Thailand Is Addictive
Thailand IS addictive, that is beyond doubt. I have managed to quit smoking, narcotics, and largely alcohol. (Can now take it or leave it.) But not Thailand. There is a simple reason for that. Over time, cigarettes, drugs and alcohol begin to become worse experiences. They peak at a certain time, and its downhill from there. They give, and later, often much later, they start to take. But Thailand for me is an experience that has always got better.
Every single trip I have ever taken to Thailand has been slightly better than the one before.
I started out as a mid-20s backpacker, addicted to island life. Koh Phangan and Koh Samui were my islands of choice, and in the 90s they were ace. If you were looking to party, to experience real freedom, then these were the places to go. Magic mushroom bars would create a genuine natural psychedelic experience.
There were casualties of course, the nut house on nearby Surat Thani is rumoured to hold many farang. But the vast majority had the time of their lives. If you enjoyed talking to different people from all over the world, and could hold your own in that environment, the plusses would far outweigh the negatives. There is a phrase – "Youth is wasted on the young". I was determined to enjoy my youth my own way, because you only get one.
Believe it or not, I barely noticed the naughty bars. People rarely spoke of them. There was a simple reason for that of course – We were after the backpacker girls. There were some stunning backpackers around I remember in those days. Sweden was well represented on Koh Phangan during the 90s, and I have yet to see an unattractive Swedish girl. The Dutch, Israelis and of course my fellow English were there in numbers too.
I was never short of travelling friends back then, I never flew alone. Then something happened – all my friends got married. It seemed to happen overnight. Wives plus Thailand do not work, so that was that – I was on my own.
Except you are never on your own in Thailand, are you?
So I progressed (or is that regressed?) to the bar life. There was no shortage of comrades in that environment, and slowly I was replacing beach life with nightlife. But first and foremost, I was in love with Thailand the country. I still am.
I met a great girl. Has anyone ever been in a bar with their girl, looked around at the other girls and thought – "I wouldn't go with that one if she was free." – "I wouldn't go with that one if SHE paid ME!" Then you look at your girl and think – "Yes, I've made a really good choice here."
I'd say it's NOT the GFE. It's much, much better than that! What is a true girlfriend experience, really? Warts and all? The Thai GFE has no bitchiness (well if it does, I can't understand it!), no moody silences, sex as a weapon, pettiness, threats. Now, people may say – but what the Thai GFE experience lacks is TRUST.
It's true that a bargirl cannot be trusted. Well, we all know that, we've all read Stickman. So don't trust her! Enjoy her lively personality, her warmth, her funny phrases, just don't trust her. Really, we should know that by now? Don't ask her where she was last week. Don't ask her where she will be next week. I don't even think these girls ENJOY lying, like is often portrayed. Many of us MAKE them lie with our stupid questions. You'd rather not know. So don't ask.
"It's escapism", people may say. Well guess what? MOST things we do are pure escapism. Losing yourself in a good book, a great movie, a football match, a gym workout, a rock concert, a bottle of wine – it's all escapism. "It's not real." Well what's so good about reality! Is it really so great that we don't all need a break sometimes? Just try not to start imagining it's more than it really is. That's where the problems start.
My girl offers me affection, and more importantly, a lot of fun. She chooses this lifestyle and I do too. She is old enough to know better. So am I. But meeting up with her, it's a welcome break after the hard slog of British life – (I've heard it said that we work more hours than any other country in Europe) and there's always someone saying your workload is not enough. It's pressure, even in the less sophisticated jobs. I'm sure you don't have to be a British reader to relate to this.
But don't complain if your girl is working at a bar – it's the only reason you met her. You wouldn't have met her otherwise. Don't be shocked and dismayed that she hasn't stopped working at the bar after meeting you. There is no other profession where you would have these unreal expectations of someone's career – "I don't believe it! I met this tennis coach recently and we had a great time together. Then I find out that, after meeting me, she's continuing to work as a tennis coach!"
So where's your line in the sand? Are we the victims, or are the girls the victims? Or are there NO victims? My view is of COURSE it's the girls who suffer most. Just look at their lives. In my experience – and I don't claim to know best – the freelancers are the best option, because they are often the ones who didn't want to work in a factory. They have chosen to have a pool of "friends" who visit from time to time.
I like a lot of these girls I have met. They could wallow in their lives not working out like they were supposed to, yet never seem too. Unlike a lot of us farangs!
