Category Archives: Thailand

Selected glimpses of Thailand: the good, the bad and the lovely.

The Newbie – Part Two

When we left our malibog duo in Part One last month, “Big Red” was prepping for his hot date later that night with his new best friend (his traditional massage girl from that afternoon). She was to get off work at midnight and meet him at the hotel shortly thereafter, but Big Red was sporting wood from seven o’clock onward. Hey, why wait until the last minute?

But more on that later, as your wholesome narrator also had places to go and people to do. So off I went into the night … to Soi Bangla, the main drag in Patong Beach for go-go bars and beer bars. After finding Christin’s closed that day (owing to it being a Buddhist holiday), your old Uncle Hannibal was looking to “take the edge off”.

So many choices … where shall I begin? It being a muggy night, I went off to find an air-conditioned go-go bar and ended up in a place called Playschool-a-Go-Go off on a small side-Soi. Having gone to an all-boys high school, I was just curious to see what girls in school uniforms look like.

The answer? Not too shabby!!!

I spent quite some time there nursing frosty beverages and checking out the talent until one thing led to another and I had a young lovely eagerly auditioning for the job of my “new best friend” for that night.

After a grope to the crotch region to rule out “Y” chromosomes (since Phuket has a reputation for too many lady-boys), commerce was done. I paid up the tab and headed back to the Holiday Inn with the newest Mrs. Hannibal in tow, ready for the honeymoon.

So far, so good … until we got back to the room and my new best friend refused to undress. Maybe she was just shy? Didn’t seem so in the bar, but who can figure out the way that women’s minds work?

Then she let it be known that only a BJ (while clothed) would be on offer. And that seemed a rather unusual twist (since shy girls are not known for volunteering a BJ).

But the deal-breaker was when I was asked to pay the full fee for an all-nighter (in advance). Everything I had read on the Internet about the Land of Smiles said that it’s “pay afterwards” and that requests to pay in advance are a scam-in-progress. And so I decided to follow a strict policy of “No honey, no money.”

I had seen enough, so I ushered the sweet young thing out to the hall and bid her a fond adieu. And apparently she was not all that thrilled about being shown the door, since she responded with a barrage of staccato Thai that probably didn’t mean “Have a nice day, handsome prince!”

Another strike-out for your old Uncle! Was this a katooey (lady-boy)? If so, he/she/it was post-op, since there had been no unsightly bulges “down there”. Possible, I suppose, although none of the other physical signs were there. But then again, there was the reluctance to uncover the goodies, and the insistence on doing only a BJ is a bit suspicious.

Or might it have been just another hardened bar-girl who somehow had miraculously pegged your clueless Uncle for a newbie and saw the chance to get paid for not working? Or maybe even just a bar-girl who had her period and was not above taking advantage of a nice old man?

That’s also possible … but what the heck did I know? I was a newbie and I had already come up empty twice that day. And so I applied my grandfather’s advice for dealing with slumps:

“When you’re in a hole, stop digging.”

I called it a night, hit the sack and was soon sawing logs. Tomorrow would be a new day … and it would not be a Buddhist holiday.


[The Next Day]

The next morning, I hopped out of bed and headed downstairs to meet Big Red for breakfast. And when I arrived at the restaurant, Big Red was already there and looking like a guy whose favorite dog has just run off with his wife (and he misses the dog terribly!).

In other words, he looked dejected and it didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that his long dry spell was still intact. That’s right, folks … his massage girl was a no-show. What were the chances of something like that happening?

So we decided to slow it down a bit, to hang out at the pool, to do a bit of sightseeing and basically play tourist for the day … and then go back out on beaver patrol that evening. And so that’s what we did.

We actually had a good time cavorting around Patong Beach that day. And come dinnertime, we decided to dine and then get an early start on the evening delights.

But with Big Red’s unblemished track record of striking out even when dating a sure thing, we decided to team up and sample the go-go-bars of Soi Bangla as a team (to hopefully improve his odds).

Truth be told, I figured he’d get paired off a couple of minutes after walking into the first bar. Testosterone levels at the 99th percentile, plus eight years of abstinence? It isn’t hard to do that math.

Ah, but it was not to be. We went into more than a dozen go-go bars, each teeming with Asian hotties vying to pleasure him carnally … and he couldn’t find even one girl to his liking!

