What Are You Really Looking For?
Impermanence is the only thing that’s constant.
One often hears people say “you’ve got to know what you want” in life. Maybe so but it was Buddha that also said that it’s the things that we want (our desires) that have the capacity to hurt, or even destroy, us. Perhaps a more pertinent question we should ask ourselves is “what is it that we really need?” As a farang, here in Thailand, you could also link that to “what it is that you are really looking for?”
Mankind is not programmed to be a singular entity. Since the dawn of time, of our existence on this planet, we’ve been living in groups or communities. It’s encoded in our DNA; we feel better having someone to communicate with and share experiences with. The exceptions are those who choose, through spiritual or religious commitment, to live outside the norm. Some (and I’m not even considering Catholic Priests here) have, through meditation and specialized physical activity, developed minds powerful enough that they can control their emotional content. People such as Yoga Gurus, Tibetan Buddhist Monks and Japanese Zen Priests are able to redirect their sexual energy and turn it into Chi (the body’s life force). But, as I said, that is outside the norm. The primeval instinct of human kind is to have a mate; the evolutionary process of the coupling of a man and a woman, to produce offspring, to further ensure a particular blood line's survival. At its most basic level, a man needs a woman to mate with. The extension of this, in terms of the non-physical, is that we develop an emotional connection with our partner; there is a basic human need to be liked, respected and, ultimately, loved.
Many of us, when venturing out into the pay for pleasure areas of Thailand, try to satisfy that most basic of needs with a short term liaison with a lady for hire. Our immediate, or physical, need is usually satisfied to some degree – I would say that for me personally, drunken sex with a condom is becoming increasingly less enjoyable – but, in the deep dark recesses of our psyche, something is being missed. I suppose, in a way, that’s why it becomes a treadmill situation; what we get satisfies our needs, partially, but the experience often leaves us unfulfilled and we keep trying to convince ourselves that if we go back, just one more time, we’ll find the ultimate physical, and meta-physical, experience we crave so much. But, realistically, it rarely happens. There is the physical contact but the emotional connection is rarely fulfilled due to the fact that the beginning and end points are primarily a business transaction.
So we sit there, drinks in hand, eyeing the flesh up on the dance platform. Each of us has our own particular formula that we are looking for. For each of us it’s a different combination of physical, and potentially meta-physical, qualities of a lady that attracts us; the shape, the height, the rack, the way she moves, the beauty of the facial features, the smile, and, importantly, the eye contact. Ultimately, for each and every one of us, a choice is made, predominantly, on a perceived connection we’ve established with the one we’ve taken a liking to. We would like to convince ourselves that it’s purely physical but the reality is that, if we’re really honest about it, it’s always about more than the physical. Yes, everyone is looking for the hot, sexy one but if the hot, sexy one is an absolute, first grade bitch then it, quite often, can turn us off because the first grade bitches have the ability to keep the focus on the business side of things. And, even though it is ultimately a business transaction, we don’t like to be reminded of it simply because we’d rather pretend that it’s going to be that ultimate physical, and meta-physical, encounter.
The ladies we’re ogling have different characteristics and personalities. The often quoted term of “they’re all the same” is a misrepresentation. The fact is they’re not all the same but what they ultimately want is the same. Their end game is that they want to latch on someone with a bank roll big enough to get them out of there. But, while they’re looking for that white knight who’ll be their financial savior, they’re playing the game of pretending that they like you. Initially naïve, on entry to the industry, it doesn’t take too long for them to learn the ropes of the game of money and sex. Through a combination of being schooled by their more experienced sisters, and a few harsh lessons, they soon harden up and become great little actresses. Seduction is their game and they play it well. If you combine this with a seemingly glitzy setting, pulsating music, bright lights and nubile flesh on the dance platform, it can become an intoxicating formula for the naïve, or those foolish enough to believe that it all means something.
“You spin my head right round, right round
When you go down
When you go down, down
From the top of the pole I watch her go round
She got me throwin’ my money around
Aint nothing more beautiful to be found
It’s goin’ down, down
Yeah I’m spending my money
I’m outa control
Somebody help me
She’s taken my bank roll
But I’m king of the club
And I’m wearin’ a crown
Poppin’ these bottles
Touchin’ these bottles
Watchin’ the ex go”
And then there’s reality.
