Readers' Submissions

Reflections On Time (And Money Not So) Well Spent

  • Written by Taa Yao
  • February 22nd, 2005
  • 7 min read


Last August, I wrote a, “What did you do last summer” essay that provides background for this submission. For those who don’t want to follow the link, let me start by saying that I have been married to a beautiful, lovely Thai wife for a long time. Long enough that my ladies are mostly younger than my children. That puts me in at least two categories that are frequently disparaged here: I am married; I am thao hua nguu (loosely, dirty old man).

The rest is based in part on my response to comments on that submission by kahuna2004. I have revised, updated and added to it.

Why did I do it?

I consider myself a 'performer', i.e., sometimes, completely sober, I do things for effect. That was why I barfined three girls the first night. Walking out with three ladies was for effect: On my Brit friend; on any farang men and women observing; and on anyone else who might see us leaving the bar together.

I had absolutely no intention of taking them to a hotel – I wanted to go eat that first night to try to avoid the eventual consequences. I told them while we ate that I had children older than they (in one case, more than ten years older) to try to get them to think twice about going to the 'rohng raem' with someone almost old enough to be 'taa', not just 'phaw'. Unfortunately for me, they were determined to ‘reward’ me for the barfines, and to collect for services rendered.

I finally gave up…. In part, I had never done that sort of thing, and with three ladies, not just one. And young. And attractive….. It was hard to resist, too easy to go along.

There's an old saying, "A stiff dick has no conscience".

Ben Dover recently wrote, “To a man, women in our ‘age-range’ are ALWAYS 18-23 years old…REGARDLESS of how old we are!” Recall my comment above about thao hua nguu? ‘Nuff said. Thanks, Ben, even though my ‘age-range’ extends a bit above that. And can any of us honestly say we have not been attracted to girls below that age-range? Before you fire off your angry emails, I said, “Attracted to”, not, “Involved with”! There is a huge difference.

Now, I actually enjoy the company of (not just the sex with) my luuk sao. And I believe they are honest and ethical, in their own way. I believe they would be very uncomfortable taking my money without 'repaying' me. One night, one lady turned down the 'taxi money' I gave the others, because she had already collected that night from another customer! (But being a true businesswoman, she collected for 'services rendered'.) There have been other incidents that reinforce my opinion. On the other hand, there are practical limits on how much time one can spend with them.

What about your wife?

I've been married to the same beautiful Thai lady for a long time. We've lived all that time in the upper Midwest of the United States. In other words, a hostile climate for a Thai lady, what with frequent –20 F (-7 C) winter days.

She once told me that if her mother had not 'forced' her to marry me, she probably would not have done it. Her mother was very practical. I was 'farang' therefore I had money. Her daughter could do worse.

You may have read another submission about a wild rabbit. That was my wife for the first few years. She was a bit younger than I; I was getting to the point where I was 'not to be trusted', anymore. Thai restaurants? The closest Asian food was a Chinese restaurant twenty miles away. We lived in a village of barely more than 1,000 people. Thai vegetables to cook at home? Yeah, right. If it was Chun King Chow Mein.

Unfortunately, my wife is now so westernized – but not western – that she knows she no longer fits in as a Thai, but also that she will never be farang.

Circumstances and hard work were all that kept us together.

Even when both parties are from the same city, marriage between two people of different backgrounds (Protestant/Catholic, Black/White, Rich/Poor, etc.) requires huge compromises. When the differences are compounded by life in societies thousands of miles apart, it is extremely difficult to make it work.

My comments on marriage may appear to be a lecture – I don't mean it to be, but I haven't figured out how to get that tone out of it. I only intend to give advice from having, 'Been there, done that'.

EXPECT to help her family. Perhaps even let her handle family finances – at least let her know how much comes in and where it goes. Then you can try to have her set priorities for how the money is spent. (True even if your wife is your high school sweetheart.) If you are afraid of what might happen if she knew what you really earned, then perhaps she is the wrong lady.

Women in Thailand very often handle family money matters. I believe it is because they often run a home-based business. Thai women also may not have the same status as Thai men, but they are far better off in that regard than most Asian women.

Be certain you have things in common besides great sex. Great sex is not enough to carry you through the tough times ALL marriages have.

Thai ladies may be deferential, but they have a mind of their own. Give them the respect they deserve. Even the 'working girls' deserve respect – how do the un-educated, un-employed survive in the west? What would you do to survive in their place? Would you stay respectable? Or go after the dream of big money, maybe marriage to a 'rich farang'?

What about now, this trip?

When I left Bangkok last August, I expected to return on a family visit in January. I returned, but not with family, only visiting family. My wife could not get time off work. For a variety of reasons not important here, an expected two week stay has turned into a six week stay, with an extended ‘visa run’ half-way through. You want to see congestion? Go to India. I’m not certain how well a Bangkok taxi driver would cope there!

I agree with a recent comment of Stick, imagination is a whole lot more erotic than reality. Only a bit into my first visit, the only thing mildly interesting about the strip shows was whether or not the girl would be allowed to remove everything that night. The strippers were very attractive, but they were hotter fully or partially clothed! Personally, I would rather have the opportunity to remove a Lady’s clothes than be presented with a fait accompli – unless, of course, she’s hiding under the bedclothes (inside a towel?)! Carly Simon sang it best, “Anticipation”.

Sadly, my four luuk sao are now just three. One seems to have disappeared. The others tell me that she did not return to work after the holidays; they don’t know where she is.

By mutual agreement, I haven’t seen my luuk sao quite as often this trip as last August. You do the math on barfines, tips and entertainment for three (or more) girls every night for a week! I cannot afford another August! Lest you think I was ‘taken’ last August, I wasn’t. I may not always choose wisely, but I always make the choice. I have never been able to say I was misled.

I have almost completely ignored my lsaan this trip for the same reason.

Why does controlling my spending mean I don’t see them as much? As I said above, there are limits. When my luuk sao – or any of the ladies, for that matter – are at the bar, they are working. Whether you are a regular or first-time customer, they are there earning their living. They don’t appreciate the customers that, “Talk, talk, talk” and don’t barfine. They don’t appreciate feeling they have to, “Take care of you” because you are a regular customer, when you stay all night, then leave without barfining them. Whether they really like you or just like your money, time is money for them, and spending their time with you means lost opportunities for money from other customers. If you’re not there to barfine them, make it clear and make the visit short (if you stay and don’t barfine them, they’ll lose face).

Stick and others have said it time and again, it is bad news not to pay a bargirl. That includes not paying them when you make them spend entire evenings with you in the bar!

Stickman's thoughts:

There are a lot of folks leading unusual lifestyles out here.