The Art of Lying

Asian girl lying Women lie, cheat and steal. This is not news. For Thai bargirls, telling tall tales seems almost to be the national sport. The problem is, they’re appallingly bad at it.

“I only go with you, tilac“, she purrs, as her cellphone continually beeps throughout the evening with various messages from Steve, Sven, Simon and Somchai.

Then there’s the girl who answers her cellphone in mid-thrust to tell her boyfriend that she’s staying in her room watching TV alone.

Another girl couldn’t call you the other evening because her cellphone battery died. Which means she was in bed with a guy who had the sense to persuade her to turn her phone off…

Happy Hour, and Amazing Thailand

It’s not just the girls though. I was wandering lower Sukhumvit recently when I almost literally bumped into one of those massage touts. You know the ones. The seedy-looking chaps who mumble “massage. sex massage” in what they imagine is a subtle manner at every farang who walks past, whilst displaying a little folding card with blurred photos of identical-looking Photoshopped Thai girls.

For some reason, and I’m still not sure why, I ended up chatting to him. I took the card off him and had a look. The card was for Cupidy Massage at Plaza Entertainment, but who knows where he’d have taken me if I’d agreed. What interested me was his unbridled enthusiasm.

“Yes! Yes! Massage!”, he beamed. “Have sexy lady take care you! Good boom-boom good for you! Happy hour!”

I laughed. “It’s always happy hour, isn’t it?”, I asked him.

“Yes, yes! Always happy hour!”, he beamed back, completely oblivious.

“Lady boom boom”, he said, “and…” – and then he stuck his thumb in his mouth. It took me a moment to realise he was illustrating oral sex. I wish he hadn’t.

“And what? Suck your hand?”, I asked.

“Yes! Lady suck your hand! Amazing Thailand!”

He really did say “Amazing Thailand”, and without a hint of irony. Amazing…

I only like man from East Ruislip!

But the ones that really make me laugh are the bargirls who try to make you feel special. “Oh, you English man! England number one!”, they’ll say. Or “I love fat bald pig-man, I no like sexy man!”

Sure.

I guess there’s a grain of sense in the flattery aspect. Make a man feel good about himself, especially if he doesn’t have much to feel good about, and he’ll appreciate the girl simply for appreciating him. But the art has clearly been lost somewhere along the way.

That’s why I’m starting a lying school for bargirls. The lessons are free, and come with complimentary cellphone credit, Hello Kitty merchandise, som tam and sticky rice. Or at least, that’s what I’m telling them…

Milky Milky

Milk, yesterday
Milk, yesterday

She’d come straight off the stage at Shark bar, where she’d been jiggling like a wild thing, and then bounced straight into my lap. The barfine was paid, and we left in a hurry.

A little hungry though, we picked up some mystery meat kebabs and sausages on Cowboy before heading back to my place. And then, after feasting on these surprisingly spicy satays, we retired to the bedroom.

Where I discovered first-hand the all too unpleasant effects of having oneself pleasured by the mouth of a young lady who’s just eaten nuclear spices.

The amount of pain I was suddenly experiencing in my nether regions, dear readers, lay somewhere beyond what is describable with mere words. Suffice to stay, it burned.

I ate a lot of spicy food in the UK, where curry is the staple diet in many areas. So I knew from experience that neither water nor lager have the power to douse spiced-up taste-buds. Milk, however, does.

And so, with this in mind, I sprang over to the fridge, poured myself a large glass of nicely chilled milk, and immersed the “old chap” in it. Forget Thai massage, dipping one’s spicy burning knob in cold milk is by far the most soothing experience I’ve had in Thailand.

And I think it was then that I had what’s referred to as a “Naked Lunch moment”.

Naked Lunch is, of course, the surreal William Burroughs novel. Supposedly Burroughs’ buddy Jack Kerouac came up with the title, which refers to the instant when a person can see exactly what is on the tip of his or her fork – that is, what is truly going on.

There I was, stark naked in my living room, at three o’clock in the morning, listening to the giggles of an entirely unconcerned bed-ridden whore, with my flaccid member immersed in a glass of milk.

