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Ten Weeks With Non-Bargirls Part 1

  • Written by Bop Melow
  • October 14th, 2006
  • 32 min read


Ten Weeks With Non-Bargirls

Bop Melow

If you are looking for alternatives to prostitutes, READ THIS.

A first-timer finds a cornucopia of marriage-quality ladies throughout Thailand

I. Possibilities

Having decided that sex with short term encounters is not as good as sex between persons who remain friends long term (! I expect lots of arguments here!), I spent my 10 weeks in Thailand away from the bars and tourist traps – instead, simply engaging "normal" people. I'll tell you what can and does happen outside the commercialized love and sex of Thai nightlife.

To prime the pump and to educate myself, over the three months prior I was on the internet striking up conversations with many Thais. The 20-somethings were too much like babysitting, so I stuck to the 30-somethings. Of these, about 35 Thai ladies stayed engaged in conversation for the whole period on pretty much a daily basis. Others less frequent. I just about needed project management software to keep track of what I had already said to whom and when. As the dangers of repeating or contradicting myself rose, I was losing sincerity, for sure. But none-the-less, there were many many touching chats and letters. They are extremely engaging people. So much heart.

Talking to librarians, nurses, teachers, lawyers, corporate analysts, accountants, professors, doctors and civil servants, I kept my own etiquette pretty tight, if not downright professional. Their English abilities were high because a lot of professional Thais go to UK, US, Canada or Oz for graduate school. I was a wee bit worried if there might be bogus representations; after having previously written to 2 Russian ladies, so was a bit hard on all of them in the beginning. I even asked friends to read the emails and tell me how each rated on their "legit scales". Only once did I find a fraudulent career claim out of more than 100. My leeriness melted away over time because it becomes very difficult for anyone to maintain a con over 20 volleys of intense chat, emails, photos and telephone. It proved out that my fears were unfounded.

I would start a new email relationship by asking about "Thailand" rather than about personal matters. Only when a lady would offer to talk about herself would I move to the personal stuff. They sent me all together over 1,000 pictures, and far more about their extended families than I can ever digest. I received lots of day-by-day stuff about their work lives, travels, gripes, passions, dreams, and their hurts. It was a privilege to be invited to follow them closely over bumps and triumphs. Approaching the non-bargirls solves the problem so many of your readers express: "I really want more than just sex, I want a conversation, a friend, someone who cares. A real relationship." I was more in touch with a half dozen of them than I had ever been with my actual wife. So there's a clue.

Despite my "decent" tone and topics, at some point each one would say something like: "If you just want sex, do not talk to me any more." Which always surprised me because I had not even come close to that topic up til then. Is this because the tourists are always hitting on the "normal" population? Is their website posting a warning to beware of sexual exploitation when they are looking for a marriage partner? Does their culture demand that they declare themselves to be against sex before marriage, even if they do want it? Well, it turned out, that the No Sex question was a threshold event! It marked a point after which they were interested in talking about sexy imaginations! It was like a dam breaking. The cure for "too serious" is to get playful and naughty. If a strange lady comes up to you and says: "Now don't get me excited", do you think she really means what she says?

I asked a Thai M.D. in my city about what I should expect in Thailand. His main comment was that "Thai ladies are way too trusting for their own good. Would you please be careful with them?" I responded pompously with: "Prostitution is a symptom of desperation. It is the government's job to minimize desperation." Not having been to Thailand, I was, of course, wrong. The doctor's point I might now state as: Thai women are far more prone to fall in love.

The great advantage of talking to so many ladies in the beginning is that one gets a sense of the range of people there: Scatterbrained, restless, pluggers, travellers, fun-seekers, teeny-boppers, worried about getting too old to get married, philosophical – just like in any country. This helps one to settle down, choose a few in the middle of the range and be confident you have chosen well.