[I eventually figured out that he was older than me and had grown up in the era where there were two types of women: saints and whores. So if a woman seemed even slightly forward, that proved beyond all doubt that she was not a “quality woman”. And of course, all of the bar-girls were being friendly toward him, so that disqualified them from consideration! Do you recall the old Groucho Marx quote on how he wouldn’t belong to a club that would accept him as a member (as that’d mean they had such low standards that they weren’t worthy of joining)? That would be Big Red, who was sexually attracted only to women who wouldn’t be caught dead with him. Unbelievable!]

After about fourteen bars and at least four hundred babes that I would have given Crumple’s left nut to bonk (but who did not measure up to Big Red’s lofty standards), I had seen enough. So I wished him good luck and took my leave to go solo for the rest of the evening.

I was heading off towards Christin’s, but it was a muggy evening and I decided to break the journey for a bit en route. So I stopped off at one of the beer bar complexes along the way and ordered up some liquid refreshment.

It was a fun bar, a dozen or so young lovelies there to keep a bloke company and they had the usual assortment of games on hand so that the girls could win lady-drinks from punters too drunk to see straight.

One involved hammering a nail into a stump, the point being that if you were drunk, you’d keep missing the nail (and the girl’s nail would get hammered in first). And then there was the old Connect Four” game where you try to get four plastic chips in a row in a matrix. And there was also that dice game where you flip over the numbers.

Didn’t take me long to figure out ways to cheat. When hammering the nail, for example, I’d turn the hammer sideways and hit the nail with the broad side of the hammer. And for “Connect Four”, I used the old “Halley’s Comet” trick (you say, “Hey look … it’s Halley’s Comet!” and when the girl turns away to look for it, you slip in a few extra of your color chips into the matrix).

And the odd part is that they seemed to enjoy catching me cheat more than they would have enjoyed me abiding by the rules (especially with me feigning innocence the way that professional wrestlers do when the ref catches them red-handed). It broke up the monotony for them and they regularly giggled out the Thai equivalent of “See how you are!”

Another guy who was sitting there also turned out to be a naughty boy and he started cheating as well (and hamming it up when caught). We got to chatting and it turned out that he was a newbie to Thailand and had just arrived from California.

[We got to be good friends and we hooked up for several more trips in the next several years, including to the Philippines a few times (where he picked up the moniker “Bastos Boy”, since Filipinas always seemed to be exclaiming “Bastos!” in his presence). So we’ll refer to him here as “B2” for short.]

Turned out that a couple of the young ladies working that evening at the beer bar came from rural Laos and they took a shine to B2 and me (or at least, they weren’t opposed to us buying them drinks, which I’m sure proves that they were quite smitten with us). Anyway, we flirted and partied with them for quite a while but I decided not to bar-fine my lap-puppet, as I had other plans for the balance of the evening.

And so, after an hour or two of levity and mirth, B2 and I made plans to meet up for lunch and a swim at noon the next day at his hotel, and then I headed out into the warm Phuket night to meet my destiny.

Will Big Red finally succeed in finding what he seeks (a girl who does NOT want to go with him)? Will the Christin’s experience be everything that your old Uncle Hannibal has imagined it to be? And might we be seeing more of those two girls from rural Laos? The answers to those questions and others will appear next month in “The Newbie (Part Three)

The Newbie – Part Three


When we left our malibog boys in Part Two last month, your old Uncle Hannibal was en route to Christin’s to partake in his first ever body massage and “Big Red” was off meandering through the bars of Soi Bangla searching for women who did not want to go with him.

I did indeed find my way to Christin’s, walked in and thought that I had died and gone to Heaven (except without the “dying” part). I had not seen a “fishbowl” before and it was amazing … a room that was full of young lovelies all eager to become my new best friend and the only question was “Which one do I want?”

Nowadays, it can be hard to pick for attitude because most of the body massage places have TV sets in the fishbowls for their girls to watch while they wait to get selected by one of the customers. It cuts down on the boredom for the girls (because they can watch the Thai soap operas) but makes it harder for punters to differentiate between the girls based on their personalities, since all will have an identical facial expression (depending on what’s happening at that exact moment in the soap opera). It’s a lot like synchronized swimming in the Olympics … they all respond in unison.

