The Thai Etiquette Of Hands

When greeting a Thai male or female, a westerner will stick out his hand. The smiling Thai will offer a wilted bundle of fingers. The farang grasping this imitation of a dead octopus will mistake the weakness of the grip as an exhibition of effeminate behavior.

They couldn’t be more wrong.

Thai men are vicious fighters.

Muay Thai or Thai boxing was originally fought with gloves sprinkled with broken glass. Even lady boys are tough. And heavens forbid you get on the wrong side of a bar girl’s high heels. One hit of a stiletto would have TKOed Ali onto the ropes.

The reason for the soft touch is that touching is considered by most Siamese as a very intimate act, which doesn’t keep farangs from pressing the flesh whenever they get a chance or the Thais from showing their smile for boch-see-dah or dirty farangs, a contemplative grin to defuse this invasion of their space.

The use of hands also pertains to which you use during eating.

The right hand should be used to pick up food.

Never the left, since Thais use that hand to scrap your bum in the WC or Hong-Nam.

Of course most Thais don’t know that farangs use their right hand to wipe their butt, unless the westerner happens to be left-handed, which brings up the question why do we shake hands at all, considering that over 99% of men at baseball games and bars don’t wash their hands after going for a pee.

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