The Gogo Guru, Part 2
I should’ve known. #40’s bewildered look showed that she was new to the bar, new to Bangkok and – new to the English language. Don helped out when he could (which wasn’t often, because his girl was all over him).
#40 made a series of musical squeaks which could be transliterated as: “Di chan cheu Koi, ka,”
“She says her name is Koi,” said Don, coming up for air from the Thai version of Deep French Kissing.
I tried to reply by pointing at myself and saying, “Byron.”
More squeaks: “Chan mai poot paasaa Angrit ka.”
“She says she doesn’t speak English – Stop that, Sau!”
I tried again: “You, Koi. Me, Byron.”
Jane might have got it, but Koi didn’t. “Mai kao jai,” she squeaked. I was to hear this phrase many times that evening.
“She says: she doesn’t understand. – Not in the bar, Sau. Save it for later!”
After that, I didn’t get much help from Don. He had obviously made a good choice in Sau – the chemistry was bubbling in the test tube and ready to boil over!
Meanwhile, Koi was sitting demurely next to me, saying nothing. Her only venture in body contact being a hand on my knee. She was wearing a pale blue rah-rah skirt bikini and was shivering in the ice-cold air-con – or was it nerves? She had a rounded baby face with a cute button nose and a doe-eyed look of innocence (like Madeline Smith). Her body was slender and perfectly shaped with small breasts and bottom (unlike Madeline Smith). All this, and her top knot, made her look like a schoolgirl – and I felt a moment’s panic – was she underage? Would I end up in the Bangkok Hilton?
“How old are you?” I asked.
“Mai kao jai.”
It felt awkward. Conversation is an ice-breaker, and if there’s no conversation, how can you communicate? There is another way – body talk – and Don and Nut were going for it big style, along with bits of English and bits of Thai. That conversation must have included the word “barfine” at some point, because Sau suddenly got up and went to change.
“Phew!” Don said when she’d gone. “I’ve got a one-girl orgy on my hands! How are you getting on?”
“I don’t know. She’s just sitting there shaking like a leaf and – she looks too young for all this!”
Don leaned across me and began a conversation in Thai. A few moments later, he reported back. “She’s just kii-ai – shy – that’s all. She says she’s 19 and has only been working for 10 days. If you barfine her, you will be her first customer – that’s why she’s so nervous.”
“Why not? You might never get a chance like this again. 19! Nubile! New to the bar! What’s not to like?”
“But I’m not sure we have chemistry…”
“Do you have it for her?”
My test tube was boiling too, but I just said, “Yes.”
He took out his “Bible”, found a page and read: “He who desires but acts not, breeds pestilence,” then interpreted: “Blake says go for it!”
Just then, Sau reappeared in tight jeans and a crop top looking even sexier than she had in her rah-rah bikini.
“We’re off,” said Don. “We’re going to climb the Ladder of Love.”
That was just like Don, coming out with tantalising bits of philosophy at odd moments, especially when there was no time to discuss them.
“Ladder?” I said, mystified.
“I’ll tell you about it next time.”
As soon as Don and Nut had gone, I gave Koi the 500 baht for the barfine. She smiled happily, and I sensed it was because it was an important victory for her. She had been 10 days in the bar, her shy manner and zero English putting off potential customers, and now she had her first barfine.
She was very shy when we got back to the hotel room. However, that helped me, a nervous and inexperienced newbie. I put the TV on and chatted to her. I knew she wouldn’t understand me, but I hoped my soothing tone would help. I stroked her gently, and eased her out of her clothes – and, to keep those intimate moments close to my heart, I will say no more, except that we made a wonderful night of it.
Next morning, she left early. I had hoped that she would stay for breakfast as I had read that it is a sure sign that you are having a GFE (Girlfriend Experience), but she seemed in a hurry to leave. She explained why, but of course I couldn’t understand a word she said, though I gathered that she would meet me in the bar at 7 – or at least that’s what I think she meant when she waved 7 fingers me.
The following evening, at about 7, I hurried to Dollhouse eager to see Koi and to tell Don that his advice had worked wonders. But she wasn’t there (perhaps the 7 fingers had been telling me to F-off 7 times!) and nor was Don. Nor was Sau, or any of the other girls I recognised – just three bored-looking B-team bargirls hugging the poles and barely moving. I sipped my Chang draft, telling myself to make it last, as I didn’t want to get hammered and spoil my second night with Koi (assuming that she did want to go with me again and that she was just late)..