A favourite question of mine concerning the bargirls is: Is this human nature or is it just the system fucking with them? What about non-bargirls, is it so very different for them? The emails prior to travel were already fascinating enough, so an actual visit promised an incredible adventure. One lady was going along smoothly, as an anaesthesiologist in a provincial hospital by day, and clinician for the poor by evening, when her husband, a policeman, bombed her clinic! She fled into hiding. Why did he do this? It was near the end of a legal one year period in the divorce process, after which he no longer has any claims on her. He had been ordering her to return home, and she refused. [I followed her story for 2 years. She sent her daughter away to boarding school for safety. I had determined that she had an uncle in the army. I suggested that she ask the uncle to defend her against the husband, which she did, and he did, by going to the husband's commander.]

Another lady, much more typical, was a teacher, very attractive and in all ways decent. After several dozen exchanges, she surprised me by suggesting that she would fly next week to visit me for her 2 week vacation, staying at my home here in Farangland. Without knowing Thailand, I jumped to wrong conclusions like: Green card seeker? low morals? will rob me? wants money? At that point in my naiveté it didn't occur to me that such a notion might be "normal". Thailand is a great study in questions like: What is normal, and what should be normal?

Well, let's find out.

II. Diggin In

The last leg of my flight path to Thailand was on Thai Airways, which had a whole different mood than the American and Japanese airlines previously. The 30-something Thai lady sitting next to me was returning from a jade trade-show in California. She took a nap with her head on my shoulder and bare feet resting on mine (honest).

I arrived in BKK after midnight, yet 2 government civil service employees (about half way up the hierarchy) came to pick me up. One was educated in the US, the other in Scotland. One owned a spare condo which she offered to me for three months for free. She went shopping for food, got my laptop connected to the local internet provider, reprogrammed a cell phone for my use, ordered fresh business cards for me, re-arranged the furniture to my liking, gave me maps, and cooked me a meal. And this was all between 12am and 3am.

Day 1: The two government officers, sans uniforms, appeared at 8am, drove me, and floated me, out to some island in the gulf, for the scenery, wat, tourism and food. Very pleasant, very friendly, very giving, and very intelligent, and lots of laughing and joking. It was a perfect start, I felt completely comfortable, completely safe, and very well cared for. So far, all is completely normal by western standards, with the bonus of exotic scenery and spicy food.

Day 2: The condo has a sixth floor open air pool, and many other amenities within the building, but is not in a farang area (Pinklao, BKK). I speak no Thai, so simple tasks like groceries, the bank, and clothing repair were minor encounters in themselves. At the bank, the young clerks jockeyed to become my teller. At the grocery store, the young cashier blushed and smiled and forgot how to do her job when I came near. On the street markets, a vendor followed me to ask me more questions and show interest. At the clothing store, the shirt clerk gave me one for "free" and asked me to come back near closing time. At the restaurants, some lady would say: "You should not eat alone, may I join you?" I have learned to refuse until the very attractive one asks me.

This is what it is like to be Tom Cruise. Yet I am a 49 year old, balding, below-average attractiveness, short guy. Compared to other places on earth, Thailand is a miracle! This is way off my scale of "normalcy".

Day 3: Librarian agreed to be my guide to get me to my first business meeting, not as an employee but as a friend. She arrived with a little designer bag with lunch in it. Got me on taxis, trains and buses, and introduced me to the proper people, and then did something I thought unusual: she was perfectly willing to wait for 3 hours and do absolutely nothing while I was in my meeting. What patience! Then she saw me back home, side tracking for a stunningly wonderful restaurant, and lingered for conversation until bedtime – then quietly left for home. I found many Thai women to be perfectly patient, and attentive listeners. Occasionally, you'll find one that likes to debate philosophy or politics, like Librarian. And it's easy to find Thais who know business and entrepreneurialism. So this was another successful and otherwise normal day.

Day 4: The hotel laundry service is called a full service laundry, but if you turn in your underwear, they will laugh.

The cell phone makes all things possible. I can jump in a taxi, call up any bilingual person, and they will translate for me during the journey. But it’s the emails that get the fires burning. Today I received an email from a British Petroleum Strategist. In it she jokes that "Farang and Thai make beautiful babies. We should try it." Wow. That is quite a tease. Got my attention. This lady is beddable. So much for her earlier "go away if you just want sex" placard.