But back on that first trip, there was no TV in the fishbowl. And that made it easy to make excellent choices. The drill was easy. Just look for girls who were chatting away with each other and joking around and the odds were pretty good that they’d be fun if you picked one of them. I figured that they were personable and they had also come to terms with what they did for a living. But if a girl stared off into space, looking bored (or hostile), I’d give her a pass.

A simple system, but I got winners the entire time there (and for the next several return trips to the Land of Smiles).

I can’t remember the name of the girl I took that evening, but she was a cutie … about 5’0” tall, under 100 pounds and with a ponytail. What an absolutely delightful lady she was, too.

The session was supposed to run 90 minutes, but I ran well over on that (a practice that continued for years afterwards) and I had wood for pretty much the whole time. It was great fun.

If you’ve never done a body massage in Thailand, do one. You’ll like it a lot. And I liked it enough to go back almost every day for the rest of my stay. Mexico may have siestas to get a fellow through the hot part of the day, but Thailand has body massage.

Thailand is better.

I ended up staying there until closing time, then headed back to the Holiday Inn to rustle up some shuteye. After a couple of rounds with my new best friend at Christin’s, I was drained. Literally. I slept well.

[The Next Day]

I got up the next morning and went downstairs at the appointed hour to meet up with Big Red for breakfast.

Within a few minutes, he arrived with a young lady trailing behind him. Apparently the lad had finally broken his eight-year dry spell, because he was smiling broadly.

He pulled up a seat at the table but his new best friend remained in a standing position. Since she had been walking a few paces behind him, I had just assumed she was practicing some sort of Asian deference, so I invited her to take a seat and join us for breakfast.

She quickly shook her head “no” and insisted on remaining standing. I also noticed that she seemed to be in some pain, so I asked her if she was ill. She shook her head “no” to that one also, but then pointed to Big Red’s groin region and announced “Him too big!”

“About like this?” I countered (showing her my pinky finger). “No,” she quickly responded, “like this” (as she put her hands around her thigh). It turned out that she couldn’t sit down after several sessions the night before with “the California redwood”. She was in considerable pain, as she was very slim and his personal Howitzer was not. So she ended up eating her breakfast while standing up.

I asked Big Red how he found this one and he told me the saga. He had been in more than a dozen bars, but all of the girls were being friendly and therefore he didn’t want any of them. On about the 17th bar of the evening, he saw a shy-looking girl head into the changing room just as he came in and since she hadn’t shown him any warmth at all, he figured that she was a possibility. And so he sat and waited for her to come back out again. Which of course she didn’t (it seemed that she had spotted him, didn’t like what she saw and was hiding in the back because she wanted nothing to do with him).

Just the kind of woman he was searching for.

After about twenty minutes of waiting fruitlessly for her to reappear, he called the mama-san over and asked her to retrieve the girl from the back room. Which she did.

He asked the girl “How much for long-time?” and with the mama-san in her presence, apparently it would have been awkward for the girl to say that she didn’t want to go with him at all.

So she went with “Plan B”: she quoted him a price that was double the then-going rate (in hopes that sticker shock would prompt him to lose interest and look for someone else who was more reasonably priced). This being Big Red we’re talking about, he said “Sounds good to me … let’s go.” And the girl had to go with him.

Amazingly enough, he had found the one bargirl in Phuket who wanted nothing to do with him … and he was smitten.

In the course of breakfast, though, I noticed him stopping frequently to scratch what I presumed were insect bites. It turned out he had not been aware that you could take the girl back to your room and so he went home with her to her room. And that was basically a concrete floor with an old mattress and holes in the screens and so on. So the mosquitoes, bedbugs and whatever else was there had feasted on him.

So I quickly set him straight … you take the girl to your room.

After breakfast, he let her leave to go take care of personal stuff (and she beat a very hasty retreat), then we had a leisurely chat the rest of the morning. As noon approached, I took my leave to go meet up with B2 for a poolside lunch at his hotel (the Ex-Pat).

I got there, pulled up a chair and looked through the menu. And right about then, one of the Lao girls from the night before shows up. So B2 mentioned that he had invited her to join us for a swim. I didn’t know we were supposed to bring dates, however, so I was empty-handed.