It was about 7:30 when Don came in with Sau in tow. He sat down beside me and explained, “She’s been with me all day. I’ve just come to pay the barfine. How was Koi?”
I didn’t know how to put it, so I told it the way it was. “She was very shy in bed – but then, so was I. But she was just right for me – as a newbie, I mean.”
Don nodded sagely. “Of course it was just right. That was because you followed your Tau.”
“What about Sau?”
Don heaved a satisfied sigh, but seemed lost for words. At last he found one: “‘Wild’. She was went wild.” (From then on I thought of her as #44, Wild).
“Did you get to the top of the ladder?” I said, remembering last night’s parting aphorism.
“Ladder? No. I’m a long way from the top – probably because all the fun is at the bottom.”
“So what is this Ladder of Love?”
Don pulled out his Blake and turned to a black and white picture of one of Blake’s paintings: Jacob’s Ladder. “It’s an old idea going back to Plato and Saint Augustine. The idea is that the physical leads to the spiritual, like in this painting, so: 1, you have sex, which is just physical, then, 2, you experience romantic love. 3, that develops into self-sacrificing love for children and family. 4, that develops into love for all humanity, and finally, 5, you achieve Enlightenment.” He paused for a moment to let this sink in, then added, “That explains how you can find Enlightenment in a gogo bar. I knew you thought I was crazy when I said it, but, don’t you see, it’s the first rung on the Ladder of Love?”
“So where are you?”
“I nearly got to 4, but slipped down to 1.”
“What about 2 and 3?”
“Look, I’ve done the wife and family thing. Didn’t work. If a Buddhist monk can achieve 4 and 5 without it, so can I. That’s what I was trying to do in the monastery.”
“But a monk has to be celibate, so perhaps you shouldn’t be doing 1.”
He wasn’t phased. “Monks have their Tau, so have I – so have you… and here she is.”
Koi had just come downstairs from the changing room and was looking at me hesitantly, as if to say, “Do you want me or not?”. I signalled her over, and she sat beside me and took my arm. “You pay bar?” she said awkwardly.
“You’re teaching her English, I see,” said Don.
“That’s not all I’m teaching her,” I said with a wink.
We ordered some drinks and, while the girls were chatting. Don took the opportunity to have a serious word. “Be careful.”
“I used a condom, if that’s what you mean.”
“No, what I mean is, it’s risky to take a girl for more than one night.”
“Because feelings might develop – then you’ve got problems! OK, see her tonight and maybe tomorrow night – but that’s it! Never take a girl for more than three nights.”
We were interrupted by a loud laugh from Sau, who, for some reason, seemed particularly lively that evening.
“She’s so excited because I’m taking her to Ko Samui tomorrow,” Don explained. “She’s never been on a plane before.”
“But…” I did a quick calculation. “One day to get there, one day to get back and at least two days in-country.”
“So you’ll have been with her for six nights! What about this ‘Never take a girl for more than three nights’ thing?”
Don just laughed. “Oh, that’s for newbies. Don’t worry about me. I’ll be fine. I’m just following my Tau.”
Should you doubt your guru? Never, according to the Dhammapada. But I was beginning to doubt mine. It seemed that Don’s Tau was anything he wanted to do and his rules applied to everybody but himself.
I wanted to tackle him about it, but it wasn’t convenient just then and I would be back in Blighty by the time he got back from Ko Samui, so instead, I made my farewells, and said I’d look him up on my next trip.
“You know where to find me,” he said. “Dollhouse, back row, in the middle.”
“I’ll miss your advice,” I said.
“You don’t need my advice. Just follow your Tau. Go with the flow and you can’t go wrong. Peace.”
Don was right about feelings developing. That night with Koi wasn’t just sex, it was making love. I held her afterwards and she held me, and at some time in the middle of the night we were one again – and in the morning, she stayed for breakfast. It was the much desired GFE – more than that, she already felt like a real girlfriend.
Later that day, I bought two Thai-English phrasebooks from Asia Books and we flipped through them, looking for phrases and trying to communicate. It worked surprisingly well; just a little of your lover’s language goes so much further than nothing. By evening, she was calling me “teelak” and I knew what it meant.
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