Love Or Money
Love And Money
Well I’m the last person on earth I ever thought would fall for a bargirl. First of all I simply don’t fall in love that easily, period. And secondly, I’ve been wise to bar girls and their games almost from day one. Not that I knew anything about Thailand or bargirls in general when I first visited there 13 years ago because I didn’t. Its just that I’ve always had this uncanny ability to see right through people no matter how skilled they may be at deception (and Thai girls are very good indeed). It’s a skill that’s served me well over the years and has ensured that I never become the victim of even the most skillfully planned scams. But don’t get me wrong, I’m not a cynical person by any means. In fact quite the opposite, I always try to see the best in people. Its just that those subtle little clues that most people never pick up on stand out like 50 foot high billboards to me. Anyway I’m getting off track here. The fact is that despite knowing better I did indeed fall in love with a Thai bar girl a few years back and here’s how it all started.
It was a typical December night in Pattaya when I sat down at the Lucky Star bar for a drink. It was one of my regular stops on walking street because it’s a good location for people watching and the music is decent. On this particular night I wasn’t there to people watch though – I was on a mission. You see the previous night I had spotted this girl there who really caught my eye but every time I came around she was always talking to other guys. She had a unique look and style about her and in fact she looked more like a Japanese movie star than a Thai bar girl. She wore these cool colored sunglasses and a brightly colored bandanna around her head. It was a very mod style which you might expect to see in Tokyo but was decidedly out of place in Thailand. Anyway once again I was too late and she was already talking to some other guy who didn’t look like he was about to go anywhere soon, or at least not alone.
So I was just sitting there cursing my bad luck when suddenly this girl appeared from the back of the bar whom I had never noticed before. Something about her instantly grabbed my attention and I remember wondering how I had not noticed her before now. She had a really cute face and exactly the kind of body I liked – about 5’-6”, 118lbs, very tiny waist, full curvy hips, a nice round ass, and dark silky smooth skin. She had the same shape as all those half body mannequins that are used to model jeans in all the shops in Pattaya. But there was something else about her, something I couldn’t quite put my finger on. She just had this quality about her that I found mesmerizing and I couldn’t take my eyes off of her. I had seen sexier girls in my life and even cuter ones but no one ever had the kind of instantaneous effect on me that she did. It was as if someone had slipped some kind of love potion in my drink. As she came up to the front of the bar where I was sitting she pretended not to notice me but I could tell that she had. She sat down in front of me and started talking to another bar girl next to her which gave me a chance to start up a conversation with her.
As we talked I learned that her nickname was Gob (real name is Sukanya), she was 19 years old and came from Buriram. Unfortunately her English was not that good but I was content just to sit there and be near her. I began to realize that she was not like any bargirl I had ever met before. She was a genuinely nice sweet girl and not just putting on a show. She would often laugh or smile when her friends would say something funny and she had this smile that could light up a room. After about an hour though I noticed that although she stayed with me she wasn’t saying much and despite my best attempts I couldn’t really get the conversation going. At this point my insecure side kicked in and I started thinking maybe she didn’t like me as much as I had originally thought.
I have this rule you see about only going with girls who like me a lot, or at least who are good at pretending they do. It’s just a lot more fun when both of you are having a good time. Also there is nothing worse to me than that feeling you get when you realize that the girl cant wait to get it over with so she can collect her money and go.
Anyway, thinking that she wasn’t that into me I sulked off to Tony’s Disco to check out the selection of women there. The whole time I was there though I could not stop thinking about Gob so I said to myself “screw it”! Rule or no rule I have to be with her tonight”. When I got back to her bar though to my dismay she had already been taken out for the night. I couldn’t believe it! I was gone less than an hour! I ended up going back to my room alone, kicking my self in the ass the whole way for being so stupid. I could hardly sleep that night because I was worried that she may have been taken out for a several day gig in which case I would never get to see her again.
