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Dating in Phnom Penh

By: Saorla Posted: January-01-2006 in

The desperate and dateless situation for the females in Phnom Penh really hit hard on Valentine's day this year. This single gal assessed her options... I could have gone speed dating at the FCC but the idea of giving a kiss, hug or cross to a man I already know, work with, is married, or will invariably run into at 'The Shop' on Saturday morning didn't really appeal.

I could have put in a bid at the Bachelor Auction but decided that things really were getting desperate if I had to pay for a date...

So, unfortunately did a Bridget Jones and went along to the FCC as a non-participant, drank copious amounts of red wine, danced with the girls, ate some chocolates given to me by a girlfriend (my only Valentine) and by 11pm was singing Johnny Paul Young's 'Love is in the Air' VERY loudly... Oh well, just another Wednesday (Or was that Friday?) night in Phnom Penh...eek! - Cassie

Behold the lament of single girls in Phnom Penh. Sure there are plenty of boys around the city, but once you've ruled out Cambodian, married or faithful to girlfriend, gay or sexpat, there are few left.

Talking about the single boys, Cambodia has a glut of professional single women and a paucity of eligible men.

Identify and target the eligible boys, is the name of the game whether you play for laughs or to win. Genya said,Did I find someone I like? A couple but they were all taken within a matter of minutes!

So already there are few single boys and of those few there are, to quote Bridget Jones, alcoholics, workoholics, peeping toms, megalomaniacs, emotional fuckwits, or perverts, and so the pool gets shallower.

Often the question arises from those in couples dispensing helpful advice to people who are happier than they are, of why expat girls don't date Cambodian boys. Well some brave girls do until they are left for a previously undisclosed marriage or a marriage-to-be.

As one girl said the cultural differences are such that the power imbalance would be considerable for the average Cambodian male. The girls I know who do date Cambodians had to teach them how to kiss, which bodes ill for having a fun time.

I'm not sure if the word disaster covers the dating situation that single girls find themselves in when they arrive in country, so I asked the girls for their perspective

'A lost cause' is how I would describe the dating here. - K

Dating in Cambodia sucks... I have been here for a year now and have yet to go on a date and it's not due to the lack of propositioning. - B

A date in Cambodia? It's like snow in the Sahara! - Genya

A vision of the Sahara desert comes to mind - dry, barren and rough. - X

It's not that I never meet anyone, I mean I don't, but I don't want a backpacker, an intern, a bi-both ways, a guy only after Khmer girls or a married guy! Just simply a normal guy with a job and some kind of goals in life! Yet it seems I'm asking too much! - K

I might be pessimistic, though I see it as being realistic. I'm basically not ever, not even through naiveté, going to sleep with a man that's into the commercial sex scene, even if this means being completely devoid of any sexual activity... and damn am I going crazy! - B

It sucks to be straight and single in this town but what about the gay girls? What's the scene like? The rumours are that the straight girls have started dating gay girls because the boys are just not present.

What is the scene like - great if you're a lesbian - they seem to get loads of sex, apparently from all the frustrated straight girls too! - Genya

As a gay girl in Phnom Penh, attempting to 'hook up' is not really the question, avoiding becoming the subject of gossip and rumours, is. Still, with people leaving and new ones arriving, the scene hopefully rotates enough to make it sustainable fun.

One interesting facet of the scene is that there are an inordinate number of 'straight' women dancing in the same space, possibly due to the scarcity of available chaps... or at least, that's how the story goes... - English Girl

So those are our options, find the rarest of the rare - a single boy capable of social interaction, sexpats, girl on girl or masturbation. But is there an often untapped resource? Straight girls, listen up, there are boys out there.

If you want to get laid, think backpackers! Now granted they can be a little smelly and you really don't want to hear how meditation changed their life, or the funny story with the syphilis, but showers, oral sex and condoms will fix all the issues.

Shagging backpackers is the new black. Of course it is the definition of a one night stand but at least you can be fairly sure that you won't be the subject of the latest Phnom Penh gossip. Upon close observation, the habitat of the vir backpackerus cambodi appears to be concentrated in lakeside. There is cheap drinking up there too.

I have a friend who was seriously dicked over by a male expat here. I still recall the text she sent me that said "I think I just have to go to the lake and meet a backpacker." So I took her to the lake that evening. She eyed one guy who was sitting at a table near us at the Flying Elephant... My friend got exactly what she wanted, finding a cute guy who she danced and made out with. - Liz

I'm just going to stick with the ol' back packers! - B

In a community where there are so many more female expats than males, and so many of the males already have significant others, sometimes you just gotta go to the lake and hook up with a backpacker.

I've heard a number of expat females who have gone backpacker one lonely night. The guys really go for the whole expat thing and think it's awesome you live here. If one is trying to hook up with a backpacker, taking them to heart of darkness is a MOST. - - Liz

So, girls, if you are lonely and/or horny and there is zero possibility of going out with an expat, then head up to the lake where you can find company for the evening. Just remember to use plenty of soap and the entire box of condoms.

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