The Pursuit of Thai Coyotes in Singapore

Dec 15, 2010
-A +A

You might think that the scantily-clad erotic dancers at Thai discos are here for a quick buck. But some of them are really looking for love, and a growing number of Singaporean men are falling for them.

He is a high-flying Singaporean banker; 27 years old, handsome, athletic, wears Cavalli suits and drives a brand new Audi TT. The kind of young man you’d expect to find in the sophisticated nightspots about town.

But that’s not where you’ll find Elvin. He prefers Thai discos, which are increasingly common in Singapore. He goes to Thai discos not for sleazy fun or to bring a girl home for sex; he’s there to find love with a coyote dancer.

Coyote dancing is, essentially, erotic dancing by scantily clad women. The term ‘coyote’ comes from Coyote Ugly, the 2002 Hollywood movie about a group of women who run a New York nightclub. Coyote dancers, in Singapore at least, are a special breed. To call them pseudo-prostitutes, as some do, would be a gross oversimplification. Pseudo-prostitutes are the pole dancers that do their dance, then entertain you and try to get you to buy them drinks, and when you offer them enough or if they really like you, they agree to a ‘da pao’ (takeaway) for a night of fun.


Coyotes performing on stage at a Thai disco (Photo by hellochris on Flickr)

Coyotes performing on stage in a Thai disco (Photo by hellochris on Flickr)


The coyote just does her 15 minute sexy dance shift and doesn’t bother with active entertainment. She’s not going to gratify some loser to make a few dollars. She’s looking for something more … genuine? So she waits for someone like Elvin to start a chase; she longs for an authentic romance.

This is what Elvin is looking for too.

“Normal Singapore girls are a waste of time”, Elvin says. “They string you along and dump you if you don’t match up to their high expectations or if you fail to impress their group of girlfriends.

“Normal Singapore girls are a waste of time”, Elvin says. “They string you along and dump you if you don’t match up to their high expectations or if you fail to impress their group of girlfriends.

“But these Thai girls, they’re nice and simple. When you do sweet things for them, they recognize the sincerity and appreciate the gesture. They are kind and friendly. There was even this one girl who ran out to buy me some cough mixture from a nearby 7-11 when she noticed me coughing. I was so touched! Where can you find a girl like that in Singapore?

“Girls in Singapore only care about themselves and their image, and if you don’t help with that you’re gone. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that these Thai girls are smoking hot!”

Elvin is not alone in this. A good number of eligible Singaporean men seem to have grown tired of the conventional romance with women from their society. Perhaps, like Elvin, they have suffered a string of failed relationships with Singapore women. Hurt and bitter, they have become fearful of approaching the modern, empowered Singaporean lady whom they see as self-sufficient, competent and opinionated.

The coyote, in contrast, is sweet and simple. She might not speak English well and comes from a completely different culture, but she is looking for love, real love. She does not sleep with men for money, or at least not immediately. She wants them to fall in love with her; and she is an expert at this.


228 Scantily clad and extremely alluring Thai coyotes


The man experiences the adrenaline of chasing a girl but with fewer complications and with a greater chance of success. And he falls head-over-heels in love with his coyote. Veterans call it the ‘Girlfriend Effect’ or GFE for short; and the Thai coyotes are GFE specialists.

The extravagances of these strange romances are incredible. The men with ample finances splurge on their coyotes without limit, it is said. Some bring the coyote’s family over from Thailand for fully paid holidays; others fly Thai celebrities down from Thailand to appear at the Thai disco in order to impress their coyote. And of course they shower their coyote with expensive gifts.

Those with less money show their love in other ways. They drive their coyotes to and from from work every night; they travel to remote villages in Thailand to deliver a birthday card, and intervene should the coyote run into trouble with the authorities. In other words, everything a man would do for the girlfriend he loves.

Sadly, these relationships are often dysfunctional and do not last. But the failed lovers soon pick themselves up and get back into the chase.

Some observers might see the coyote chasing phenomenon as nothing more than gullible Singapore men being taken advantage of by cynical Thai call girls.

But if you speak at length with a person like Elvin or with one of the coyotes, you get a glimpse of the genuine joy they get from this dating game that takes place in the shadows. Indeed, there is a sad beauty in the way these odd parties find temporary comfort in each other.




Darius Sit is currently studying Finance and Religion at the National University of Singapore (NUS). He plays Rugby and dreams of writing poetry for a living.