In my submission “It’s All Up to You” I mentioned that the last time I’d been down to Soi Cowboy – December 30th – I saw something that gave me plenty to consider as a monger; the young Isarn girl that I witnessed in distress and how we, directly or indirectly, play a part in hardening their attitudes. What I failed to mention was that there was something else which juxtaposed the extremities of the attitudes of bargirls and, pretty much, switched a light on for me. A minute, or so, before witnessing the young Isarn girl bawling her eyes out I saw a lady from the Tilac Bar that I’d once taken a bit of a liking to. I’d bar fined her a number of times and had the misguided perception that it was starting to mean something. As she walked by, with her beau for the night, she didn’t even acknowledge me. A slight nod, or a smile, to show some kind of appreciation for our time together would’ve done the trick. But no, the eyes kept looking straight ahead and, for all intents and purposes, I didn’t exist. I just nodded my head, after she’d passed by, and accepted the fact that we truly are just a means to an end. Lumps of meat to be used and forgotten. I then turned and looked through the bar window to see the young Isarn girl and, bing, there you have it; from one extreme to another. The newcomer, learning the hard way, and the experienced, hardened bar girl who doesn’t give a rat's backside about anything except the money.
Every day I ride the sky train I see good and decent Thai women. Women who have pride in themselves and their ability to do something, through their own efforts, to earn an income. They may not be dressed in the latest designer fashion, or carry an Iphone, but they can look at themselves in the mirror each morning and be content that they didn’t have to sell themselves to make their way in this world. Yes, poverty, and a poor education are certainly the things that drive many to the red light areas. But how many, once they’ve started earning the big money that only the average Thai girl can dream about, actually do something positive to take themselves out of the prostitute lifestyle? How many try to educate themselves or try to start up a small business? The sad fact is very few and the reasons are always the same; laziness, lack of motivation and lack of financial discipline.
It’s hard to disregard the idea that the only Thai ladies who marry outside their class are prostitutes; they marry foreigners. However, it must be noted that not all foreigners living in Thailand end up getting married to prostitutes. There are some who manage to avoid that pitfall and make a good choice for a partner. Those that do end up in a relationship with a prostitute are generally of a mind that they don’t care what others think. Fair enough but at some point, as has happened with me recently, you realize that, if one is to reside in this country permanently, then you can’t live in an expat vacuum forever; to integrate one needs to start taking this country, and its cultural identity, seriously. What does that mean? Well it means that you need to begin to consider how the average, educated, middle class Thai person views you. Why? Because, if you want to be accorded a bit of respect, you need to consider the choices you make and the way in which you interact with Thai people. Being in a relationship with a prostitute doesn’t gain one much respect from the locals and even though they won’t say as much (politeness dictates that they won’t) they will be of a mind that you can’t be taken seriously due to the fact that you’ve entered into a relationship with someone of a lower class. Sorry but that’s the reality. The equivalent class for a prostitute, from the North East of the country at least, is a motor bike taxi driver.
And that, really, is the perspective that one should never lose sight of when paying a visit to the pay for pleasure areas of this exotic land. Be objective, see it for what it is; a means for predominantly poorly educated, and financially disadvantaged, ladies, from the country's North East, to make money. Understand that, have fun but don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you can be a savior and that you can, somehow, enter into a normal, balanced relationship. Any relationship which begins with “how much you give me for one month” is a pot-holed, riddled road to failure. If you want a real relationship you need to get onto a different road; a road that’s built on honesty, trust and integrity.
If your preference is to remain single then always maintain a balanced, unemotional and short term mindset, when interacting with the ladies of the night, and never lose sight of the fact that it really is all about the money. Remain emotionally unattached and you’ll satisfy your needs. Begin to think that you want something more than that and you’ll begin to harm yourself; emotionally and financially. Remember, whatever you give emotionally, and financially, to a bargirl / prostitute / whore, is rarely reciprocated equally. For that, you’ll need to change the road you’re on and look elsewhere. You’ll need to consider what it is that you’re really looking for.
I looked out of the cabin window as the mist shrouded, snow capped peaks, of Iran, passed by on the Southern horizon. On my way to work again and thirty minutes into a scheduled flight from Ashgabat to Turkmenbasy; the wide expanses of Turkmenistan slipped by twenty four thousand feet below. Turkmenistan; another land which, long ago, fell to the marauding might of Genghis Khan and his horde of Mongols. Genghis Khan, the ultimate warrior who, at the age of twelve, had slain his step brother and then went on over the next fifty years to conquer, and subjugate, most of the known world. His was not a world of emotional weakness or vacillation. He knew what he needed to do and went out and achieved it. He didn’t just sit around and think about what he wanted.
I looked out over the mountains of Iran again and reflected on the fact that I had plenty to consider regarding my past couple of months in Thailand. I’d allowed my emotions to cloud my judgment; my excesses were now coming back to haunt me. My karma was now playing out. I looked at the gold pendant hanging around my neck. I’d put it there to remind me that life was about balance and that, ultimately, whatever happens to us is mostly through our own actions. The Peridot, my birth stone, set in the gold Yin Yang pendant, was to ensure that I would adhere to the tenants voiced four thousand years ago by Egyptian Priests; “the wearer of this stone, to take advantage of its power, must be pure of thought and lead by example. Let the light of the sun expose any wrong doings or incorrect actions.” I am yet to fulfill the first half of that statement.
