Russians: Confessions Of A Russophile
In an earlier submission “It’s Not a Mistake to Learn Thai” I mentioned that despite living in Bangkok I hadn’t been with a Thai woman in ages because I prefer Russians. Some readers were curious so here’s my report.
I’ll start with where to find them and a little background.
1. The CM2 disco in the basement of the Novotel in Siam Square.
The cream’s to be found here, ranging from fairly attractive to drop-dead (subjective, yes, but there’s such a number and variety that if you walk from one end of the place to the other it’s unlikely you’ll not do a double-take at least once). Incidentally, in case your taste is less exotic CM2 draws high-end Thais too.
I should snap a myth at this point. Though the accepted collective term seems to be “Russian”, there are very few actual Russian citizens working. Most are Central Asian and, in particular, Uzbek. However, amongst Uzbeks are multiple ethnicities, including Russian, Tajik, Armenian, Korean (yep, the first Korean Uzbek I met at CM2 confused the hell out of me – I thought why on earth is this Thai woman pretending to be Russian), and others. Looks vary accordingly from copper-skinned dark-haired Eurasian to blue-eyed blonde. (Most beautiful are ethnic Tajiks, an opinion corroborated by a fellow I recently met who has traveled in Central Asia.) Beware though that dye and contacts are as common as padded bras and heels. Almost all do speak Russian which seems to be a colonial heritage in those parts like English in India. English? Those who have been working a while are fairly fluent with a curious grammar (“I am understand…”) and delicious accent – sweeter to my ears at least than the Thai sing-song. And, if such things matter to you, most are Muslim, with a few orthodox Christians.
2. Grace hotel – both in the upstairs 24-hours coffee shop and the disco.
The clientele is mostly Arab and Indian so the women tend to be a little heavier and more made-up, but still there are stunners to be found.
Several women I know operate out of both CM2 and the Grace. If they have a little spare cash they like to go to CM2 first. CM2 can be expensive. An evening there doing anything more than sipping apple juice (not a lot of fun given that it’s a lively place with a big dance floor and a great band) can easily run to a 1000b. But, then, a Russian can expect 3-8K if she finds work at CM2.
Women from CM2 who haven’t found someone and don’t want to call it a night often go to the Tunnel (decent club on Lang Suan, DJ, miniscule dance area), Spicy (I can’t say the address but it’s a bit of a dive a five-minute cab ride from CM2 and most cabbies know it as they get 100b. to bring people), and to the Grace coffee shop which doesn’t close. There are other places (e.g., Bamboo Bar, the Alex and Lula clubs, all in the vicinity of the Grace) where you’ll find the odd after-hours Russian.
Honorable mention must be made of the Rajah Hotel (a few minute’s walk on down from the Nana Plaza), surely the most wretched hotel in that part of town, for what must be the only Russian fish-bowl (in the coffee shop to the right after you enter). The clientele is – surprise – mostly Thai guys. But, then again I knew a few decent Russians who actually quit going to CM2 to sit there because apparently work’s guaranteed. Update: when I poked my head in a few days ago there seemed to be no women. I am not sure if the supply’s dried up with the clubs being more lucrative hunting grounds during the tourist season, or if the mafia-types who run the place are scaring the girls.
By the way, there are a few low-rent Russians to be spotted standing in front of the Grace or walking nearby streets.
Pattaya? I wish I knew. I generally dislike the place and don’t visit but, given that it draws zillions of Russian tourists, there’s got to be something going on. Maybe a knowledgeable reader will send a note that will cause me to re-locate from Bangkok.
Why I fancy Russians?
1. I like foreplay that includes chess.
Not exactly, and, oddly enough, I haven’t yet met a Russian woman who admits to playing shakhmat, though they all know of it and have fathers and uncles who are addicts.
I need to track back a bit to explain exactly what I do mean. When I used to swing through Bangkok for a few days each in the middle of those East-West trips that I had to make four times a year before actually beginning to live here, all I was looking for (like 90% of the other guys in the immigration line) was hot bodies, one after another with a turn-over rate to make Paris Hilton blush. I would check into the Nana Hotel late evening after the seven-hour flight from Narita and, then, in about as much time as it took to shave and shower, be inside the Playskool in the Plaza. Being a very handsome man (it’s true – five different women wouldn’t all lie to me and my buying them lady drinks had nothing to do with it) I would get to take back the most gorgeous pole dancer (she wasn’t the most expensive for no reason as the mamasan would explain to me). And so on it went the next few days – fish-bowls in the afternoon, go-go bars in the evening, and even the occasional lady house (do these exist anymore or have guys all wised up?) in between – till it was time to drag myself off to the flight back to misery, cold and really large women.
Now, it’s different. Now, that I live here in Sin City I’ve moved up the food chain. Getting some is no longer an issue and wham-bang-here’s-your-tip-sawatdeekhap doesn’t cut it anymore. I want holistic entertainment that includes food, dancing, alcohol, music, sex, and, importantly, some amount of conversation. It’s tiresome if the social intercourse through the hours is at the level of baby talk abetted with pantomime.