It turned out that B2 had stayed at the beer bar until closing time the night before and the Lao girl had followed him back to his hotel room and spent the night with him. And she didn’t even ask him for money the next morning, he proudly added.

Shortly after arriving, she indicated that she’d be right back and took off on her motorcycle again. And about ten minutes later she returned with the other Lao girl on the back of her motorcycle. Bless her little heart, she had noticed me being the odd man out (without any “pool party” date) and had gone off to get me one. What a country!

So the four of us sat down for a poolside lunch. B2 and I spoke no Lao and no Thai either, and the Lao girls spoke very little English but could speak and read Thai. And since I carried a Thai dictionary with me on that trip, we could look up words in English, point to the same word in Thai (or vice-versa) and communicate.

Being a charming conversationalist (the nice way to say “full of shit”), I pointed to the Thai word for “princess” and pointed to my girl. She then pointed to the word for “prince” and pointed back to me. So I got a sad look, shook my head “no” and pointed to the word for “frog”. At which she leaned over, gave me a big, wet kiss right on the lips and then she smiled and pointed again to the word for “prince”.

Even girls from rural Laos knew that fairy tale.

Lunch finished, we hopped in the pool and played for an hour or so. And once my wood went down, I eventually climbed out of the pool, dried off, went to change and then headed on back to the Holiday Inn, with my new “princess” following after me like the stray puppies used to do when I was a youngster.

It would have been rude to turn her away (and she sure did give good wood in the pool earlier), so I let her follow me upstairs and have her way with me. I’m a nice guy about stuff like that.

I met up with Big Red for dinner and he was gung ho to get the same girl again from the night before, so I headed down to Soi Bangla with him to see if I could prod him to take someone else instead (I really felt sorry for that one).

He agreed to check other places out first, but he ended up taking the same one again. I didn’t want to watch, so I headed back to Christin’s to while away the rest of the evening. My lady from the day before was not in the fishbowl (meaning she either had the day off or more likely was with a customer), but the fishbowl had “bench strength” and it was no problem finding a suitable replacement. Upstairs I went and had another swell (swollen?) time.

And again around closing time, I meandered back to Holiday Inn for another very peaceful night’s sleep (unaware of the maelstrom that B2 was then in the process of getting himself into). Things were about to get livelier.

Stay tuned…

The Newbie – Part One

Most guys can remember the first woman they bedded far more easily than their 27th bedmate (or their 1655th bedmate, in the case of your otherwise very wholesome narrator).

It’s simple, really. For me, #1655 had been much more fun than #1 (which lasted for only about two seconds!), but the difference between #1655 and #1654 (and their predecessors) was much less dramatic than the difference between #1 and her predecessor (my right hand). And since what we feel the most in life are the contrasts, “something” is rather memorable when compared to “nothing”.

In that same vein, most punters can fondly remember their first trip to Southeast Asia (excepting many who came as a guest of Uncle Sam a few decades back). Sure, we got overcharged. We got scammed. We had our naivety taken advantage of. Perhaps we even nursed a sick water buffalo or two back to health.

But the contrast between the women in Southeast Asia and the women in _______ (fill in the name of your home country here) was dramatic. For many guys I’ve known, their virgin trip to Southeast Asia was the FIRST time any woman had ever actually treated them with kindness (and that includes some guys who were in their fifties at the time of their first pilgrimage).

Those of you who have been coming here for a while will recognize the facial expressions on guys who are on their newbie trip. It’s that same look that little children get the first time that they see something really exciting (or magical). Their eyes fill with wonder and you can see their “personal universe” expanding right there in front of you.

And that certainly applied to your Uncle Hannibal.

Before I got to college, I had never seen an Asian woman. Once I got to college, I discovered them rather quickly. But I could only lust after them from afar since there were so many malibog white boys like me lusting after them (relative to the number of hot Asian babes there to be lusted after). That resulted in long lines, and your kindly old Uncle Hannibal never seemed to make it up to the front of those lines.

Relocation to Hawaii solved that problem, since roughly two-thirds of Hawaii’s population is of Asian ancestry. And so I was able to partake in the bounty at last. It was “good fun” as we used to say back there, but it was also a costly addiction (since these were American women with correspondingly high expectations for care and maintenance).

