An Inconvenient Truth
Just as I thought the dust was starting to settle from the great bargirl economics debate, Stick has gone and bowled us another wrong un'. Now to my mind the whole bargirl economics thing was hilariously funny, mostly because it was only a hypothetical proposition put forward by Stick and mentioned to a few girls in passing, but didn't it get some blood boiling?! As influential as the Stick may be, I couldn't see him single-handedly changing the prices for sex in Bangkok. There was no real change in prices and things have just about returned to the way they were. We had readers getting hit up for 3 million baht sin sod. We had another reader getting robbed by a "I thought she was nice" junkie. Funny in itself, not because he got robbed but he met her in the hotel lobby they were both staying. In the same hotel and still he couldn't track her down. A quick thousand baht to the manager would have got a copy of her ID card (that she is required to give to stay there) in about 3 seconds. On top of that, for some inexplicable reason she stole his diary. Now I don't know a lot about the illicit drug trade or dealers or the value of hocked goods (none that I would freely admit anyway), but a Thai ya ba freak stealing your diary is like a smackhead jumping through your window to knock your dictionary, just doesn't sound feasible, but it is these colourful stories that make the readers' submissions so enjoyable. Honestly though, no-one should be surprised Stick wants to give it away. The same stories just keep popping up again and again and again….will we never learn? There are only a few variations of the same stories repeated ad nauseum. Thais are no good, they are all thieves, I thought she was a nice girl, she kicked me out of the house I built, why did I give her my PIN number?, do I have to pay a sin sod?, is she seeing other farangs when I'm not there?, do you think she's a "good girl?, should I join the Pattaya flying club?" and so on and so on. Jesus, you are supposed to be grown men for Christ's sake – figure it out for yourself! On top of all this Stick isn't even a monger! Now I have read most submissions but Stick has read them all! Including the ones that have never made it to print, for 13 years! 13 years worth of basically the same bloody stories, I would have thrown in the towel years ago.
This week's column has raised a question about Bangkok bars and Stick wanted feedback so here is my 2 satang worth. Let's start from the top and yet again discuss price. The number one thing that has only ever made Thailand a good place to monger is that it is cheap! Full stop. Let me tell you, I have yellow fever as much as the next man but realistically as sex workers and dancers, Thais are pretty ordinary. Their Buddhist religion and general upbringing makes them an ultra conservative and reserved society. They may be open about sex but they are definitely not sexy. Just look around, long sleeves and pants are the order of the day. It is anathema for girls to wear mini skirts, boob tubes, bikinis, g-strings, denim cut-offs and all the things we grew up with at home, and definitely not in public. They are forced to wear that gear in bars and some freelancers pull it off pretty well but it is far from the norm. Let's face it, back in Australia and other countries (the U.S. being the worst Jon Benet Ramsey and beauty contests for minors and that sort of rubbish come to mind) some of these mothers are sending their daughters to kindy in full make up, with ear rings, jewelry, their hair done and clothes that could only be described as scandalous. So Thai girls will always be wearing three bras and shorts under their skirts and all the other stuff that you see only in strip joints in Thailand. Modesty is just a large part of their culture (ironically enough for the backpacker who is about to get hit with a dart in a unique show upstairs in Patpong). Not only are they not sexy in that respect, they aren't overtly sexual either. Beautiful? Yes. Exotic? Yes. Wonderful skin, eyes and bodies? YES, YES, YES! But the majority can't root for shit, I am sorry to say they just don't have it in them, God bless 'em. Just look at the porn industry. All the world's best "humpers" come from every single corner of the globe bar Asia. In fact you can count the number of world famous Asian porn stars without even taking your shoes and socks off. It isn't because they aren't as beautiful or seductive as other girls they just don't fxxx as well and they aren't up to standard. Go grab a fiery Spanish girl, Brazilian, Russian, Aussie, Kiwi or a British girl and the list goes on, believe me you will wake up in the morning knowing you have been fxxxed, that's if she lets you go to sleep. Thais just aren't maddies, or nymphos or sluts or whatever term you prefer to use. Sure, you get the odd few occasionally that can really knock your socks off, but pound for pound internationally Thais just aren't that great in the sack. Which brings me back to where I started, PRICE. Bangkok is now unbelievably overpriced for the service you receive and a lot are still happy to pay it but it won't stay that way forever.