The next day I was trying to kill time until 6PM when Gob would normally get to work and I ended up wandering around Soi 6. I had never been there before and I stopped to talk to one of the girls in front of one of the bars. She asked me to come inside and I agreed mostly to get out of the sweltering heat. It was cool and very dark inside and we snuggled up on a comfy sofa. I hadn’t gone in there planning to do more than have a drink and cool off but when she started kissing me the hormones took over and it didn’t take much convincing after that. She said there were rooms upstairs so I followed her up. Sorry guys, I’m not one to get into sexual details but I can tell you the sex was very good. She was very sweet and as we talked it became pretty obvious that she was very new to the game. Even when I first walked by the bar I remember the other girls were coaching her on what to say to me to get me come over there. Another 2 months I figured they’d have her trained to be as hardcore and heartless as they were. Anyway we spent about 2 hours together and when I was about to go she asked if she could meet me after work. She wanted to go down to Walking Street with me and just hang out and then later whatever. Now any other time I would have jumped at the chance because she was a really sweet girl and I could tell she really liked me as well. At the time though all I could think about was seeing Gob again so I got her phone number and told her I had plans but I would call her if I became free.
When I left I noticed it was ten after 6 so I went into full panic mode. I had to get back to Lucky Star Bar before someone took Gob out again, assuming she even showed up for work that is. I finally got back to Walking Street and the last 100 feet before I reached the bar I was so nervous that I could feel my heart pounding in my chest. “What if she’s not there” I thought. “What if she came and someone already took her out again”. And “why the hell was I freaking out about some girl I only met one time and hadn’t even slept with yet”! Anyway as I approached the bar and saw that she was there I breathed a long sigh of relief as I sat down to talk to her. She seemed excited to see me as well, which was nice.
I was there about 30 minutes when I noticed that she wasn’t saying much and I began to fear a repeat performance of the previous night. At this point I jokingly said to her friend “I don’t think your friend likes me, I can’t get her to talk”. They spoke quickly back and forth in Thai and then her friend said “she really likes you a lot and wants to talk to you but her English is just not good”. I felt relieved because I could tell she meant it by her facial expressions as she spoke to her friend.
About 8:00 PM we headed back to my room and proceeded to get to know each other on a more intimate level. I can’t even begin to describe how perfect it felt when we made love. Usually I can have sex with the hottest women on the planet and still often not feel comfortable or satisfied afterward. But feeling her body against mine as we made love was the most satisfying feeling I’ve ever had in my life. It wasn’t just her body of course that made it so nice. It was her essence – her being – it’s who she was.
A few hours later I asked her to stay with me for the rest of my vacation, which included 4 days in Phuket. I told her I would give her 1000 baht a day and she agreed. I couldn’t believe my luck at finding her. She was a truly genuine and sweet girl, which is a rare find around these parts, or anywhere for that matter. Had I finally found the girl I’ve always been searching for? Previously in all my visits to Thailand I had never stayed more than one night in a row with anyone and a lot of nights I even stayed alone not having seen anyone suitable. I think the problem is that I’m so damn picky. I usually only go for the real stunners with the perfect faces and perfect bodies and of course their interest in me is usually limited to the contents of my wallet. Once I realize this (usually within 5 minutes) I just say “no thanks” and I start looking for someone else. Or occasionally I’ll say “what the hell” and take them home and feel bad about it the next day.
Anyway back to the story. We spent the next 6 days and nights together, most of it in Phuket and I have to say it was the best time of my life. I won’t bore the readers with all the details of our whirlwind romance but I can tell you that I’ve never been happier than when we were together. We had a lot of laughs, a lot of romantic moments and a lot of great sex of course. I just felt complete when I was with her and I never found myself thinking about other girls. She was all I wanted or needed.
Eventually I had to return to California and say goodbye to my love. After I returned home I would often call her and she was always so excited to hear from me. And I mean genuine excitement, not the phony kind I’ve heard from other bargirls who are talking to their “boyfriends” on the phone while they are in bed with me.
Anyway I decided I had to figure out a way for us to be together. After doing some research I realized that getting a tourist visa for her would be virtually impossible. So I decided to try to get her a fiancée visa. With this visa she would be able to come to America on the condition that we get married within 3 months of her arrival here. This was a huge decision for me as I’ve never asked anyone to marry me before and I never thought I would marry someone I hadn’t been living with for at least 6 months beforehand. Also communication has always been the most important part of a relationship to me and she couldn’t even speak English that well. But this was the only way for us to be together and I figured we could always cancel the wedding plans if we didn’t feel we were ready after 3 month. At least we would know for sure.