And then came the Internet. I soon stumbled upon a website selling a videotape of a Thai body massage. That’s right, friends, the old “slip & slide”. And solely in the interest of scientific research, I sent off for my copy. It arrived a few days later and, to be sure that I didn’t overlook any key scientific data, I watched it several dozen times.

They didn’t mention the name of the massage parlor, but they showed three Thai lovelies in it. One served as the person being fondled while the other two ladies did the honors.

It was great … enough so that your armchair anthropologist decided it would be a splendid idea to go to Thailand for some on-site fieldwork.

I decided to bring along a colleague to help with the heavy lifting: my old college roommate from many years earlier. He had been through “the mother of all divorces” eight years earlier and had not been laid since then … but not for lack of interest on his part, as he’s very high in testosterone (translation = “needs it five times a day”). And to add to the irony, he’s also hung like King Kong. You know how some guys give a “pet name” to their male member? He refers to his package as “the California redwood”, so we’ll just refer to him here as “Big Red”.

With several Internet sites naming Thailand as “the sex supermarket of the world”, what could be better? It took only one viewing of the “scientific literature” for Big Red to agree that a fieldtrip was in order. So we booked our flights for a few weeks hence and started planning the rest of our arrangements.

We decided to skip Bangkok, since we heard it was a big city and you know how big cities are: crowded, polluted and expensive. But we had seen the old James Bond movie (“The Man With The Golden Gun”) and that part of Thailand did look pretty damn nice to us.

And so we selected Phuket as our virgin Thai destination, and decided to stay in Patong Beach since that had the naughtiest reputation … er, I mean, the most scientifically significant cultural sites to be studied. And not coincidentally, they had a body massage venue: Christin’s.

That was in the low season and just after the Thai economy crashed, and prices were cheap compared to what I was used to in Hawaii. So I decided, “Why rough it?” when for such a modest nightly rate we can get suites at the Holiday Inn right across from the beach, and around the corner from Christin’s?

A few weeks later, we were jetting off to Thailand on China Airlines. And since Big Red had only been on U.S. airlines before (with aging linebackers for stewardesses), the sight of more than a dozen young Asian lovelies at his beck and call was enough to give him wood for most of the time we were in the air.

We got in late in the evening and had to overnight in Bangkok before catching the first flight out the next morning for Phuket. We figured we would just stay at the airport hotel, but that turned out to be so much pricier than lots of the places along Sukhumvit that we took a cab into town and headed for the hotel recommended by the Bangkok airport hotel desk: Nana Hotel.

We checked in and headed for our rooms. And once there, the bellboys asked (with a nudge and a wink), “Is there anything else we can bring you, Sir?” I decided I prefer to do my own prospecting, so I said “no”. Big Red was new at this sort of thing, so he asked for “more towels”.

We knew zilch about Bangkok, we had been in airplanes for the past day and we had an early morning flight onward, so we never did get out that night. But we were awake early and on our way back to the airport.

We had heard horror stories about Bangkok traffic, so we allowed two hours of travel time to get from the hotel to the airport. And our actual time was? Maybe twenty minutes! A slight miscalculation on our part, and just one of many miscues we would end up making.

In due time, we arrived in Phuket and checked into the Holiday Inn. Once unpacked, showered and all gussied up, we headed out to greet the afternoon. And as it was by then half an hour after the opening time for Christin’s, we decided that this would be a splendid place to begin our Thai adventure. You know, with cleanliness being next to Godliness and all that sort of thing.

In no time at all, the barbarians were at the gate … but there was no sign of life at “ye olde body massage shoppe”. The place was closed!

We figured we’d wait around a bit to see if someone came but no one showed up. Eventually a kindly passerby ambled along and said to us in broken English that it was a Buddhist holiday and that’s why it was closed … but it would open again the next day. Some luck!

Did you ever really have to pee, just barely make it to the men’s room and then find that the men’s room was closed for repairs? Big Red was having the semen equivalent and he was ready to burst a nut.

So when we passed another venue a block later with a “Massage” sign over the door, he made a “beeline” (no pun intended) for it. I pointed out that it was a traditional massage place (no hanky-panky) but to no avail … he wanted a woman’s hands on his body and he wanted them there NOW!!!

