No Bra, No Panties
Nanthana leaned close to me, as we sat together on the back seat of a Bangkok taxi, she giggled and whispered, “No bra, no panties.”
We had known each other fourteen days and the next day were to part at the airport.
I arrived at Gatwick early on the morning of 14th July 2005 somewhat drunk, had spent the flight somewhat squiffy and arrived at the Nana hotel the following morning almost sobering up. My room was not ready – so off for a beer at the bar nearest the hotel. Life had not been easy in the preceding many months in London and this was a trip to relax, cut down drinking and have sex with as many women as possible.
It did not work out like that.
You maybe surprised but many people go to Thailand with sex in mind! I am not for a moment denying the possibility of the formation of relationships, site seeing etc But the motive is sex!
Perhaps this is the product of the prevailing views of the “the west” – a view that relationships and sex are not somehow intrinsically entwined. We are invited to agree that somehow there is sex and that and there is something else, that the something else is acceptable while sex is unworthy. This is of course nonsense! And dangerous nonsense at that. It blights the lives of both men and women. Railings against feminism or political correctness miss the point. It is NOT modern western women or unreconstructed men that are the problem – it is the very nature of ‘the’ relationship that men and women are expected to conform to that is the problem. This relationship is as constraining for women as it is for men – it under-writes suspicion, intolerance and false expectations with the battle line being drawn around the issue that “men only want one thing” while women apparently do not (this is of course nonsense). If only it were as simple as that.
Ever thought about this? Who gains more, the giver or the receiver? (Of course both should gain). In early sexual encounters it is invariably the boy / man who initiates as the toucher / giver. Although there is mutual pleasure – surely the touchee has more to gain than the toucher? But the response even in these days is likely to be, “You can’t touch me there!” After a while it may become, “OK, you can touch me there, but not there.” Eventually this may change to, “Alright, you can touch me there and indeed there but never, ever there!” (Where ever that there may be!) So, the pleasure giver (for surely that is what it is all about) is constantly on the back foot – open to rejection. A seismic shift of course takes place when the girl / woman becomes the giver / toucher – this being the final sacrifice! “Alright (sigh), I suppose I’ll touch you there.” I’d suggest that things don’t get much, if any, better as the boy becomes a man and the girl becomes a woman. Put like this, surely this is perversion! This is not the product of feminism.
Does the individual girl / woman or boy / man think all of this up for herself / himself? I doubt it! It is within the socially inherited structures of society. I am not for a moment doubting that this is also found in some way in Thai society but the West has gone further. Surely it is now a structure to assume, as knee-jerk reaction, that what men want / like is somehow inferior / bad or indeed to be avoided? Here I am NOT specifically referring to sex or sexuality. The very act of giving and receiving has become problematic! A gift has to be viewed with some suspicion (if given by a man) and to give a man a gift must, almost by definition, be seen as a sign of weakness!
Sexuality is simply a symptomatic and symbolic battle ground. For a woman to dress in a way that a man might conceivably like is seen as pandering to a man – a giving of pleasure that cannot be deserved – because the recipient is a man. (Here there is of course much confusion because short skirts are simply not all that might be defined as dressing to please a man). Whatever, women are structurally forced to defend dress / self-presentation as being, “Well I only do it for myself – not for men.” How lacking in generosity (and honesty and credibility). How narcissistic is this? A narcissism that I bet the woman does not actually feel.
The major element of the western straight-jacket that is specifically male is that men are structurally not allowed to tell the truth to women (and rarely indeed to other men). Come on, when did you (if you are a male reader) actually tell a western woman what you actually thought and / or liked? Not that you didn’t want to but you felt constrained not to be able to! Simply not the accepted thing to do!
Again, I have to say (because I mean it!) that this is not a whinge against feminism – its not! There is no homogenous feminist philosophy – but a distillation of the various strands might be to say that there should not be a male domination of society. I agree. That women should be free to express their own personalities and to be independent. I agree. It is also a tenant of the various strands of feminism, that we operate in a male hegemony. This is nonsense in my opinion. Surely a (male) ruling class would impose structures which were to its own advantage! As a western male I find that the structures do not operate to my advantage. I am not interested in “only one thing”, I do not see women as inferior, I like to give as well as receive and I most certainly do not view female sexuality and independence as threatening / perverse or disgusting! (By the way do you actually know of a man who doesn’t actually like to look at pussy? Why because we all find it disgusting / threatening? Get out of here! It is in fact the beautiful object of fascination – go look at the gogo bars of Pattaya).