Time seemed to stand still, as I took stock of my life, my achievements, and my current situation, vis-a-vis the natty penis/milk combo between my thighs. I wondered what my friends and family would say, if they could see me – frozen in time.

I decided they’d find it highly amusing. And so the clock of my life resumed ticking. I removed myself, pleasantly soothed, from the glass of calcium-rich, nutritious and now both slightly spicy and slightly cheesy milk, and took it into the bedroom where, before we resumed the evening’s activities, I handed it to said bargirl – so that she might soothe her spicy-hot mouth*.

*Okay, so I made the last part up. But it would have been extremely funny if it were true.

A Little Knowledge

My executive lifestyle has taken its toll this week, hence little activity on the site. I got back to Bangkok last night, and made it to Nana in time to drink way too much, and stayed out way too late with a couple of sleazy reprobates. I have a hangover the size of Belgium, but must write.

A Little Knowledge is a Dangerous Thing

Learning to speak Thai if you’re going to spend any amount of time here is a huge help. Even “survival Thai” will make things ten times easier, and open up a lot more possibilities.

Unfortunately, the more Thai we learn, the more dangerous we become. Knowing precisely how to insult a mamasan in her native tongue is a recipe for disaster – as a buddy found out in a certain Nana Plaza bar recently. He narrowly escaped a beating, but ironically if he’d been cursing in English they probably wouldn’t have batted an eyelid.

I found myself in a similar situation last night, having slept too little and drunk too much. Incredibly, as I staggered past Thermae at around 5.30am, there were still a few young ladies touting for business outside.

My offer of ฿100 for the “holey trinity”, complete with altogether too many Thai swear words, was not well received.

Kryptonite

Wandering the streets of a more “civilised” Asian capital recently, I felt like Superman must have felt in the criminally-underrated Superman 2, after losing his super powers.

Tons of hot Asian chicks, 99% of whom were showing zero interest. In Bangkok, you can ascertain whether a girl’s interested just by making eye contact – whether in a bar, in a disco, on the street, on the skytrain or wherever. To have hordes of hotties positively avoiding my eye was a sobering experience. It’s good to be back.

The Altruistic Approach

I know people who live here in Bangkok who’ve never paid a bar-fine. They can’t comprehend why anyone would ever even want to. They’d far prefer to either hook up with a freelancer or try the more old-fashioned technique of pulling a “good girl” from a disco down at Ratchada, RCA or wherever. Or from the internet. Or on the skytrain. Or in a 7-11. Or from a coffee stand. I love this city.

I also love the gogo bars. This confuses some people. Gogo girls will generally want a little more cash than freelancers. Many see this as an unnecessary expense, when “street meat” can be acquired from The Miracle Mile for as little as ฿1000 all night. I see it as an investment.

Today’s the 4th day of 2007. On the evening of the 1st, a gogo girl of my acquaintance called me from her bar on Soi Cowboy asking if I would be visiting her bar that night. I told her I hadn’t planned to. No problem, she said, and paid her own barfine before coming over and staying long enough to get her wages docked for turning up late the following night. Total cost: ฿100 taxi money, which I practically had to force her to accept. Why? Because the first time I met her, I bought her a few lady-drinks and paid her what I thought she deserved. I’ve seen her maybe a dozen times since, and she’s refused to take my money almost every time.

On the night of the 2nd, a mere hour or so after my Cowboy girl left, I was on Sukhumvit soi 4 on my way to sample the Guinness at the new Irish bar, Hanrahan’s – incidentally, it’s very good. I literally bumped into a Nana Plaza gogo girl who I’d been with a few times before as she was buying a t-shirt from a street stall. I offered to pay for the t-shirt. A few hours later she was in my bed, making my toes curl. She left the following evening, refusing to take a single baht, and thanking me again for the t-shirt.

So yeah, as a one-off price, gogo girls are that little bit more expensive. But they’re often orders of magnitude more attractive than the easily available alternatives, and a one-off gesture can lead to weeks or months of frankly astonishingly good value. “Today free, you jai dee”, they tell me. Who am I to argue with them?

