Please excuse my writing and over punctuation. Also the following may be a little self-indulgent.
Deep down I knew I shouldn’t bar-fine anyone, ever.
I had started planning my holiday at least 6 months before. 1 month away. April 2009. 7 – 10 days in Beijing, a city I’ve always dreamed of visiting, the remainder in Thailand ~ I first came to Thailand when I was 14, the last family holiday. My parents had continued to holiday in Asia, specifically Thailand, and have since bought a small home near Hua Hin, in-part, ready for their retirement. 18 years later I decided to take the offer of using their house for a fortnight. Planning a 5 or 6 night stay in Bangkok between Beijing and Hua Hin.
I had visited Thailand twice before, once with a girlfriend (‘04) and then with a close friend (‘06) but never ventured outside typical tourist activities and venues, certainly never into the ‘Naughty Nightlife’. This time would be different. Beijing was the tourist holiday. Great Wall, Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, Summer Palace etc. Bangkok the party, Hua Hin for relaxation.
On my ‘06 visit I had thought, briefly, about the English teacher route. Looking back I think this may have been one of those ‘I’ll do anything to stay in Thailand’ thoughts, but it did lead to this website. I began to read the submissions and Stick’s weekly column. Slowly, I became more and more interested in Thailand’s nightlife. I found more and more information on websites and forums. I felt I knew all about Nana Plaza / Soi Cowboy / The Thermae / The Grace Hotel and between, even a fair amount about Pattaya, yet had experienced none. The closest I have ever got was walking past Soi Cowboy. This could be the biggest problem with the internet, the creation of know-it-alls who have never experienced, me included.
Above everything I had read I was still, categorically, in the ‘I don’t have to pay for it’ & the ‘sex tourists are lowlifes’ camps. I don’t know what changed, maybe it was the realisation that – and this may come as a shock to some – not all sex tourists are old, fat, bad smelling, unhygienic losers, but a few weeks before departure the thought of paying for a night of pleasure with a beautiful Thai lady slowly became more and more exciting. It was almost as if I was daring myself to do it.
I arrived in my hotel in BKK late, midnight-ish, deciding I would find somewhere to eat then crash in my hotel on Sukhumvit Soi 11/1 (booked specifically because it was ‘guest friendly’). I awoke late the next day. Got some supplies (razor etc.) and some lunch, that’s how late it was, checked my email in an internet café and then had a walk around starting from Sukhumvit soi 11 down to soi 3. The whole time planning where I might go that evening and anticipating what I might get up to.
As I wandered down from soi 11 I decided to go down soi 7 knowing the Biergarten was located here. As I reached the Biergarten it appeared busy, or at least rowdy. This was about 15.00. Being tee-total and very ‘green’ I decided it wasn’t the place for me as it seemed a bit hardcore, so I continued on my way.
Not being used to the heat I was beginning to get sweaty and was feeling surprisingly tired. I meandered back to my hotel thinking I’d maybe nap and then get ready to go out. I awoke after maybe 45 minutes, at approximately 17.30. I was surprised that it was getting dark already. I got myself a drink and had a cigarette. At about 18.00 the power went out on lower Sukhumvit. Other than the BTS and what I guess was emergency lighting in some hotels not a light could be seen from the window. I waited for about half an hour, thinking the power would be back on soon, before deciding to shave and shower in almost complete darkness. As fun and awkward as this was, it was nothing compared to walking down very steep stairs, with little to no emergency lighting, from the 16th floor. But I had built my time in BKK up too much to be slowed down by not being able to see.
As I exited the hotel there was still no lights. I walked to the end of soi 11/1 and looked right. No lights. I looked left. Light. That was my direction. The light turned out to be the stalls (seemed to have their own generator) but my direction had been chosen. As I negotiated my way between them, with no particular destination, I recognised a sign from my internet research. ‘The Thermae’. Being still early there was just the sign and a stairway leading down. I knew this place was once notorious and I wanted to take a look. I noticed a young lady smiling at me from a small bar, up a few stairs to the left. Also it had lighting and an area outside for smokers which looked onto Sukhumvit Road. Ideal for a people watching and I could see the ladies and gents entering the Thermae. I looked up and saw the name ‘Bush Garden’, I recognised the name from a submission, seemed like an ideal place to begin.
