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Eating Scorpions: Pitfalls of the Cambodian Dating Culture

Cambodia is the wild west of Asia.

At least that’s what I thought when I landed in Phnom Penh. I was 26-years-old, it was my second time in Asia and I had no idea what to expect. The only other Asian country I had visited before was Thailand. Now it was time to broaden my horizon.

I had planned every detail. I wanted to visit the Royal Palace, the National Museum and the Wat Phnom. And then it happened. My plans went down the drain.

Why? Well, I met a girl.

I met a girl who was so beautiful, so feminine, and so playful that I wanted to spend every second with her. Yes, we went to the Wat Phnom. But we didn’t make it to the National Museum because we were too busy talking about each other’s culture, beliefs and values.

And I was too busy falling in every trap that the Cambodian dating culture provided me with.

What? You Can Speak English?

I didn’t plan to meet her. But when I saw her, I just had to approach her. I took my courage in both hands and said: “Excuse me, do you speak English?”

I expected a blank stare, a hesitant and shy “no”, or something along the lines of “I no English”. Then it happened. She opened her mouth and spoke English. I was shocked. Seriously, I couldn’t believe it.

I asked her if she was Cambodian. She nodded her head. I asked her why she can speak English so well. She was pissed because I was just another ignorant foreigner who believes that Khmer women are uneducated.

And no, before you ask, she doesn’t work as a bar girl. She has a normal job in a fancy hotel in Phnom Penh. I won’t reveal the name, but I’ll reveal another secret that I learned:

Cambodian women have better English skills than Thai women.

I said it. And I won’t take it back.

Give off a Sex Tourist Vibe and You’re Out

Days later I asked her: “Why did you talk to me? Why didn’t you reject me?”

She told me about her experience with other foreigners. Usually, some guy in a dirty tank top, sandals, and socks approaches her. She doesn’t even listen to these guys because well, they are “sex tourists”. “The stereotype is true”, she told me. “They all look the same.”

What about me?

I dressed up. Okay, I didn’t wear a suit, but I wore a blue button shirt, long pants and shoes that consist of more fabric than flip flops. This made all the difference. My vibe was casual and friendly, not desperate and horny.

The moral of the story:

Don’t give off sex tourist vibes. In other words, leave the goddamn sandals and tank tops in the closet.

Avoid Irish Pubs if You Want to Meet Good Girls

Phnom Penh has more than 1.5 million inhabitants. You can meet hundreds, no thousands of good, educated, and friendly Cambodian women.

Why on earth would you look for one in an Irish Pub?

Think before you go out. The guys who spend the whole day sitting in a bar and wondering how to meet a girl that doesn’t work in a are desperate and clueless, at least most of them. A man with a life, mission, and a purpose doesn’t spend his valuable time sipping seven beers in an Irish Pub in Cambodia. It’s that simple.

So, who do you think goes to Western bars to meet men?

Yep, these girls are probably hookers. Or let’s call them potential girlfriends who expect a compensation for their time-investment. Anyway, these are not the kind of women you want to meet.

You want to meet the kind of girls who ask you to eat a damn scorpion.

Wait? What??

I Really Don’t Want to Eat This Scorpion

The biggest pitfalls when it comes to dating in Cambodia are the delicious local meals. Yeah, they are so “delicious”. I want to puke when I think back to some of the things I ate. Yikes!

Okay, I didn’t try the fried spiders. I also didn’t eat any of the crispy crickets. Even though she told me that they taste like chicken wings. No, I ate something else. I tried grilled scorpions, and let me tell you something.

That stuff is quite good.

However, once I thought about what I just ate, I had to run to the bathroom and…I want to spare you the details.

Why Do I Feel Like Walking Next to a Child?

What I’m about to share might sound funny, but it was a serious issue for me.

I had to learn to deal with the fact that she was 30 centimeters smaller than me.

Oh boy, that wasn’t easy. I consider myself a human being with strong moral values. And I felt as if I was walking next to a child. It was so creepy at first, and I was weirded out by myself.

Please don’t get me wrong. I was 26 and she was 25. There was nothing weird or creepy about us being together. I’ve seen way creepier shit in Cambodia than me. But still, it felt weird. In the past, I had always dated women who were taller than 1.60 meters. Now I was walking next to a woman who was 1.50 meters… in high heels! Every time I kissed her, my back hurt. I felt like a grandpa, a creepy grandpa.

She’s More Conservative than Your Grandmother

There’s something you need to know about Cambodian women and you either love it or hate it.

They are pretty conservative.

I tried to kiss her in public (that was dumb). She pushed me away. I asked her to come back to my hotel room. She said “I’m not a prostitute” (duh!). When I told her about her plans in life, she told me that she wants to get married and have a family. Man, I wasn’t ready for children.

It was tough. But I got used to it. In fact, I learned to appreciate it. In the West it’s almost impossible to meet a traditional woman. Now I finally met one. And I couldn’t even get to third base.

She Lives with Her Family and They Want to Meet You

What’s the scariest thing about dating Cambodian women?

Yep, it’s her family.

I mean, it’s not that they are running around with knifes, arrows, and Halloween mask to scare the shit out of you. That’s not what I mean. They are really friendly. But they are so many. I’m an only child with a mom, a dad, and two aunts. That’s about it.

When she told me to meet her family, I expected three or maybe five people.

Suddenly, I found myself standing in front of a 24 Cambodians. Holy crap! I was so nervous that I could feel my heartbeat in my left foot. It took me a while to get comfortable. But don’t worry. None of them had knifes and arrows.

It was all a phenomenal experience.

The author, Sebastian Harris, has written about dating Cambodian women on his own blog, with 24 Facts About Dating Cambodian Girls You Must Know

One thought on “Eating Scorpions: Pitfalls of the Cambodian Dating Culture

  • Are Irish pubs the same in all the cities you visited, or is it just Phnom Penh ?


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