Last night I gave my aching body the night off. Tonight I might hit Patpong. Happy new year everybody.

The Gogo Bars of Saphan Kwai (Sutthisan)

Most of you will know Soi Cowboy, Patpong and Nana Plaza. Many westerners seem to think that, as far as Bangkok’s gogo bars are concerned, that’s it – notwithstanding a couple of outliers, eg. Soi 22’s Tina bar and Soi 7/1’s Magic Table.

But there is another, less well-known strip of gogo bars close to Saphan Kwai BTS station, but with a difference – they cater not to we farangs, but to Thai men…

Lost in Saphan Kwai

Getting to the Saphan Kwai BTS station was easy enough – it’s the second-last stop heading north on the Skytrain’s Sukhumvit line. Finding the bars themselves was a little trickier. We wandered from the station back to a footbridge by the intersection (had we gone ten yards further, we’d have spotted the bars), crossed the street, and wandered back, still not entirely sure what we were looking for.

Looking lost outside Saphan Kwai’s Big C, my drinking buddy suggested we ask a taxi driver. I predicted that the driver would rather take us somewhere he’d get a kickback. We asked a taxi driver. He wanted to take us somewhere else, and pretended he didn’t know where the Saphan Kwai bars were. Sigh.

Deus ex machina

And then came our unlikely saviour – a scruffy-looking Thai chap who asked if we were lost. He led us to the bars, a fairly long walk, chatted amicably all the way, even stopping to tell a lost farang woman which bus to take to Khao San road.

We tipped him ฿200, which we practically had to force him to accept. He didn’t want our money. He wasn’t getting a kickback. He just wanted to help. We invited him to join us in the first bar; he laughed and declined. And so our adventure began.

Back to the Golden Age

The first bar was called “something” 99 – in Thai script. My buddy thought it may have said “Tilac 99”, but who knows. We ventured inside – it wasn’t too different from an old-style Patpong bar. Stage with dancing girls in bikinis, check. Except these girls actually danced. A bottle of Heineken cost ฿120, but it was a large bottle. They don’t sell small bottles. Bargain.

A waiter came over with a big grin and asked us whether we’d like to meet the ladies. We told him we’d rather wait and settle in first. Yes, the girls will not approach unless invited. Having listened to a diatribe on exactly what’s wrong with the modern gogo bar recently, it seemed we had found an oasis of old-style gogos – no pushy girls, no pushy mamasans, no overweight trolls in bikinis claiming to be dancers, and half-price drinks. Not bad.

Over the following hours we explored more and more of the bars around here – Inter, RCA and RCA 2, Spicy, and countless more whose names escape me. I’ll have to go back with a notebook. Bikinis were the order of the day in most bars, but at least one bar had topless girls, while another had a Patpong-style “razor blade” show.

Cheap at half the price

As far as female companionship goes, the deal was a fairly uniform ฿1,500 for short-time, paid to the bar rather than the girl. This includes the bar-fine. Long-time is ฿2,000. I would not be surprised if many of the girls would baulk at the idea of going with a farang though.

We were made welcome by the staff of all of these bars. Some of the girls eyed us with suspicion, some with amusement, and some just took it in their stride, flirting and chatting away (in Thai, of course) as they would with anyone else.

Trouble brewing

The male Thai customers, on the other hand, did not seem impressed with our presence. I would even go so far as to suggest that there could have been trouble if one of us had barfined, or even flirted too much with a Thai gent’s “favourite”. In the last bar, we were receiving positively evil glares. If looks could kill…

Sensing an end to the evening, we ducked out into a taxi and headed for the more familiar, reassuring surroundings of Soi Cowboy. It was an adventure, and we’ll definitely return.

The Lowdown

As mentioned, speaking Thai is a must. You will not get very far without it. Keep an eye out for hostile Thai customers, and watch your back. That said, it was fascinating to see the other side of Bangkok’s “naughty nightlife”, and was incredibly cheap, all things considered.

To find the bars, get off at Saphan Kwai BTS station, and double back on yourself following the skytrain line to the next main road junction. Turn left at that junction until you get to the corner, and you’re there.