Next is mamasans and plenty has already been said on that subject, and yes they are there to basically look out for the girls best interests and not cater to us. But teaching the girls your sour attitude, cynicism and general disdain for the farangs that have basically lined your pockets in the first place does nothing to endear me to the girls. Another thing the Thais have perfected more than anyone else is "familiarity breeds contempt". Bars loathe expats, residents or anyone that has been coming for a while in favour of the new blood. This is because their scams, bullshit and outrageous prices are so transparent and intolerable that it doesn't take the average punter very long to get the shits. You are meant to look after your regulars – it is a very basic principle that has been lost on the Thais or whoever is running the bars and clubs. Speaking of contempt, personally it's one thing I find extremely offensive. I am an extraordinarily good tipper and enjoy buying the girls a few drinks and generally like to try and liven the place up a bit if I am on a bender. And like most of us I have rung my fair share of bells in my day. What really gives me the shits though is you can spend 10,000 baht in a bar one day and if you go there the next day and don't do it all again they treat you like the biggest dog on the planet and call you kee neow farang! Now if I spend like there is no tomorrow one day and then want to have a quiet one the next I should still be treated like a good (actually stuff that, a great) customer, which is something the Thais will never comprehend. For as sure as night follows day I am not too far away from doing it all again, but it is up to me how and when I spend and I refuse to be treated like a goose or a tight-arse because I won't drop their weekly wages on the drink every day.
Back to ex-pats and long timers, as Stick said Bangkok now offers nothing for us. No promotions, special deals or loyalty for that matter, or the ones they do offer are in stupid hours or when you get your bill you find out "this promotion not tonight". Hmmmm… Having said that, as much as I think regulars – or frequent customers – deserve preferential treatment, every customer should be looked after particularly in an industry that relies so heavily on the interaction between the girls and the patrons. I think I can speak for everyone when I say I am sick to death of watching girls dancing in bars watching themselves in the mirror while all the other girls are watching their smartphones. Just go to a strip joint anywhere else in the world and watch how hard the girls work to get you to part with your hard-earned or get you to partake in a lap dance (pay particular attention to their eye contact, their body language and all over dancing prowess).
While we are on that topic, since before the turn of the century girls that work as strippers and pole dancers and showgirls in other parts of the world are now a very liberated, empowered bunch. They are very proud of what they do and take their job very seriously. They consider themselves professionals and entertainers and a lot of hard work and effort goes into their costumes and acts. Some of the best pole dancers are damn near gymnasts in their athletic ability. Now I am not saying the Thais are ashamed of what they do, but again culturally they just can't shake it like their western counterparts. Take the enthralling dance routine that is the Bangkok shuffle as an example. We grew up with MTV and girls shaking their little asses all over the place. They grew up with some Isaan folk music up in the jungle somewhere. So don't give me that "coyote" bullshit. The best coyote dancer in all of Thailand doesn't hold a candle to even average dancers in the west. So if managers can't control their girls and stop them playing with their phones all night or make the girls interact with customers or not the get the hump because you won't buy her a watered down cordial every 8 minutes to make her sit with you, then it is a self-fulfilling prophecy and one that has been coming for more than a while.
Bangkok's naughty boy days are numbered. Pattaya will inevitably kick on for a few more years yet, but for mine the writing is on the wall there as well. Many I know have been talking for years about what will be the next "Pattaya" and
obviously there won't be, but many of the long-timers and those that can afford it or don't have everything tied up in Thailand have already been looking further afield. Bangkok is its own worst enemy and is being consumed by its own
avarice, conceit, poor service, indifference to customers and its generally shithouse attitude. The owners, managers and staff will be "hoist on their own petard" as customers like ourselves begin to speak with our feet our bums and
ultimately our wallets and eventually Bangkok will die the death that has slowly and inevitably been coming for quite a while. As Cold Chisel put it "You got the money and I got the time nothin' better to do, so you might just change
my mind. You got nothing I want. You got nothing I need".
In conclusion, I don't want to bash the joint too hard. I have loved and will continue to love playing around in Thailand for a long time but the inconvenient truth is most of us know very well that the Thais are specialists at killing the goose that laid the golden egg, and loyalty and honour aren't now nor will they ever be their strong points. So sure the bars aren't giving us much but when have they ever, really? The biggest difference as any vet will tell you is in the girls, who have gone from being sweet, adorable, respectful, gorgeous farm girls who were experts at "taking care" as only the Thais could, to indifferent, sullen, vain (and god knows why they are bloody mingers) mostly overweight and not especially attractive girls who couldn't give a tinkers cuss whether you took them home or not. And they don't put ANY effort into the job they are meant to be doing which is gogo dancers who should be trying to entice and attract customers. In a lot of ways it is us that has made them lazy. Because for all its faults and inconsistencies, it is us as punters that have been putting up with it for so long. So who is to blame? The bars and the managers and the girls who we consistently deride week in and week out? Or is it us who continue to frequent these places we apparently dislike so much and do nothing about it but whinge?
Know your enemy. Thanks for your time…