Tales From a Barfly
Long before I decided to go into the bar business, I had been seriously considering reverting to the short story format for my next literary efforts, and the subjects of these stories were going to be tales emanating from the countless years I spent propping up the bars of the world.
Some of them would be about my own experiences, but most would be about the lives and adventures of the countless people I had come across over the years.
In the meantime, even after a single week, I have seen a few snippets of ‘bar life’ that I would like to share with you, and time permitting I will continue this section on a regular basis.
Later some of these snippets may be developed into full blow short stories.
At the present time I have two girls who will ‘go out’ – i.e. if a customer wishes to take them home, then they will go with them, provided always that they want to. There is never any compulsion for any girl to go with any customer who they have no desire to go home with – it is their choice. I pay them a half-way decent salary (more than most bars), and they get their daily share of tips and their cut from drinks bought for them by customers.
All this adds up to a ‘take home’ pay that exceeds that earned by 7/11 shop assistants or factory workers and a lot more than they can earn on a building site.
In addition to this they have free accommodation and we buy food daily from which they can cook themselves meals in the kitchen. Effectively, the girls have full room and board, plus a half way decent salary and the choice is absolutely theirs as to whether or not they go out with their customers.
I received a nasty comment from someone last week who accused me of ‘pimping’. Well strictly speaking I guess he is correct, although I personally play no part in the transactions.
To put it in perspective, there are thousands upon thousands of bars across the length and breadth of Thailand who provide similar services – many of them in the ‘Thai on Thai’ sector, where most of the girls have no choice who they sleep with, as opposed to the freedom and the friendly, happy atmosphere that we offer to our girls.
Whether you agree with it or not – it is the way things are done here, and nothing is going to change any time soon. If I want to run a successful bar, I have to fall in line.
One of the new girls – in fact it was on the evening of her very first day of work – was being courted by a customer who had bought her a couple of drinks.
Then suddenly, Noo was summoned to the table where it transpired that the customer in question – a large Australian gentleman in his fifties – wanted to know how much he had to pay to take the girl away forever!
He wanted her to go and live with him as his permanent partner -= despite the fact that there was a 40 year age gap, she didn’t speak a word of English, (and he no Thai), and he had only known her for ten minutes!
Upon being made aware of what was going on, I insisted in no uncertain terms that there is no way Mobi’s is going to take any money from anyone to let one of the staff leave our employment and go and live with a customer.
OK, technically I may be a pimp, but taking a ‘Bar Fine’ for a girl to go out with a customer for one night is one thing – after all if she leaves work early I have to find cover for her – but selling her to a farang as his ‘live-in’ lover is quite another. I am well aware that many bars do adopt this practice, but for me it is out-and-out human trafficking and I want no part of it.
If I am a pimp then so be it; but I am a pimp with principals.
Noo and her aunt explained to the customer and the girl that it would be rather foolish to try and shack up with somebody he had only met a few minutes ago and wouldn’t it be better if he got to know her a little bit before making such a major life -changing decision for both of them.
The girl, (who is very cute young thing), saw the sense in all this and it soon became apparent that she had no intention of accepting the offer. But the guy wouldn’t give up and offered to send 5,000 Baht a month to her parents by way of recompense for taking her out of the job market.
No mention was made of how much he would pay her – quite possibly nothing but her room and board.
5,000 Baht is £100 or $160. It was frankly ridiculous, but the guy wouldn’t give up.
He returned the following evening, bought her more drinks and tried to get her to change her mind, but to no avail. She wouldn’t even agree to go home with him for the night, and this despite, (or maybe because of), the fact that she had gone out for a ‘short time’ with a young farang on a motor bike, that very afternoon.
And so on, to a third and a fourth evenin,g at which point he still insisted in talking to her but wouldn’t even buy her a drink. A cheap Charlie in my book.
Finally, yesterday, he didn’t return. I guess he got the message and was off to another bar to find another 19 year old who may be more susceptible to his offer of paying mummy $160 a month to buy her daughter.
While this was all going on, the other girl – who has ‘been around’ a bit – was sitting at the bar drinking with another elderly customer. I went behind the bar to get something, when blow me down, I didn’t I hear the very same conversation that had been going on at the other table for the past few nights.
The guy was trying to persuade my second girl to give up her bar job for good and go and live with him.
‘But you only know me ten minute,’ the girl said, in perfect bar girl English.
‘You not know me, I not know you. You wan me stay with you, you mus come here every day and we have to know each other velly well. Me working girl, me have mudder and fudder to support. Every week I have to send money my family. I need spend muck muck money. I work velly hard. You wanna take care me you must tell me how much you can pay me every month. But first time, you mus know me velly well…’
There was much more, but I think you can get the gist.
The guy eventually saw the light and left.
In their own ways, both girls – one a newbie and one much more experienced – were a lot smarter than the horny pensioners from a far off land who dreamed of ‘owning’ them.
But as I wrote in the Thai visa forum the other day:-
“Let he who is without temptation – me included – cast the first stone….”