Stickman's guide to Bangkok
A Bargirl And A Knife
I first went to Vietnam in February 2002 to teach English at a university in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon). Saigon is full of girlie bars catering to foreigners and I visited some of them in the first few days without being tempted. At this point (32 years old), I had never knowingly had sex with a prostitute and had no desire to do so.
However, within a week I had succumbed to the “charms” of these Vietnam “ladies”. On my drunken way home from a bar, a beautiful girl approached me on the street who said she would sleep with me for US$20. I thought why not and tried it. I must admit it was different to what I had imagined the girl was good and we both (I think) enjoyed it.
But for me, it didn’t feel real and for the next 3 months I dated “normal” Vietnam girls. But these girls were pretty boring and clearly looking for a husband to take care of them and their family. Being an English teacher, I am in no real position to do that. So gradually and reluctantly, I returned to the bar scene looking for some company.
For the next 4 months I was your typical sexpat, working from Monday to Friday and using a bar girl once or twice a week. This lifestyle left me feeling lonely and empty so I made plans to leave Vietnam and return to England in December 2002. Many of the bar girls I slept with wanted to have a relationship with me but I knew that it was a bad idea to do this.
However, 5 weeks before I was due to leave I met a freelancer in a bar and I became involved with her because it was never a customer-prostitute relationship. I didn’t sleep with her that night and we went out together before having sex. When I didn’t see her, I knew she was still working so I decided to end it.
Whether it was loneliness or not I don’t know, but I couldn’t stop thinking about her and I called her but she wouldn’t see me. But over the next few weeks, I ran into her in a few bars and we would always spend the night together. She made it very clear she wanted to live with me but I couldn’t because I was leaving Vietnam soon and I didn’t think I could afford to “take care” of a bar girl. Also, I wasn’t sure I could have a bar girl as a girlfriend.
So I went back to England in December 2002 and sent her an email just to say hello. She didn’t reply so I tried to forget about her and I almost had when 10 weeks later she sent me an email. I felt so happy that she remembered me and we exchanged emails for a few weeks and then (you guessed it) she asked me for money (£200). I said no but she told me it was only a “one-off” and she needed it because she had borrowed money and was now being threatened. I thought about it and sent her a gift of £50 to a friend as I don’t believe in long distance relationships. Anyway, we continued emailing each other for a while until she suddenly stopped.
By this time, I had already decided to return to Vietnam for another teaching stint not particularly to see this girl but to see other friends I had made there and to try to live there again with a better paying job. So I returned to Vietnam in August 2002 and after a few days I decided to email this girl. She replied immediately - we met later that night and spent the night together and most of the next week together. Again she wanted to live with me but in exchange I had to give her an “allowance” of US$300 per month.
I told her I couldn’t do this at that time because I had just started working for a private language institute and wouldn’t get paid for a month. I also thought it was a bit much given the average Vietnamese earns around US$70 a month. So I asked if she would wait until I had more money she agreed and we parted. For the next 4 weeks I worked and indulged in some bar girl antics with some girls who agreed to go with me cheaply. By this time I’d had enough of Vietnam and was ready to leave. I was tempted to call the girl and see her before I left but I thought it would do more harm than good.
About 4 days before I had pencilled in to leave, I ran into this girl in a bar and couldn’t resist talking to her as seeing her re-opened my feelings for her which I had tried to suppress. We spent the night together and I asked her to look for a house so we could try to live together. I think I did this because I knew that I still loved her and I knew that if I returned to England without trying to live with her I wouldn’t be able to forget her. I had misgivings but I couldn’t stop myself.
We moved in together and things were OK apart from disagreements about money and some annoying habits she had which I told her about but it didn’t seem to register. Do all bar girls retch up phlegm after showering? She tried to be a “good girl”, going to the market in the mornings and cooking for me. However, the first weekend we lived together I could see she was itching to go out and I sensed it was a struggle for her to stay in. I never told her she couldn’t go out as I like to go out myself and on the Sunday night I went out myself to meet my friends. She wasn’t happy about this but I had been teaching children all weekend and I needed to let off some steam. I went out at 10 o’clock and came back at 3 o’clock I did nothing wrong and had a good time with my friends.
