Don’t Be A Cheap Charlie
I have just finished reading a series of reader submissions and have decided to submit my own…not that I have any great stories that many of you have experienced to a much more interesting extent. I would like to give you my perspective on Thailand.
My first trip to Thailand was in November 2001. I was only able to stay 6 days and having made the long flight from the US, it took me those many days to recover from jet-lag. I had no real experiences to report except one. I made the mistake of taking a bargirl from Patpong down to Pattaya with me for two days. I had no idea what Pattaya was all about – that is my excuse for doing such a stupid thing. Besides, it was my "first time Thailand".
The first night we were in Pattaya, she went in season (mai sabai). Bad luck for me. That night she and I, along with my brother and his friend, innocently strolled walking street with no intentions of hooking up. I could see the frustration on his face as she and I walked together. He wanted me to be on point for the chicks down in Pattaya as I am 10 years younger and had the innocent baby face that I think Thai chicks like. Truly I look like the proverbial walking "naive ATM machine" to the Thai bargirls.
Luckily for me, she concocted some story about her Mom showing up in Bangkok and that she had to take the bus up there and leave me in Pattaya. I think what actually happened is that my brother told her to get the hell out of Pattaya so that he and I could explore Pattaya as it is meant to be explored. I did have a good time with her and she was a very nice girl, but I was glad to see her go.
The next night I took home two girls from a bar on Beach Road and had a the best time of my life up to that point. Every subsequent day in Thailand gives that boast a run for it's money.
My next trip to Thailand was in February and March 2002. The stay was originally for 3 weeks, but at the end of those three weeks we decided to bust out our ticket and buy another round trip ticket on a different airline which allowed us to stay an extra week. By doing this we secured the tickets for a subsequent trip which we will be taking in May/June
2002. We leave in 5 days and I am so excited I can barely sit still.
I experienced Thailand on a completely different level during the one month trip, having time to adjust to the time change and the temperature. Like many have done before me, I got myself in trouble with a bargirl who was quite nice to me at first, but turned into a demon as the Thai chicks have a tendency of doing. One morning, one of my bar girl conquests showed up at my hotel. The doorman (who I had already made friends with by buying cigarettes and beer for him to consume while he worked) came up to my room and informed me that a girl was here to see me and informed me of her condition. He told me that he was trying to calm her down but that she was going crazy in the lobby about how I scammed her out of money. The hotel manager would have called but I was busy getting a massage by one of the girls I met down in the pool and I had turned off the ringer on the phone. As I got to the lobby, the bargirl was yelling and screaming in Thai in front of the manager, the receptionist, and all the farangs checking in to the hotel. I can imagine what she was telling the manager about me. In short, I was told that she said that I owed her money because I didn't pay her for her company and that she didn't pay her rent because I didn't pay her and she was thrown out of her apartment. It was a horrible scene. I took her outside, endured the 15 minute verbal assault, gave her 1,000 baht and never heard from her again. Maybe I shouldn't have given her the money, but I wanted to end the situation and giving her the money sounded like the best alternative. I consider myself quite lucky considering what could have happened. (I'd love to know more about exactly what happened here. Did you pay her anything or initially or was your initial payment deemed to low – Stick)
Turns out the next evening, the hotel receptionist gave me a note that explained to me that the day receptionist liked me and wanted me to "go" with her but she was too shy to start up any conversation. I am not sure what that was all about considering just one day earlier, this day receptionist witnessed the bargirl tirade.
All of my days in Pattaya were spent doing the same thing every day: drinking Heineken and barfining women, which was the intention. I pretty much stuck with soi 7 & 8 and by the time we left I had so many bargirls chasing me that I had to take alleys and side roads in order to navigate 7 & 8. We managed to make friends with other farangs while we were in Thailand. They were quite the characters. One explained this theory on "Thai charisma". Charisma in terms of picking up Thai chicks or getting laid is defined by the quantity of baht in your pocket. More baht, more charisma! Where in America it is governed by money, looks, house, car, job, family, blah, blah, blah. In Thailand, you could be overweight to the point of being bedridden but still have that "charisma" that will get you the most beautiful girl you will ever be with in your life and would have no chance with in the States.
One thing I have learned and is the message of this submission is the following: If you treat a Thai with respect and be generous, they can be your best friend and they will never forget any favour you do for them or generosity you show them. I had a habit of buying the girls at my most frequented bar dinner from a vendor or ice cream at one of the corner stores. In one case, a man decided that he was not going to pay a girl for short time because the girl did not pre-negotiate the price and he thought it was free. She was brand new to the business, I was told, and did not know any better. This guy was a scumbag even by the looks of him. I was at the bar drinking when everything went down. The mamasan, the bargirl, and the scumbag were all yelling back and forth. He ended up not paying her. The mamasan booted him out of the bar and told him never to return. The girl was crying uncontrollably and it was killing my buzz. I felt so sorry for the girl that I gave her 500 baht of my own money – the going rate for short-time. I thought that to her, it wouldn't matter where the money came from, just that she would receive it. After I did this act, the mamasan told every girl at the bar what I had done. The reaction of the girl was complete and total shock. She came across the bar and gave me the biggest hug I have ever gotten in my life. From that point on, I was treated like a king in that bar. The owner of the bar, who frequently hung out at the bar, heard what I had done. During the next few weeks, he bought me about 5 shots every night that I was there and made sure that all the employees of the bar addressed me by name and did not try to scam me for lady drinks, pad my bill, or pull anything on me. Every night from that point on, the girls told me that they would go with me and did not want money.
In buying cigarettes and beer for the employees of the hotel, I probably saved my own ass during the incident with the bargirl. I think the manager and doorman talked her down for me before I arrived in the lobby. She could have sicked her Thai boyfriend or husband on me and I could have ended up getting my ass kicked.
The incident with the scumbag not paying for short-time gave me an excellent chance to do something kind for someone and make some friends. I expected nothing in return for that deed, but it paid me back 5 times over with drinks and no money to the chicks, although I gave them money anyway.
Thai people make a fraction of what we make at our jobs. Doing something kind like buying food, beer, cigs, or ice-cream for a Thai does not go un-noticed. A few hundred baht is little to us farangs compared with many Thais. So be generous and I guarantee that you will enjoy your experience in Thailand much more than you otherwise would.
The question at hand is the following: am I being taken advantage of or am I just taking care of people who are showing me a very good time on my vacation? Let's face it, I am coming to their country, bedding their beautiful women for very little money. Staying at a very nice hotel that would cost ten times more in the States, and eating very good food at very cheap prices.
My decision has been made. Don't be a cheap charlie!! You are only cheating yourself!!!!!!
The argument of "don't be a cheap charlie" is the one that gets visitors to Thailand's naughty nightlife more bitter and twisted than any other. There are a million factors to consider in what is a fair payment for a girl's services. However, what you are talking about here is really a slightly different concept – spending a little extra and treating people nice – and the corresponding effort that they will make with you. There is no question that the better folks in Thailand will you treat you better if you prove to be nice to them. I remember taking two security guards in my neighbourhood out for a night of drink and snooker about three and a half years ago. It was cheap, total bill came to around 600 or so baht and we were there for a few hours. These two security guards still work in the neighbourhood and they haven't fogotten – always popping out to see me and chat whenever I walk past the building where they are on duty.