So in he went, with lust in his heart, while I continued on to explore the cultural sights on Soi Bangla. We met up later for dinner and Big Red was grinning from ear to ear. Pumped for details, he announced that he had a hot date for later that night … his first one in the better part of a decade.

Who’s the lucky lady, I asked? It was none other than the young lady who had done his massage that very afternoon. She was coming by the hotel to meet him when she got off work at midnight and he was stoked.

But that hit me as being odd. I had double-dated with him many times back in college and I’ve never seen anyone strike out so consistently. It was always hilarious to see him put the moves on a woman, though:

Example #1:

His Date: “I don’t sleep with guys on the first date.”

Big Red: “Then how about on the last date?”

Example #2:

His Date: “I don’t hop into bed with a guy just like that … it has to mean something.”

Big Red: “It’ll mean that you won’t have to walk home.”

Example #3:

His Date: “I can’t have sex today … I’m having my period.”

Big Red: “That’s okay … I like a little catsup on my meat.”

Anyway, you can imagine my skepticism when he announced that he had lined up a date … the historical odds augured otherwise. I dug for more details.

He tells me that when he went in, they gave him a very baggy pair of pajama bottoms to wear. He slipped them on, assumed the position and a minute or two later he was joined by a young lovely who was rather winsome.

Not long into the massage, she touched one of his erogenous zones (his leg). And being well mannered, his California redwood stood in the presence of a lady.

His eyes were closed at the time, and the girl apparently had not seen that much displacement before so she delicately lifted the waistband of his pajamas to sneak a peak at his package.

Waiting for just the right moment, he opened up his eyes and told her something suave and debonair (that escapes me at the moment), but she reacted true to form by gasping with embarrassment (if you prefer Big Red’s take on it, she was gasping with erotic delight).

Ever have a buddy in high school or college approach a hot babe and then say something lame, like “My face is leaving at nine … be on it”? And the babe responds with a look of total disgust as she tells him in no uncertain terms that she wouldn’t be caught dead with a loser like him even if he were the last man on earth (but then your buddy struts back and announces confidently, “I think she likes me!”)?

I’m predicting something like that here. So I pump him for details:

Uncle: “She’s coming to your room tonight?”

Big Red: “Indeed she is!”

Uncle: “What exactly did she say?”

Big Red: “After I caught her peeking, I invited her over after she gets off work so that she could ‘take a ride on the big guy’.”

Uncle: “And she said ‘Yes’?”

Big Red: “Not exactly … but she didn’t say ‘No’”

Uncle: “Does she actually speak any English at all?”

Big Red: “I’m sure that she does.”

Uncle: “So you and she were chatting together in English during the massage?”

Big Red: “Well … no. But I’m sure she knew what I was saying … the language of love is universal.”

If I were a wagering fellow, I’d be plunking down a month’s wages at the “no show” window. But he insisted that she would be there at a tad past midnight and that his long drought would soon be over.

So we made arrangements to rendezvous the next morning, your old Uncle Hannibal headed out for some meaningful social interaction and Big Red stayed back to get ready for his big date.

Will this be the night that Big Red breaks his long dry spell? Will your old Uncle Hannibal successfully dodge the lady-boys? Will Christin’s be open for business the next day? The answers to those questions and more will appear next month in “The Newbie (Part Two)”.

Stay tuned…

Sazanka Redux

In last month’s column, we looked at one of the few places catering to Japanese customers in Bangkok that is also available to Westerners: Sazanka Massage at Washington Square (off Sukhumvit Soi 22). That may not seem like anything out of the ordinary, but it is … most of the places catering to Japanese men will not admit a Western man.

Partly that’s because places catering to Japanese men usually gouge on price and most Westerners are not used to seeing quite that much gouging. But gouging is standard practice in Japan in most Japanese nightspots catering to men’s baser instincts and therefore Japanese men accept it without complaint.

And partly, it’s that Japanese men are reputed not to be interested in women who also do Westerners. Why is that? Theories abound (some involving the alleged larger sizes of Western dicks), but we’ll leave that debate for the sociologists.