Thursday the 20th of January; after a three week hiatus I’d gone back down to Soi Cowboy. I’d barfined a twenty two year old hottie, out of one of the lesser known bars, and taken her back to my condo thinking that it was going to be a night to remember. It wasn’t and, after an hour of trying to make it a night to remember, I’d sent her on her way. Back down at Cowboy again, at about ten thirty that same evening, I’d fronted up to the Shark Club. I pushed through the entrance curtain and there, standing next to the stairs up to the dance platform, was the back of a figure I knew so well; Ning. I hadn’t seen her since she’d slapped me across the face, down at the Tilac bar, two nights before Xmas. I sat down on one of the bench seats half way along the length of the bar, looked across at her, and considered something in one of Stick's recent weekly columns; a bar girl, even if she’s no longer working in a bar, finds it difficult to disconnect herself from the scene – even more so if she’s got relatives, and close friends, that still work in a bar. I felt angry with her. She had everything; a rich sponsor, a car, a condo, a six figure monthly stipend and yet here she was, still coming back to the bar. Why? As if through some form of innate intuition, she lifted her head and looked at me. There was no anger or hatred there just a challenging stare tinged with sadness. As if to say “there, I told you so. You’re no better than me, are you? I know what I am but you, you’re the same. You can’t stay away from bar either, can you?” I turned my head away. There’s something about her and I that can only be termed fatal attraction. She’s the yin for my yang. And yet, If I was completely honest with myself, whatever monster she’d become, I’d played a part in creating through over indulging her and, truth be known, hardening her heart. I remember the first time she’d found out I’d butter flied; she was devastated. She paid me back by going with some guy while I was at work. When I asked her why her reply was simply “you are my teacher, I follow what you do.” As I said, we create our own problems.
I paid my bill, went and sat at one of the outside tables and began to consider the reality of the situation between Ning and I. I knew I had to change and I knew that, as long as I hung around go-go bars, I would never clear my mind of her simply because she knew she would always be able to expose my weaknesses; to terminate any association with her I would have to terminate my own association with go-go bars. In some ways it was very much like the Yin Yang symbol. Each half of the symbol has a small part of the other within it; the darkness of Ning was attached to the small part of darkness within myself. I finished my diet coke and, as I stood up, she walked past me with that haughty fucking attitude, and walk, that I knew so well. She was an incredibly sexy bitch and she knew it. Truth be known, that was the thing that really pissed me off the most.
Fuck it I thought, I’ve only got another three nights in town before heading off to work, I’m going down to Q-bar to pick up some hot bitch; the reckless side – the darkness – of me was taking over again.
The taxi pulled up at Q-Bar. I paid off the driver and moved towards the cashiers table to pay the entrance fee.
“Six hundred baht thank you sir” said the slim beauty in regulation black, night attire.
I received my stamp and made my way into the bar. Q-bar, a small, slightly up-market club with good music and, normally, some of the more attractive ladies of the night. It was comfortable, even cozy, as I ordered a beer and stood back to enjoy the game; the game of line up a squeeze for the night, of sex and money, and of satisfying our immediate physical needs. All ladies in here are on the game. However, they have a certain little attitude about themselves. An attitude that I’ve spoken about before; the whore with attitude. They have their pride and they’ll do their best to show you that they’re not really that kind of girl but, as the clock ticks down towards tee song, they’ll become more accommodating and mention that they are an expensive proposition.
Keep a dead pan expression. Well yes I know, sweetheart, you’ve got a great little routine built on complete and utter bullshit and yes, you’re a hot little number but, at the end of the day, you’re still doing it for money. A whore is still a whore, so what is your asking price? I’d love to be able to say that in Thai but anyway, through a combination of alcohol ingestion, sanook and a bit of feel good factor, she finally starts rubbing up against me and we get down to business.
“I want five thousand for long time” she says looking at me and fluttering her eye lids.
Hmmm. Very professional aren’t we.
“I’ll give you three” I reply with a don’t give a fuck grin.
“Oh no. I cannot do for that” she says pouting and looking away.
“Up to you I say. If I not fuck I not die” I say laughing.
I kick back and look around. It’s after tee song and every girl, that only an hour ago looked unapproachable, is now either rubbing themselves up against some guy or, in a couple of instances, dry humping them on the sofas. All the miss prim and proppers getting down to business. It’s pathetic and hilarious at the same time.
“An extended house version of Jim Morrison’s classic drifts along in the background adding to the surrealism of the moment; a Salvador Dali painting of the scene wouldn’t be out of place.
