Blanketing opinions that I'll probably regret soon.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Thailand's "Bar Girls" aren't, in reality, whoring full time.

In a private room at a Bangkok karaoke bar, the mama-san offered us two prices for drinks: 280 baht with drinks or 1,100 with drinks and girls.

I'll be honest, I swallowed a dry lump in my throat. I'm a married man and wasn't prepared to hire prostitutes. But my business associates are stand-up guys so I went with the flow, confidant that I wasn't getting into some orgy a la

The decision was made to have drinks and girls so when the mama-san returned, in walked TEN (I counted) scantily clad ladies and their forced smiles. Our group, despite including some locals and expats, sat there nervously. I suppose no matter how many times you've done it, trying to choose between a herd of 10 humans like cattle is demeaning.

Someone in our group asked if any of the girls spoke English. Three or four raised their hands, sheepishly giggling.

I can't underscore enough how unnatural this moment was. There was no chit chat or music playing in the background. All the while, ten women were trying to maintain perfect smiles, flirty eyes and twisty hips to gain employment for the evening, while we avoided eye contact, trying to play cool.

And god dammit, the guys chose me to make the first choice in females. After pointing to the oldest-looking one, the selection process began. We'd each make our choice and the women then remained by our sides for the evening, giggling at our dumb jokes and feeling our under-worked biceps.

As hired companions, they were a decent bunch. We sorted through the Worst Karaoke Song List in History and half-assedly passed the mic. They liked my version of CCR's Who'll Stop the Rain and made sure my glass of Johnnie Walker Black was never empty. Then at 1AM, we bid goodbye.

Prior to this, I thought the extra-friendly women in southeast Asia's bars were there to pick you up, let you stick your dick in them, then take your dough. But from this experience, that's not the bulk of their business. All they have to do most of the time is hang out and drink with douchebags like me. Makes me feel better about the world.

(Photo above: pogobee)

On a side note, here's a sign that was on the wall above the bed in a Yangon (Myanmar) hotel called the Haven Inn:

Sounds like a bizarre scene. If they chose you to make the first choice in females, I don't even want to imagine what the other guys looked like.
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