So I told her my plan and she agreed. I got all the forms I needed online and asked her to send me the information I needed to fill them out. Then I would mail them to her to sign before I sent them in for processing. If everything went through she would be called in for an interview and if she passed that she would get her visa. Sounds simple, right? Wrong! I ran in to trouble almost immediately. In order to complete the forms I needed her work history for the past 5 years as well as all the places she’s lived. I needed exact and complete information in order for the application to go through. The problem was she said she couldn’t remember the names and address of all the places she’s worked and lived over the past 5 years. After months of bugging her about it she finally e-mailed me her work history but it was incomplete and lacked details like complete addresses. Now I’ve always known that she could be a bit on the lazy side and that she’s probably not the brightest bulb in the pack but I also couldn’t help but think that if she really loved me she should be able to figure out a way to get the information I needed. Don’t get me wrong, I understand how difficult a task this was for her. A few years ago I had to make up a list of all my addresses for ten years and it was a real nightmare of a task because I had lived at 20 different addresses in 2 different countries during that time. But eventually I figured out various ways to get all of those addresses. It seemed impossible but I did it. So why couldn’t she do it if she loved me and wanted to be with me?
Anyway at some point during this period she had quit her job and moved back to her parent’s house in Buriram. At the time I didn’t think much of it and I was actually glad she wasn’t working in a bar anymore, although I had never asked her to quit. It never occurred to me to wonder how she had the money to be able to quit. As it turns out it wouldn’t be long before it would all become painfully clear.
After she moved home I noticed that a few times I wasn’t able to reach her by phone for weeks at a time. Then after one of these periods I finally got through to her and instead of the usually happy greeting she was silent and I couldn’t even get her to speak to me. She was very quiet and would say almost nothing and then hang up. Later when I called a man answered the phone who I assumed to be her father because he sounded like a 60-year-old Thai man and he said she could not talk now. Eventually I had to give up. Needless to say I was miserable for the next few months as I was convinced it was over and I had no idea why.
Finally I was able to go back to Thailand for vacation and a few days into the trip I got up the nerve to call her again. She seemed okay now so I asked her to come see me and she agreed. She took the next bus from Buriram to Pattaya and got to my hotel at 4AM. I was so relieved to see her that I just grabbed her and gave her a 5 minute long hug that was so tight I’m surprised she was able to breath.
The next morning we went to Phuket and everything was going fine. It was as if we had never been apart. I couldn’t just let things be though. I had to know what was going on with her before. After we got to the hotel I started questioning her about why she wouldn’t talk to me for so long. She didn’t want to talk about it but I just kept pushing and pushing until she finally came clean. As it turns out she was seeing some other guy from Germany. Then I started putting the pieces together. I remembered that on our very first night together she had mentioned an old boyfriend from Germany. At the time I was commenting on how she seemed to really hate oral sex and she said there was only one other guy who she had ever done that for. She said it used to be serious but it was over now. At the time I remember my sense of relief that she was not attached. But now here she was telling me that she had started seeing him again. Of course it's possible that she never actually stopped seeing him but that didn’t really matter now. She told me that he could speak perfect Thai and he sent her money every month and that is how she was able to quit working at the bar. Also as it turns out he was actually the one that answered her phone that one time as well. Apparently although this guy is in his late 30’s he looks and sounds 60. She also told me that he’s a control freak and they are constantly fighting because he tells her what to do and when to do it 24 hours a day. When I first found out she had been seeing him I was so hurt that I told her to take the next flight home and I would stay in Phuket by myself. Eventually I calmed down and I realized that I still wanted to be with her.
The rest of the trip was great. We had a blast everyday I wished it would never end. I remember on the last night before I had to return home I jokingly said that the next time I came back she would probably be married and have a couple of fat German babies. She laughed it off like it was a ridiculous notion. She said she had no intention of marrying him. These words would come back to haunt me later.
After I got back to California I would call her on the phone often and everything seemed to be back to normal. The last time I talked to her I told her I was planning another trip there in about six weeks and she was very happy to hear it. But a week later when I called there was no answer. I called everyday for weeks until eventually I would get a message that the phone was no longer in service. Also I found out that the Hotmail account I had set up for her had been closed so I could not e-mail her. Needless to say I was a total nervous wreck during this period. I couldn’t believe it because the last time we were together I made her swear that if anything bad happened she would talk about it with me and not just disappear. But now that’s exactly what she did. I didn’t know if she was alive or dead. One week before I left for Thailand again I Fed-Ex’d a letter to her parents address in Buriram telling her my flight information. When I tracked it online I saw that it was returned as undeliverable.