Anyway, both men and women in the west seem to accept this straight jacket and make themselves bloody miserable in the process. Sometimes the individual might get a momentary knowledge of the straight jackets they wear. Last year I was on a boat trip on the klongs in Bangkok. A (early) middle aged western couple came towards us in their boat. The woman of the couple showed her obvious distaste for the two couples (one of which I was part) in our boat. The man looked shyly away. But I swear that I caught a look of envy in both pairs of their eyes – a realisation that if nothing else the two couples they were looking at had probably experienced a better sexual and emotional relationship in the last six hours than they had in all of the misery of their coupling (if they were thinking this they were right!)
Much has been spoken of the “girlfriend experience” of Thailand. I’m tempted to say what girlfriend experience? Certainly not the girlfriend experience of the west! Hands up those of us who have had “the girlfriend experience” in the west? Not me, that is for sure! As a friend of mine has said, I’m not a German who has had his head set on fire and then bashed with a shovel (this is that friend’s way of describing some visitors to the Kingdom – he doesn’t necessarily apply it only to Germans – apologies to any German readers) –any way I’m not and I’ve associated with a few women in Britain but the retrospective vision I now have of the “girlfriend experience” of the west is of relationships hedged in by suspicion, meanness and unaccountable bickering. So perhaps, just perhaps the relationships (however transitory) that can be established in Thailand are real because they are (just maybe) a meeting of adults not trammelled by the requirements of male / female western expectations.
Not only is it the west! Look, it’s difficult to see outside one’s own culture but things become clearer when staring at someone else’s. What the hell is the relationship between Muslim men and women like? Can one possibly imagine the straight jacket gender exerts within Islam? Maybe that’s what “the west” is like as well (although never as bad). In my limited experience this is not the case in Thailand. Apart from anything thing else sex is part of life in Thailand. Sex becomes part of a relationship (however transitory).
And so it is that men arrive in Thailand from all over the world. – from Europe, American, Australia and Japan (the west) and a disproportionate number from the areas of the Islamic world that can afford it. Why else the queues of men bound for Bangkok at all of the middle-eastern stopovers? (O yes, I forgot – important trade negotiations). But then it’s not just hetro-sex perverts is it? (is that what wanting / enjoying sex is? Perversion? – I think not!) It is lesbians, gays, transvestites (often as part of a couple), the disabled and a small but significant smattering of straight western women who wash up on Thailand’s shores. To sample the food, see the elephants, to shop? No, no, no, it’s sex in all its manifestations! Sex as part of a relationship (however transitory). Maybe there is something wrong with the west and not something wrong with Thailand.
I talked to the mamasan of the “Happy House” (Soi 1) for a while. She asked, “In London, you only have pub and dance? Not like here?” When I answered that she was right, she shock her head and seriously said, “No joy.”
Back to the beginning. Having sunk my beer and been casually and politely engaged in conversation by a lady working there (it really was too early (8.30) for there to be any possibility of international trade), I went back to the Nana hotel.
I was shown to my room by a bell-boy. Bell-boy? Sixty years old if he was a day, improbably short with a ridiculously small number of teeth. His name was Eddie (whatever!) “Did I want a girl come for massage?” “No.” “But you tired from flight.” “No thanks.” “You call Eddie if you want anything.”
I had all I wanted. A bottle of Teachers (whisky), a bed in the Nana Hotel and weeks in Thailand ahead of me.
I have been to Thailand many times and proved to be the world’s worst ever “sex tourist” however hard I’ve tried (you won’t think it was difficult would you?)
Anyway, many Teachers later it was early evening and I was a) too drunk, b) too lazy and c) too shy , to even contemplate the short walk (later in the evening) to NEP or the even shorter journey to the foyer of the Nana Hotel. I rang for room service – specifically Eddie. He arrived in my room minutes later.
“I’d like two ladies.” (That’s my choice). “O.K, how much?” “3,000 Baht long-time.” (I’ve got no idea if this is a good, bad, indifferent price! (Last time I’d done this it was two years before – two ladies for 2,400 from a Nana gogo bar. I allowed for inflation)). Eddie scratched his chin – seemingly deep in thought – “3,000?” “Yes.” “Long-time?” “Yes.”