Landlady / Civil Service officer introduced me to her mom. She tells me they are Mon tribe, the beautiful ones. They take me on a river tour. Mom exits. Back at the condo, Landlady sits on my lap, and by the end of the day, we take a shower together. "Touch" was ok but "no sex until after marriage" rule is en force. Surprising progress in so short a time. OK, things are trending a bit outside western normalcy. By day 5, things started getting increasingly surreal by western standards – read on.

Day 5: Librarian came over ostensibly to show me 200 pics of her life, her family and friends. She is a Chinese-blood Thai. She lives in a "women's apartment building" an arrangement she inferred was conducive to starving the corporate women for men. I teased her about this and somehow dared her to cook breakfast for me topless, which she gradually, very gradually DID. By afternoon she was asking me to teach her how many ways there are to kiss. By evening, I kiss her bare breasts., and she sleeps in my arms. She is shocked, fearful and super-embarrassed, however when Landlady comes right in with her key, unannounced. We grab the clothes and run to the washroom, but Landlady does not leave. This is a problem.

Day 6: A movie projectionist decides unilaterally and unannounced that she will marry me and shows up at my condo with 4 huge bouquets of white roses, and a bag of other decorations for the wedding. Surprise! This is the first time I am meeting her, although I met her brother when he fixed my internet connection. The elderly lady across the hall from me is finding my condo to be a delightful source of entertainment and is calling in her retiree friends, and adds folding chairs, which I suppose one might say builds a following for me! This is my fault because if I am not amorous about a lady, I leave my door open, hint hint, LEAVE. My concession to the bride is I go to her house where she cooks dinner for me. Her sister and brother also attend. They tell me they are 1/4 Indian. I told her afterward our lives are on different paths. This wasn't quite the clean break I had hoped for, as it took four months for her to stop calling. But there was no bad behaviour.

Landlady, age 33, visits me after she gets off work (often about 9 or 10pm, despite starting at 8:30am). Can be interesting and a bit sexy. She would stay until 4am, then "had to" go home and present normalcy to parents and co-workers from 6am to 6pm. She was an unpredictable date, as any govt crisis, of which there were many, resulted in her staying late and doing homework all night. Here's a surprising statistic. Thais now work more hours per week than the Japanese! The upside is she loves to discuss politics and nation building. But she also loves to get juicy on my lap. I'm trying to find the line – how to honour her "no sex" rule and still be naked having fun. I must be careful because she wears many hats: Landlady, Civil Service Officer, almost-Lover. She is showing some signs of jealousy, asking questions about if I am seeing other women.

Day 7: Librarian wants to go all the way today. She says she had a boyfriend in college, but it turned out he was gay. Now she is looking for someone via the internet to make a big change in her life. She says she is a virgin, and she starts calling me "teacher". Given the very gradual progress of her visits and the great curiosity about all kinds of details – well, it could be! There is one little wrinkle. She has found another internet boyfriend whom supposedly is waiting for her in Ireland. She shows me all the emails. They appear more serious than my emails with her. Now if I were that bloke, I sure as hell would not want some last minute interloper bedding his would-be just 2 days before her flight to Ireland, and shit if she IS a virgin, that's something worth killing for. Hey – I decided to stop this. I explain to her why. She explains to me why NOT. Get this: her read on this whole situation was not that she was betraying her boyfriend but rather better "educating" herself to be a better wife when she gets there. She is more afraid of being sexually stupid than of losing her virginity. I say: Fine, but that's NOT the way the Irishman will see it. So my NO stands. Her solution is "Well if you do not want to be my teacher, will you be my girlfriend's teacher? "

A doctor owning 6 plastic surgery "spas" knocks on my door at 11pm to basically make a business plan presentation that included a questionnaire "How attractive do you find me?", marriage details, and business partner details. I fell asleep on the sofa during her presentation, and her response is to ask if she might continue her presentation tomorrow morning. Things like this DO NOT happen at home.

In her emails, she had sent pics of herself as a much younger, cuter girl. She is now not beautiful, so given that she's in the plastic surgery business, Hmmmmm, something is not working. I conclude she is an example of capitalism gone a bit wacky. I would rather learn what's left of Thailand after you peal off the capitalistic pressures that relentlessly move people's behaviours to where the money is?

