Patpong Bargirl Experience
I have to tell you about this story that you indirectly play a part in. Last year (Dec. 2017), on my yearly trip to Thailand, I went to Black Pagoda in Patpong for the first time. I really liked the concept and setup, especially the fact that as long as you are buying a girl (or girls) drinks, they will sit with you all evening (and not have to periodically get up to dance, in the annoying fashion of almost all other gogo bars).
I hooked up with two lovely women soon after going in, and sat with them for about 2.5 hours, in a very hands-on fashion, especially after moving to one of the more private areas. In the end, I barfined just one of them (I was very tempted to take both, but my budget was against it). I consider the 5,000 baht all of that cost me (including the 900 baht barfine) money very well spent.
The night took an unexpected turn for the worse when my girl and I got back to my hotel room, however. Now, she and I had a very good chemistry over the past several hours (yes, I know it’s really all about the money, but just because it’s a business transaction doesn’t mean both parties can’t have fun, and I’m pretty good at reading when girls generally “click” with me–in fact, I’m very picky: if I sense no chemistry, I won’t take them home in the first place). So I was shocked when, just after entering the room, she says, “2,500 baht, upfront.”
I’ve been coming to Thailand for close to 20 years, and I speak very good Thai (and Lao, which is the only language I spoke with the two girls all evening), and I know my way around Thai society and culture. I thus know very clearly that there are two services in Thailand that one ALWAYS pays for at the end of the transaction, never the beginning: taxis and fxxxing.
All kinds of red flags and warning bells went off: why was she asking for money upfront? In all my years of hitting the bars in Thailand, no girl had ever asked for this. I briefly thought, “Could she be a ladyboy?” No, there’s just no way, I would have picked up on it, and I’m pretty sure Black Pagoda does not employ them. Was there something else “wrong” with her that she was worried about being a deal breaker for me, to the point that she insisted on money upfront? At any rate, it did not feel right to me…and I told her so, and refused to pay. I also told her that, assuming a stellar performance, I was prepared to give her 3K, not 2.5K, which seemed like an odd figure for her to pull out of the air in the first place (as per my general practice, we had not discussed money up until that point). She would not back down, which I took as an even clearer warning sign that something was “off.”
I handed her 500 baht and sent her on her way; she seemed genuinely disappointed and rather surprised. The incident has bugged me the entire past year, and especially in the past several weeks, since I’m in Thailand again and I would love to return to Black Pagoda, though I’m now hesitant to do so.
Then…just tonight, while doing a search on Black Pagoda on Google, I came upon an old column of years, from 2009 I believe, from right after Black Pagoda first opened…and you explained it all! You said that there was a standard practice at the bar of 2.5k for ST for one girl, 4.5k for two, and from the way you phrased it, it sounded like they even collected that amount at the bar!
So it totally makes sense now…she was just following bar policy. I still think it’s weird…but a lot more understandable now, and in retrospect, I probably passed up a great night. Oh well, live and learn. And still, always trust your first intuition. Which is not to say it might not lead you astray now and again. Also…how cool is it that they haven’t raised that price in the 8 or so years since you wrote that column!?
So anyway, thanks…and I think I know where I’m going next week, my last in BKK on this trip…
It’s sad when this sort of thing happens and not only is the experience a disappointment, the whole night can feel like a bust.
I have no idea whether the girls at Black Pagoda lobby together to charge standard rates these days.
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