And so it was that Na and a lady called Tui, Forn, Porn or Prah (I don’t know what her name was and it transpired neither did Na) arrived a little while later.
Look, here is something in me that loves this – strangers at the door. You don’t know who they are or what they look like. You (me) must get on with them and (then) have sex with them!
I was more than squiffy – pissed (no not angry, drunk as a skunk) but I behave well. Off we went to Foodland for a bottle of red wine and nibbles and something to eat in the street.
Then it all becomes hazy. No not hazy – blank. Whether I fucked Tui, Forn, Porn, Prah or not, I not know. She wanted to leave early the next morning. Na stayed. Later I asked her why. “I needed the money.”
Na feed me whisky for the next day.
But, the day after that – out of the hotel for a shopping trip. I can be very sober and I always behave well.
As you know it’s hot in Bangkok and shopping takes it out of you. So Na and I looked for a bar. No bar. But a big hotel – American flash (there is only one good hotel in Bangkok, it’s the Oriental. How do I know? I was refused entry several years ago because I was wearing shorts (that’s good!) But Na was nervous, she wasn’t used to it. I’m polite, well dressed and versed in the superficial classiness of Britain. We found ourselves having coffee by the pool on the roof garden (not difficult).
Building work was taking place nearby. Na started to cry. Not little tears but big adult tears that she tried to hide. We talked.
Na is from Isaan. Na is neither young nor “beautiful”, but in my opinion she is near perfect. She is bright, witty, generous, inventive, caring, fun, serious, reserved, hard-working and thoughtful. I could go on and on (and on). Primarily she is a daughter to her mother, sister to her brother and mother to her children. What she is NOT is a prostitute. As someone else (on this site) wrote, she is a prostitute as a living; it is not what she is.
She was married to a policeman. He left her with two children (12 & 6). She worked on the land. The land as it always does failed to support and she sought work in Bangkok. She got work as a body-guard! This person can’t weigh more than 6 stone (that’s 6 x 14 lbs for those who only partly use Imperial weights). I could have put her into my suitcase and not paid excess baggage (and later I considered this option).
Being a body-guard was however a dead-end job (probably literally) and Na moved to building-site work – and hence the tears. This did not pay enough and so the move to “The Happy House.”
This was the third day. This was a relationship. (O, had I mentioned that on the second day and morning of the third, sex had been intense. It may have been on the first night but unfortunately I don’t remember).
Although Na had been in Bangkok for sometime she had never been to a gogo bar. This was remedied. Na was shocked – never seen anything like it. She didn’t dislike it. Remember Na works in Soi 1 – only two Sois away from NEP- always done business in the Happy House I guess. One of “our” phrases became, “I (Na) follow you, you not follow me.”
Our domestic routine began. Wake-up, fuck (Na was later to invent a new English word for this particular morning activity), do some shopping or sight seeing, back to the Nana hotel for middle-late after noon rest (that is fuck), shower, go to gogo bars, buy food to bring back to our Nana home, eat, fuck a lot, cuddle and sleep.
There were variations – a visit to Lumpini Park (Na had of course never been there), with rowing on the lake. Please note that I said, “rowing”, not pedalling a large white, plastic swan. I have found over the years that ladies of all nationalities are strangely impressed if their male companion can row – even if it’s only on a boating lake and of hardly Olympic standard. The British Edwardians clearly knew a thing or two about how to impress a lady.
This was a charming afternoon in the park. A giant lizard, 4 foot from head to tail, was spotted in the lake, birds were seen and a terrapin found marooned on a path (we carefully took it back to its natural habitat).
More major variations had begun after our visit to the gogo bars. Those familiar with the Nana Hotel will know that a large mirror is to be found on the wall at the end of the bed. Na moved all obscuring objects out of the way so that she had a clear line of sight to that mirror, so she could she could see us making out in her favourite position (you get which one). The next day I had purchased a disposable camera with the intention of taking happy-snaps; Na had other ideas. The camera and the mirror could be combined. I had also bought a video camera with me – I had no idea how to use it as I am still getting used to the fact that there have been communication devices invented after the pencil. When I produced it Na was outraged. Why hadn’t it been produced sooner? She had only one use for it (and here it must be said that I feel that it is the only sane use for a video camera) – that is the making of personal porno movies.
So that was it for most of our nights and some afternoons for the rest of our time together. The mornings were different.