Here’s an example. I am on the balcony with my short-time thi-ruk telling her in my stumpy Thai that I lived in the States before moving here. She says she wants to see the US and asks pointing up if it’s farther away than the moon. I kid you not and am stunned for a moment before light dawns. She’s had little education and, certainly, no world geography. The moon’s very far which is clear from just looking up and so, supposedly, is the US. Therefore, it’s perfectly logical – actually quite scientific – to want to compare the two. I guess it would be noble on my part to be touched by such innocence and try to educate her, but, truth to tell, I am not interested to play Prof. Higgins to her Pygmalion the next couple of hours for which I have paid.
Maybe she was extreme but I have a dim view of the Thai education system in general. It stresses rote learning, discourages the questioning mind and stifles creativity. I probably shouldn’t stereotype and I bet there are fabulous exceptions, but I just doubt the Thai system produces a lot of people interesting to be with, no matter what level of society, from bar girl to hi-so.
The Russians seem to have enjoyed better schooling in Central Asia – probably a gift of the Soviet system. And, unfortunately, or fortunately depending on your point of view, some of their economies are so bad ($100/month is a very high salary in Uzbekistan) that you’ll find women with college degrees who have trained as teachers, economists, musicians and such. I still remember a petite Chechen with a cover-girl face I met in CM2 who made money here and then took off to med school in Moscow.
Another positive is that many are well-traveled having operated in HK, Singapore, KL, Djakarta and Dubai, not to mention that Russians are favored company for international businessmen bound for or breaking in Bangkok, which means they frequent big metropolises and vacation in places like the Maldives, Seychelles and Bali. Ergo, they have better stories to tell than someone who sleeps exclusively between Suks 1 and 15.
Sure, some will give you an attitude (as in snooty? charismatic?) and some are just plain ornery and hard but, on the whole, I find Russians more fun to be around than the Thais.
In all fairness though I must mention that a friend suggested I was comparing apples and oranges when I made these observations to him. He said that a Thai woman operating, say, out of a Tashkent club would evidently be more of a character than the local hookers on the street outside. Maybe, but I live in Bangkok, not Tashkent.
2. I am potty-trained.
Seriously, I don’t like to be babied. I understand that if I don’t wash inside my ears then it gets greasy and shines in the light. I understand that it’s hygienic to unfold my foreskin and clean carefully. I can also squeeze paste on to a toothbrush and – gasp – pour milk and cereals for breakfast, and cook or order the rest.
Look, I appreciate feminity in a woman as much as the next guy and have no patience for the self-defeating attitude that it signals surrender and dependence which Western women often have. And, I would love to be taken care of by (and to take care of) a woman who loves me and can’t stop thinking about me and wants always to be together.
But, someone who “take care me” because that’s what she’s been trained to do or – worse – because there’s not much else she can think of to do with a farang, is not a lot of fun. I would rather be alone than subject to mechanical ministration. And realizing that she will be scrubbing the next guy’s ears or bottom just as briskly doesn’t help fuel any fantasies. (Full disclosure: I am a sucker for back rubs and have been known to plead for one before thi-ruk takes off.)
Russians are thankfully free of such “take care you” pretensions, not meaning that they can’t be a heck of a lot of fun. I like doing things with them: club-hopping, hanging in my apartment drinking and dancing to Russian / Uzbek / Iranian / Turkish music (which is what they prefer and of which I have a collection of CD’s made from borrowing and copying), occasionally smoking pot, watching movies, and playing badminton. Well, badminton was with only this one woman who was nuts about the game and always brought a racket with her. We would play a set, smoke (I said she was Russian and it was before I quit), play some more before heading up to my place. Strange foreplay, but tearing off our clothes after and jumping all sweaty and breathless into bed wasn’t a bad, er, climax, and it led to a nice line that I use on the obnoxious barkers at Patpong pushing the upstairs ping-pong shows – “Pom mai chob ping-pong, chob badmintan” (I don’t like ping-pong, I like badminton).
3. Thais can’t hear the fat lady sing.
That’s when the games are over (and I’ve had my back rub). It’s time for thi-ruk to leave with her tip and not “take care” any more. Finis, finito – I want to sleep till noon (alone) and then spring out of bed and start a new day with activities that rarely involve a woman till much later in the evening.
I make a decent (not huge) expat salary, which is evident to anyone who visits my place, and hope it doesn’t seem arrogant to say that I tend to be perceived as a good catch by working locals. This often led to a whole bunch of problems from mind games to sick buffaloes, that I really didn’t relish dealing with, when thi-ruk came back with me.
