A Possibly Atypical Bangkok Bargirl – Part 4 – Reflections
Yes I was sad to leave Nat behind. But this time, I not only have her mobile number, I also have her email address and her MSN messenger ID. After I left, I found through the bamboo vine that while Nat is older than the average bargirl, yet she still has that smile and that cheerful temperament so she is a favorite of a few other farang visitors. As a result, she has acquired some presents somewhere along the line. Like a laptop with a webcam and a broadband connection at her apartment. Wow, nice farangs! If that was you, dear reader, it is okay, that does not bother me, it is what a bargirl does.
I have thought about Nat a lot since then. Looked at the pictures I took of her and us. Reading Stickman's reader submissions has given me a lot of different perspectives for looking back at her. I am no expert on Thai language or culture, but I am good at reading body language so this is what I think: Nat really was a nice girl, doing what she had to do to support herself and her family. But she has very little formal education, she cannot be relied on to give any intellectual stimulation. She is a bargirl. She is good looking with that Isaan smile, but not extraordinarily so. In other words, you would probably not pick her out of a lineup of pretty Isaan girls. I found myself thinking that as nice as she was, I could never marry her. I would find myself bored before long. Furthermore, my friend's Thai wife is from Bangkok and is definitely not Isaan: she would likely look down on Nat so they are not going to get along well. I do not see my friend often anymore, but I am certainly not giving him up.
There is an archetype character in movies set in the old American West: the hooker with a real heart of gold, pining for the man who will redeem her. Anyone who has seen enough Westerns will recognize this character at once. I am always skeptical of a working girl's heart, but Nat has come the closest to that archetype in her own Isaan way. That niceness about her that pulled me in, that kept me thinking about her for years. She never asked me for money. Not one time. How many bargirls do you know would be like that? Yet it happens, but not many, that is for sure. Of course it is entirely possible she was being sponsored by someone else and could afford not to ask me for anything. Or perhaps she might really be that 1 out of a 100 that Stick once mentioned long ago. So it is possible that given the farang with the temperament to put up with her lack of intellectual capacity, she might last awhile in marriage.
In the meantime, I felt this sadness inside me, while I am not in love with Nat (remember I am butterfly man!), I felt for her a lot, I came to care about her, about how things will turn out for her. I might even see her again if I returned to Bangkok, but I know with certainty that I am not the jai yen farang who is going to take her away from all this. Unfortunately, she may have become hardened to the scene as so many of them do, but still, she got through to me and I pray she can overcome that environment to find the farang of her dreams. But I remember on the other hand that saying about "you can take the girl out of the bar, but …" So I do not know how that would go for her and her prospective farang husband. But I am still very wistful about her though I think it is good I do not lose sight of her background.
I chatted with her once in awhile over the next 18 months and talked to her on the phone on rare occasions. Sometimes she would call me and hang up, getting me to call back. Sometimes I did, but more often I did not. I found the chatting not so hard by using a couple of different sites on the net to provide basic translation of my words and hers. (Note from 2014: have to remember this was before Skype and Google Translate.)
Nat texted me at Christmas and New Year's Eve 2007 so she still remembered me to some extent after a year and a half away. Then in early 2008, she emailed me more recent pictures of herself. One of them was taken in what clearly must be the new airport (I had yet to fly into there) and a few more were taken in her apartment. A close look at her clothing and at the furnishings indicate to me that while the apartment is not roomy or sumptuous, she is living well for a Bangkok girl. Nat asked me to send her a recent picture. I never got around to doing it though as I keep thinking I do not want to encourage her. But now I have not heard from her in awhile so maybe she has found that farang. One can only hope for her…
Last I heard from Nat is she left the bar scene and is back to doing the hairdresser thing. Now whether there is sponsorship involved I do not know, but I would not doubt it as she is still living in Bangkok. I think I will try to find her when I visit Bangkok again, but I will also take care to remember all the downsides of allowing this to be anything more than it is.
To be continued …