I had taught Na the word cuddle. At first I had to explain by example what the word meant. Na, “We cuddle now? This cuddle?” Sometimes the cuddle turned into fucking. Na invented the word – cuddlefuck. Personally I can’t think of a more fitting word to enter any dictionary.
I had planned to spend about a day with Na, that became a week and that was clearly not enough. So another week was arranged – hence the visit to “The Happy House”- where Eddie had called Na and “the other” from. I paid for another week in one go rather than the daily collection via the intermediary of Eddie.
I didn’t like “The Happy House”. Maybe a dozen ladies sitting in white robes waiting to be chosen by customers who might pop in – but not allowed to talk to potential customers. I didn’t think it could be a happy life with so much silent waiting involved. I felt embarrassed. I felt sorry for Na. She took it well and got me to pay 500 baht to the mamasan – why I don’t know, but if it produced good will towards Na it was OK by me.
Although our daily Bangkok routine engaged us both it had become routine. I was taken to meet Na’s sister and French husband. I was introduced as her boy-friend. I was proud. They were off to Pattaya. We didn’t go with them – but it sparked an idea of us getting out of Bangkok.
I have been to Pattaya many times. My Thai wife owns a house (which I paid for) near Jomtien beach. Notice this new piece of information; yes I have a Thai wife who was back in Britain in the belief that I was holidaying in Cornwall. I know the horrors that can result in a Thai-Anglo marriage that goes wrong – my fault or at the very least my responsibility.
So with nowhere else to go Na and I set off for Pattaya. We tried to get a taxi-driver to take us from the Nana Hotel to the appropriate bus station – but within a block he had negotiated himself down to 600baht for the full journey – he was desperate. Honest!
Somewhere near Pattaya we stopped for lunch – fiendishly hot “soup” and stuff. Best lunch I’ve ever had – must have been the company.
“I want to thank you on behalf of the Thai nation for taking care of sister Na.” These were the exact words of the taxi driver. Don’t hear that often from a London cabbie.
Into Pattaya – Na and I holding hands on the back seat. All concerned (including me) were somewhat surprised that it was me who found the location of the hotel we had booked from Bangkok – The High Five.
Check-in and off to Jomtien beach with the taxi-driver. It had been resolved, by Na, that he would stay in Pattaya that night. Na said he needed a break. One of Na’s friends was phoned. And so off for a mediocre meal, taxi-driver and all. This just does not happen in London.
A few days passed – beach, gogo bars (naked girls) with Na fascinated. Na, “She naughty girl.” Na had spotted a really sexy dancer. I shall keep for sometime my name spelled out by pussy at one bar and remember fondly finishing the half (unusually) smoked cigarette given to me at another – strangely it was menthol.
Along the way Na had fallen into calling me husband. I had fallen into calling her ‘real wife’ and then simply wife – I don’t know when this happened, it just did. It was however after Na had disappeared into the bathroom with her phone one morning. A text arrived, “I love you Markin.” Close enough for me – my name is Martin. I did not hesitate to reply, “And I love you.”
There was much sex.
Our return to Bangkok had to come. Back at our Nana home we resumed our Nana home activities.
We would have done a three in a bed if were not for Everton football club. Everton were in town to play a match (by the way I’m a Leyton Orient fan myself) I now hope that Everton suffer a series of relegations, a localised earthquake that destroys Goodison and that all Everton fans are hit by a plague of boils.
I had put the 3 question to Na – she agreed, “OK if you say I your wife.” We went person shopping in NEP. At one bar a really sexy girl took a shine to Na. She asked Na to buy her a drink, draped herself round Na and asked me, “You think I sexy?” Yes, but the evening was young – we shopped on. No one better was found. We returned to “the” bar. But low and behold – no girls (including number 13), just a load of (fat) Everton supporters on stage gogoing. Bugger them and all their ancestors and descendents.
The next night Na’s friend was working at the Nana hotel. She rang. So the four of us went off for a meal. The guy was French – very rich and very nice. Real good fun – Na rather squiffy jumped on the stage in Nana a did a fair gogo.
The next day the four of us went for an idyllic boat ride on the klongs.
The French man left and I had only one more night with Na. There is so much that I have not written here. So many other adventures, so much love and so much sex. I’ll indulge myself and write just a little more.