When I arrived in Thailand the memories started flooding back and I couldn’t get my mind off her. At one point I decided to fly to Buriram to try to find her parents' house and ask her to marry me right on the spot. This would be the craziest thing I’ve ever done in my life considering that actually finding her house in the Thai countryside would have been a million to one shot. Something happened that put an end to that idea though.
While I was in Pattaya I ran into a girl who knew a friend of Gob’s who lived in Pattaya. I told her to contact her and get a message to Gob to call me at my hotel. For 2 days I couldn’t reach this girl on her cell phone then finally one afternoon I got through to her and got the news. I asked her if she had been able to contact Gobs friend yet. She said that she talked to her and she had learned that Gob had got married and moved to Germany. The news hit me like a ton of bricks. All I could do is scream “NO” and “WHY”! She said that Gob was sorry but she just couldn’t keep seeing me. After I hung up the phone I just collapsed onto the floor and started crying like a little baby. I felt like every ounce of life had just been drained out of my body. I guess in the back of my mind I had still been holding on to some shred of hope that we would get back together someday but now I knew there was no hope. To make matters worse I was with another bargirl at the time I got the news and now she was also upset and crying after seeing my reaction. She was upset because she now knew how much I was still in love with my ex-girlfriend and that I could never love her the same way. I knew she liked me but I had no idea she was falling in love with me because I had only seen her a few days on this trip and one time on the last one. Anyway now I not only had to deal with my own pain but the fact that I had also made someone else feel as bad as I did. Eventually I told her I was sorry for everything but that I needed to be alone. Then I just walked around Pattaya for hours in a deep state of depression. When I was walking near the beach some cute girl working in a concession stand said something to me and we ended up talking and sharing our stories of having our hearts broken. We actually ended up together that night and continued to date for a while but that’s a story for another time. Anyway, I was supposed to go to Phuket a few days later but I canceled my reservations there because there would just be too many memories there of Gob and our good times together. That was about 2 weeks before the Tsunami hit Phuket.
All I could think about after hearing the news is how could she choose him instead of me? She knew how much I loved her and she knew I would marry her. Why choose a control freak who she always fought with and who is not at all attractive or fun to be with when she could be with me. We never once had a fight and we made each other laugh at least 50 times a day. And I know I’m a hell of a lot better looking than he is. Even though I’m 45 years old most people guess I’m early 30’s and even here in California I can still attract a lot of very young very cute girls. We also shared a definite physical chemistry and a deep affection for each other. Also I always let her do what she wanted. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a pushover by any means. If a girl starts getting even slightly demanding or pushy I put my foot down hard and if she keeps doing it I’m out the door for good. But Gob never asked for anything, including money, so I always tried to find out what she wanted to do and I was happy to do whatever she wanted. Also, in addition to being happier with me she also could have lived near the beach in sunny Southern California instead of freezing her ass off in Germany. And I would have encouraged her to make friends here and be independent while I’m sure he does everything he can to keep her dependent on him – just keep her in the house to cook, have sex, and make babies. It just didn’t make any sense to me!
Whenever I would tell my story to another bargirl the first words out of their mouths would always be “did you send her money” to which I replied “no”. Then they would say “that’s the problem” like they had it all figured out. The truth is I would have sent her money if I had it. The fact of the matter is though I was so hard up for cash back then that if I had sent her anything at all I would not have had money to come visit her and what would have been the point of that. Besides the whole time I’ve known her she never asked me for a cent, outside of what I paid her the first time we were together of course.
Occasionally I would buy her clothes and such but it was never much money and I was always the one who persuaded her to look in the shops and see if she liked anything. She never even hinted that I should buy anything for her.
I told my story once to a nice English gentleman on the beach and he told me not to worry. He said in 6 months she’d get sick of the tightly regimented lifestyle and cold weather in Germany and she’d come back to Thailand. I told him that it didn’t matter because, although I’ll always love her I didn’t think I could ever forgive her for choosing the other guy over me. Maybe that was just pride talking though and I’m not sure now how I would react if I saw her again today.
