The Dirty Doctor’s Adventures With Stickman
If you are a regular reader of Stickman weekly, you no doubt have heard about the Dirty Doctor. Perhaps you have wondered how this friendship came to be and some history behind it, or perhaps you could care less. But the one thing that has already peeked your interest is what is the inside scoop on Stickman and what he is like. Something that only a good friend could accurately disclose that could never come from a one time journalistic interview.
So perhaps the best place to start is how the Dirty Doctor and Stickman met. As it would be we were introduced to each other by none other than Dave the Rave in August of 2004 in Hollywood. At that time Dave the Rave was manager of that huge bar, and it was a daunting task to say the least. Imagine if you would pulling off a packed bar party every night on the third floor of Nana Plaza with dozens of cute distractions between the entrance of Nana Plaza and the doors to the bar.
There is one thing I quickly learned about Dave the Rave and that is that he knows everyone. The reason is simple, everyone sooner or later visits the gogo bars. It does not matter if they are a VIP from some embassy, or a company CEO, or even celebrities, Dave has met them all and his job was to see that their night went off without a hitch. Dave is a wonderful person as well as a good host for the people that visit the bar. So one of Dave’s unspoken talents is introducing people who should be introduced. So for lack of a better description when it comes to networking, Dave the Rave has it all over any Chamber of Commerce meeting, and that does not include the eye candy floating around the bar. These meetings and introductions would never have happened through normal channels.
As for me, the first time I heard of Stickman was before I came to Thailand. Like anyone who plans to go to Thailand for the first time, it is wise to do some research on the Internet. I found the reader submissions a wonderful resource that has yet to be matched. People describing their adventures and pitfalls gave a good taste of what Thailand was about. At the time there were only about 1100 submissions so it was not the towering task of reading all 6000+ today. But as I had several months before my planned trip, there was plenty of time to read them during lunch and other free time.
Ironically I had only planned to spend 2 months in Thailand and then return home. But as things happened some opportunities were offered, and with a quick look around at all that Thailand had to offer and comparing it to what was back home, the decision was made to stay as just about any heterosexual man would want.
So early on I would only by chance meet Stickman here and there, and we started to develop a friendship as he was sorting out what type of person I was. He knew little about me other than what I projected when I was out on the town. Like most people I wear 2 hats. One hat is the real me hat and the other is my tits and beer hat.
I did not really think much about where our friendship would go. At that time he was just another face in the crowd enjoying the evening, except that I knew he was Stickman. For Stickman being the unknown face in the crowd provided many candid observations that eventually found their way to his weekly column. For me I was just doing my best to figure out how to survive in Thailand.
As things would have it I think Stickman started to get a better feel for me when Dave the Rave came on a bit of hard luck. For whatever reason that later turned out to be total nonsense, Dave lost his job at Hollywood. For Dave it was a bit of bitter irony as Hollywood took a nose dive after he left. It was clear that Dave knows what he is doing and does it well. He was the key person that kept the bar going, so tossing him was like tossing your computer’s CPU. So as friends do, we offer moral support when needed to our friends. We often found ourselves having a meal with Dave at various places around lower Sukhumvit before Dave finally settled in Angelwitch. It was during those meals that Stickman started to see what the real me was like, and no doubt that impressed him. I do tend to have the type of personality that people just open up to me with all their problems, and no I do not walk around with a stash of tissues in my pocket.
There was also a bit of time that Stickman stopped publishing his weekly column. But when you stop and think about it, it all makes sense. To simply put it he needed a break and was working towards getting burned out. Putting between 20 and 40 hours a week into a website plus working a full time job was just more than he could endure. He was advised to take some time off by a doctor. So after 5 years of non stop publishing, Stickman’s pen fell silent.
So from November 2006 to April 2007 he was recharging his batteries. It was apparent to many he needed a break as that his writing style had changed and many felt he was more cynical. This was nothing more than a warning sign of the pending burnout. It was during these few months that I had more of a chance to get to know Stickman as he simply had more free time to go out.