The next weekend she arranged to go out with one of her friends on the Saturday night. I was angry at this because her friend was another bar girl and she went out looking really tarty. But I thought since I had been out the previous weekend I would try to trust her. Well, she told me she would be back in a few hours in fact she never came home that night and when she came back the next morning at 11 o’clock she came out with a story about drinking too much and sleeping at her friend’s house. Maybe she was telling the truth but given the fact she is a bar girl it made me very angry and hurt. I said to her that maybe we should finish and she should go and live with her friends if she wanted that kind of lifestyle. But she promised she wouldn’t do it again and I relented and agreed to try again.
For the next month she was very good she never went out to bars and things were pretty good between us apart from her shocking jealousy. One time she smashed a full bowl of soup on the floor just because I wouldn’t delete a girl’s number from my phone. I explained to her that the girl was just a friend and she even called her to check! This was my first glimpse of her violent nature. She also has a scar (from a nail) on her chest from fighting with another bar girl.
Slowly over the next month I fell out of love with this girl. I would like to list some of the things she did and said which made this happen.
* “playfully” slapping my face and grabbing my nose for no reason
* talking about ex-boyfriends and customers
* threatening to go “working” if I went out with my friends
* staring, smiling and even winking at guys behind my back in bars
* getting jealous if I spoke to another girl (yet if she spoke to a man no problem)
* being greedy asking me to buy her things all the time
* forgetting my birthday and throwing away an Xmas card I received from my family
* being put second to Vietnamese people she didn’t even know
One incident in a nightclub really made me angry and I guess was the beginning of the end for me. I took her out and later a guy I knew came over and said “hi” and that was all. But my girlfriend started talking about him saying that man had slept with one of her friends and she looked jealous and started staring at the guy. She continued doing this and asked me to introduce her and they started talking and she pretty much forgot about me. Later I saw the man look at her and in Vietnam if you point upwards and zip your mouth it means “I want to sleep with you but tell no-one”. My girlfriend did this signal back to him and I thought OK if you want to do that you can fuck off. So I left her there and went off and got drunk somewhere else. When I went home she was there and we had a big argument and the next day I asked her to go but she wouldn’t. She persuaded me to let her stay.
Anyway, on New Year’s Eve she smashed another plate after an argument and I’d had enough so I stormed off and went out with my friends and got drunk. I hoped she would go home as I had been dropping hints all the previous week about how we weren’t getting on. I got home at about 3 o’clock and she wasn’t there and I stupidly (hey, I was drunk and upset) threw her stuff out into the lobby area where the housekeeper sleeps. I thought if you want to go out “working” you can live somewhere else. I went to sleep and woke up the next morning and she still hadn’t come back. I saw the housekeeper had packed her things and I thought that would be it she would come back and go.
However, when she came back she banged on my door and begged me to let her in and I reluctantly agreed. Well, she persuaded me to have one more try and she started moving her things back in. I’m not sure why but she suddenly got really angry and started throwing things at me and then she grabbed her high-heeled shoe and hit me with it cutting my arm. I managed to calm her down with the help of the housekeeper but I was a bit disturbed by this behaviour.
After this, she started to behave really nicely towards me and I really tried to give it another go. But she was still the same, asking me to buy her things and staring/smiling at guys in bars behind my back. Well, the end came on the following Tuesday night.
