A Thailand story
The flight to Thailand was beginning to get me after twelve hours. I still had twelve hours to go and the economy seat became more of a torture chamber with every passing minute. I felt both fatigued and excited. I was on my way to becoming an expatriate, or ex-pat as they are known in Thailand. Two years after my divorce, I had cashed in my chips. I took my share of the equity in the house, half the savings and my secret nest egg, which my former wife didn't know about, and headed for the land of smiles to live, maybe forever. All together, I would have a comfortable retirement.
Eventually, I would be old enough to cash in my 401k and then I'd really have some extra cash. My ex tried to get a piece of that, but I threatened to send my evidence of her adultery to everyone we knew, including her parents. The bitch backed off. Maybe, I'll do it anyway. At this point, I truly hate her and what she did to our marriage and my life.
In the end my ex was reasonable in the divorce. She should have been. The split was based on irreconcilable differences instead of the charge of adultery which her lying, cheating ass deserved. I didn't want to waste my energy trying to hurt her, just get away, as far away as I could from the memories and the pain.
I had been to Thailand twenty years earlier when I was in the service. I liked the food, weather and the women, so I decided to begin my new life there. I needed the change. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Things had to be a lot different there after all these years. I certainly was not the same man. The wounds from too many battles left me tired and scarred. I figured whatever fate awaited me had to be better than the hellish loneliness that I left behind.
My name is Jessie, Jessie James. I know what you're thinking. It's not my fault. My mother was a big fan of American western history, especially gun slingers, hence the name. I kind of liked it. In Thailand, the name would hold no special meaning. Everything would be new there. I would be a stranger in a very strange land. I had nothing to lose. My son, who rarely spoke to me, was about to finish college. The only women I was able to date back in New York were divorced, over weight, bitter and carrying more baggage than a freight train.
At forty nine, I was in pretty good shape with a touch of grey in my hair. I was often told that I didn't look a day over thirty five. I certainly wasn't ready to pack it in. Since there wasn't a lot of sex going on for me after the divorce, the gym became my sanctuary. My abs are flat and my muscles hard. I was never much of a ladies man, shy I guess. Some ego reinforcement and a chance to regroup were badly needed. I yearned to feel manly again and in control of my life.
"You look deep in thought young man," said the man sitting directly to my right. I hadn't said much to him during the trip. He looked to be about sixty something. His face showed the wisdom of a life hard lived. He seemed to sense my mood.
"I am ... I just left my entire life back in the states. I sure hope I'm doing the right thing."
"You'll be fine, son," he said smiling. "I'm Frank Jones, he said extending his hand. He had the quiet bearing of a man who knew what he was talking about.
"I'm Jessie, Jessie James, pleased to meet you." I answered, reading his mind. He didn't comment on the name. The "old man" looked glad for the company.
"Glad to meet you, Jessie." I've lived in Thailand twenty two years. I have often thought of moving back to the states, but I never will. I will spend my last days in Thailand. I guess you could say I'm a battle hardened old veteran of the game." I thought of him as the "old man" in the military sense of using the term to describe a respected commanding officer.
"Game? What game?" I said, now intrigued.
He looked at me with the patience of a wise and seasoned teacher. The use of the word son drew me to him. For some reason, I trusted him immediately. "You will experience some of the most selfless acts of kindness and generosity imaginable as well as considerable lies, deceit, and manipulation for the purpose of separating you from your cash. It's the way it is, their way of life. You are about to enter a world of fantasy, son. For them, it's about survival. Pensions and social security are not the rule there.
For most Thais, there is no safety net. The object of the game is to survive their world with your wallet, integrity and pride intact while having as much fun as possible. Many a man has checked his brain at the airport and lived to regret it."
He shared with me much of what he had learned. I felt like I should be taking notes. I paid real close attention to his words. I suddenly started to feel overwhelmed and anxious.
"You've got to understand that the rules will be different when you leave this plane."
"What are the rules?"
