Stickman Readers' Submissions December 28th, 2010

Pretty Woman

Back in April I wrote two submissions, here and
here, about my adventures with Shorts, a former employee of a bar in Soi Cowboy. It told how I had tried to help her but it
had ended badly, with my finding out that she was freelancing after telling me she was ‘going straight’ and had got a job as a waitress. When I discovered she had lied to me, for the only time in my life I slapped a woman and she
stormed off.

But that was not the end of the story. She sent me a few emails, alternately begging me for money for her rent and then hurling abuse when I refused to cough up. Time went by. Then, after a period of about three months, I decided I wanted to meet up with her just to clear the air as the way we had parted had left a bad taste. I had, after all, cared for her. So we got together for a coffee. By now she was repentant. She said her life had sunk lower and lower since we split and she now realised how stupid she was to bite the hand that fed her and I was the only man ever to have treated her decently. So, we began to see each other again.

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This time has been very, very different in all kinds of ways. Frankly, in the past she was wild. I couldn’t really complain, as it was seeing her walk down Soi Cowboy in her outrageously tiny shorts that attracted me to her in the first place. And she didn’t disappoint, pretty much stripping naked for me within 30 seconds of me arriving in her bar when I became a regular customer and letting me do whatever I wanted with her. But she spent her time getting drunk every night which resulted in the inevitable behaviour which eventually led to us splitting. Her lifestyle also did no favours with her skin, which was blotchy and sometimes covered in acne. Seeing photos of her then and now, the difference is astonishing.

Why? Because she has changed that lifestyle. Although she does still work as a freelance, she is no longer the wild child that she used to be. I always treated her well, and that has encouraged her to strive to make herself what she optimistically calls ‘hi-so’. I have helped her in that direction, buying her some nice clothes that make her look like a lady rather than a whore. I have guided her into not wearing miniscule shorts, not wearing a stud in her nose, not wearing huge ear-rings, not sporting navel jewellery. Now, because of the way she looks, I am able to take her to five-star hotels for a drink and she doesn’t look out of place. That has done wonders for her self-esteem, something that so many of these girls lack despite the front they put on.

Although she no longer dresses like trash she by no means dresses modestly when we meet for the evening, and the dresses I have bought her barely cover her crotch. She looks sensational and now I am proud to be seen with her, rather than embarrassed. The change is not only in the way she behaves and dresses. Last week she revealed that she had only recently learned how to use a knife and fork by watching me. If you’ve seen the movie Pretty Woman with Richard Gere and Julia Roberts, what is happening with Shorts and I is an exact copy of that movie. I don’t have his money or lifestyle, but the ‘upgrading’ he was able to introduce in Roberts is the same that I have been able to instill into Shorts.

I am married. Truthfully, I would prefer to be living with Shorts and her delightful daughter and providing for them both, but my wife has done nothing to deserve me leaving her for another so I stay where I am and see Shorts when I can, once or twice a week. And that in turn has led to an unusual relationship. We do not have sex together. Instead, she calls me the father she never had. Now, many mongers among you would cringe at such a label, but think about it. A Thai girl’s parents are placed above all others, so I consider it an enormous compliment. Of course, daughters do not usually strip off and snuggle up in bed with their father, which is what we do, so maybe I have the best of both worlds.

Why do we not have sex? She likes to attend a temple for a week every few months and on one such sojourn she had been told that it was a sin to have sex with a married man, so now she won't. She said that when she did so with me while working in Soi Cowboy her life went bad, so that was all the proof she needed. However, Thai logic tells her that it is okay to have sex with a married man once as it is just that, a one-off and all over within an hour or so when she meets someone while freelancing. But it is not okay with a long-term 'boyfriend'. In normal society, of course, it is exactly the opposite, but I understand her logic.

Similarly, she has reduced her drinking. The monks told her it is bad to drink whisky, so now she won't. Thai logic tells her though that it is okay to drink wine, but she is careful with that. It has been clear to me that once she gets past two or three drinks then she wants more and more and more and things get out of hand, and she admitted over lunch the other day that that is the case. I have told her that the only thing that will split us up again is if she gets drunk and loud and aggressive as she has done in the past, and if she is with me and does gets drunk then she has to do what I tell her (ie stop now and let me take her home). So far, so good. She drinks in moderation, although I am wary as I can tell she sometimes wants more. I’d go as far as to say she could be a borderline alcoholic as so many of these girls are, and I’m trying to pull her back from that.

Playing my supportive, fatherly role, I am also helping her with a portion of the rent deposit she needs for a new room early next year. I am not, as before, paying it all. I told her she also has to help herself, trying to instil in her some responsibility. She also intends to attend a secretarial school early next year, a three-year course, and I will pay for that. It really doesn’t cost very much, but it would be difficult and discouraging for her if she had to find the registration fee herself. Meanwhile she will have to continue to freelance, as I refuse to pay her more than her usual fee of 1500 or 2000 baht each time I see her. She’s okay with that and understands I only have limited ‘hidden spare cash’ I can give her.

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We recently had something of a mini crisis, at least for me, when she found a long-term customer who took her away for nearly a month. I didn’t know if he was a just a tourist or a resident. If the latter, and she was with him so long, I had visions of her falling for him and my never seeing her again, and that absolutely shattered me. It was quite a surprise to me that I felt that strongly. Anyway, she said it was just business and she turns her mind off when she’s ‘working’, and she was quite happy to see him off at the airport with no intention of keeping in touch. I suggested that she should have got his email address and then started asking him for ‘donations’ in typical bargirl style, and she was actually quite offended that I thought she would do that. She really has changed.

She had originally told me she was off to Phuket with her mother as she didn’t want me to get angry with her, but I have finally got it into her thick head that I know she has to ‘work’ and make money and I’m okay with that. I don’t like it of course, but that’s the way it is and has to be. Until she eventually finishes her secretarial course, when hopefully she can get a real job. With that in mind, she is happy for me to see someone else if she is away ‘long time’ again, and even told a temporary replacement I had while she was away and I introduced her to that she should look after me if she was away!

So, a real turnaround. Shorts is ashamed of the way she was before, and I am really happy that with the encouragement I am offering her the good streak I detected in her then is now coming much more to the fore. The help I am giving her has reduced her to tears of gratitude, and I don’t think she is going to blow it this time. She learned her lesson. If I am spoiling her by treating her well, giving her self-respect, giving her a helping hand when she would probably struggle and give up, then yes, guilty as charged. But I make no apology for that.


Shorts is an interesting one. I used to think she was trouble…but I admit that I have warmed to her, somewhat. I still wouldn't trust her as far as I could throw her though and I think it's a brave man who allows himself to be seen with someone like that in downtown Bangkok during daylight hours… She might be pleasant, and at the right angle she looks cute, but her profession is in no doubt to anyone!

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