I ordered a drink, lit a cigarette and sat facing out toward Sukhumvit Road. The waitress brought my drink, placed the chit in the holder and left. As I watched the world go by a felt like I was being watched. I glanced over my left shoulder and saw 4 girls (waitresses?!) standing close-by, all talking and looking at me. I returned my gaze to the road. At first it made me feel uncomfortable, then I looked back and got 4 beaming smiles, the kind that it seems only Thai girls can give. I returned the smile. I turned myself away from the road and towards them. The typical conversation began. Were you from etc. I bought them all several drinks (holiday millionaire don’t forget).
Immediately the conversation had begun my thoughts had turned to barfining 1 of them. Girl A was old, maybe 45+. Girl B was late 20s, pretty, very thin but with a smile and laugh which made my knees weak. Girl C was young (looked too young to me) with a nice body as far as I could see, but had terrible teeth and an annoying whiny voice. Girl D was very pretty, great figure but was a little stand-offish. My biggest mistake may have been that I waited to see which girl I got on with better rather than keeping the transaction of ‘sex for money’ at the forefront of my thoughts and picking the girl I found most attractive. Girl B was for me. She had such an attitude towards other customers and girls. Pulling faces when I was the only person who could see. It was as if we had our own ‘in’ joke, that only we knew about. I thought it would be better to barfine someone who I had chemistry with rather then just a trophy.
I asked Girl B for the checkbin. She leant across me to reach the chits I had accumulated, I had major butterflies in my stomach and took this opportunity to whisper in her ear if she would like to leave with me. She said yes but I would need to pay barfine. I gave her the money and asked how much ‘later’. I have read here that some people like to get all negotiating done beforehand, short-time/long-time price, leaving time, even what ‘activities’ will done, but I couldn’t bring myself to do that. I was hoping she would say XXXX for short-time, XXXX long-time. She just said “don’t know”. It didn’t matter, I’d decided on her and thought if it goes sour I could always pay her and go find another. It didn’t go sour.
In the morning I had no idea what to say or how to act. I showered, she showered. Whilst she was in there I placed some money on top of her bag, not in-sight but not hidden. I escorted her to reception, collected her ID card and out on to soi 11. She asked if she would see me again that night. I said “Maybe”. She just smiled. She got on a moto-taxi and was on her way.
I had never felt so sleazy, like I’d taken advantage of her. Had I? Maybe I took advantage of her situation? Being poor. Having to look after her family. Is this real? Or have I been brain-washed into thinking someone who sells their body couldn’t / wouldn’t have done it out of choice? I can’t get over the thought that these are all intrinsically good girls who, out of little choice, have decided to make the hard decision to sell their bodies. I understand to some this may sound a pathetic way to think, especially when you read previous submissions concerning how these girls have schemed, lied and cheated.
Maybe I don’t have the correct mind-set to just say goodbye after the deed is done and then move onto the next encounter. Although I’m sure everyone believes they are being nice and treating the girls with decency, I wonder how decent or nice is it to treat someone as disposable? Buy it, use it, bin it. Aren’t they really treating us the same way?
Maybe it’s my moralistic Christian upbringing? The thought of bar-fining a hot nubile young thing is still exciting, but I know it’s not for me. Surely I can’t be the only person who thinks like this?
Am I the quintessential weak, western man? Possibly. Some may say yes. All I can say is I have learnt about myself, where my limits are, and have come out the other side a little happier from experiencing this, but with more questions than answers.
I’m in awe of those of you who can keep it to just a transaction.
A fragment of me would like to be the same way.
Honestly, I’m glad I’m not.
Interesting thoughts. The guilt gene is more common than you think…