It seems to me that the more people have, the more people complain. In my country, moaning is almost compulsory. Moaning has almost its own language! Yet our fridges are always full, our ATMs continue to pay out. Simple things that we take for granted. Some girls I have met really have a lot less, yet have a lot of genuine happiness. Thai girls just have so much personality.
Don't listen to people who say how much their company is worth. "Don't pay too much, you are mucking it up for the rest of us!" Give her what she deserved. If you had a great week with her, reflect that. It's up to you, and you know the minimum.
Don't forget these girls get on the back of motorbikes with drunk men. If you want to give her enough so she doesn't have to do that for a week or so after you leave, you are entitled to do that. Maybe she can now take a few days off because of you. You have the right to offer her that position. More likely it is going to her Thai boyfriend. Well so what? When I get paid, does my boss tell me how to spend my money? No. It's mine, I earnt it, and I'll spend it on what I want. The girls will do that too.
For a lot of people it's about company, not sex. We are not all the dogs that we are portrayed to be. For proof? Well Amsterdam is a short flight away for most Europeans. Lots of brasses there. Yet many of us fly for 12 hours to go to Thailand, often just to meet one girl. I'm sure the idea of "doing the deed" in an Amsterdam booth would be abhorrent for many. Go in, go out, pass the next guy on his way in. I've never done that and I would never want to.
So the men who love Thailand and meet girls there – sad, lonely bastards? Or men of spirit who refuse to know their place? There are good looking men in England, 9/10s, who have the pick of the bunch back home. Under that, there's also a hell of a lot of 6/10s, with a lot of time on their hands, income to be spent, and a fun spirit that is rattling the cage.
I am one of those 6/10s. Doesn't bother me admitting that. I do keep fit, but perfume companies aren't elbowing Brad and ringing me up to be the face of their fragrance.
Boxer Mike Tyson said that he is "drawn to chaos", and maybe there's a little bit of that in everyone. Once you have experienced the crazy, maddening chaos that is Bangkok, you will either run for the hills or take it on, enjoy it. I miss it when I'm not there. In Thailand, there is a feeling that anything can happen, and that is very addictive.
People in the UK will always criticize Thailand goers, but have these people ever been to the pub, and gone home with the barmaid? They wouldn't admit it, but they'd KILL for a story like that, even once! Just once in their lifetime. They'd dine out on that story for many moons to come.
Dolly Parton said – "It costs a lot of money to look this cheap." Don't let others make you feel a bum for your travels. It costs a lot of money and effort to visit the LOS regularly.
I come from a working-class background and I realised, I am probably part of the first working-class generation in HISTORY that can comfortably travel. – That can take 5 or 6 foreign holidays a year instead of just scraping by and paying the bills. Of course I have to work hard to do it, but I never get angry at the benefit scroungers in England. Everyone is supposed to despise them, but I just think, "Well, that's up to you, choosing to live like that. But you have no life. It's a huge, fascinating world out there, and you will never see it." What you get out of life is what you put into it.
It makes me laugh when it's been suggested that Stickman readers hate women. I think most LOVE women. Women appear to be the main weakness for the majority! We hate women? Well I hate golf. That's why you'll never see me on a golf course, see what I mean?
Sometimes it is necessary to set some rules with your girl. I've found you can set some rules without saying harsh words. My tip is this – it worked for me and it's a really simple way to get your point across. Mention loosely that you had a previous relationship with a Thai girl. Don't say much more than that. Inevitably, after a bit of time, your chat will come round to her asking about your previous Thai girl. She will ask – "So why did you stop seeing her?" Simply say – "She started asking me to send her money." Bingo. You have set a boundary. Your time together will now be free from sick buffalo stories.
A previous submission mentioned that if you spend only a week or two with your girl, you part on great terms. I subscribe to that view. Maybe I've been lucky. The worst thing that's happened to me is traffic cops pulling me over on my motorbike, and fining me 400 baht for no licence. Maybe I'll look back on this email in many years to come, and laugh at how naive I was. Maybe I'll reconsider my views as I fall tumbling from the sky, joining the Pattaya Flying Club. But I think I've learnt a lot from this site. "Never be worth more to someone dead than alive!" – My favourite line. This website is a bible for all who enter the kingdom. I never buy newspapers on train journeys, I read Stickman and the journey whizzes past. I've been through the lot now, every submission section from 1 – 26 and there are some absolute crackers there. I like the fact that every submission has to be quite long. I think this helps give a good insight into what the contributors are all about. Whether we agree with a contributors views or not, they are always honest and they come from the heart.
Thanks for reading my submission.
A lot of commonsense said.