Russians don’t care. They are not looking to settle in Bangkok and I am certainly not wealthy enough to be seen by them as a potential sponsor. Incidentally, Russians do acquire sponsors just as Thais. A Tatar woman once took me to a condo at the top of a high-rise next to the river, which her Greek executive boyfriend had bought and let her use when he wasn’t in town. Another – a very beautiful Tajik – has an Indian boyfriend with a wife and kids in Singapore but business in Bangkok (is the guy lucky or what?). The man has no intention of marrying the Tajik (she really is trophy wife material though), but at the same time makes sure that she and her family (son and mother in Samarkand) are well-provided for, which is a perfectly good arrangement as far she is concerned. She is hoarding the jewelry and cash that he gifts her till there’s enough to pack up and go home.
The flip side of the lousy Uzbek economy is that home prices are affordable and living costs low. A year in Bangkok, provided the “balance” owed the “boss” who brought the girl over (the typical way that they find themselves in Sin City) is already paid up, is apparently enough to buy a house even in Tashkent or Samarkand, and certainly in smaller Central Asian towns.
So, I appreciate the clean parting with Russians – a peck on either cheek after I’ve pushed the bills into her handbag and off she goes down my soi looking for a cab. And, she won’t mind it a bit if I don’t call her the next day or take another woman from the same club the next night (try that particular trick with a Thai…). Russians rarely get mushy or try to f**k your mind. Au contraire, I like it when they say upfront “I am businesslady…”
This brings up, of course, the somewhat sordid but very important question of rates. It depends. Actually, a Thai woman at the Beer Garden had what I thought was the most honest answer ever when I asked what she asked. “It depends on how stupid he looks,” which, of course, applies to every working woman, be she Thai, Russian, Chinese, Liberian, Colombian (I have encountered the last three at CM2 as well by the way), or from wherever.
Rates are never fixed but here are some thumb-rules for short-time (I don’t go any other way): starting from 1K at the Grace and 3K at CM2. My experience at CM2 is that the Russians don’t like to negotiate till after midnight when the high-rollers have mostly left.
So, the smart thing to do is to make your interest known early. Be friendly and funny when you approach. Relax, it’s not the US. The babe isn’t going to cut you dead. First, Russians mostly haven’t drunk the feminist Kool-Aid and, second, hey, she’s a working woman remember. Unless, you’re Ferrari-driving rich the first price she’ll quote (likely 6K+) will be beyond your reach. Just laugh, aver that she’s beautiful and deserves the price, that you wish you could afford it, but can’t. Then, offer to buy her a drink, say that if she doesn’t mind you’d like to come back and talk later, and turn around and leave (or, if she’s up for banter, banter, but don’t get intense). This marks you as “nice” and “not desperate”, both extremely important in future negotiations likely to occur if she doesn’t get taken soon.
If she asks what you can give, to my mind it’s best to quote a price you can comfortably afford and refuse to budge. Keep in mind the working woman’s grapevine: if you are really smitten with a particular Russian one night and go up to, say 5K, it’ll not be easy to get away with less from then on with any of her friends.
There are pros and cons to agreeing to a price and leaving early (long before closing that is). The main plus is that you won’t get “dumped”, which can happen if a late-coming high-roller trumps your offer by several thousand. (The nice ones will come and take your leave while others will simply vanish.) The downside is that you miss out on the dynamics near closing. It can go either way that late. You could end up going home alone (which happens to me all the time but I don’t really mind because I enjoy drinking and dancing and hanging with the people at the club, and know too I can be back the next night and the next). Or, you could find a babe for a big discount, or two at even better.
“Life, you take two lady tonight?” I curl my biceps and say, “I am strong man. Two lady for me no problem. We go party my apartment.” They know that they are going to be making some money at least without the trouble of after-hour rounds and will generally have a good time with a decent guy. And, it can get interesting.
Once, when the three of us were out on the balcony with the summer breeze blowing, down to our skivvies, beers in hand swaying to Valeria’s Tik-tak, the phone goes off in one of their handbags. It’s a high-roller, presumably transiting, who wants to see her now. Nine thousand. She’s not particularly happy but thinks a bit and says, “No problem, I come back.” Sure enough in bit more than an hour (some of these master-of-the-universe types are strangely lightweight in the shack) she sashays in again with a bottle of imported whisky.
If you’re an occasional tourist I wouldn’t bother with the Russians. Stick with Thais. Your fantasies will be filled for a lot less hassle and expense. Of course, if you’re in the vicinity of the CM2 or Grace with an hour to kill poke your head in and say hi.
Expats might like the change in pace now and then. One friend, who’s normally to be found either in the Beer Garden or Thermae, broke down recently crying, “I miss boobs” and went with me the next night to CM2. As for a long-term relationship in Bangkok it’s obviously more sensible to be with someone who is from here (I do know of a couple of Thai guy-Russian woman LTR’s).
I’ll confess though that sometimes when I see those saleswomen in the Emporium or college babes in uniforms two sizes small, I am thinking what the ‘ell have I been thinking.
Very interesting and great to get a report on a part of the industry that I have seen little of any detail written about.