To say when our friendship really took off to the level it is at today was reflected in one of the opening pieces of his weekly column. It was very general but Stickman was starting to see that there are friends you only drink with, and then there are friends that go far beyond the doors to a bar. Saying that, for the record I am about 14 years older than Stickman and much more seasoned, and I am sure that is one of the qualities that he sees in me.
The other is I do manage to have a very good time when I go out and get away with a lot more than the average person. When Stickman tells me he has never seen anyone do that before and get away with it as well as have it invited, coming from Stickman says a lot. More than a few smiles have been generated by the Doctor on friends out with us as well as the bargirls when the Doctor gets going. Seeing that a smile is wonderful medicine, you may suspect how and why Stickman gave me the nickname of The Dirty Doctor. People just have a good time when I am out and about with them. I can honestly say I am not an MD so the name the Dirty Doctor is purely a nickname.
So I would have to say our first planned night out was more an adventure than anything. It was about getting to know each other better as well as a night out and about. It also gave me the chance to get to know the personal side of Stickman that only a handful of people have access too. The projected Stickman as seen in his weekly column is only a small part of his overall personality.
One of the things about being Stickman is knowing you never are going to please everyone. The other thing is Stickman wields a lot of power through the pen although he does not admit it or get some sort of ego trip from it. Meaning a bar can suffer a lot if Stickman reports on some negative activities like watered down drinks or scams or general bad behavior. <Not really true. I think this column can do a lot for a are by putting a positive spin on things but negative comments appearing here are still only read by a VERY small percentage of that establishment's patrons so any effect would be negligible – Stick> But not everyone reads or knows about Stickman. Those people can be easily identified in Soi Cowboy as they are the ones that go into the Arab’s bars and subsequently come out either ripped off or physically assaulted or both.
So it is not uncommon that Stickman would get some heat from a bar owner about something that was said in his column, but he does state what he sees from his seat in a bar. But then again they also know that if Stickman has a positive review the bar seems to do very well. Seeing that Tilac bar in Soi Cowboy does so well, one can not discount Stickman’s influence. There has been more than one occasion that I have overheard stray conversations about Stickman and his recommendations while walking down the center of Soi Cowboy. But admittedly this is more so with tourists than ex-pats living in Thailand. For the most part other than specials mentioned in his column, ex-pats already have a fairly good handle on where to go and where to avoid.
One of the more interesting things about Stickman and myself is we do not bar fine girls from the bars. For us there is no reason as we have our own private stock. We go out simply to have a good time other than seeking sex. Because of that, a certain level of respect is offered by the bargirls. Once they understand that the most they will get out of us is a lady drink, they see us more as friends than as customers and know us by name. In some cases they see us as close friends as sometimes we hear things that only a therapist should hear. They ask our advice about genuine personal issues that are not of the standard sick buffalo series. In short they are not looking or asking for money, only our wisdom and advice as the encounter things in their lives that they do not understand.
There has been more times than I care to count that a bargirl has called me up asking if I had time to come and shoot a game of pool or few before she had to get ready for work. Keeping in mind that I never bar fined these girls speaks again of what the real me is like. People just are very comfortable around me and enjoy when we get together. Simply these girls see me as a good friend and not a customer. On a few occasions some have said they see me as their brother, and I find that most flattering. For them it is a welcome bit of normalcy seeing how some of the punters on holiday act and treat them. This also lends to me being able to get away with more when I am out and about.
Because of that close relationship it helps to make the evening more fun as you can still be playful because a bond of sorts has been created. But this is where Stickman and I differ. Stickman may run with a story when we meet a new bargirl who has us in her sights. So it becomes a bit of fun as I already know just to follow along with whatever is being said. Often we are from some unheard of country that simply does not exist, but this is all in fun and to be somewhat protective until we get to know her better. There was one time in Angelwitch that a new girl who just started that night came to us. We told her that the guy over there (pointing out Dave the Rave) was a good customer and he came almost every night. It took her the better part of a week to figure out Dave was the manager and you can imagine how she discovered that.