"Well, to start with, you have never seen so many available beautiful young women. Smile and they will treat you better than you could ever imagine. Many will try to train you, then exploit you. It can be difficult to sort out what is real. Believe half of what you see and nothing of what you hear. For example, the lady boys are some of the most beautiful women you will see. The Thais call them katoeys."
"Lady boys? Is that like gay?" I asked, innocently.
"More than gay, they are pre-op and post-op transsexuals. Some of them are truly amazing. It's all an illusion. Much of what you think you see will be an illusion. That's just the beginning. The famous Thai smile is both a sword and a shield. It doesn't mean the same thing as a smile back home. If they smile, you smile. It's also your sword and shield. You will learn as you go along. Just remember, don't surrender your power and make your self happy. It's time in your life to think about your needs. Compromise is ok, but don't sacrifice too much. Stay in control, stay strong. Set limits and see with your eyes and brain, not your dick. If something doesn't feel correct, it probably isn't. Thai women have no respect for a wimp, so don't allow that to happen."
"Why would I do that?"
"In Thailand, it's easier than you would think. A guy like you is a ripe target. You want companionship and sex. They want money. You are not the predator in the land of smiles, you're the prey. They will strip your wallet and heart to the bone and laugh at you for being stupid enough to let them."
I struggled to absorb all of what he said.
"One more thing ... Feel free to fall in love. That is with a different lady every day. We ex pats call them LBFMs."
"Little brown fuck machines," Frank answered, smiling as his mind flashed back to another place and time ... Most of the ladies of the night are not wife material, they are whores. Some idiots call them sex workers. If she sells sex for a living, she's a whore. If she's been in the game longer than a month or two forget about it. She's damaged goods. Don't forget that. Treat them with respect, pay them in the morning and send them on their way. Their jealousy and possessiveness are based on ownership of clients, not love. It looks like affection or love, but that's not what it is. Play with them, as they are most certainly are playing with you, and don't put up with any shit. If she starts to throw things or get violent, put her ass out. That's how you play the game, son."
"Is that all I have to look forward to?"
"Don't get me wrong. If you find a so called, "good girl," you might find a woman that would make an excellent life companion. Look for them in areas away from where farang usually go. However, Their family and friends will usually have higher priority than you. If you are real lucky, you might find one that thinks more like a girl back home. Ironically, it's their exotic nature that's so appealing. At the same time, it's like dealing with creatures from another planet. Beware my friend. Many good girls have adopted the tactics of their more unscrupulous sisters. Learn some Thai. If you don't let them know that you understand their conversations, you'll learn a lot."
"It means foreigner. Often it is used negatively by Thais. You will never be totally accepted by Thai society. You and I will always be foreigners. Yours odds improve if she is educated and older than thirty. The young girls are just too full of themselves. Most of them don't realize they have a short self life. Just don't look for your dream girl in a go-go bar. Think of them as attractions in an adult Disney land, a nice place to visit, but you don't want to live there. The working girls are fun, accept them for what they are. Love em and leave em. One more thing, remember the farang always pays. They know you are richer than them, therefore, they feel no guilt about you picking up the tab. Good luck, son. You're going to need it. Everyday will be an adventure, expect the unexpected. Don't expect the law to offer any protection. The biggest mafia in the country are the police."
"Thanks, I'll remember what you said. At least my eyes will be open when the plane lands. I owe you ... I hope that our paths cross again."
"I'm sure we'll talk again," he replied.
"Your advice is greatly appreciated. I don't know if I'm ready for this."
He gave me his phone number. I knew I would be calling him, sooner or later. The plane landed and we set off to follow our individual destinies.
As soon as I left the airport, the Bangkok air enveloped me. It was hot and humid. I started sweating immediately. The air smelled of unknown plant life, auto exhaust, Thai spices and elements I could not identify. It would take me a while before I adjusted to my new home.
I bought a condo and settled into my new life. The next several months were a haze of bars and women. Each promised to love me long time as long as I bought them drinks, paid the bar fine (the fee to take a girl out of the bar) and paid them about 2000 baht (50-60 dollars) the next morning. I never forgot that it was all about the money. All of them very happy to see my money. They truly loved my wallet.
