Stickman Readers' Submissions March 31st, 2004

My Experience

W have been with an ex Patong bargirl for five years we were fine and all those warnings about bar girls proved wrong until………….

I made a big mistake which I would like to share with your readers. Joy was an ex-nurse from Bangkok, had a baby, divorced her husband, lost her job in government hospital due to a combination of events not her fault. The well trodden trail to being a bargirl.

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She was 32yr old when we me at a bar in Patong. I fell in love and to cut a long story short we married in her village and moved from Patong. Joy was hard working, did not gamble, drink, or was unfaithful. I was virtually without money, Joy didn't mind, we were very happy. However the lack of funds meant we had to set up home in Thailand.

Unfortunately several trips to hospital confirmed we couldn't have children without IVF. We decided to find a permanent place to live before starting a prolonged IVF treatment.

Joy was a gem in my life and we made each other very happy. I had not paid a dowry, her mother and sisters demanded no money and I wasn't assailed with the usual demands for money for special items. Everybody accepted I was poor. In fact apart from a very small, token sum 2000 baht per month to keep her kid back in village we could live on very little and Joy was magic with money. Spent little, cooked from local often culled from the countryside ingredients, made clothes, etc. Bliss.

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We moved around Thailand looking for a good place to settle down for a fulfilling life, a place that provided long term stimulation for Joy and her farang partner. We took our time, over two years. By the third year we believed we knew enough to make a decision. And that was Samui. We rented a bungalow for a month to get the lie of the land. It was a nice place in a jungle setting. Life was great, we jogged together every morning 1 km down to the sea and back usually followed by avid love making, breakfast, then house hunting, evenings spent watching HBO in each other’s arms.

During this period we were visited by a mature lady friend, a really nice Thai woman who, although Joy's long-standing friend, was one of the few people I came to trust.

She suggested we look at some new houses being built just on the edges of Patong, Phuket where she had also decided to buy. In fact she was quite rich and owned several properties usually rented out to a bewildering array of cousins. We visited the estate, were very impressed and decided to buy. It was a one bedroom very small farang style terraced house. Cheap enough for use to scrap together the deposit and pay a bank mortgage. Joy got a job at the local hospital and her income was enough to buy the things we needed in the house. The next three months were pure heaven. Often watching the sunset together, hugging each other while seated on the deserted sun beds. It was paradise. My social life was good too. Ok Joy worked 12 hour shifts sometimes at night sometimes in the evening, it was a pain. We soon made friends with other expats and their partners gathering together for barbecues, birthdays and festivals. Even our neighbours provided amusement as many of the other properties were occupied by sex workers of various descriptions. Mainly quite nice, generous people when you got to know them.

Unfortunately my mother back home had become dangerously ill and I had to leave my paradise for a couple of months. It happened just after we had decided that Joy’s nursing job was too demanding. On call all hours for a paltry salary. A part time job as a receptionist would be better so just as I departed she set about looking for a job.

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I returned relieved that my mother had recovered.

As soon as I stepped into the house I sensed something was different. Don't ask me what, a six sense, a coldness that hadn't been there before. Joy had not yet found a job but ok it was low season and nobody was hiring yet.

Then I started noticing odd things, small things. We used to do things for each other, small considerate things, now they seemed too much trouble. Our pillow talk dried up and now Joy talked more with the girl neighbours. I noticed Joy put on makeup when she went out shopping with her friends but never did when she went with me. The odd sarcastic remark began to appear. The reluctance to walk past the bars in Bangla Road.

Then I discovered a name and email address hidden in the house. After a tearful confrontation she admitted going with a man – one man – because she was lonely while I was away. Ok I'm not as white as the driven snow so we made up. Things improved and I decided it was time to bring her son to live with us so we could be a family. He was a great kid, full of beans, eager to learn and wanted to go with us everywhere. Joy was a mother again and relished her new role. I bought her a cheap mobile and she got a part time job. Whatever you could say about Joy she was a worker.

My mother died and I went home again to sort out her affairs. At first the emails from Joy were long and loving but they soon degraded into pedestrian two liners. Still she was always in when I phoned. I was later to find out the mobile was on "follow me" so that all calls to the house were automatically diverted to her mobile. Sometimes there was some background noise but she palmed this off as the TV.

I returned to the house to find a transformed son. Now silent and withdrawn, not wanting me to take him to school etc. So bad that in fact he demanded to return to the village home. I was later to realise that he was shy about what his mother was doing. So he left and we were no longer a family. Certainly all thoughts about IVF were put on a back burner.

Anyway the truth came out eventually from the girlfriends of my expat mates. Hardly believing what I was being told I went through the house with a fine toothcomb. I discovered a list of names, her new email address (with password) stuck underneath a cupboard drawer. When I accessed her email I was appalled at the messages and the number of lovers she had. Another tearful confrontation threats and counter-threats. The next six months was a living hell. Not sleeping, starting to smoke again, drinking – you know the sort of thing you do when you hurt bad.

I consulted our lady friend and she advised me that Joy would not change. I either learned to live with her infidelity or got out I had no choice I left. I realised that at the end of the day the bar girl life was like a drug to Joy.

Not my marriage, money, her family and even her son mattered more than that. I had many wonderful years with Joy and a hellish 6 months. I had made the catastrophic mistake of taking her back to Patong. I guess at the end of the day it was like giving a drug addict free shots. She just couldn't break away again. The whole episode proves the adage about taking the bar out of the girl. It was nobody’s fault, nobody acted with bad intentions – not even Joy but somehow the magnetic pull of the bargirl scene was just overwhelming for her even after such a long absence. If only we had chosen to live somewhere else – I wonder.

Stickman says:

The one thing I am curious about here is what you were doing all of this time. Not meant as a criticism at all, but were you at home all the time, not working? If that is the case, it might have been a bit much. You mention that you didn’t have much money but never mentioned working. Joy might have seen this as a bit of an issue, a big problem for her, but not one which she openly brought up.

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