The Girlfriend Experience
At 10 PM, I was alone in my bungalow on Koh Samui. I had been living on Samui for only a couple of weeks and hadn’t met anyone new. The main reason for my failure to meet new people was that I was traveling with my girlfriend. We had similar schedules and spent almost all of our time together, despite living in separate apartments at times.
My relationship with my girlfriend was open (which came with great difficulties), but an exclusive relationship didn’t seem to be an option. She had recently gotten divorced and I was dubious about relationships and monogamy, in general. The reality was that we were “monogamish;” we were together most of the time, but we could (and would) have short flings with other people given the right circumstances.
I hadn’t been with a new girl in about a month. The sex with my girlfriend was excellent, but as any man knows, familiarity can lead all too easily to disinterest and loss of passion. I wanted someone new. Every night when we rode our motorbike down the long main stretches of Samui Road, we passed the small bars with the soft pink and purple lights and the easy-looking women sitting in front. Often, I turned my neck just a bit too much to get a better look.
Most nights, the temptation to go see what was on offer at the various Samui establishments just wasn’t strong enough. Although I had enjoyed a handful of encounters with “ladies of the night” in the past, I didn’t see myself as a monger. I vastly preferred meeting a normal girl off of some online dating service – a girl who didn’t expect me to pay for sex. It wasn’t that I couldn’t part with 1500 baht, it was that I wanted to be wanted. Sleeping with a girl who only wanted my money seemed unfulfilling.
That night, my boredom and loneliness were multiplied by an unusual external factor: my girlfriend’s friend was visiting and my girlfriend was playing hostess. I wouldn’t see her for at least two days. Was it possible that she wasn’t being fully honest with me? Was she having dates with other guys? I believed my girlfriend when she said that she was just spending time with her friend, but these questions (and others like them) played on repeat in the back of my head. Questions like these joined forces with my boredom and loneliness and made me leave my bungalow that night. I got on my motorbike and took the long road to Lamai where I knew the beer bars were. I could just check the area out and have a couple drinks, I told myself. I didn’t need to do anything extreme.
Is driving a motorbike in Thailand without an appropriate license or health insurance a good idea? Of course not, but everybody knows that. Regardless, I found Samui to be the most enjoyable place to ride I had ever visited. Long straight roads with little traffic. Fresh air and few police. The ride to Lamai took 15 minutes. My GPS guided me, ordering me to take a left off the main road and into the heart of the town. When I arrived at the beer bar complex, the lights and sounds told me I had arrived before my GPS did.
Before I even parked, I heard the girls yelling to me. A smile grew on my face as I took off my helmet and readied myself, my back still to the bars behind me. I had forgotten what it felt like. Maybe the girls weren’t genuinely attracted to me. Maybe they did just want my money. Upon hearing the sirens’ calls, though, this distinction – the distinction that seemed to matter so much as I ruminated in bed in my bungalow – ceased to matter.
I turned around and walked towards the beer bars. Directly in front of me was the one with the yelling girls. It was a small circular hut-type structure. The girls and staff were in the middle of the circle – three of them danced on a raised platform and the rest were situated around the perimeter, like bartenders. Bar stools lined the outside of the circle. As I walked up to the complex, I could see that there were many such bars. The girls at the first bar were still looking at me and yelling at me, though. “Handsome man!” “Welcome!” Like the perfect sucker, I walked straight toward them and never made it past that first bar.
The complex seemed relatively dead. From what I could see, every bar was open with at least several girls, but there was nobody walking around between them. At the bar I patronized, there was one other guy on the other side of the circle talking to a girl. The complete lack of action freed up the rest of the girls to make me feel quite welcome as I sat down, but two girls in particular paid me extra attention.
The two girls asked the famous questions that become painfully boring – What was my name? Where did I come from? Holiday? How long did I stay in Samui? – but they did it with the equally famous smiles. One, named Orawan, was fairly plain. Orawan’s body was nice and her smile was warm, but she wouldn’t stand out from any crowd on any street. The other girl’s name was Nong. Nong had a face that was even less striking than Orawan’s, but her tits were remarkable. I ordered a beer and Nong came out from inside the circle and sat with me on the outer perimeter.
Nong and I learned the basic facts about each other as we played a dice game with Orawan, still behind the bar. When the girls had a favorable roll of the dice, they cheered and smiled and danced. When the dice were less kind, they pouted. They were actresses playing out a script that they had no doubt practiced several times a night every night for some untold length of time, but they were convincing enough in their roles to create a fun environment that I didn’t want to leave.
In between turns, Nong told me she was twenty-one years old, but she seemed even younger. She cuddled up next to me and had her hand on my lap whenever she wasn’t throwing the dice. Sometimes, when she really needed some extra luck for a crucial roll of the dice, Nong would touch them to each of her huge breasts and ask me to blow on them after. It wasn’t long before I copied her ritual on my turns, enjoying a chance to lightly touch her chest with the dice in my hand.
