I think the driving force behind most bargirl jealousy towards 'butterfly' customers is simply financial. It's dressed up to involve 'face' and emotions, but at the end of the day, it's really resenting the fact that the money went somewhere else. A lot of farangs willingly fall for the jealousy routine. Hey, it's a great shot to a guy's ego to think that a woman (maybe young, maybe pretty) is up in arms and jealous over him. It's a feeling that a lot of men have never experienced; certainly by the time we grace our way through the late 30's and 40's, the number of women who will go into screaming fits of jealousy over us tends to taper off. Bargirls can be great at using to their advantage, when the situation calls. But look at some of the dynamics behind the situation, and see the patterns…
Ever notice the really 'cool cucumber' customer? He may be either a prolific or occasional butterfly, but as long as he keeps his cool when confronted with a jealous bargirl, the histrionics don't progress to far, and more often than not the issue is dropped and the business relationship is easily resumed next time the customer is ready. If the bargirl senses there's nothing financial to be gained by hysterical jealousy, it simply isn’t displayed. Of course, there is a chance that the issue may escalate to threat or actual use of physical violence – beer bottles smashed on the head, or hired attackers (in really rare cases), but even that behavior is in my view financially motivated – it's just extortion. It happens when the bargirl senses that the customer might crack if she ratchets up the pressure, and some girls are perfectly willing to do so. The really cool cucumber seldom faces these situations.
The individual bargirl's financial situation at the moment has to be taken into consideration as well. A major family crisis, or (more likely) a gambling setback or looming debt will all play into the use of the jealous rage card. The butterfly-customer encounter, if played right, can be a last-minute, chance lifesaver. Sometimes, the whole butterfly encounter is the equivalent of a setup, everyone was in on it all along, and it was played out to bring in the quick cash fix that only a guilt-ridden man can cough up.
This type of situation can show up in all kinds of relationships. I once had an acquaintance in Hong Kong who'd been married to a Thai (bargirl) for 7 years. He was as big a butterfly as they came, and she was a jealous fiend. One day, he tried a new approach; he told his wife he was going out clubbing on a Friday evening, and that he might end up short timing it, oh – and here's HK$1000 if you promise not to get upset (this was about the going rate for a disco-Thai girl in Hong Kong in those days). The wife was delighted with such a deal, and this approach worked well a couple of times, until one day, a friend of the wife pointed out to her that even though she was getting HK$1000, another HK$1500 was being spent on girl / hotel. Jealous rage time again.
When relatively new punter with a somewhat 'good-heart' strays and encounters a jealous-rage fit, all the anger seems directed at him. It’s seldom directed at the girl with whom he strayed. Most of bargirls operate with each other in a manner resembling ice-hockey players. They may get rough and scuffle during match time, but they all know the rules and the way the game is played. Anger, when directed at another girl, is more over lost earnings than hurt or loss of face.
There's no logic or rationale here. It would be like the manager of my local McDonald’s becoming enraged at me for spending money at an Italian restaurant last night, or for stopping at another McDonald’s when I was on the other side of town, or for going to Denny’s at 2:00AM, when McDonald’s was CLOSED. On the other hand, if I ran a restaurant, and I knew I could browbeat some of my customers into always eating at my place… well, business is business. Luckily, most restaurant patrons know that no such obligation exists. Punters also sense that no such obligation exits. The bargirls know it, too – but, business is business.
With the bargirls, it is all about money. Yeah, some might want to score a Western guy long term, but at the end of the day, that it is still about money, isn’t it. And in a country that is obsessed with money, one that gets away can make them behave quite badly…