Stickman Readers' Submissions September 5th, 2008

Reflecting On Thailand

It’s after 1 AM and I’m in the mood to write notwithstanding all the beer I’ve poured down my throat tonight.

After abandoning my drinking buddies early in Soi 8 at the We4U Bar I had it on my mind to re-visit Shark Bar where I had met the lovely Pa a few days ago, a natural girl from Non Kai, and I like the natural, unimproved, kwam suay ngam tammachat girls. But, like most males I thought another hit of beer before I dropped into the bar might be OK. I mean there was room for it. I couldn’t get into the Sports Bar or whatever the hell it’s called, a bar adjacent to Midnite Bar, so I settled on the outside happy hour bar of Sheba’s – 70 baht until 9 pm sounded OK. I like to watch anything as long as the parade continues.

I noticed a girl outside Cowboy 2, a bar I haven’t bothered with for a couple for years, and I followed up, went in, bought the girl a drink, and hoped for the best. Now, for the inexperienced reader, when they get off the stage and don’t show up at your table right away, it means a consultation has taken place with a pi sao and your future with the girl has been decided whether you know it or not. Well, she joined me and we chatted, she diffident, me trying to speak the ‘you’re be safe with me,’ talk. I pitched her Buriram beauty for a night together, but, astoundingly, she had her period. What a strange and unfortunate coincidence! I told her that if she didn’t like me it was OK – I take rejection well and I accept I am not everyone’s cup of cha rawn. I may take my revenge, though, next week because I spotted someone else in the bar that seemed rather friendly as well – there is no greater equalizer than going out with a colleague off the stage and to be declared later, jai dee maak maak. Rookies, take note. <I like it!Stick>

So, I moved on to Shark Bar, my original destination, but the house was full so the lovely Pa would have to wait another day for my perfectly acceptable proposal. I turned up the soi and finally stumbled into Rawhide where the lovely (to me) dwells Mee, someone I went with only three days earlier. When she was free between shows I gave her 100 baht to consolidate my jai dee reputation with her, because that will wend its way all round the bar. This is what a man’s goal ought to be with women in any bar, to establish a reputation. Because if you do this, it means you can go out with anyone you please from that bar and even the mamasans will seek you out to invite you to consider someone new. It’s a rule.

Now, as I sat and waited for the lovely Mee to be available, I noticed a girl I had not seen before making a display for me. Most men would not know what this means. Just before it happened, she sat opposite me at the bar. I watched as a farang I have seen in Nana many times called her over with the wave of his hand. Her reaction was to get up and move away, actually closer to me. She displayed in front of me but unfortunately I was waiting for the lovely Mee. Eventually, love-smitten-dude did buy her a drink and she accepted it but was as cool as the proverbial cake. What was interesting here was that he could not see that she wasn’t interested in him, yet he persisted like all the romance novels say he should. Nothing came of his expenditure – I saw him later in Rainbow 4. This was simply another lesson in how little men understand female behaviour.

Well, notwithstanding my earlier disappointment in Cowboy, yet holding onto the hope of the ‘other’ in the bar, I made a move to Nana. As I entered the crossover to the other side of Asoke, I found myself following a young woman of slight build, maybe late twenties, dressed nicely in navy trousers and top the colour of orange and pomegranate. I was no more than ten feet behind her. I matched her pace, genuinely intrigued by her sophistication, and the hard soles of my English shoes let her know where I was by the crack on the granite floor. She looked left and right, pretending interest in the ads. We did the dance through the undercut feigning to look at the ads. Her hips swung a little more as she moved along almost in tune to the clop, clop of my shoes, ignoring me and watching me at the same time. I just loved the interplay so much and thought to myself how this isn’t possible in the West anymore. Here there is still flirting and the women are players, willing participants in the subtle interplay between men and women, whereas ‘back home’ there might be a case for stalking. We ended up on the same platform, heading toward Nana, my destination but surely not hers, and because I know how this lovely game is between men and women, I did not board the BTS at the spot she had chosen. I moved along to another door where I could look back at her. And she looked at me in that disinterested way as any person might look at a crowd, yet I knew, and she knew, as her gaze came briefly back, a flicker at a time. If you understand how this small game is played, it is incredibly erotic, full of possibilities and full of fantasies. All are privately held.

It was all over at Nana without a word spoken about the meaning of one of the oldest rituals between men and women, as it should be, but I felt so much more a man for it as I slipped out the door of the train.

I powered on to Nana, up into the Mandarin Bar where just last week I had seen someone I wanted to know. I winked at the ones I knew already and when her shift ended, I collared the server, pointed my long finger at the girl, and in seconds she was beside me. Silly me, I thought it might just be a slam dunk. Her name was Min and she couldn’t speak English and had only worked, she said, for five days in the bar. She had given me a big smile a few days ago so I thought she liked me a lot. I bought her the usual, spoke Thai to her, asked if she was available. She said yes, pulled out the barfine money, and called over the mamasan. Well, the mamasan told me she had been asked for by another and returned my money to me. If someone was going to be disappointed this night obviously it was going to be me, not lookha in waiting. I mean what can you do? Argue that you had already sealed the deal and had proprietary rights? The mamasan promised future rights – I wonder if you can trade them on the stock exchange? And the ultimate piss off was that the other buyer wasn’t even in the room – the lovely Min went back to dance her shift. This had nothing to do with the wishes of the girl and everything about the mamasan. You can figure this: the mamasan was going to get a big tip from, hmmm, let me guess. I did my usual fake anger about this but it was to no avail. <There's a lesson here but I don't know that I like itStick>

Just let me pause here to say, if anyone thinks that because there is a shortage of customers there is easy pickens for those that are here, that isn’t the case. There is not only supreme fussiness in the bars, I have watched loads and loads of men turned down by the parking lot girls. Why? Well, because the supply has shrunk with the demand. There are no calls going back to Buriram and Surin and Udon to come on down and share the money. So, the sweethearts are in demand and want the cashflow, the same as any Thai business raises its prices when demand falls.

Well, after my disappointment in Mandarin I went on to Rainbow 4. Incredible as it may sound, I met another Min, a lovely girl, first day on the job. I bought her a drink and chatted to her in Thai because she could not speak much English and she told me, in a very sweet way, that she could not, well, that she was a bit afraid of foreigners. Never mind, I tipped her a hundred and told her I would see her again. I ended my night in the Golden Bar watching women I have seen for years work over the naive crowd.

Such is the life in BKK, with nothing to be presumed upon. But goddamn, there is nothing to compare with it where any of us come from, and that is why we stay.

Stickman's thoughts:

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That's a really, really nice report of a night out. I have never been in favour of naughty boy reports but you make them interesting. Nice writing and real insight.

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