As soon as I would enter my favorite bar, I would be surrounded by three or four near naked women. I was aware that what I truly wanted, I couldn't buy. A very pretty girl told me that she missed every day and she happy for my return. That was strange, I had never seen her before.
I met many ex pats who had been playing the game for years. They were dedicated sex mongers, commonly called punters. To each his own I guess. None that I met seemed really happy. They drank a lot and complained about the Thai way of doing things constantly. After a while, it looked like I had traded one kind of hell for another. They seemed to be lonely even with two beautiful girls sitting on their lap. To me, life had to have some meaning greater than mindless hedonistic self gratification. Sex without love or real intimacy gets old real quick.
Every place I went in Soi Cowboy, Nana Plaza and Pat Pong, I was greeted with, "hi handsome man. What your name? You want buy me drink and pay bar fine me? Oh, you so big. Where you stay? Let's go your hotel. I love you too much." They were all different, yet the same. I couldn't believe my eyes when I entered my first go-go bar. It was Suzie Wongs, I think, in Soi Cowboy. There were at least forty topless dancers flirting with big bellied customers from all over the world. Some of them danced, while others shuffled their feet. Many of the men were obnoxious and drunk and the women were young and sexy.
The music was loud and smoke hung heavy in the air. It struck me as a strip club on steroids. Every female in sight was on sale. The dancers wore numbers. All a man had to do was tell the mamasan what number he wanted and the dancer would come to his table to talk business. Most wanted a quick short time trip to a nearby hotel so they could get back and try it again. The entire place, and the others like it, was a commercial sex machine. If a guy was looking to get laid, he was in the right place.
I soon found out that the bar fine was usually around fifteen dollars (500-600 baht). Following Frank's advice, I fell "in love" everyday with Tip, Noi, Porn, Da and a number of others whose names I can't remember. They were not like professional sex workers in the states. Most tried to provide a girlfriend experience for a price.
Often money would not be mentioned until the next morning. How much I gave a lady was up to me. The usual rate for a long time visit( one night) was about 2000 baht (50-60) dollars. At least, I got the pleasure of a beautiful, cooperative woman for a couple of hours or a night. I wondered how long I could live on a steady diet of make believe bullshit.
How many guys have spent big bucks at home trying to impress some self absorbed spoiled female with his ability to provide and ended up with a peck on the cheek. At least, the hookers I kept company with were honest about their intent. I found them charming, feminine, calculating and predatory.
Never the less, I drank too much, stayed up too late and had too much loveless, meaningless sex. I felt lonely and empty without a woman to call my own. At least, I didn't waste any time thinking about the world I left behind.
I woke up one morning with two women in my bed and I had no idea who they were or how they got there. I realized that I needed more than an endless series of one night stands. My behavior was out of character. I felt like a dog chasing my own tail. I was sexually drained, yet frustrated. It was the price for becoming a "Bangkok warrior" as Frank had put it. Then, my world changed. Toy came into my life. She was able to read the quiet desperation in my eyes. That ability to sense my need was to cost me dearly later.
Toy was a walking Asian sex machine. I first saw her on the sky train. She was dressed in a business suit which was both very sexy and classy at the same time. She was tall for a Thai and her skin was lighter due to her Chinese heritage. She was about 5' 9" in heels. Her short skirt emphasized her long legs. She moved with the grace of a leopard and her face took my breath away. I couldn't help but smile like a smitten adolescent as my eyes locked on to her. I wanted to run my fingers through her raven black hair which flowed down her back. I was in love.
She noticed my gaze and returned my smile. She looked to be an office worker of some kind. She had a class about her that separated her from the Isaan peasant girls I had been sleeping with. I found out later that she an office temp. At least, that's what she said.
I quickly introduced myself and was relieved that her English was pretty good. I asked if she could meet me somewhere for coffee, dinner, a walk in the park, anything. She said she could meet me at Starbucks on Sukhumvit rd. at 6:00 pm. We met and my life began took a new turn. Time passed quickly. She was easy to get along with and curious about many things. I told her about my life back in the states and how I hoped to meet someone in Thailand to settle down with. Her eyes seemed to light up when I told her that. I wanted to believe the light in her eyes was showing genuine interest in me and not dollar signs.
