Goût Et Couleur
… ne se discutent pas. It’s a French cliché and often cited proverb. Taste and colors are not up for discussion! It applies I suppose to the following narration. And if the story had to be classified, it would have to go in the “You can’t win” section!
Lek (to remain anonymous I call girls in stories Lek but events are no less authentic) was young, slim and small-breasted with a perfect body, tall for a Thai girl. Just the way I liked bargirls. Though she was not herself a bargirl but introduced to me by one. Her job was a low-paying one I was told, and she was in dire need of upgrading her monthly income facing rental payment on the 5th every month. The few pictures I was shown on the smartphone looked good, smiling & sexy. It was her friend and could she come along with her on the next visit! I said OK and we all met the following week.
It was the second half of 2018, and I was getting tired of paying for lady drinks and barfines. I decided to keep her on a more regular basis, and she agreed. In the months that followed she came to my hotel on a more or less weekly basis. For both of us, it was a good arrangement. It helped with her rental duties, and I was able to maintain my personal male hygiene at a more reasonable cost even paying her an extra bonus and taxi fares. The only thing I disliked was a fairly large, colored tattoo on her back. She’d done it recently she said as the indentation was still palpable to the touch. It blemishes the beauty of your perfect body, I lectured her, and she promised not to have any more tattoos done.
Then one day she disappeared. Messages on LINE were vague and then ceased. She’s moved on to another sponsor I presumed when sometime later suddenly the image of a kissing couple appeared on LINE and the text “I come see you”! When she did, I knew something was not quite right. She had a bit of a problem and could not have sex, she announced. At least not conventional style sex, she quickly elaborated. By that time, I had an idea of the current “problem” her having alluded to it in form of some prescient warnings a couple of times. But she would not say. But she knew and I knew that there were other ways to satisfy a man. I still paid her the usual tariff and taxi fare and kissed her goodbye. Sex next time OK, she said, leaving with a smile.
For weeks the girl had saved part of her “salary” to scramble together the 30K baht she had to disburse for breast implants. The surgeons did a good job, and she was ever so proud now to show off her nom just like farang ladies have. And at a fair price too I would add, as I remember a client more than 20 years ago in Phuket. I had introduced to a local surgeon that charged 3 times that amount to the farang lady.
Time passed by, early 2020, the first weeks of the coronavirus pandemic, masks had just become compulsory. I had now moved permanently to Bangkok and a settled in a condo. For a time, alcohol consumption was banned in restaurants, and I occasionally had food delivered during these weeks, pouring the accompanying glass of wine with dinner at home. Encounters or rendezvous within my own walls for affection and endearment was another plus much appreciated. Then it was her birthday. I offered to buy her a bracelet.
Turns out I was in Pattaya on the happy day visiting my friend Paul, so I transferred the money to buy the bracelet to her bank account, to the dismay of Paul who reckoned she would take the money and then produce a no-show.
After my return to the Bangkok, I met Lek at the condo. She had never had any interest in learning English, so we converse in Thai. But with me you have to speak slowly, properly pronounced Bangkok or even southern Thai to understand. That’s not what she did though, rather she blabbered away in super-fast and unintelligible words to me for several minutes. Then suddenly she lost her momentum and in a low and properly pronounced Thai came out, “Please don’t be angry with me”. My first thought was, she’s used the money for something else. No, no, the bracelet is here you see, and thank you again so much. She had just hidden it under the long sleeves of her anorak so the taxi guy would not see it. Well, what’s wrong then? She had a new tattoo. Where? Silence. Some more prodding finally produced the answer. But not in words this time. She looked me deep in the eyes, left her arm and simply tapped her hand suggestively on her extended back. It’s going to be beautiful but not quite finished yet, she went on, I have to go for two more sessions to have it colored. Followed by the biggest smile.
No, I said, I will not be angry. Later I pondered about all the stupid things I did in my early 20s. How could I have even an inkling what goes through the head or what is important to a twenty something youth of a different gender, ethnicity and almost two generations my junior. Are you not shy to expose your backside to an unknown tattooist? Oh, but it’s a lady, she replied. Wow, I’ve no knowledge or experience in tattoos but I didn’t think lady tattoo artists even existed. Sure, I said eventually, when it’s finished and done I want to take some pics. Ok, just for you na! My last observation to her on the subject was, but you’ll regret it in years to come. Again, only a large smile and words to the effect of, no, tomorrow never comes!
Stickman’s not a family publication but honoring my word there will of course be no illustration to this section of my sub! Nor anywhere else!
Follow a few snippets out of the past two corona years.
In March 2020, a friend and client I have known for close to 25 years made it clear soon after the pandemic began that he would never get vaccinated whatever lies in the future. At that time, I was understanding, even sympathetic with the idea. A year later, well into the second and then third phase of the pandemic I had the two shots of AstraZeneca. Mostly out of concern that should an emergency arise, I would be able to travel. My friend, and that includes his wife and an adult son maintained their position. More so, they joined a somewhat radical anti-vaccine movement. Emails, telephone, social media contact ceased. It’s another sad and regrettable by-product of the pandemic.
When I came to Thailand over 30 years ago my first partner was an excellent cook. She introduced me to many of the better known Thai dishes at first. Later some more adventurous or exotic creations. She was 30 when we first met, and I was 10 years older. An age where you know the value of mutual appreciation. As opposed to overbearing or dominating love. We lived together for seven years. Almost all of those were happy years. Cooking was obviously her dada. Sometimes just for the two of us, sometimes with my friends and other times with her father and other family members. I do believe to be in a happy, respectful relationship was the key to her overall success in the matter (great cooking). It came to mind when recently I read in Steve Rosse’s memoire that his wife didn’t know how to boil a pot of rice. Well, how could she even want to excel in any kind of cooking when they hated each other!
In those days and mostly to save a few baht, it was a single bottle of Singha or Kloster that accompanied my dinner. But I was never an ingrained beer drinker. Later, once my business was on its feet I switched to wine, mostly red and it still is today. But yes, it’s an expensive hobby in Thailand to indulge in, especially if you have the taste for good wine.
Stick worries that the wine he stores will soon be past their best. But if the corked wine bottles were of decent quality to begin with and not exposed to heat, they will only get better with age. Drinking and enjoying wine is obviously a cultural thing. NZ produces very decent wine but it’s simply not part of Stick’s culture. Refraining from drinking is not a bad idea he also says and that’s probably right but the medic that I consult (not for a drinking problem) encourages me to continue enjoying my two glasses of wine with dinner. Along with the daily morning swim in the pool, he adds!
I downloaded Steve Rosse’s Memoir, Leaving Thailand. No particular reason other than well, I descended on Phuket about the same time as he did. Our line of work however was totally different, and I never knew him personally but followed and liked his weekly column in the Phuket Gazette. I wish for him in retirement to be able to return living on his beloved island. He knows of course that Phuket 2022 has little in common with the enchanting paradise we discovered in 1988.
Kloth can be contacted at : ILDEDEKLOTH@hotmail.com