Several years ago when I was still a newbie to Thailand I happened to find myself in one of the bars on Soi Cowboy. I was sitting at the bar not really watching the show and struck up a conversation with an American. He seemed to be a regular in the place and the bartender, Wan, spent most of the evening chatting with the two of us.
Wan was not model-like pretty but she had a certain cuteness to her that would melt even the hardest guy. Whether it was the twinkle in her eye or her captivating smile, there was something special about her.
I made it part of my routine on that trip to go by and spend a few hours at Wan’s bar. We would chat and it seemed as if we were really getting on together. She was quite adamant that she did not go with customers from the bar. She said she wasn’t that type of girl. Some of the other farang regulars at the bar confirmed that in all the time they’d been coming to the bar they had never seen her bar fined.
So I was a little surprised when she asked if I would like to go out with her and her friends on her night off. She also invited the American so he could chaperone the evening in case I was a jerk.
We ended up going to Nana where she had a friend who was in one of the shows. We watched her friend dance and had a few drinks. It was a strange evening to say the least. This girl you like takes you to watch her friend get naked. Not exactly something that happens back home much.
When my holiday finally came to an end she gave me a teary going away. She explained that she felt so torn because she liked me but she didn’t want to go with me because I would think she was like the other girls.
On my next trip we picked back up where we left off. I would come in and have a few drinks and we would have a good time chatting. From time to time we would go out together on her nights off but holding hands and goodnight kisses was about as far as she would allow things to get. She was slowly warming up to me but she still saw me as a customer and so somehow I had to get over that barrier.
This went on each trip over the course of about three years. It always felt that right around the time she was starting to get over the customer issue my trip would be over and we would have to pick up all over again on my next trip.
I’m not sure if I fucked up or if the game had played it’s course but I arrived in Bangkok and she was off that night. One of her friends greeted me and called Wan to let her know that I was in town. We chatted for a bit and she said she would see me the next night when she came to work.
Well, I was in the mood for blowing off some steam so I got good and pissed up. I woke up the next morning with two girls in my bed. We had had one hell of an evening.
Mind you, Wan always told me it was okay if I went with a girl. She said she understood I was there on holiday and that her and I weren’t sexual with each other so she said it was okay if I wanted to go with one of the girls who worked at the bar. She even went as far as to recommend specific girls.
Of course, I’m not that stupid. I never pulled a girl from her bar the entire time we knew each other. I’m not saying that I didn’t pull girls out of other go-gos or that walking home after another night of blue balls with Wan that I didn’t pick up a freelancer but I had never taken a girl from her bar.
Wan was very cool when she came into work the next night. She came up behind me and put her arms around me to give me a hug from behind and she said she heard that I had a good time last night. Not knowing how much she knew I replied that yes, I had got a little drunk.
She said, “Yes, I know. My friend called me when she was leaving your hotel this morning.”
She never said another word about it and we continued our little game of me chasing her. But by now I was starting to get a little frustrated and so one night I pulled her aside and asked for her to tell me what her intentions were. I asked if this was going anywhere or was I simply wasting my time with her.
She told me she was sorry but that she really didn’t want a serious relationship with me. I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t hurt but I respected her decision and avoided her bar for the remainder of the trip.
When I returned a few months later I stopped by her bar and asked about her. They told me she doesn’t work there anymore. One of her friends came over and said, “So now you know the truth about Wan. She used you for buying her drinks and taking her out.”
I had known this girl about as long as I had known Wan. In fact, she was one of the two girls I had taken back to my hotel on the previous trip.
Basically, if her story is to be believed, Wan did like me but I had never offered her money. She was looking to find a guy who would take care of her financially and somehow she had judged that I couldn’t afford her (very, very wrong – I make very good money). Wan had finally landed a guy who was willing to get her 60,000 baht a month. Supposedly Wan has bragged to all of her friends that she hasn’t even slept with the guy. He lives in Europe and sends her money while she lives in an apartment he owns in Bangkok.
She also told me that after the night that I had taken her and the other girl back to my hotel that Wan had scolded the girls and told them that I was her customer and that they should all stay away from me.
After the bar being my regular place for so long it was a hard habit to break so I kept coming in. I know most of the bar staff (not the dancers since they seem to change month to month) so it’s a nice place to unwind. And without Wan working there anymore I didn’t have to dredge up old memories.
Well, that was until Wan came in to show off to her friends one night. This was a girl who had always lived pretty simply and never made any major effort on her looks. She wore baggy jeans and oversized t-shirts. But now she had an expensive hairstyle, expensive dress, shoes, and she was dripping in gold. She had obviously come in to flaunt her wealth in front of all of her former co-workers.
Wan saw me at the bar and we made eye contact but she couldn’t even summon up a courtesy smile. She turned away and left a few minutes later.
When her friend came back over she said “See, Wan is totally different person now. I do not know this Wan.”
I shook my head and told her “You know what really breaks my heart is that the one thing she had going for her was that she wasn’t like the rest of the girls who work here. She wasn’t willing to have sex with someone no matter how badly she needed the money. But now, from what I saw tonight, she’s the same as every other bar girl. The only difference is she was waiting for the one really stupid guy.”