It’s been noted by many that the Girl Friend Experience (GFE) in Thailand is dying, and that however good it was in the past, well, the past is the past and it probably won’t come around again. All the explanations I’ve seen for this decline of the GFE revolve in some way around the idea that the bargirls have changed, become more professional, more focused on return for effort, doing what they can to score two or three tricks a night rather than a single long-term effort that may not pay as much and is more demanding emotionally if not physically. Nothing has been noted about mongers: their preferences, their state of mind, where they are coming from. The role that they might or do play in the vanishing GFE has been ignored or simply thought to be irrelevant.
I doubt anyone is going to take issue with the claim that most mongers—not the young ones who have come in increasing frequency—have gone through between one and three marriages or serious relationships. These men have invariably been broken financially and emotionally, most obviously in lacking for many years a satisfying sexual relationship, or often none at all. And less often said but implied, suffering a relationship in which warmth and outward affection and even sleeping together were long absent. Many of the men, one can bet, have spent their last years with a western wife in a separate bed, if not a separate bedroom.
On finding themselves in Southeast Asia, these men, and many men years younger, have wanted most of all sex. Pretty straight forward demands: f**king, or a blowjob, or both. Nothing fancy. But for some, to be sure, there has been the need for more. The long cuddles, the frequent embraces, the kissing, the slow build up to making love, doing something other than just straightforward f**king without frills. This, of course, is the GFE that so many have found and still find so desirable, so utterly alien among prostitutes in the West, unless you’re talking expensive call girls.
What’s significant, I have discovered in the ten years I have been going to Southeast Asia for three months or so at one stretch, is the large number of men who have little or no interest in a GFE. So this means short-time, more often than not; and more often than not there are few preliminaries. There’s no felt need for hours of lying wrapped in another person’s warmth, or touching and bumping into each other throughout the night as young and in love married couples do all the time. The aim is little more than to satisfy the raw need that has been long absent: no need to bother with elaborate foreplay. Just do the deed then pay the girl for her services and get rid of her, because you want to sleep alone, just as you have done for years, a decade, perhaps longer. That need, that part of the psyche that’s about something that might be called deeper feelings or emotions to be physically shared is long dead, because long ago the relationship went south in a hundred ugly ways and with no hope of returning to what it once was. Habit has its way. New patterns, initially unwelcome, can become as repetitive and normal and expected as eating and sleeping.
And then there is the blowjob: self-centered, detached, the girl as often as not little more than a means to an end, albeit more welcome than the familiar hand. Well, not always more welcome since so few women really know what to do with their mouth and tongue when it comes to satisfying a man. Whatever, two observations are relevant here. One is the extent to which older men find the blowjob more welcome than even younger men, if only because it requires less work and is the easiest route to getting a satisfying climax, and it’s so much easier to get a hard-on unless one is using Viagra or it’s rough equivalent. The second point is that a blowjob often defines the short-time barfine, whereas it is more an add-on or simply seen as a part of the long-time barfine; there is often less concern when it’s not there, or there initially, in a long-term session. And as all men know, once there is a climax, reinforced by a long history of physically living apart then why not part: send the girl on her way. The blowjob then is a historical reinforcer; it does nothing to push back time, undue the apartness that has so long ruled one’s life.
So what one might conclude from what I have just sketched is that there has long been a considerable need among the expats and sexpats for going short-time with the young and very attractive bargirls of Southeast Asia, and that need has been defined short-time in spite of just how much one could be reminded—if he wanted to be reminded--of his youth, of the joy and pleasure of being with someone for long continuous hours, and with someone even physically more attractive than the wife ever was. This, then—going short time, if I am right, has been a major motor or force in not only telling bargirls what most men want but in making the women focus their thoughts on something other than the GFE, or going long-time.
Has this demand for short-time, brought about in good part by historical baggage of an unwelcome kind, been more important than bargirls strategically and for personal reasons seeing the value of telling men they only want to go short-time? It’s hard to know, perhaps impossible to know. What seems most likely is that the girls on their own have not accounted for the decline of the GFE—my main point here. Were there only or largely demand for the GFE, those bargirls who would insist on going short-time would have little or no business. The marketplace would force them to readjust or suffer economically.