“Riders on the storm
Riders on the storm
Into this house we’re born
Into this world we’re thrown
Like a dog without a bone
And an actor out alone
Riders on the storm
There’s a killer on the road
His brain is squirmin’ like a toad
Take a long holiday
Let your children play
If you give this man a ride
Sweet memory will die
Killer on the road, yeah
Girl ya gotta love your man
Girl ya gotta love your man
Take him by the hand
Make him understand
The world on you depends
Our life will never end
Gotta love your man, yeah”
I was drifting into the zone, the zone of seeing everything from the back of the brain.
It’s an insight gained through meditation and yoga.
And one sees through the bullshit and begins to seriously question what it is that we are really about on this planet.
There are some things, about ourselves, that we have difficulty coming to terms with.
Those things are part of who we are but, quite often, we are not willing to admit that they do us harm.
They are our failings and weaknesses.
Like an addiction, those harmful activities are often difficult to resolve.
We convince ourselves that what we do is just a bit of harmless fun and nothing more.
But, deep down, we know that it’s the path of darkness.
The path of self abuse; of false smiles and promises; of illusion and delusion.
And that each step, along that path, is a step further away from the light.
The light of strength of character; of the emotional disengagement from that which harms us.
Because the path of harm, to our physical and emotional well being, is a seductive siren.
And it’s the seduction that is so alluring and easy to be comfortable with.
It is the seduction of my Ning.
It’s four am. I’ve been going at it for a while now but it’s not happening. Any guy here on holiday would, no doubt, be completely besotted with the twenty seven year old beauty I had with me in my condo. Perfect body, satin smooth skin, no stretch marks, the long black hair and a beautiful face. But I’m not on holiday and the familiarity of having seen it all before compounds the thing that’s missing; the emotional connection. And besides, I still can’t forget Ning.
I’m looking at my squeeze for the night and nothing she’s saying is even registering. I’ve heard this story, and hundreds of others like it, so many times before it’s like an old LP that keeps skipping; the last farang boyfriend, my friend, butterfly, broken heart, family needs money, another job not enough money and blah, blah, blah. Hmmm, I say as I remove the condom and consign myself to the reality that I haven’t been able to ejaculate again. Soaked in perspiration I walk to the fridge, and grab a lump of the dark energy chocolate, as the squeeze continues her mind numbing banter about nothing relevant to my life.
The phone rings. My heart rate picks up a notch or two. I know who it is; she’s the only one who calls me at this crazy hour. I also know that she’ll be stinking drunk, again.
“I miss you and I want you now.”
“Your place or mine?” I say as the teerak for the night sits up and looks at me with eyes wide and mouth agape.
“You come my condo now” she says and hangs up.
The squeeze starts to say something. I put a finger to my lips, reach for my wallet and drop three thousand baht in front of her.
“Get dressed and go” I say as I grab another piece of energy chocolate.
“Who you talk to?”
“You don’t need to know.”
“I think you not a good man.”
“Arai wa?” I say without smiling.
She gets it; she does her job and I give her money. Don’t ask questions. She dresses and leaves. I look at my gold yin yang pendant and think of those Egyptian Priests again as I walk out the door.
Raise your hands to the sky
Hold down the knowledge of there’s a light of knowing the truth
And that is all things growing on the life force of who we are
I can feel it now, it’s warm
Look up to the sky, taste the rain
It can cleanse us about how we are living
It can wash away the doubt
And that is the inner thought that all is possible
Don’t think it, know it
Look up to the stars
Face the eyes of the universe, they’re watching us
Let go, give into the love
And that is the power of knowing that this life is beautiful
Kneel down to the sun
Give it the respect of knowing that it’s light protects us and shows us the way
And that is the inner flow of life of all good things of love
Close your eyes to the moon resting in the thought that we are here for a reason
And that is to show that love is truly possible.
Close your ears to the voices that are trying to stop your process.
Don’t let them in; they’ll only let you down.
And that is because not everyone has the ability to let themselves go.
Raise your hands to the sky.
Reach for the beyond, it’s yours.
You can feel the universe at your finger tips if you try.
And that is because the energy of this life is yours.
Close your eyes to the fact that someone you love will never understand this.
And that is not a fault but a chance to understand something about yourself you never knew.
I’m not going to write any more about Ning and I. As tragic as it may seem, her and I keep getting drawn back together and it’s not completely about the money because the fact is I give her very little. I believe her and I are soul mates. Even though we drive each other nuts, we just can’t be apart for too long.
PS. I have a new series I’m putting together. It’s completely fictional but based on real situations that farang find themselves mixed up in here in the LOS.
Coming soon: FEAR AND LOATHING IN PATTAYA
That girl is seriously under her skin….some might even say that she has found her way into your heart!