"I like farang men. Thai man no good. He butterfly too much, cannot trust," she said, searching my face for a reaction. I need man who want to take care of me and I take good care of him. I twenty eight now, getting old."
I thought to myself here we go, the same old bullshit. Old? This woman is a vision, a work of art, I thought to myself. In the states, she would stop traffic and cause old men to have heart attacks. She had no idea of how pretty she actually was. Where I came from, men would pay just to talk with her. In Thailand, she was one of many.
She didn't look like she was old to me. Toy was at that age when women begin to blossom to full womanhood. Her easy going feminine ways felt like quicksand to me, as I was pulled in deeper and deeper.
She told me she had to work seven days a week some times and made only 10,000 baht a month (about $260.00). From that, she had to pay for rent, food, car fare and send money to her family in the province.
She was raised near the northern city of Chiang Rai. I didn't detect any self pity, just acceptance of her fate.
As she spoke, I couldn't help but feel the need to help her, to give her my protection. I hadn't felt like that in many years. She wasn't a bar girl. I felt safe with her. I decided to try to be prince charming. I know, big mistake ... I choked back the nagging warnings that Frank had planted in my head, yet they were always there. I proceeded to explore the possibilities with caution.
"Do you have a boy friend?"
"No, no boy friend. I was married before. He no good, drink too much and spend money at casino. He have minor wife. She call house sometime, cause big trouble. Then, he beat me and tell me he leaving. I not see him again and cry a lot."
I wanted to kick his ass for hurting her. She somehow brought out my protective instincts. I knew what Frank would say if I told him that was falling so hard for Toy so soon. He would say, "watch your ass, son."
She seemed different from the sharks I had been warned about and had associated with in the bars. I wanted to believe she really was different. I decided to proceed with caution.
"I think you kind and good man. I can read you. You need lady care for you. Many Thais ladies like you very much."
"I don't care about many Thais ladies. I want you to like me."
"I think you are beautiful and a nice person too."
"I not so special. Many Thais ladies like me. Maybe, you no like me much when you know me better."
I wondered if she was trying to tell me something. I didn't want to think about that.
How did you learn English so well?"
"I go to English school and pick up here and there. You think I talk good?"
"Better than most ... I was just curious." I knew that frequent contact with farangs was how bar girls learned basic English.
The first time we made love, I fell in love. Her body was firm and soft at the same time. Her skin, like fine Asian silk, was addictive. We started make slow passionate love. That didn't last long. Soon, we were devouring each other. All of my pain, frustration, and loneliness came pouring out. I never wanted to let her go. Melting into one another, passion and lust overwhelmed me. I couldn't get enough of her. We made loved until exhaustion over took me. The next morning I woke up to her climbing onto my manhood. It was pure sex ... just wild sensuality and pleasure. I loved it. She had multiple orgasms and collapsed into my arms. Then, she gave me a massage that made me horny again. It scared me to feel that happy and young again. Despite my resolution to control myself, I was becoming more vulnerable by the minute.
Weeks and months passed. Toy was all I ever wanted or needed in a woman. It didn't take long before I wanted her to move in with me. When I mentioned it, she said, "maybe soon" and changed the subject.
Having all of the advantages and none of the disadvantages of a live in girl friend worked for me. There was no rush. I let it drop. Things were fine the way we were. I felt like a king.
She was with me almost every evening. She washed my clothes, cooked for me, cleaned my condo and gave me mind blowing sex as often as could handle it. She never asked for money and her favorite expression was "up to you." We went to many places together. Toy was always close by, discreetly touching me in some way. I couldn't believe I was in a relationship that did not require constant compromise or argument. She never once flirted with another man. I enjoyed their envious looks when we were out together. When ever I took her some place or bought her a present, she always showed appreciation for my thoughtfulness. I couldn't believe my luck. We took care of each other.