Stickman Readers' Submissions November 28th, 2001

Generalisations About Bargirls

There are so much exceptions on your “rules” when you define bargirls in just a few lines, that I feel obliged to share my experiences with you.

I am just an average guy, 39 years old. Not ugly, not handsome. Dutch. Bachelor degree. Worked in the IT branch. After my divorce, back in 1999, I decided to go to SE Asia in April 2000 for a three and a half week holiday. Alone. My first choice was Indonesia. The unstable political situation however in Indonesia made me decide to look for an alternative. A ticket to Bangkok was the cheapest alternative (yes I am Dutch). So I arrived one hot and humid afternoon at Don Muang in April 2000, not realising it would change my life 180 degrees. Standing at Don Muang I still hadn't made my mind up where to go. Left or right. Should I catch the train to Ayyuthya and later on go to Isaan? That was my initial plan, to go to the “unspoiled, non-touristic Isaan”. Or should I stay in Bangkok for one night, do a good night sleep and head for Isaan the next day. I decided to stay in Bangkok because I was really tired after the plane trip. I went, thanks to the Lonely Planet guide, to a nice hotel at Charoen Krung Road, Inntown Inn. At night, after a few hours sleep and a good, long shower I decided to take a look at nearby Patpong. In Patpong I just walked around and finally seated myself in one of those beer bars. Naive as I was, I didn’t realise the girls working there were all prostitutes. Sure I liked the attention the girls gave me. There was that particular nice woman who hardly spoke to me, but had a smile that melted my heart. After a few beers I went to my hotel, too shy to ask her out. The next day, I didn’t go to Ayyuthya, in fact I never got there. I went straight back to the same beer bar. I drank some beers to gather some courage and asked the girl (let’s call her Waan) if she would like to have dinner with me. She would. I waited a few hours and when she finally finished working, we went out for dinner. No mention of bar-fine or money otherwise. Dinner was nice, the company of Waan, 32 years old, extremely beautiful, was nice. To make a long story short: she stayed with me for three and a half week. The first two weeks we hardly came out of the hotel room. I didn’t give her one baht, I didn’t know I had to, and she didn’t complain. After a few days however she talked about me paying a daily 400 baht barfine. I did pay, because it sounded reasonable to me. Her boss had to without Waan. I, very naive, truly wasn’t aware of the fact that Waan was a “working girl” and Waan surely didn’ t enlighten me. We didn’t talk about money once. I thought myself being very generous, buying her food and paying the hotel bills. Yes, you can laugh. After two weeks, we headed for Koh Samet and had a great week. Back in Bangkok I stayed in her very grubby room for three days, before I went back to Holland. I was madly in love with her. And she with me. At least, I thought so. At Don Muang we both had a very hard time saying goodbye. Back in Holland we kept in touch. E-mail and telephone. After two weeks I decided to go back to Bangkok, to Waan. She was in my mind day and night. I quit my job and within six weeks Waan and I lived together in a nice apartment near the Victory monument. After two days Waan told me that she was a prostitute. I was shocked. Why didn’t she tell me before? To be honest, I was furious. For some reason however, we stayed together. In bits and pieces she told me everything. For over a month we just talked, with the help of all kinds of dictionaries.

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In the meanwhile, Waan was still working at Patpong. After that difficult month, I gave her an ultimatum. If she wanted to stay with me and give it a go, she had to stop working in Patpong immediately. She pointed that I was unreasonable, she would then be completely depending on me. I didn’t care and insisted: stop working in Patpong, otherwise we are finished. She quitted her job within two days. By the way, she worked in Patpong for four months and had several customers.

During that period I talked to lots of expats and searched the internet on the subject “bargirls”. Fortunately there is plenty of it on the net. The bottom line of these “investigations”: Bargirls are a bunch of notorious liars and one should be extremely careful getting emotionally involved with them. Knowing all that, I took my plan. I decided to stay in Bangkok with Waan for half a year. I wanted to know her through and through. In that half year I got to know her very good and decided to stay with her. For the rest of my life. That sounds dramatically, but that's how I felt and still feel. By the way, I still gave her very little money, about 500 baht a week. I didn’t want money interfering in things that were complicated enough at that time. Also, I wanted to know why she stayed with me. Was it money? So I gave her very little. If staying with me was just a money thing, she would surely have left me during those six months. I also didn’t enlighten her about my financial situation. On occasion I told her that if she wanted an easy, rich life (money wise), she lived with the wrong guy. She stayed.

Now. The end of November 2001. Waan and I live for almost a year in the countryside, somewhere in the central plains, in our newly build home. The first six months we lived in her folks home, without any western comfort. I still wasn’t sure if I could live here. That's why I hesitated for a long time to build us a home. Finally I decided I could live here and have a future with Waan in the Thai countryside. After the house was finished I bough us five computers. People from the village can buy computer time per hour, to play games, to work, whatever. I also teach some English. Two hours a day. Five days a week. I don’t like teaching English, but two hours a day is ok, and the money is good. We make about 15,000 baht a month. More then enough in the Thai countryside.

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Although Waan has only just 6 six years basic education, she turned out to be a strong and intelligent lady. She is now fully in charge of our “computer department” and does a great job. Money has never been en isn't a big issue between us. I still don’t give her any money. I just gave her the opportunity to MAKE money. And she does make money, almost all by herself.

Waan and I have a very normal, traditional life. We love each other and have lots of friends. No relative of her, all poor but hardworking people, has ever ask me to give / lend him / her any money. Not once.

Is it paradise up here? No it isn't. It’s not really that different from living in Holland. The cultural difference is the main problem. But we can cope.

How does Waan benefit from our relationship? Surely she has a better life now. Yes, I gave her that. Why? Because she is my wife and I love her. But she still has to work 6 days a week, 8 hours a day. How do I benefit from this relationship? Waan gives me joy, she is fun to be with, she is my best friend. Surely life isn't that easy for me sometimes being a farang in Thailand. But who cares? I don’t, as long as I am with Waan. I cannot imagine myself a life without her.

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Is my story exceptional? Perhaps. There aren’t that many guys who are able or want to live here in the Thai countryside and most important, can make a living in the Thai countryside. Is Waan exceptional? No, I don’t think so. In my Bangkok period I got to know lots of bargirls. No girl is the same. They are all different people, that is, if you are prepared to look through the surface. Most of them want the same as Waan: a normal, decent life and a normal, decent job (no misunderstanding: selling your body is in my opinion a VERY normal and decent job, but not in the eyes of most bargirls). Surely they sometimes lie when they work. Surely the customers lie to them also. It’s all about illusions, especially in Thailand. But isn't that the nature of the trade?

If you love a woman truly, you don’t just send her money and let her continue working in Patpong, Nana or wherever. You LIVE together. The rest is all bullshit. You live together and find out if she’s the Miss Right. Because in the end there are as much different characters as there are bargirls.

Stickman says:

This was initially sent to me just as an email, and not specifically as a submission for the website. However, the author offered for me to use it, and as I liked it, I thought others would like to read it too.

Anyway, I'm pleased that you have found someone that you are happy with, and I hope that the relationship continues to blossom. You might have found one of the ladies who was yet to be seriously damaged by the bar, and with who making a relationship work is possible. However, one year is not long enough to really know….though you have done well so far. You're not out of the fire yet sunshine…let us know how it is going in another 18 or so month's time! Remember, with virtually any other girl, the experience would not have been the same at all…

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