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An Endless Parade Of Surprises Which Really Should Not Surprise





Weird times. I know a couple of people who went wife hunting in Soi 6 Pattaya! Always thought of the place as somewhere bar-girls and katoeys go to die. Haven't been there since a katoey followed me down the soi trying to stick her finger up my bum – you would think someone wearing a short skirt and stockings would want me to sick my finger up her bum but that's the way these Thais think! I was told that a couple of the bars were run by farang husband and Thai wife teams and they were getting some good girls into the scene. All that short time sex with anyone who turned up with a purple note was just a distraction, not what the girls were really looking for.

I thought, this will be interesting, see what kind of women these guys turn up. Maybe it will be like Washington Square when they actually had gogos back 30 years ago and a couple of the bars were run by farang who discouraged girls with Thai men from working in their bars. Had whole extended families of Isaan beauties, barely legal some of them, on the look out for husbands or an easy ride.

There was one particular family who must've had half a dozen beauties who would make you weep if you compared them to what you find in Soi Cowboy these days. Diet back then was mostly what they grew up in Isaan and it showed in the slender yet strong bodies and lovely skin. For sure you wouldn't get much breast on them but they more than made up for that with tight, tight bodies, if you know what I mean.

Washington Square lost it impetus 25 years ago and ended up an enclave of disgruntled retirees who were more interested in their alcohol consumption than mounting the tired women who ended up working there in its last years. Compared to life in a nursing home back in the West, though, you could say they were winning. So the bulldozers moved in and an interesting bit of Bangkok history gets replaced with something modern and rational, and things get just that tiny bit more boring.

So matey number one turns up in Bangkok, asking me if I can point him in the right direction with regards to getting his latest catch from Soi 6 Pattaya a visa to Blighty. He went a bit blank looking after I suggested it would take six months of living together in Bangkok (with a joint lease), a few flights to Singapore or somewhere to get identical visa stamps, some kind of work history for his honey, etc. He was muttering about his human rights being infringed before I got into my stride and insisted I meet his future bride in a notorious hotel not far from Soi Cowboy.

The hotel's heyday had been in the Vietnam war and its compound was on another prime bit of Sukhumvit land ready for redevelopment, albeit behind a row of tired shophouses that actually fronted Sukhumvit. It was notorious as a short-time hotel and as a place to buy drugs. Seems his innocent Isaan babe had insisted on staying there. Bloody horrible place but cheap by modern Bangkok standards. The last time I had been there was to meet one of the Isaan babes who used to work in Washington Square and had made good by getting a Swiss passport, a divorce and remarriage to a very large and young Swiss lad who she would not let out alone in Bangkok.

Matey's future wife was about thirty with a pockmarked face, sported the kind of squat body and evil eye that made you think of a poison dwarf. I didn't really want to be in the same room with her but made a valiant attempt at comprehending her grunting Thai whilst matey sat with an enchanted glaze in his eyes. Didn't surprise me that she came from Buriram – there was probably some witchcraft afoot. She had three kids back home with her parents which came as a complete surprise to matey who seemed to think she was an orphan without any dependants. I once lived with a Chaiyaphum girl who claimed the same and it took about four months for her mother to remember she had a daughter and a year for papa to make a hopeful appearance. She never did admit that her niece was actually her daughter even though they looked identical.

Of course, the idea that the poison dwarf was going to tell me the true truth just because I could understand the odd bit of Thai was rather quaint, the truth about her life likely to come out in a series or drunken revelations. Matey was 45 but could pass for a spry 60-year-old – his idea of a good diet was one in which he got most of his calories from alcohol. Back in Blighty he could probably get his hands on a 50-year-old Dame Edna type who'd gone a bit bitter over the divorce and might reluctantly let him have sex a couple of times a year just to keep him in line. They weren't exactly ill-matched but definitely ill-starred.

When I suggested a couple of beers down Cowboy way so we could discuss matters, his woman suddenly decided she could understand English and started moaning about being left alone all the time. Putty in her hands, no doubt as soon as I was out of earshot she would be badmouthing me and trying to make sure he didn't get any ideas on what really goes down in Thailand.

I was fearing the worst when matey number two phoned and said he had a hot forty-something Thai woman. The Thai mamasan in the Pattaya Soi 6 bar had taken a shine to him and found him a good Thai lady who had only been working in the neon for a couple of weeks. Which of course could mean absolutely anything. Perfect wife material, hadn't given him a moment's trouble in the week they had been together and had an amazingly hot body that he could not keep his hands off.

As he was only 39 going on 50 this should be interesting, thought I. So I reluctantly sloped over to Patpong where they insisted on meeting in one of few original gogos that was full of elderly peasants in bikinis who had probably started out 25 years ago in the same bar. It wasn't that they hadn't got lucky along the way, more that they thought they could endlessly repeat the trick. Quite possible that I might have barfined one or two or three of them when they were in their 20-year-old prime! Won't go there.

Matey's big grin as he proudly stroked his wife-to-be the only sign of enthusiasm in the place. You could almost hear the old bitches on the stage groan with the recognition that someone who'd been in Bangkok longer than them had crossed the threshold. The elderly waiters and bar staff were all male, the boyfriends and husbands of the shufflers on the stage, were reluctant to serve someone who possibly knew some of their secrets but a baht was a baht… I just made sure they didn't have a chance to spit in the bottle!

Matey's Good Thai Woman turned out to be one of the original cast from the bars' heyday back in Washington Square. She was 44 now. She was something of a star dancer who never seemed to dance much as farang bar-fined her as soon as they saw her. Mileage and wear written deep in her face but she still had her slender dancer's body and a certain kind of grace. She refused to recognise me and in that kind of dive it was better to play along. The Thai guys in Patpong love an excuse to give a farang a beating and messing with a bargirl's rice bowl was a sure way to get them all riled up. Luckily, I had never had sex with her as I had fallen heavily for one of her friends, and the girls were much more loyal to each other than to foreigners.

Matey could not believe his good luck and who was I to ruin it, though I did raise a weary eyebrow when he mentioned she had a contact who could sort the UK visa for a mere 120,000 baht! I could see why he wanted to marry someone with such a hot body and his innocence – or ignorance – could possibly make the match work if the babe was really tired of the bar scene. The Patpong gogo evidence enough that elderly bargirls were not overwhelmed with joy at their lot in life. On the other hand, when she found out he lived on a council estate and drove a rust bucket of a car, most likely the bright lights of London's own expensive neon would beckon.

For some reason, haven't heard from either of the guys again! I do half my time in Thailand and the other half in Blighty, which suits me fine as Thailand is not a place I would risk investing any kind of serious money. Seems to be the case that as you get older in Thailand, and the country gets richer, your options get less (unless you are stinking rich) but those smaller options are still a lot better that what is available back in the West, at least with regard to women. It does seem sad to me that as the UK gets more multi-cultural and Thailand gets more Western, the shock and excitement of getting off a plane in a still strange land gets just a little more dulled each time.



Stickman's thoughts:

Nice final paragraph.