On the Sunday, I asked her if we could separate for a week as we were arguing and I was unhappy with the way things were but she said no. On the Monday her friend came back from Hanoi this was the girl who she had gone out with and never came home. So I sat down with my girlfriend and told her I didn’t want her to go out with this girl as we already had enough problems and she said she wouldn’t. But on the Tuesday night, I came home from teaching and she was all dressed up ready to go out with this girl. I was very angry but my girlfriend assured me she would be back before 12 o’clock. She didn’t come back at 12 and I thought that’s it I want rid of her whatever happens. When she got home at 2 o’clock, I told her to go but she wouldn’t. She asked me why and I explained that I was unhappy and that if she wanted to go out so much she could go back to working as I wasn’t financing her bar lifestyle. But she wouldn’t listen and she asked me if I had a new girlfriend and if that was why I wanted her to go. Well, I know it wasn’t the smartest thing to say but I lied and said yes in the hope she would go. But instead she flew into a rage the like of which I have never seen before or hope to ever see again.
First, she went for her high-heeled shoe again to hit me with but I grabbed hold of her and threw her out into the lobby area. The housekeeper tried to calm things down and I thought my girlfriend had but when we went back into the room she ran into the kitchen and got hold of a knife and ran at me with it in “psycho” fashion. Luckily, I hadn’t been drinking so I ran out of the room and slammed the wooden door shut behind me. A second later, I heard the sound of the knife being stabbed repeatedly into the door which I was trying to hold shut. I was terrified and yelled at the housekeeper to open the outside door so I could run out into the road outside which is in a kind of cul-de-sac.
So I ran outside and waited to see what would happen next. The housekeeper came outside and told me I could stay in the house next door for the night. I went in there and later I heard the girl come outside and come to the house where I was. She started yelling at me to go back to our room but I said no as I was terrified she would try to stab me again. Next she tried to climb over the metal door to get at me but she couldn’t so she picked up some rocks and started throwing them at the door shattering the outside glass.
Then she started talking in Vietnamese to the young man in the house and I told him not to believe her and not to open the door whatever she said maybe he couldn’t understand me but he let her in and she ran at me again. Thankfully, she didn’t have the knife and I held her down while she was biting and scratching me. I repeatedly asked someone to phone the police but no-one would (that really pissed me off). At this point, the owners of the house arrived and they got hold of her arms while I went back to my room. I quickly packed a few things and left in a taxi to find a hotel at 4 in the morning.
The next day I tried to figure out what to do next. I decided to wait for a couple of days and then go back to my room and try and get the rest of my stuff. Two days later, I went back and the landlord told me the girl had gone to her friend’s house with my things and the rent she had threatened him to get the final month’s rent back. Next I went to the British Consulate to see if they could help but they said they couldn’t do anything so I went to see the girl at her friend’s house.
I was pretty apprehensive about this but I knew I would have to face her some time. When I got there she had calmed down and we went to a café to talk and I tried to tell her it was over but she wouldn’t listen. She told me she loved me very much and wanted to try again but how could I after she attacked me with a knife? So I tactfully told her I would think about getting back together and would come back in 3 days and could I have my stuff back. She gave me some of it and I left.
Three days later I went back to tell her it was over and she started crying and I sensed she was on the edge again so I left as quickly as possible just leaving the rest of my things. I thought that was it but the next morning she showed up outside my school and followed me to a café on a motorcycle taxi. She asked me to live with her again and when I said no she stole my bag containing credit cards and plane ticket and gave it to the motorcycle taxi man who rode off.
I’d had enough so I went straight back to my hotel, packed my things in a holdall, went to the bank, withdrew all my money and jumped on the next plane to Bangkok. I stayed in Thailand for 3 weeks during which time she sent me emails every day begging me to go back to her. She told me she had started drinking heavily and had to go into hospital I felt bad and wavered some days and thought about going back but the thought of that knife brought me to my senses. Especially since her friend told me afterwards she had hidden the knife under the pillow in our room that night after I ran out into the road. Maybe she was planning to stab me while I slept if I had gone back in there???
I’ve been back in the UK for 2 weeks now and the emails have stopped so I hope she has accepted it’s over. So that’s my story and I hope it deters anyone out there from getting involved with these girls OK she may be a bad case but when things go wrong they really go wrong.
This represents what can happen when things go wrong in a relationship with an Asian women. Not common, but it does happen.
The author of this article wishes to remain anonymous
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