The worst part of it all of course was the fact that she just disappeared without saying a word. If she would have just told me what was happening it would have been easier on me. I was sick with worry for 3 months until I found out what had happened to her. I guess her behavior shouldn’t have come as a surprise though. I’ve always known that she has a serious problem when it comes to confrontation. <She doesn't have a "problem". Thais simply prefer to avoid confrontation – Stick> Hell she won’t even haggle with shopkeepers over the price of something, not even if she’s using her own money. She just accepts whatever price is given to her. I’ve never in my life met a Thai person who didn’t know how to argue over the price of something. She’ll do anything to avoid a confrontation.
I often wonder what went wrong and why we are not together. The way I see it there are only 2 possibilities. The first possibility is that she really loved me but she just had to think about her future and go with the money. I’m sure her parents would have encouraged her to marry the guy with the money and not me. He probably has visited her parents as well and would have been able to pay the customary dowry. And I know she would have felt too guilty if she had taken money from one guy and them married someone else.
The second possibility is that she is actually in love with the guy. I have seen many cases of women, even here in the states, who are attracted to controlling guys. There is just some defect in their brain that draws them to men who try to control every aspect of their lives. Often these can be very abusive relationships and they are never fun in any case. I’m sure it has something to do with their relationship with their fathers. They are looking for a father figure of sorts to keep them in line (remember even I thought he was her father on the phone). I also read a posting on Stick’s site from a guy who speculated that Thai girls like German guys specifically for this reason. I can’t really comment on that though not having met many Germans.
So did she leave me and break my heart for love or for money? I’d be curious to know what Mr. & Mrs. Stick think. <OK, I'll take the bait. You say that at 45, you have no money. This means you're NOT a good prospect for any woman. Do what you want until you hit 30 but after that you need to accumulate wealth. In a comparison between another guy and you, they'd take the less attractive guy, but the one with financial independence, in a heartbeat! Sorry, but that's the truth. – Stick> If I had to guess right now I might say it was the money. I remember once on the phone before she quit her job and I was jokingly asking her about how many customers she went with that week. She told me she had to go with them because she needed the money. She never asked or even hinted that I should send her money though. She did say she was tired of working at the bar though and I told her I wished I had the money to give her so she could quit but I didn’t, which was true. Looking back on that phone call now I realize that this must have been about the same time that the other guy offered to send her money. Maybe she was hoping I would send her money instead so she would not have to take his money but she just couldn’t bring herself to say it. In any case I now realize that this was likely the turning point in our relationship although I never knew it at the time and although everything seemed fine between us for long afterwards.
Being a romantic at heart I always believed that if a girl really loved me that money wouldn’t matter but in retrospect I guess that was a pretty naïve view of things. The reality is that money will probably always come first for a Thai bar girl (or any girl) even if she thinks she really loves you. They say money can’t buy love but it can sure as hell make love a secondary concern, especially for someone who’s grown up in poverty.
I’ve though a lot lately about what made me fall so hard for Gob. Most of the things that cause us to fall in love are very intangible of course and I have to admit it was love at first site. But thinking about her I’ve realized some things about myself and the relationships I’ve had with women in the past (not Thais). I realize that they have always fallen into one of two distinct categories. They were all either the Marry Ann type or the Ginger type and I seem to always flip-flop back and forth between the two. For those non-Americans out there this is a reference to an old American TV show I used to watch as a kid. It was about 7 castaways stranded on a desert island and two of the castaways were attractive women. Ginger was the seductive sensual movie star and Marry Ann was the perky cute girl next door type. As a child I could never decide which one I liked better and apparently that basic dilemma still plagues me to this day. The Gingers in my life were all incredibly sexy, very beautiful and very high class and accustomed to the finer things in life. They also all shared the same mental malfunction that made them want to make my life a living hell most of the time. It was a Jeckle and Hyde thing – when they were good they were GREAT, but when they were bad, watch out! They all had guys hitting on them every 5 minutes and usually would end up cheating on me. The Marry Anns on the other hand were much more mentally stable and faithful but after a while they would tend to get on my nerves and I don’t think I ever really loved any of them. The thing about Gob I realized is that she is the perfect cross between the two types. She has all the good points of both types without the bad points of either. She is the first girl I’ve ever fallen in love with where there was no drama involved. We always had a great time together and never argued and she never got on my nerves. Also she could be cute and carefree in the daytime but when she gets dolled up to go out dancing at night with me she can be sexier and more seductive looking than anyone out there. After I got to know her I never thought of her as a bargirl. I’ve met other bargirls of course who were sweet, nice girls and who wanted nothing from me other than my company. But even those girls always displayed outward signs, if ever so subtle, of having the emotional scars that come from engaging in their chosen professions. In other words I always knew I was with a bargirl even if they never asked me for anything. But with Gob you would never suspect she was anything but a nice fun-loving sweet girl from the countryside unless you had met her at her job. I always just thought of her as a normal girlfriend and anyone who saw us together would thing we were married or at least in a serious relationship.