Day 8: A sculptress called to say, proudly, she has made a statue for me, of a "happy boy" and wants to deliver it. How often does this happen in the west? I think this was all because I had suggested in an email that we take a walk in the rain, "just to talk about life". Metaphorically of course, as I had not met her until she arrived at the door with the 25 kilo brown bisque statue (which, due to its weight, I had to donate to the condo management). She is more muscular than I am. I'm not going to lug that thing around. Wonderful gesture on her part, but now I have only some pictures of it. She fades away as soon as she sniffs out that there are other girls coming a'calling. She wasted a perfectly good statue on a no-good like me. [We did continue exchanging emails for about 3 months – made for a nice ramp down without ill feelings. She ended up in Sweden in an art ceramics production house.]

As I stop at universities and labs it is fairly easy to initiate conversations with college women. If I express some need, usually for a guide or translator, sometimes one of them will step forward, and say "I can take care of you." Bingo, that usually means we will spend hours if not days together. Once we are sitting side by side on a bus, train or taxi, any "accidental" or nonchalant touching seems to unleash the hormones, and things ratchet up from there. She will find a way to reciprocate, and the action is ON. In these situations, neither language, nor name, nor place matters. Just Keep On Dancing. My only prejudice in this is that I prefer the 30-somethings, so that means I must wander back into the quieter pockets of campus, to the administrators, teachers, and grad students, to ask for help.

Librarian introduced me to her friend today. An assertive business women by day – A shy little girl by night. We three go to a Vietnamese restaurant of her friend's choosing. It is up-scale, something like Russian service, with piano. We talk, have a decent friendly time. And that's it. For me it was a non-event, except that I learned a lot about the building and leasing of industrial buildings to international corporations. Duh.

I got home early enough to call up Shortpants, at Mahidol. She arrives within the hour. A little young for me. But her earlier enthusiastic invite overcomes my caution. She seemed capable of deep conversation on campus, but at the condo, that didn't happen. Better to stick to massage. I end up singing Riders On A Storm, during our bucking.

Day 9: After the meeting today, in casual conversation with a prof, he invites another dept member, female. She gets all enthusiastic about our topic and decides to call another meeting on the spot. The thing snowballs for another hour, pulling more people in. She starts waxing on about a whole new vision for the department, and even for other departments. OK maybe she's a dreamer, but she's having fun. We have lunch together. Blue rice, dyed by some flower. Well, I will be seeing more of her, she tells me. "But it will cost you some paper." (a proposal useful to her, as evidentiary support for her dream).

Time management is becoming a problem. Seeing three ladies per day for lengthy "interviews/dates" is fun until they start overlapping. (This is not a claim of having sex three times every day, as I must reject many to cull the group down to the some "winner".) To "solve" the problem of too little time, I tried taking two strangers out together to a riverside restaurant. That was stupid. One, MBA , quickly declared territorial rights and slighted the other, Writer, until I saw a tear and she taxied away early. That was unnecessary – we could have all been friends. I kidded MBA about her "competitiveness". She completely denied it. So, beautiful Thai hospitality does not extend to a female rival. Yeah, that's human nature all right. But can I blame human nature for my own stupidity?

Day 10: Opportunities start multiplying because each new friend introduces me to 3 or 4 more friends. It's become a successful pyramid scheme! Unintentionally! Usually, some referrals start gesturing hints or writing emails. I am to meet people in corporate high-rises in the financial district, at university admin buildings, in hospitals, even in a dentist office and a real estate office. The backlog is growing. Quantity is starting to short-change quality. No more time for those love-chats that wallow away the entire afternoon.

Once on campus, its just delightful to have a gaggle of bubbly college girls following me around, but I cannot possibly keep their names straight. I get to observe their dynamics – how pecking order can determine who gets the big opportunities in life, leaving the lower status chicks to do all the work. Sometimes I "play" with them by giving the low status girl all the attention. This throws the whole hive into disarray. I like to think it can give the inferior one new confidence, but it could back-fire. And I won't be there to ever find out.