I am not entirely blinkered nor are the glasses I wear of a fully rosy hue. Of course I knew at the start of our “relationship” that Na needed to extract money from me. In the first few days she did – stories of sick children (which might occasion an immediate return to Isaan), monumental bills owing for a hire-purchase motor bike at home and the need for her to buy a pair of glasses. The last was, of course, the only truth in this list and I knew it. I gave simply because I wanted to. But one night in the bar at the Nana hotel I put it to Na that I had believed none of her stories – that I gave her money because I liked her. Her reaction was interesting. She was sitting to my left at the bar, a man to my right. Na spoke across me, “Where you from? How long you stay Bangkok?” Given half a chance she would have continued with, “You hansum man.” Etc etc. I wasn’t angry – simply confused. We went to our room. Na tried to right the situation with sex. I was having none of it – what a weird situation. In the morning we talked. Na never (and I am sure of this) made up stories to extract money again. She was beginning to be more sure that I was with her because of HER. Ever thought of this? Perhaps some of the ladies you may meet in Thailand want “the boy friend experience”?
Certainly, I feel that Na and I had the husband / wife experience. I can only tell you that I felt safe and loved in a way that I never have before – in a way that for the rest of my life I will aspire to (sorry to be pretentious but its true).
While in Pattaya, one morning, I told Nanthana that I would do anything that she wanted sexually (must have been the sea air). She did not hesitate. She pushed my head between her legs. Very quickly she, “(I) Finish(ed)!” We lay where we were for sometime with my head on her (right thigh – as I remember it). We dozed in that position.
Not the same day I asked her to do something similar for me. This was not a tit-for-tat. No emotional balance sheet was being tallied. It was simply something I wanted. I wanted to video “it” – a souvenir of life if you will. As I (somewhat noisily) finished, Na laughed. No not a nasty laugh – just happy. I wish that she had not inadvertently pushed the video camera away because I now only have a memory of the joy of generosity (of giving) that was on her face.
Every night we would fall asleep in each others arms – sometimes we would wake in the same position as we feel asleep as though we had not moved. But on at least two occasions I know this not to have been true. I usually held Na. On two different nights I know that my arm went to sleep (as it does) and I had to turn over – as I did so, I felt Na without waking turn to hold me as I had been holding her. Perhaps we did this many times each night. I don’t know. What I do know is that I have never felt as secure and cared for as I did then.
Could this have happened in fourteen days in old London town? Apples and pears, gore-blimey, no mate. It was Thailand; relationships and sex in Thailand.
The emotions were genuine and I really don’t think are replicable in “the west”. Sex was part of the relationship in the same way as the paint and the canvas are the painting.
Anything that I may have said in terms of “the west” is of course a broad generalisation. Not all men and women are affected to the same extent by the social structure which (in my opinion) prevents genuine human contact. Age and social class must be seen as partial determining variables. If anything feminism militates against the worst (that is most sterile) of woman / man relationships. But I feel that I know that I simply could not have experienced with a western woman what I experienced with Nanthana last year. For me it was a watershed. I am simply not interested in “western women” any more! Many might say, “Who are you kidding Martin? They are not interested in you.” Yes that it is right, it is true. That is the point! And now the feeling is mutual!
Relationships in Thailand are of course not without their problems. As far as I can see (from my limited experience) what is called jealousy is a major factor. Here I do not refer to what is in my opinion, the ridiculous jealousy of men who fall in love in Thailand and feel jealous because the woman continues to (sensibly) earn money in the only or best way she can. To such men I would say, “Grow up!” No, rather I refer to the structured jealousy of Thai women (again a sweeping generalisation). However, it is not so much jealousy as insecurity. That insecurity then gives rise to suspicion, surveillance and supervision (those who have had long-term relationships with a Thai woman may know that to which I refer). This insecurity of course acts as a shroud – ultimately smothering the love which once existed.
So, everything is not right in the state of Denmark – sorry Thailand. Ho hum, “what is to be done?” I certainly don’t know! But, know what? I’ve submitted this on 13th July. Where will I be tomorrow (and this is coincidence, honest)? Same airline, same flight time, same destination – only difference is that I’ll be taking my 19 year old son with me!
Who might we see there? Maybe the time spent there will end in a similar way to last year when, Na put on the figure hugging dress we’d purchased in Pattaya. She was shy. I was
proud. We decided to go to a romantic restaurant high above Bangkok for our last meal together. Nanthana leaned close to me, as we sat together on the back seat of a Bangkok taxi, she giggled and whispered…..
No comments today, sorry!