My Two Cents
The numerous reader submissions on Stickman’s site (between December 6 and 10, 2003) have been quite interesting. If we look over the submissions, it is a good reminder that while a website such as Stickman’s may grow and mature in it’s knowledge through experience, the new visitors to LOS will always be new and inexperienced when they first arrive. Some punters take longer to see through the veil of “perfect Thailand” or the “perfect red light districts of LOS”, because they don’t experience or see (through the experiences of friends) the negative side for a while. Some never see through this thin guise of perfection, as they refuse to accept the facts or are lucky enough to never experience the negative consequences themselves or via their unlucky comrades.
The article on what makes Thai women special shows this inexperience, in my view. People often learn through negative events in their lives, and in the beginning, it seems that most men who get involved in the Thai “red light districts” always seem to see only the positives, though the reality is steering them right in the eyes. The poster said that perhaps what makes Thai women, even bargirls, so special are Thai racial or genetic traits of “loyalty, attentiveness, faithfulness” and a commitment to making sure the punter is happy. Let’s think about the falsehoods innate in this assumption. When we look at real experiences, I think the truth is right there, in front of most punters.
Exactly how many men would truly consider these bargirls “faithful”? I don’t think I even have to go beyond this for most readers, especially those who have been around the red light scene for any reasonable period of time. By the very definition of what a bargirl is, she cannot be faithful, unless you consider faithfulness to be only for the time she is in front of her current punter and therefore unable to be “unfaithful” elsewhere.
Loyalty. I think what I said about faithfulness above addresses this.
Attentiveness. Ask yourself how often a bargirl will pick up her cell phone when she is “occupied” with a punter, even in the “transactional trade” of her “service”? How often have you noticed they will just stop and talk to someone else (usually another bargirl) when you are walking around, and not even bother introducing you to the friend or vice-versa? That pretty much takes care of attentiveness, or the lack of it.
Making the punter happy. Some do seem to care about this and some don’t. In the bargirls I’ve met in my past life, some seem to care about customer satisfaction and some don’t. Some seem to care about satisfying this customer but not this other one. Some seem to care about satisfying you on this visit, but not in a subsequent visit later. There is not general trend here, across all bargirls, in the experiences I seen both personally and through the experiences of friends and acquaintances.
On the other hand, the poster from Australia, who married a bargirl, seems to have seen the reality of the situation. Thailand does have a draw but you have to understand the bargirls are what they are, and there is nothing special about them except for the cultural misperceptions and different nature of Asian prostitutes. Culturally driven perceptions of what is attractive make it easy for Western men to find Asian women, with their exotic looks, attractive, even when those same women are regarded as bearing unattractive features within their own society (other Thais). The exotic nature of these meetings seems to make it easy for the men to overlook the negative background of these women (low education, low social status, a generally considered negative career and social path in life). Perhaps negative traits in some (but not all) of the punters make it easy for these men to overlook the negative traits in the bargirls too. After all, many are not the youngest, the most attractive, or the most suave of Western men, though many are quite well off too. The Australian poster has it right, in my view, in saying it can work out, but it has it’s share of problems and no, the bargirls are not the perfect mate, the best choice, or the most rational of partners to take in life. Though, on a practical level, they do often present the easier or even only choice, if we are dealing with a Western tourist with limited time in LOS, someone with much less appeal with normal younger Thais, or someone drawn to women with a sexually “experienced” background.
There is one concept, which has been suggested by many punters, and has been re-introduced, in recent Stickman reader submissions, that I have doubts about. Many suggest that a punter should take a girl out of the bar scene immediately, if he has an interest in a long-term relationship. I’ve always had concerns about this idea. The rationale for it is that the longer the girl stays in the red light scene, the more hardcore she will become and therefore the less likely she will be able to make it in a “real relationship”. While I think the girls will harden up over time, the rate of her evolution will vary by person. Farther more, this idea doesn’t seem to be counter-balanced by the fact that “taking her out of the scene”, paying her an allowance, and shipping her off to the village amounts to what Stickman once termed “putting her on your exclusive payroll”. This basically creates an extension of the commercial transaction from bargirl to “bargirl wife” or “bargirl girlfriend” or “bargirl fiance”. Ask yourself, which is worse, having a girlfriend/wife/fiance whose occupation is a pro, or having a pro for a girlfriend/wife/fiance? I would think that scenario two is much worse, because I would hope that the goal of most men is to have a relationship that is “real”, as in where she actually wants to be with you. When your girlfriend is being paid to be with you, right there, on the surface, it is clear she is your full-time whore. You can argue that it is “different”, but the facts show quite the contrary.
I would propose that her poverty could be counteracted by her working a normal job, given you are now paying for all her real living expenses. And the income from that normal job could easily cover her “reasonable” disposable income needs (for entertainment or shopping when you are not with her) and for her family’s monthly support check (which most bargirls seem to have). This fact is exponentially magnified by the currency exchange rate, if she immigrates to live with you in a Western nation. So, whether it’s Oz, the UK, America, etc. there is very little excuse, in my view, for why the ex-bargirl cannot support herself by taking on a relatively low paying job. In countries like New Zealand, the Philippines, etc. the exchange rate amounts roughly to a 1:1 equivalent with the Thai Baht, but again, given you are paying all her living expenses and likely a good portion of her entertainment costs, she should still be able to support her family on her own income from a normal job.
There is very little reason to maintain a “bargirl girlfriend” scenario, unless a punter just wants to stay a punter, he is too nice, or he wishes to maintain control over her through financial means. Too many punters though seem to not be motivated by any of the last three reasons, but instead simply fall into a bargirl girlfriend scenario, because of a passive acceptance of the bargirl’s suggestion to enter into this type of pay-for-play long term relationship. It is really not “the culture” that is telling these punters to do this, but the words of bargirls (or women behaving like bargirls) speaking for their own financial self-interest.
The New Zealand dollar is no longer the Pacific Peso and gets close to 26 Thai baht, thank you very much! Apart from that, no arguments from me.