But beyond the bars we are finding time to do more things together if free time permits. Heading out just to explore or meet for lunch is fairly common. On more than one occasion we have headed off outside of Bangkok to explore or do an investigation in another province. There was even one time we went to Cambodia together. So our friendship is well developed and much of his personal life we talk about.
As many people have seen, Stickman is very handy behind the camera. The quality of his photos is remarkably high. Having a top of the line camera that can shoot in virtual darkness without a flash is also helpful. Without a flash the shading of photos is natural and accurate and reflects the surroundings.
As things would have it, he caught the bug of Thai politics and the unrest as a very worthy topic for some photo journalism. For lack of a better term I have dubbed him a tornado chaser as some of the shots are well within the danger zone while various projectiles were being fired like a M79 RPG and sniper fire. He may have felt like he was sitting court side at center court of a Basketball game, but trust me he was well inside that painted circle at center court. As for me, I was content to stay well back and read about it in the news.
But as some readers may recall, I do not have a problem hunting down fake monks as I see great disrespect in what they do. On more than one night, Stickman was there with camera ready to capture the action as part of the planned activities of the night was fake monk hunting. On many nights I annoyed or defrocked the fakes by chasing them away or removing their robes. On one occasion there was a fake monk that had both great fear and great respect for the Doctor. I told him to stay clear of Soi Cowboy, and he promptly agreed without hesitation. I even asked him to make a contribution to one of the legless beggars who has been crudely nicknamed ‘the slug’ as he pushes himself along on his stomach near the Nana BTS station. So seeing him place 200 Baht in the slug’s bowl sealed the understanding. Needless to say I have seen the slug cross Sukhumvit faster than most people as the traffic does not care how many legs you have.
On most nights when Stickman and I do go out we meet at 6:30 to get a meal before we head off to see what adventures await us. Of late it has just been to Tilac bar as it just has the right formula that makes you want to spend your entire night there. The other bars I do tend to visit when I am out by myself, but Tilac is like that comfortable pair of jeans we reach for first. For whatever reasons and there is no one single reason, we almost feel like we are at home. The staff know us and on many occasions at least for me my drink appears before I have even ordered it. The staff is friendly and the girls know us and come to chat without the pressure of a lady drink request. For me I have found the perfect answer that works. I tell the girls I only buy drinks for girls that do not ask for a drink. So as a result the desired effect is quickly achieved. If I like the girl and she can put a smile on my face, it is well worth 100 Baht for a lady drink.
On one particular night that just happened to be my birthday, I decided to have a bash at Apache Coyote and I invited several of my friends to enjoy the night. This was before that bar fell off its perch and it was a great little bar with 15 to 20 dancers. Seeing that a night out with the Dirty Doctor is almost always an adventure, you can imagine what the party was like. Seeing that all the girls knew me and all felt as if I was family, you can picture the fun. Just imagine if you would 15 naked and drunk bargirls having a party doing party games for fun and prizes, and you will know what a night out with the doctor and Stickman can be like. It is amazing what two bottles of Thai whisky from the corner store will do to get the Bargirls in the mood.
As one can expect some nights out are just better than others, and more than a few have left us both smiling from ear to ear. On one particular night we found ourselves in ‘Our Place’ before the Arab acquired it. We were both in a unique mood and seeing as it was a bar we did not visit often, we were for the most part unknown to the girls be it staff or dancers. So just for fun I started off with a totally made up story that my friend was very depressed and Stickman when straight into character following my lead. As the story unfolded I told the bargirl sitting next to me that he was dating a girl for a long time but they did not have sex. It was agreed they would wait until they got married to consummate the relationship.
