But although farangs have a broader interpretation of beauty, Bangkok women face another dilemma — the “sweet Thai girlfriend” stereotype.
When they date Westerners, they often find the men treat Thai women far differently than they would women in their home countries.
Photo: Courtesy of Tuna Dunn Traditional train wreck For many Thai women, it’s not as simple as “getting out there and meeting people.” Tuna Dunn, a Thai illustrator famous for her dark comics about relationships, has previously said she thinks relationships aren’t happening often enough because of Thai people’s reserved nature.
“A lot of my friends have never really had a boyfriend or girlfriend. Women don’t approach men and men aren’t that confident. The couples I know started as friends and were in the same social circle,” she told Thailand is a society where people generally don’t stray far from their own social class and many have an eye firmly toward marriage.
“I texted my friend the first day I saw him in class that I liked this guy, but I didn’t even think about speaking to him until he asked me out,” Ying said.
“It’s not that I try to be a traditional Thai lady.
Given how many Western men relish the more “traditional” (read: pre-feminist revolution) concept of male-female relationships they sometimes encounter here, that’s perhaps not surprising.
Even for those not indulging in retrograde Orientalist fantasies about submissive Asian housewives, it’s all too easy for them to not respect their Thai partner as a true equal. She said of Western men: “People from Western society tend to be more respectful towards one another than towards Asians.
If I don’t come across a good one, I’d rather be alone.” Appearances matter Asian culture is widely known for ridiculously high beauty standards that most can’t achieve without the benefit of plastic surgery.
Advertising, TV, and media in general dictate that, for a Thai woman to be beautiful, she must have light skin, a pointy nose, and a petite body (yet with extremely large breasts).
Because of this, Thais may approach relationships more seriously than Westerners, who are comfortable chatting up complete strangers as well as with the phenomena of “friends with benefits,” “seeing each other,” and “not labeling things.” It might be due to this that most Bangkok women find themselves dating the people they come across in their social circle — and only those of the same or higher social class to boot.
Call it having standards, call it ticking off a checklist, but they tend to go out with someone they already know to have the qualities they want, rather than “wasting time” learning about a complete stranger.
Think about the invisible office girls in ballet flats that you look right through on the BTS, the good girls who live with their parents in the suburbs, or the intense career women who receive more messages on Linked In than Tinder. While there are no men courting them, they’re not bold enough when it comes to romance — they simply weren’t raised to assert themselves with the opposite sex.