Nong acted as if each touch from me was a present she had been waiting all year for. She laughed, exchanged excited glances with Orawan, and snuggled up closer to me. She took my hands and put them on her. After ten minutes or so of playing with the dice, Nong hadn’t asked for a drink, so I got her one.
Orawan, clearly on the outside of the intimacy bubble Nong and I had created, asked for a drink, too. Since I had caught her cheating at the dice game only a few minutes prior, I smiled and said, “No. Of course not.” This created a fun dynamic that pitted Nong and I against Orawan. Careful not to sour the mood, though, I did buy Orawan a drink a minute later.
My time at the bar with Nong didn’t feel like time spent sitting with a prostitute. I didn’t grope her freely or utter any lewd sentences to her. Instead, it felt like the best Tinder date I had ever been on. It seemed like Nong and I had an undeniable chemistry that couldn’t be contained. She made me feel like the hottest guy in Lamai. When we kissed for the first time, she giggled and turned away shyly like it was the first kiss of her life.
After a while, the dice game had lost its novelty and I had met my self-imposed two drink limit. I told Orawan and Nong it was time for me to go. It was no surprise when Orawan said, “You pay Nong bar! Take Nong!”
My decision to pay Nong’s barfine couldn’t be pinned down to any one moment in time. When I first got to the bar, I thought there was no way I would go home at the end of the night with a prostitute. After one drink, I still thought it was unlikely – but there was some wiggle room. At some point in the progression of our flirting, though, it became an inevitability. Nong told me I would need to pay 500 for the bar and 1000 for her.
“How will you get home?” I asked her. “I live far.”
“But you have to get home, don’t you?”
“I stay with you. You bring me back tomorrow.”
Nong didn’t mention any price increase for “long-time,” and it didn’t seem like my responsibility to bring it up. I paid for the drinks and Nong’s barfine and we made the short walk to my motorbike.
On my motorbike, away from the lights and music of the bar, our conversation flowed much less naturally. Although it seemed we had no trouble communicating sitting side by side on our bar stools, Nong told me quickly, “My English not good. I’m sorry.” I didn’t mind. A silent ride away from Lamai with a girl pressed against my back felt pleasant enough.
Back at my bungalow, Nong took her time in my bathroom. I relaxed on my bed and waited for her. Coming out of my bathroom wearing just a towel, she looked incredible. She joined me in bed and what happened next wouldn’t be surprising to anyone.
After we finished, Nong snuggled up to me and asked me if she could add me on Facebook, Line, and everything else. She told me repeatedly, “I like you,” and fawned over my hair, my nose, and my eyes. Her affection was still nice, but markedly less necessary than it had been early on in our interaction.
With rare exception, I slept poorly when I shared my bed. That night with Nong was no exception. When morning came with Nong snoring peacefully next to me, I wanted nothing more than to be alone. But it was only 7AM. I felt bad for waking Nong, but letting her sleep while I laid there restlessly wasn’t an attractive alternative.
I picked up my phone and set my alarm to go off in one minute. I put it down and held my breath for sixty seconds or less. The bells and chimes of my phone’s alarm came rudely through the speaker. For a moment, it seemed as if Nong was sleeping so soundly that my alarm would have no effect. Then, her eyes opened a bit. She rolled over and into me, acting as the little spoon.
“I have to get up,” I said.
“I’m gonna go to the gym,” I lied.
“OK you go. I stay here.” She rubbed her ass against my crotch.
I laughed, half amused and half irritated. “No, you gotta go.”
“No! I stay with you today.” She reached her hand back and started touching me.
Nong’s persuasion worked and after another round, we both fell asleep for an hour or so. When I awoke again, my restlessness and discontent returned. I played the same trick as I had previously and my alarm began playing next to Nong’s ear. She grumbled.
“Come on. Let’s go.”
“No, I stay with you.”
Nong whined and complained for several minutes, doing her best to make me feel too guilty to kick her out. She couldn’t win this time, though; my desire to be alone was too strong. With her still in bed, I got up, dressed, and started collecting her things. She gave in and got up herself after a few minutes.
The ride back to Lamai felt longer than the ride away from Lamai had felt. I just wanted it to be over. When I turned onto the street that would lead to the beer bar complex, I asked Nong where her home was. She told me to just take her to the bar, which confused me. It was barely past 8AM. It was a convenient solution, though, so I didn’t press further.
When I dropped Nong off, she said she would text me and miss me and that she wanted to see me later. I drove away feeling immense relief.
True to her word, Nong did text me. Repeatedly. Incessantly. “I like you.” “I miss you.” “You come see me tonight.” “What are you doing?” “Why you not come to bar?” “You’re heartless.” I probably should have blocked Nong from contacting me, but somehow, doing so felt mean. So I put up with her barrage of texts and rarely replied.
When I met Nong, she made me feel more attractive than I had felt in months. It was exciting getting to know her and touch her for the first time. Then, after a fun night together, Nong became a burdensome source of guilt and shame. She had given me the true girlfriend experience.
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