Over the last ten years I have talked to a great many bargirls in Thailand and the Philippines (obviously easier in the Philippines) and I’ve not been bashful about asking them questions about what their customers have wanted. Again and again I have been struck by how many have told me that men come to the room with little sense of romance or courting on their minds. They’re not interested in warming up the girl up for fifteen minutes or longer—what most women need for genuinely satisfying sex, and they’re not interested in exploring her whole body with their tongue and hands. Nor are they interested—there are exceptions, to be sure--in finding out what really satisfies the girl. They’re not paying to make her happy, so why bother? They’re paying to be satisfied and be damned the girls’ needs. I have talked to girls who have been with fifty or even a hundred different men and have mentioned techniques that men can use, things they can do to excite and satisfy women, and I have been told that these techniques and such have never been experienced. And as for wanting to spend the whole night wrapped together with the girl—it’s a rare request, or it just doesn’t happen.
But then this is not really a surprise, I suppose, when one looks at the life histories of so many men in Southeast Asia—as I’ve already suggested. Again: one who has lived years with a wife in a sexual and emotional wasteland is bound to come to see the wasteland as the normal condition: little or no sex, little or no touching or cuddling or kissing, very much a life apart where two people and perhaps some children tolerate and more or less accommodate each other. Long in place are unspoken and unwritten agreements to grin and bear, until that day that one person has had enough and then it’s all about divorce and who gets what.
Not to be underplayed is the role of bargirl gossip, word of mouth about what works and what doesn’t, how to get the most out of being on the game. At some point, as in most systems, you’re dealing with a tipping point phenomenon. No matter how much there are men about that want and ask for the GFE, at some point the game is going to work against them. If there are a sufficient number of men over a long enough period of time that only want the short-time experience, bargirls are going to pick up on what most want and they’re going to begin to work through the trade-offs of going short-time and long-time. And then the landscape is going to slowly be redefined: the GFE is going to be harder to get. One might say that the “system” has gotten smarter, more accurately it’s players have gotten more sensitive to the overall nature of the market, what pays the best dividends.
Angeles City today is, in practice, turning into a landscape of more and more short-time barfines. It’s different than Thailand, it would seem, principally in the fact that the bargirls in Angeles aren’t nearly as out front about what they want—short-time or long-time. Rather, they will commit to long-term, easily agreeing to a specific leaving time. But then they will often run within an hour or so after having sex, the excuses, the “problems”, as varied as one might imagine, even running to fantastical claims about their money being stolen in the house where they stay and just at about that time when the customer was off to the bathroom to shower or wash up after having sex with the girl. It would seem that while the Thai bargirls are increasingly out front about how long they’ll stay, and either you accept their terms or find someone else, the Filipinas of Angeles are presently more comfortable with the double lie: how long they will stay, followed later by the bogus reason why they must leave early. In this sense, the Thai hookers are being more honest. Oddly enough, they are going against the cultural grain they know so well—lie at every opportunity, if only because it gives one options that disappear with truth telling.
One can perhaps appreciate the role of a tipping point and commonly shared gossip by looking at what seems to be a different model operating in Barrio Barretto (near Subic Bay and a little over an hour from Angeles City), where there is something on the order of twenty girlie bars. Here the bargirls are more relaxed than in Angeles, and there seems to be a greater likelihood that a commitment to stay long-time is a promise that will be kept. It may be the case that in Barrio Barretto —no systematic data here—that it’s simply easier to get both the long-term deal and with it the GFE. The reasons may lie in the small scale nature of prostitution in Barrio Barretto compared to Angeles City, and in the lesser demand for girls in general. What, one might wonder, will happen when a dozen or so influential bargirls voices are heard in Barrio Barreto, voices that extol and make the case for the virtue of either saying they will only go short-time and then run as they do so often in Angeles City? For there’s no reason to believe that the men who frequent the go-go bars in Barrio Barreto have not had histories with western women that are as scorched and barren as those found among the men who frequent or live in Pattaya and Phuket and Bangkok and Angeles City; and it is this factor—the parched past of the expat and the sexpat, I am arguing, that is as responsible for the demise of the GFE as anything that the bargirls individually or collectively have decided to do.
The author can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org