Never Having To Say You’re Solly.
That the countries of the world your farang is likely to come from are its superpowers just goes to show you that there really is evil in the world. Collectively, they may dominate the planet, but individually they are a useless and ignorant lot who don’t understand how the world really works. Their misconceptions about what is and isn’t polite is a good example. Unfortunately that means they will insist on your using the same courtesies they use.
Your farang, for example, will feel he has lost face if you do not thank him for every little thing he buys for you. Yes, you know better; you’ve been taught that thanking someone for a gift lessens the face and merit they would have gained from the act, but then farang are barely worthy of merit anyway. So get used to saying thank you because a well-trained farang will give you many opportunities for expressing your appreciation. And once he is used to your saying thanks a million times a day, even as ignorant as he is he will figure out something is amiss when you fail to extend that courtesy. For example, not saying thank you when it takes him an entire 8 minutes to achieve his orgasm will clue him in that he needs to speed things up. Or ignoring the opportunity for saying thank you when he just bought you a new cellphone will let him know that nothing but the latest model of an iPhone is acceptable in your world. Using thank you wisely can work to your advantage. And then you can go give thanks to the person who really deserves that honor: Buddha.
8. Farang Don’t Know Maths.
It is a paradox that as much face as Farangs think they get from their financial status and the things they own and buy, when it comes time to actually get their wallet out face is all about how cheaply they can make a purchase for. Obviously your farang – and you – would gain more face by him buying you a new cellphone for $400, but he will think getting it for $350 does more for his rep. This isn’t a problem for you since all your friends know farang overpay for everything anyway and will assume he dropped $500 on your phone. But your farang will want to haggle over the price at your favorite cellphone shop and they all think the best way of bargaining is by yelling. Which costs you the face you would have gained by your farang buying you the most expensive phone in the store in the first place.
So offer to bargain for him. He will think that because you are Thai you will be able to negotiate the best price. Not being able to understand a word of Thai beyond the few cute phrases he’s learned, he won’t be able to follow your conversation and you can use this time to negotiate how big of a cut you will get from the vendor for making the sale. Your farang will gain major face for getting that phone for $50 less, and you’ll get $75 for convincing him he is getting a real deal for spending $150 more than what the phone should have cost. And that’s a lot of face at a very small price.
9. Money Well Spent.
Farang hate being treated like a walking ATM. Which is stupid because everyone knows neither farang nor ATMs actually walk. Your farang will have convinced himself that the reason you like spending time with him has nothing to do with money. In fact he will come up with as many reasons as there are baht in his bank account. Lucky you. Even though it should be evident that him spending money on you is what it is all about, nothing makes a farang think he has just gained major face like you spending money on him. Like that would ever really happen.
Nonetheless, that it takes money to make money is true even in Thailand. And spending a bit of his to make a bit more of yours is a good way to allow him to believe you don’t really think of him as an ATM. Fortunately, part of his fantasy is that you have no money. So it doesn’t take much. For example, when the two for you stop at 7/11 to buy water, dig out some baht to pay for the purchase before he can get his wallet out. This simple act will bring tears to his eyes ‘cuz he’ll know it means you really lie him. And he will ignore that the baht you are using came from him in the first place.
Then, while he is trying to get himself under control, suddenly remember all of the things that you need – like a full compliment of skin whitening lotions and salves – and fill the counter with your goodies. Your farang, fresh from experiencing your largesse, will pay for your stuff. Of course. Just don’t forget to say thank you. It’ll make him tear up all over again. Just in case there was something you forgot to add to your first round of purchases. And if you are really lucky you’ll stop at a local mom and pop store instead of at 7/11 and you can double down by offering to bargain for your farang.
10. Um, About Your Face . . .
It’s a shame farang haven’t a clue about face or they would take a few simple steps to protect theirs. Like washing it occasionally. Thais know that being neat, clean, and dressed well – or at least appropriately – is all about face. Farang think that being the superior creatures that they are, they can get away with inflicting their poor grooming habits and weird sense of fashion on others. Unfortunately since your farang insists on hanging on you in public there is no way you can pretend that you do not know him and his lack of hygiene will negatively impact your face among thos who count: Thais.
If your farang didn’t spend his every waking minute thinking about all the sex he can buy, he might spend a few minutes a day going one on one with some soap and water. It will do you little good to complain about his lack of showering, he has enjoyed his twice-a-week bath since he was a baby. But he’ll quickly rise to the occasion (meaning about half an hour after he swallows a little blue pill) if you offer to shower with him. He’ll be all hands; you can use yours to lather up those places that are hard to reach for him. Like just about any spot on his body. These are the sacrifices you make for face.
There is not much you can do about the too tight shirts he wears, the pants that needed to meet a washing machine weeks ago, or his fondness for wearing black socks with sandals. But you can avoid being seen in public with him by offering him sex early in the evening. Your farang, like most elderly of his species, will fall asleep as soon as he’s come and then you can spend the evening doing what you really wanted to do (and were doing while he was busy sexing himself) anyway: watching TV.
As for those odd quirks of his, you’ll just have to suck it up and hope no one Thai notices. You may assume he is a drug-addicted psycho just cause he bites his nails, But his mom bites hers too. So it’s a learned habit you will not be able to break. That he cuts his gross toe nails at the beach is equally appalling, but those clippings can be saved and given to your local mor phee when your farang begins balking at replacing yet another cellphone. As for his belching, farting, and the constant scratching he does in public, well if he had face he wouldn’t and since he doesn’t he does. But that may draw attention away from his ugly mug and that’s the face that causes you the most problems anyway.
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