Stickman Readers' Submissions March 4th, 2010

Joining the Club

We have been reading about the “moral” issues of the “birds” in the trade and some have described the various reasons for the “birds” joining the club and sharing their bodies with the world. Having read all of
the submissions on the subject I can only add the one experience I had with the first bar girl I fell for on my first prolonged visit to LOS. I think her situation was a bit different than most in that her efforts at economic survival and supporting
her kids back home forced her to consider the “trade” at a much older age.

Sitting in Angelwitch in Pattaya and striking up a conversation with someone sitting next to me I noticed a girl that peaked my interest. There she sat several feet away from me and next to a girl who had sided up to me on her own. With no
one around this girl, she just sat and appeared lonely. It just looked like she did not belong there. I invited her so sit on the other side of me. She thought I wanted her to hustle the person next to me as she was now sitting between us. My
actions soon told her my intentions and the girl on my other side soon left. This woman intrigued me, as she seemed to show innocence about herself. Oh, she gave me all the standard lines “I spotted you when you came in the door”
and others but somehow she seemed to me to be different (yes I know the lines so well now).

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Bar fined her and took her to my room where she became somewhat vocal about the smoky smell of the room but I assured her I did not smoke. Next it was did I have a condom as she revealed that she already had had her quota of kids and did
not want any more. Had a good time with her and reluctantly turned her loose and over time she just grew on me.

Two days later I could stand it no longer and went back to Angelwitch promptly at 8 PM and bar fined her before she could begin her shift. On our way walking back to my room, I told her I just wanted to be with her and did not care about
the sex stuff but that she was the total focus of my attention and just wanted to be with only her.

Over the next two weeks we spent together, her story unfolded. Dropped out of school at who knows what level because disinterested. Went to work at cement factory and met boyfriend. Had two boys with boyfriend and at some point boyfriend
severely kicked and abused her oldest son (sent him to hospital) so she took the kids and left him. Now on her own with two kids left them with mom back in village in Isan while she went off to find work to send money back for mom and the kids.
She had spent years working at many jobs but primarily sewing jobs that paid a giant 1 baht per T-Shirt sewn. Slaved away for years trying to get ahead, working more hours but somehow she could not make much if any extra money to send home for
support of her kids.

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Now in her 30s she knew a friend from her village in Isan who had moved to Pattaya and become a bargirl. She moved to Pattaya and stayed with several friends looking for work anywhere she could get it. One job was even as a construction laborer
for a few days there. With her lack of education, there were few opportunities available to her that paid other than minimum wage. Finally tiring of the grinding existence and unable to send money back home for the kids she succumbed. Went to
work at Angelwitch with a base salary of 8900 baht/month, which was so much more than the 5000 baht/month she was able to earn sewing. She did not care anymore as long as she could send some money home. There is a lot more money available from
working in the bar (ping pong balls, lady drinks & bar fines) that and she could figure on greatly expanding her income so morals and pride be dammed. She finally wanted to send some money home no matter how she got it.

I met her about a month into her working the bar there which is probably why she looked so lost and innocent to me. She had finally been able to move out of the 4 girl flat and get her own room by now. Amazingly, it was 3,000 baht for a very
small room with a bathroom large enough for only one person to squeeze in. We spent the next two weeks together and I really enjoyed the time with her. I had the feeling that she was really trying to improve their situation in life.

About a month later, I returned in an effort to cement the relationship. Disaster struck early when she was not at the airport as agreed. Friend later told me she had gone up country to take care of an elder relative in the family who had
become very sick while I was in the air. Waited for days to contact her (her cell phone had been broken for a while) and eventually heard through her talking to my friend's girlfriend that she was no longer interested in seeing me as she
was going to go back to her old boyfriend. I was a complete basket case for a few days.

My friend's girlfriend talked to her about coming to see me, then in Hua Hin, to explain her situation to me. Surprisingly, she showed up and it was just like old times again. We tearfully met and spent a few days in Hua Hin then on
to her village in Chaiyaphum where her mother and sons lived. On our way into the village, we went on a shopping spree, purchasing a mattress and a few other things for the house. Arriving at the house, we found a worker finishing work on adding
rooms under the wood stilt house. Also, found a completely rebuilt bathroom with western toilet and hot water shower. Oh, a very interesting experience living on the edge of a small remote village out in the middle of nowhere. The (surprising
for the area) cement road in front that was thick with cow dung as the cows went in and out of town every day right in front of the house. Plah had asked her mother how much the improvements had totaled but I had to finally sift through the receipts
and come up with a number. About 55,000 baht which seemed to be about right to Plah since she had sent the money for the project. I realized that most of that was from what I had given her on my previous trip. At least some tangible results from
the money and not thrown away. Plah also told me that the kids and mother had been wandering around the town “sharing” others' meals for quite a long time before Plah was able to send any meaningful money home of late. Basically
they existed on the welfare of the village to support themselves. Mom was a roll model for Plah since her father never married her mother and took off very early in her life. The cycle just goes around and around again.

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One evening while wandering around the small village, a gaggle of kids hounded me and soon, Plah came and rescued me, admonishing me for wandering around the village without her escort. She said the kids were all making fun of me because
I was with her and she was not very respected by the village people since she had decided to work at the bar “selling my pussy”. As many have said before, once the village knows you have worked in the bar you are marked forever.

After a few days in the village, we traveled to Pattaya where we stayed together. About a week later, I returned to the U.S. and within a few weeks, everything completely fell apart when she again informed me that she was soon going to be
living with her old boyfriend. We went our separate ways and the flame extinguished.

As you can see, life is not perfect and full of missteps and tragedies but somehow they learn to survive.

Stickman's thoughts:

It really is a sad cycle that is hard to break.

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