January 29, 2012 § Leave a comment
Dao was a pure pleasure: a girl from the coffee plantations, she had just arrived that day. She had a lovely smile, she was polite and deferential; it was a cold night and she became very cold on the bike, so when we got home I made her a hot bath, a hot chocolate and warm pajamas to warm up: she was surprised and pleased and embarrassed by the attention. The way she kissed me afterwards — self-consciously but generously — made it clear that she liked and trusted me — indeed, that I appeared to her a kind of mirage: a fairly youthful, good looking, well paying, gentle and kind customer on her first night of work. Her city career would work out well.
The sex was lousy as always, though she did try hard to oblige and there was a brief spark of fire. In the morning I drove her home and she was lost, unable to find her room, a little worried (what if I cannot find my way) and again embarrassed — me sun-burnt country bumpkin coffee picker, what I am doing in the big city. We found the place at last; she pointed out her room in that natural gesture she would use with any new acquaintance. She thanked me politely and — putting her palms together and bowing, offered a pretty, low wai.
She was a gem: an unspoiled girl observing faithfully the feudal principles of respectful subservience to one’s employer. I didn’t offer to trade numbers or to meet again: things could only go down from there. Dao would learn to be city-like — vulgar and insensitive before she learned better sex. Or worse: she might fall in love. These are, after all, girls: they sleep around no more than European college girls do. Like them they are just beginning to learn sex and like them they sometimes fall victim to the emotions it provokes.
January 28, 2012 § Leave a comment
I was beginning to give thought in my mind of how much I should give Fon at parting; and whether she would make any trouble about it; when she suggested that I take her to her favorite bar. At first I was reluctant to go, knowing that Kung would probably be there and things could get out of hand. But having given the matter a little thought I realized that that might not be a bad thing at all, as it could solve my problem (if Fon chose to walk off in anger), and might be enjoyable into the bargain.
It was: I bought both girls their drinks and played pool with Kung while Fon huddled with her bar girl friends who told her in conspiratorial whispers how I two-timed her, all the while waving to me and from time to time engaging me in a spot of hi-byes (you can’t call what they can say in English, or I in Thai, conversation), or bringing me a snack from their table. (“The two faced Yellow Race!”, no doubt, my club-handed friend Wilhelm would have here exclaimed had he lived to hear this story).
Kung was somewhat flummoxed at first but got over it quickly; and gave me a fun game of pool, no doubt thinking I might yet hire her again in a few days; and Fon kept cool until we got home; when we did, she grabbed her things and left. I stopped her long enough to exchange a few words: I explained to her how I hired Kung when I thought Fon was never coming back. But she kept saying something that suggested she had got her dates wrong; or perhaps her friends had given her wrong dates. I realized then, again, that the anger was about her friends — the fact that her friends disapproved; and also that her friends’ reports were probably given with more than a little joy: Fon was so proud to show me; they were happy to prick her pride. They might have exaggerated things, or lied, but, at any rate, they clearly stoked up her moral outrage beyond what can be reasonable in bar girl. And Fon was not smart enough to see this. Fon lives to please her friends: it is not a prescription for happiness.
January 27, 2012 § Leave a comment
There are many reasons to leave this city: air pollution, horrible traffic, noise (there are no rules about intensity or allowed times for karaoke and Thais have discovered they like it late and loud), fast rising prices, slipping food standards, changing climate, the fact that it has finally made it onto the list of the ten best places in the world to retire to; but for me, the biggest reason to leave Chiang Mai after living here ten years are The Citizens — the normals, the ordinary, usually elderly, white couples — who come here to settle (and die).
For years, one had avoided the expatriate community because it was a little unsavory, a little… perverse: a mixture of missionaries, adventurers, and misfits; the usual stories were of run ins with the law, drunk driving, fights, smuggling, quarreling priests and firebombed churches. Now the dominant element is the lumbering, slow speaking, dull, careful, predictable — and clueless — suburbanite; one flees from them for the opposite reason: nothing remotely kinky ever will come from this crowd.
Thus, in addition to all the symptoms typical of the worst days of an Asian city’s teenage sickness, another threat hangs over Chiang Mai today: that of becoming Ridgefield Park upon The Ping. The place the old hands had run from in horror, trading it with relief for a bamboo shack, an easy woman, three cases of beer and, on occasion, a tiger, has come after us. It has pursued us long and hard; having arrived, it has laid siege to us with big box retailers, a four lane divided highway, and franchise restaurants.
But now it is ready to move on to the next stage: to bind us hand and foot with visa regulations, drivers licenses, proofs of address, fiscal numbers, and medication no longer issued without legal prescription. The habitat of The Citizens.
The horror, the horror.
January 21, 2012 § 1 Comment
Kung, on the other hand, is a nice girl of the old school — trends take time to propagate and the Confused Modern Girl Syndrome (“not sure what I want or why”) has not yet reached Sukhothai whence she came only a month ago to work. The deal is clear and she observes it professionally: she serves her clients and for this she is paid the sum agreed. She treats her customers with the traditional feudal respect and deference, and does not try to gouge more money, or more emotional commitment, than was agreed at the outset.
Work has not been a smashing success: foreigners prefer girls who speak English; so Kung spends her days with phrase books and dictionaries and watching English TV; but it is precisely her poor English that has led me to hire her: girls who speak no English are new-c0mers and have not had time to grow rude and smart-allecky, which is a very fast change, and unsurprising given from whom they learn. But newcomers are still nice Thai girls in the traditional mold: polite and gentle and neat. Pleasant company. Good huggers.
Like most young girls today, Kung has not been trained by her mother to serve. It does not occur to her to pick up the garbage, or hang out the towels, or sweep the floor. She does not realize that her job is really to provide comfort, not just sex. I should not wonder if this is why her husband has left her. Which to my mind, at least, is a strong reason to pick older women.
The sex is like all Thai sex: it is foreplay-less, and remarkably unsensual. Once penetration has been achieved, the girls do warm up to the act and do appear to enjoy themselves, even come. But they don’t enjoy kissing, and don’t know how to, and if you try to kiss their necks, or the inside of their elbows, or stroke the backs of their thighs, they squeak jakachee (“you tickle me!”). Lacking the emotional heightening of foreplay, I find the whole thing dull and often lose interest in the middle of the act. I can see why so many Thai women say sex is overrated and name eating as their favorite indulgence.
It is the same with woman after woman after woman, whether professional or amateur or virtuous. The attraction of Thailand to single men cannot be the quality of the thing; just its availability.