So what’s the moral of the story? Just this – while it's still very possible to find a good girl working in a bar in Thailand there’s no guarantee of a fairy tale ending. I totally agree with everything Stick has written about the unlikelihood of having a successful marriage between a Thai girl and a farang. In fact I think the odds are much better with a girl from the Philippines or Indonesia or just about any place else. Trouble is that like a lot of other guys I’m just hooked on Thai women. I first got bit by the Thai bug back in '92 when I was living and working in Japan. I thought Thailand would be a nice place to vacation and escape the cold winters in Tokyo. At the time I had more young, beautiful sexy women to date than I knew what to do with so I couldn’t even imagine any circumstances in my life where I would ever pay a prostitute for sex. When I arrived though I was just overwhelmed by the beauty of Thai women. But of course in '92 it would have been virtually impossible to have an intimate relationship with an ordinary “good” Thai girl during the course of a 2 -week vacation. I eventually ran in to this girl at a disco who was more sexy and gorgeous than anyone I had seen before or since and I just had to be with her. That’s how it all started for me.
Well once again I seem to be getting off track here. Anyway I still think about Gob everyday but I guess I’ll never know how she really felt about me. And sometimes when I really want to torture myself I wonder what would have happened if I had only been able to get that visa for her. Would we be happily married now or would she still be with him? She once said that she thought I loved her more than the other guy did but she never mentioned if she loved me more than him. She did say she loved me once in bed on one of our last days together but I got the feeling she just said it because she thought that’s what I wanted to hear. She just didn’t seem comfortable with the word and I’ve always thought that, although she is a warm affectionate person, she doesn’t really know how to feel what most of think of as love. Or maybe I’m wrong and it's just me she didn’t love. Maybe she never cared for me at all. Maybe I was just someone she found fun to be with and that’s it. After all, she had to have known that I was in Thailand less than 2 weeks before the Tsunami hit and she knows I always go to Phuket after Pattaya. In spite of this fact though she’s never made any attempt to contact me to find out if I’m still alive or dead. If the situation were reversed I know I wouldn’t have been able to eat or sleep until I knew she was okay.
Anyway that’s my story. I still make trips to Thailand but I try to stick to dating mostly regular Thai girls these days. Of course this has its own set of problems as they seem to fall in love at the drop of a hat and some are still virgins even into their 20’s (Having sex with a virgin is not exactly my idea of fun). But I have to say that as every year goes by I see more and more gorgeous regular Thai girls and less and less really attractive girls working in bars or clubs. And their attitudes toward dating and sex are also slowly changing. I met a 17-year old Thai high school girl online once and later met her in person when she had a ten-hour layover in Los Angeles on her way to be a foreign exchange student for a year in South America. This was a normal Chinese / Thai girl from a good family in Bangkok. Anyway, she once told me that her first sexual experience was at 13 and was with another female student at her school. She also said she had a sexual relationship with a male foreign exchange student at her school a few years later and after that had yet another European boyfriend. This girl was more aware of her sexuality than most women twice her age and she would practically have an orgasm just from the slightest touch to her body. Seeing as she was underage I obviously won't get into that now though. Anyway, times are changing.
As for bargirls, I’m sure it’s possible there might be another Gob working at a bar somewhere out there but the odds on me finding her before someone snatches her up and marries her are a million to one. Those kinds of girls are never on the bar scene for long. Who knows though, maybe a year from now I’ll be writing another love story with a happier ending. I can only hope.
Thailand might be changing but the reason that things didn't work out between you and Gob seem simple. Money. I don't wish to sound heartless but a 45 year old guy who doesn't have any money is not the top of any girl's list, no matter how good looking he is. There comes a point in life where you do have to start accumulating money and wealth.