The Power

Max Power One of the fundamental differences between Bangkok and the West is that the underpants of power, with regards to sexual relationships, are firmly wrapped around the buttocks of the male of the species here in Amazing Thailand.

Whilst in the West, it’s the female’s prerogative to pick and choose from a gaggle of desperate suitors, here in Bangkok the shoe is on the other foot, and comfortably so. It’s probably a Hush Puppy, or perhaps a Sukhumvit tailored (cobbled?) custom fit. Whatever – it’s a comfortable shoe, despite being on the wrong foot. I need to steer clear of analogies, don’t I?

My point is perhaps better illustrated by the events of Sunday night. I had a burger and a beer (or three) in the Big Mango at Nana Plaza, whilst enjoying the free live entertainment (ie. Pmmp almost getting killed over a fish), but since I have a policy of treading carefully in bars I actually like spending time in, I’ve never barfined a girl from the Mango, and wasn’t going to start over the weekend. Jealousy issues, however unlikely in my case, can be a very real problem if you take more than one girl from the same bar.

Still, by deciding not to take any of what was available, I effectively turned down 15-20 girls.

Onwards, then, to Mandarin – possibly my favourite NEP bar at the moment. Some cute girls, but none really stood out. I drank up and left, thus turning down another 50 or so girls.

On to Fantasia, which I’m delighted to report sucks more than ever before. I’d heard that they’d made the bar no-smoking, but there was no sign of this. A quick drink later, I was out of there, having turned down another 30 or so ladies.

I’d turned down about one hundred girls now, in less than an hour.

I left the Plaza and checked out the Beergarden on Sukhumvit Soi 7. About a hundred pairs of eyes followed me as I walked a quick circuit of the bar. Some were on stalks. I was just vaguely looking for someone who stood out, but in a good way. Nobody did, so I left.

I’d turned down about 200 girls by now, and the night was but young. In the UK, I’d probably have actively pursued at least 100 of them if I’d met them in a bar, and probably would have at least considered another 50 or so of the others if they’d approached me. So I turned down 150 girls who I’d probably have agreed to sleep with a year ago, plus the 50 I wouldn’t. In about an hour. I called one of my speed-dials in the end, who easily beat all of them.

We take a lot for granted here.

Disclaimer: Yes, most of them would have expected payment. However, that payment would have been less than the cost of the drinks and dinner they’d have expected from me in the UK.

Flamebait: They’re all whores, from a certain point of view. Discuss.

The Laundry Girl


Laundry At a recent Bangkok Bloggers Cabal meeting, we got onto the subject of what might perhaps be described as our more regrettable dalliances. Smitty’s Chinese grandmother experience has me beaten, but my own almost-forgotten tale still makes me chuckle.

I was drunk, again, in Thermae – this was last summer, incidentally, before Thermae had been annexed by the Japanese. The end of the night, and closing time, beckoned. I stared into my bottle of Heineken, wondering what to do next, and didn’t even see her sit down.

She was… maybe a 4 out of 10. She was really giving it the hard sell, though – describing to me in great detail the wide variety of services she could offer. The only problem was that she would have to leave early in the morning, as she worked in a hotel.

Given that the bar was almost desolate by this point, and that I was pretty much ready for sleep – I certainly didn’t have the energy to start trawling the Miracle Mile for alternatives – it was effectively her or nothing. “Come on then”, I told her, and she followed me out to the taxi.

I got a half-hearted massage back at my apartment, followed by some fairly forgettable fumbling. And then we had a conversation of some sort, but I wasn’t really listening, and was soon asleep. I was dimly aware of rustling movement early the following morning, but slept on – I finally rose at lunchtime.

She was gone, of course. As were all of my clothes.

I eventually remembered the post-coital conversation I’d basically slept through. She’d offered to do my laundry for me at the hotel where she worked, free of charge. I had apparently accepted. So, unsure of which piles of clothes were clean and which were dirty (I have a very complicated laundry organisation system – it involves sniffing), she’d swept all of my clothes up into a bin bag, and hauled them off to work.

I stood naked in my living room (I eventually found a couple of grubby t-shirts and a pair of shorts that she’d missed), wondering whether anybody in the world had ever done anything quite so stupid before.

Once I’d given up all hope of ever seeing my clothes again, she returned the next day with a basket full of my freshly laundered clothes. I felt obliged to tip her, but not before setting off everyone I explained my wardrobe situation to in the meantime into incurable hysterics.

The Miracle Mile

So it hits 2am (or 1am, or even 1.27am – closing time is consistent only in its inconsistence!), and as the lights go up in the gogo bars, there is but one question on the minds of those still standing. Where now?

See, in a bizarre application of Thai logic, most of the bars around Sukhumvit are all forced to close by 2am. But the ramshackle street bars which reliably appear after midnight on Sukhumvit Road itself, stretching in the main from soi 3 to around soi 15, will be open until dawn.

Apparently the powers that be are none too keen on the late-night crowd drinking in proper indoor bars, with clean bathrooms, trained staff, security and so on. Instead they must sit out on the street in the rough-and-ready pavement-bars, and attend to calls of nature in “soi toilet”. Amazing Thailand, indeed.

But these mobile booze carts, with their garden-furniture tables and chairs, are not just a haven for the “one last beer” farangs. There are a lot of bars in Sukhumvit, and many will contain hordes of “ladies of negotiable affection”, looking for a partner for the evening. Not all of these delightful creatues find success before 2am, and so the gogo gives way to the free-for-all which we fondly refer to as “The Miracle Mile”.

Sit down somewhere between sois 3/1 and 5, order a cheap bottle of beer from a stall, maybe some cheap Thai food, and wait for the gogo girls to come out of Nana Plaza. Some will be on their way home, thankful for a night away from making the beast with two backs that is their bread and butter. Others may be open to offers – hoping for a more comfortable place to sleep than the squalid room they share with their three “sisters”. And others again may just be happily watching the world go by, open to conversation and perhaps more.

There is no bar-fine on the street, and gogo girls can be (but are not always) of a few levels of beauty higher than your average freelancer. Find a weary gogo girl who’s just looking for a nice farang-size double bed for the night, and you may even get a freebie – the holy grail of the Sukhumvit prowler. Just watch out for the ladyboys…