Librarian's friend called. Asked for another dinner date. OK. Similar experience. She brings a different girl friend with, Orange, because Librarian has already left for Ireland. I guess she doesn't trust me. Orange puts her head on my shoulder while Librarian's friend drives. Although I expected her to get angry about this, she took it as a hint: As though Orange was saying "You should be doing this, not me."

Day 11: Today Virgin drove me to the museums in the south, and she let me drive her Mercedes, finally. She tells me she is Thai Thai, Real Thai (Siam tribe), but has adopted many Chinese customs. Pleasant time. No fireworks yet though – femininity unawakened. So much for my earlier theory. Is there a problem here? [Just asking such a question shows how much Thailand has shifted my definition of What's Normal. Normal is: making love on the first date.]

Women from far off provinces, (not all 76, but 7 anyway) are growing impatient that I have not yet come to visit them. They start threatening to come to BKK if I won't come to them. This is not what I prefer, because in their home territory they make excellent tour guides, sources of lodging and food and entertainment etc. When they come to BKK, they are reduced to another expense, and I have to plan all the activities (which I am not much good at in a strange city where I don't know the language) and they encroach on my already too-packed schedule. Well, that's a bit crude. One of them could possibly be THE ONE. One Math department prof starts teasing me with: "I cannot wait. You are my destiny." Actually her favourite word is diligence. Anyway, I "allow" several of them to fly in to visit me, always using the excuse of my tight business appointment schedule to limit their stays to one or two days. At this point, my work schedule is determined by what appointments I make, so if I need to get rid of a guest, I'll call for an appointment, then show her the log. Legit!

I just got off-line from a chat with a Thai lady who has become a Buddhist monk. She claims "there are no virgins in Thailand". It was a windy exchange, with Monk hanging up on me. In disgust or frustration? I really didn't have any position on how many virgins there might be in Thailand, so I'm not the cause of her emotion. She was venting. But it is a keen topic right now for me because of my dates with Librarian and her friend. That friend and I have not even come close to talking about the v word, but I shall call her Virgin so you know who I mean. Of course I did not come to Thailand looking for virgins. So this is a bit of a novelty.

Day 12: Today everything changed with Virgin. I discover that a 37 year old, perfect-body (except small breasts), financially successful lady can be a 15-year-old shy girl inside. Being with Virgin today was to be 16 again myself. Every shyness, coyness, joking, sadness, hinting, stubbornness, playfulness, silliness, teasing, fearful, nervous, wishy-washy trait of a very young, very excited girl is there in full-blown Technicolor – 10 times more intense than I ever remember it from my childhood. "Losing Virginity" (shouldn't we say "giving virginity"?) is not merely about a hymen, it involves an encyclopaedia of effects: intense emotions, fears, questions, dramatic changes in relationship to parents and sibs, self-image, pain, all kinds of late night sneaking about, great daring, writing several long letters to the parents which we worked on like a term paper, even affecting her relationship with her boss (to become more assertive). All kinds of excuses to boss and friends for time missed. Some emotional extremes I simply had not known existed, from the tension between respecting her parents and wanting to elope. This single day has covered what would be 3 months in the life of a teenager where (and when) I come from.

On matters concerning her new boyfriend (me), Virgin now answers questions the opposite of what she means. Here is the opening exchange: After a long and happy day together on the beach, I must prepare for work tomorrow and get some sleep. She drives me home at midnight. "Do you want to come up to my room?" "No." "Ok, good night then. Thanks for everything." She stands there paralyzed, will not return to her car. "So why aren't you leaving then?" No answer. "So you want to stand here in the parking lot all night?" No answer. "Then come on inside, please." "No", and hits me on my shoulder. "Ok, then let's go to your car, and you drive home." Refuses to budge. After 40 minutes of this silliness, I say: "I'm sorry but I'm going to bed now. It is late" and walk away. She follows, but with her feet stamping the ground like a pouting child. Wow, 12 years old? 10 maybe? This is a grown, educated, world-travelled business woman actually old enough to be a grandmother. She follows me upstairs. I sit her down on the sofa, and make tea. Yes, tea. Lets talk. Silence. What do you want to do? Silence. Well, then I'm going to bed. She punches me on the shoulder. OK, I take that as a No, I'm not going to bed. A smile almost leaks out. By this strange limited language of punches and silence, I am to figure out that she wants me to undress her.

