Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Thai-Light Zone: The Presence of Women

No, not the presence of women in general, nothing new about that, women make up half of the population wherever you go. I’m talking about the casual presence of women in Thai men’s rooms.

It is common to encounter Thai women cleaning staff in men’s rooms. Maybe you walk in the door and a woman is cleaning a sink: how should you proceed? Maybe you are taking a leak and a woman suddenly walks up behind you with a broom and a dust pail: how do you feel about that?

In many malls, mostly in your better malls, there is a woman in the men’s room full time, she never leaves. One woman for each men’s room. They putter around, clean the sinks and mirrors, check the stalls after use to ensure freshly flushed and wiped neatness for the next user. It’s a bit disconcerting at first.

The rule is to just ignore them, except for maybe a brief friendly smile and a nod of the head. And that’s if they catch your eye, in general they will remain focused on trivialities and ignore you too. No socializing, and please god, no tips, they’ll think you want something and freak out. Just go about your merry way.

Ah, the ways that travel broadens the mind.

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