As the story continued several other girls had gathered around to hear the captivating love story. So I was busy pouring it on and it all sounded so believable particularly with Stickman verifying it was all true. They all felt that a man who is willing to wait was truly a man worth knowing about. Seeing that Soi Cowboy was consistently the 15 minute courtship before a bar fine and not months of courting as the story portrayed, all the girls were totally captivated. So then the night before the alleged wedding my friend and his love found themselves getting a little frisky in bed and to my friend’s horror he discovered that his love was in fact a ladyboy.
So then I described that my friend was totally devastated and traumatized as Stickman verified it was all true. Ironically as this happens fairly often with green punters in Nana Plaza or Pat Pong, it all fit as believable. Seeing that almost all the girls who work in the nightlife industry have had their hearts broken at one time or another, they truly felt his pain and wanted to help in any way they could. I said as a result my friend was totally impotent and he had developed an illusion that all girls were either a ladyboy or a Katoy. Stickman was brilliantly playing the part so the girls took on the mission of setting Stickman straight in more ways than one. The bargirl who was sitting next to me felt really bad about my friend. So just to make it all worth while I got her a lady drink and asked if she could help my friend with some therapy to help get his confidence back and overcome his trauma.
The next 20 minutes were just absolutely unbelievable as she set about to prove to Stickman that she indeed was a female and had all original equipment. Needless to say Stickman found it difficult to keep from smiling as he was given the full treatment of views and touches as proof that she was indeed 100% female. That bit of therapy included Stickman getting a very wet nose and pointing out a Katoy does not get wet. The girls performance was so outstanding I even gave her a 100 Baht tip for her over the top efforts at therapy.
As it would be we do see this girl regularly as she now works at Tilac bar. She said she could not work for the Arab and left after a month after he took over. Later we discovered she was about 80% deaf, and was just a nice girl. She comes over to us if she is not busy and takes a moment to greet us and perhaps sit for a moment if she has time. To her we are still both Jaidee and just enjoys coming over to say hello. For the record, she is now number 32 at Tilac.
As for what we talk about when we are out you may be a bit surprised that the topics are almost anything. Often we talk about what we did since we last met that we found interesting. Most certainly we are checking out all the eye candy floating around the bar and making our own little comparisons. But mostly it is just good to get out and spend some time out. As events of the evening are totally random, there is always some unexpected entertainment that finds its way to us. People watching is also part of the night as we watch the girls work the bar. Many nights we find it amusing as sometimes the punters are not sure if they are the hunters or the hunted.
Some nights we joke about what we are missing back at home. Being stuck in traffic while someone flips you the finger, fat women with attitudes, choking political correctness and most of all missing waking up in the morning screaming hysterically. That all now seems a distant past, but we are never completely free of it. There is always the chance we will be forced to leave Thailand if something really bad happens. As with everyone, wondering what will happen when succession finally occurs. To put it bluntly, it is uncharted waters for every man woman and child in Thailand. Looking at the political unrest, it looks to get very bad when that bit of news is finally announced as a free for all power grab is likely to happen.
On that note we are both well aware that there are plenty of people who would simply love to spend a night with us on their visit to Thailand. Both Stickman and myself have played host many times for friends who decided to visit. The arrangement is simple, they buy the beer and we show them all the good places to go and what to avoid. As a result they tend to get the best of the best on their first night out. As far as I am concerned the offer is open to more than my friends as I have hosted friends of friends as well. It is almost insured that a night of lifelong memories will be had.
For the most part Stickman and myself are real people who other people can connect to. Stickman provides that connection to memories and anticipation of that next great adventure in Thailand. There is no doubt people see with their mind’s eye what he is describing. Hearing of happenings in that familiar bar provides a few moments of distraction from the reality of their world. If it is just for a moment, they feel as if they were back in Thailand in a country where men can be men and not subject to the horrors of day to day life. As for me, perhaps I am just a person they can be jealous of.
For sure, over the years many nights out have been enjoyed!