She was too tight to penetrate, (not a hymen issue, but a muscle issue) so we could say that we tried to have sex, but we could not say we did have sex. She was very determined!! But that just seemed to make her even tighter. To the extent that we relax, we are making progress. At 5am, she has to get up, drive home and pretend nothing happened last night – for the sake of work and sister, who blabs to mom and dad, saving face and all that. [This is to be a repeating pattern for days to come.]

I don't know where this relationship will finally end up at, but what an amazing palette of feelings. An amazing privilege to be allowed so close at such a critical time in her life. Yeah, that sounds stupid, how can you take a virgin without being close?! But still, giving one's virginity is proving to be a mighty intense event for her. Forget the geisha movie – reality is far larger. I suppose because of all the social expectations and pressures that preceded. Much different attitude from Librarian. [This whole situation becomes much more than I bargained for. More on Virgin later.]

Observation: I "just say No" to 20 year olds, but I am really enjoying this time travel back to 16. What's with that? The swirl of Thai romances leads me into many contradictions, and it is often days, after the wind dies down a little, before I even realize I'm breaking my own rules.

Day 13: A chemical engineer decides she would like to have dinner with me. But to arrange this she asks an older women with better English to make the phone call. Miss Chem arrives with a "Dic", an electronic translator dictionary, and we spend 3 tedious hours by the pool exchanging quite basic notions. She tells me her father died just two weeks earlier. I respond that I am very very sorry to hear that, and this sad time is not a proper time for anything romantic, so let us talk again in two weeks and see how she's feeling then.

I have this rule: always match the other person's energies. If she's putting a lot into our friendship, then I should too. Sounds fair. Upside is it will allow me to discover where she's going to take things, at the fastest possible rate. Downside is she may read my "high input" as signs of dedication to her. That's not bad in the beginning, for IF she turns out to be THE ONE then indeed – dedication it is. But it does feel a bit awkward to project "dedication" to 12 at once. Must keep things loose.

Once a lady arrives at my condo, I can assume that we will make love, unless: a) some other lady appears; b) my standards of beauty have risen so high that day I just can't find her attractive anymore (this is way unfair to any lady that has invested months of quality email time with me.) c) some language barrier arises that locks up our progress. This can happen if she had a friend editing their emails to me, thus presenting much finer verse than can be mustered solo: or d) she finds evidence in my condo (long hair, make-up etc); This last one is not always a show-stopper. If played right, she will become more determined to show her abilities to out-compete. And that can be great fun.

What is so surreal about Thailand, is that the ladies want to have sex. You do not need to "convince them, talk them into it, trick them, seduce them, or get them drunk. More often it is the other way around – they will be seducing you actively, knowingly, with the intent to bed you. OK!

Another weirdness is the younger, easier, less talkative ones become so routine that they are hardly worth writing about. I cannot even find a way to distinguish them from each other, and quickly forget their names. Together they become merely "traffic". That is a shame, because in most places, a single one, as an isolated event, would make a memory to cherish for a lifetime.

Observation: The girls with the smaller breasts have the tighter pussies. As the breasts shrink to zero, so does the pussy size go to zero. Well, that's the trend so far.

Day 14: Landlady has started stalking me. Her occasional late night visits have transmogrified into possession or even obsession. What a waste of good talent. She apologizes for not being able to help me while she is at work, but gives me the eye and asks about who else I am seeing?

Old lady across the hall knows all things. She tells me the details of who's doing what and what to expect next. She says that Stalker / Landlady stands out in front of my building to watch when I come and go sometimes. But because Stalker seems to know how many ladies visit my condo, I'm thinking she is not outside – she must be on the floor! Shortpants told me last week she thought she was being watched when she arrived here at the building. I'm at a distinct disadvantage here, because the Stalker / Landlady / Civil Servant Officer is government issue. High enough up that she tells the provincial governors what to do, level 8. She could either be very helpful or make great trouble for me.

What Old lady said last week was confirmed today when Stalker called to boast / threaten of all the things she "knows". How many girls go into my room. I should have stood tall and said Yes, I am proud of these conquests!" But I stammered and told her it was always the lady's idea to come, not mine. "I'm innocent. I cannot control these things. I am the guest in THEIR land." Sufficiently lame?

HOW does Stalker know about each girl's visit? Are there cameras in the hallway? Maybe she pays Old lady to take notes. Yes, my best guess is Old Lady is really Stalker's friend. I decide to spend increasing amounts of time in other cities.

Day15: I discovered today that nurses are like jack-in-the-boxes. Evidently, in return for government subsidized education, they sign contracts that place them in remote women's dormitories for up to 8 years. These dedicated ladies wake up in a year or two from arduous hours of public service and caring for others, to the fact that they are starving for a man! They will explode with sexuality if you so much as touch them. Unbelievable. I went to Ubon to visit one. One turned into Thirteen nurses and a female doctor taking me to a remote place for lunch. It was actually out in a wheat field, as best I could tell. All so giggly, I asked how many were single? All said "Me". But several murmured under their breath "… for an hour". The very pleasant joke was that each one would be single if I wanted her to be, despite some bothersome marriages in their histories. After lunch which had us sitting around a normal table in normal chairs, they took me to a bamboo hut, "gratome", with no tables or chairs, and we all laid around on bamboo mats and triangular pillows. First they got me drunk on red sticky rice wine and beer. Right after dark they started doing solo dances right close in front of me, one or two at a time. I was literally laying on a pile of women. They would hold me more like a baby than like a lover, because it was too public for overt sexuality – each of us wanting more than we dared to take. We only got away with little touches, and lots of eye language. New lessons in yearning. One public indulgence was that using ladies tummies and thighs as pillows seemed to be acceptable.

The female doctor at the party said to me: There are only two rules in Thailand.

Rule one. Don't touch. Rule two: Sometimes it's OK. We all laugh approvingly.

Then the electrical power failed for the whole neighbourhood. Yes, there were candles for back-up. Augh. I wanted them all! but could not conceive of any acceptable way to arrange it. Others wanted different arrangements: get me a farang boyfriend, OK? Take me home to America with you. Get me job in Europe. Do you think I am beautiful? Let me show you to my family. ("Introduce" wouldn't be the right word, because I was treated like a "catch" by several of them.) To say goodnight, I gave each one a single flower and a hug. There was a lot of communication in their hugs. By this I knew who I wanted to make contact with later. The doctor lingered, but she really is on the ugly side of average. I could not genuinely show interest. Sorry.

Then a new group forms. I think it is bedtime, but they do not. We all go to a big red barn that is a comical mixture of American western and traditional Thai. The theme is "get rowdy" hee haw. There are 2 paid dancers up in the loft with us. A Thai guy chooses the dancer right in front of me, so my personal entertainment disappears. At closing time I chose the head nurse in our group to take home, because she has done a lot of kind things for me already. But I later discovered, in the name of massage, I might have gotten 2 or 3 to join, if just careful to chose the closest of

friends. You just have to provide them with "plausible deniability"! You cannot say: "Let's all go have an orgy." But you can say: "I need a team of volunteers to teach me Thai massage techniques, or Isaan hand dances, or …." If you choose, well it only takes one spoiler. So give them a little time to sort it out amongst themselves as to who should be on the team. Well, my team did not turn out so good. A very heavy set 150 kg Thai male with us at the barn gets very drunk. Strange as it may sound, I have already met his charming little wife in another town (no sex). She was my dentist for a filling replacement. And it somehow becomes my civic duty to take him home to my hotel room. Are you SURE about this? He sleeps on the floor. My nurse doesn't seem to mind his presence with us. Well, in the morning, he is friendly again, and as my reward, asks his aunt to give me a 2-hour massage. OK Traditional, and my nurse watches.


Stickman's thoughts:

What ever happened to the traditional Thai good girl? Is it a myth?