We’re just interested in helping all our readers have a good time while being bad. Several readers contacted me on last month’s column and expressed an interest in trying Sazanka for a change of pace on their next trip to the Land of Smiles. So in the interest of providing excellent service to our readership, a fellow “researcher” and I made a return visit to Sazanka last weekend for an updated test drive.

As you may recall, your old Uncle Hannibal had walked out of Sazanka on his initial visit minus the hair from his legs. It seems that their salt massage strip-mined all of the hair below the knees.

So, not surprisingly, I opted for one of the non-salt options this time. There’s a 500 baht quickie massage (only 30 minutes), but there are also a couple of longer massages that don’t involve salt. The shorter one costs 880 baht and lasts for 70 minutes and the longer one costs 980 baht and lasts for 90 minutes. Being a glutton for pleasure, I took the 90 minutes.

As a side comment, one rarely has to wait in line for anything here in Thailand … labor is cheap and prices for Westerners are high by local standards, so it’s more profitable for business owners to make sure that they have ample staffing on hand than it would be to risk having customers go elsewhere due to not wanting to wait in line.

So on the very rare occasions when there’s a line waiting at a Bangkok establishment catering to free-spending Western males, that’s usually an excellent indication that the place combines a superior “work ethic” with prices that are at the low end of the price scale.

I had only seen that before in one establishment here: the legendary Eden Club. That is, until my most recent visit to Sazanka. It was on a Sunday afternoon (around 4:00 p.m.) and there was a forty-minute wait. The manager provided a free drink while we waited for a couple of girls to free up, but the place was doing boffo box office (with both Western and Asian customers).

So I’m clearly not the only punter who considers Sazanka to be a good value by Bangkok standards (if one has an afternoon to kill and wants to “take the edge off”).

The typical Thai (traditional) massage place in Bangkok will charge you between 300 baht and 400 baht per hour for an oil massage and if the girl you take is amenable to providing “manual release” along the way, she’ll expect a 500 baht tip. So, all-up, you’d be in the 800 baht to 900 baht neighborhood on the one-hour oil massage alternative (that is, if your masseuse is one who does do extras).

Sazanka’s price (880 baht for 70 minutes or 980 baht for 90 minutes) would be at the low end of that range if you adjust the numbers a bit for the longer pleasure sessions at Sazanka.

But what do you get for that price from Sazanka? I’m glad you asked that question. Here’s the tale of the tape:

When you arrive, you have a seat on one of their couches and they bring you a beverage of your choice and a photo album that will have a picture of each of their girls along with their age. It will also show their names, but these are each a “nom de guerre” … they’ve been assigned common Japanese girl’s names (although they in fact are Thai girls).

They’ll have one color of Post-It Note next to each picture for the girls that are not on duty that day and a different color Post-It Note next to each picture for girls who are working that day but who are “currently occupied”. The ones with no Post-It Note are working that day and are also available for immediate service.

The managers will be happy to tell you more about any of the girls who catch your eye … how long they’ve been working there, where they come from, a little about their personalities and so on. And they do run a pretty tight ship there, so the managers will also have a log that has the starting and ending times for each of the girls currently servicing customers. So if a particular girl gives you premium wood but is now with another customer, the manager can tell you how many minutes that would be until she frees up again (so that you can decide whether you want to wait that amount of time, or pick out another of the girls instead).

Okay. You’ve picked out your new best-friend-du-jour and you’re now ready to get woman-handled. The first stop will be at the small lockers where you can deposit your valuables. You’ll get the key on an elastic wrist-band and over to the staircase you go (where your lady awaits you). She’ll escort you upstairs to a massage room and help you get undressed.

Then she’ll wrap a towel around you and take you to a private shower room, where she’ll wash you as thoroughly as your Mom might have done when you were a toddler (if your Mom had been a pervert). They do an extra good job on all of those hard to reach places … enough so that it will take some extra dexterity in getting the towel fully wrapped around your mid-section (and keeping it on) for the walk back to your massage room.

Once back in the room, you hop face down on the massage table (they have a cutout for your face so that you can breath … and you can even watch your ladies toes as she works on your handsome physique if you get really bored).

Next, she’ll layer several hot bath towels on you so that you’ll now be fully wrapped in hot towels. It’s quite relaxing. And while you are all wrapped up in hot towels, she’ll give you a deep tissue Thai massage from your toes to your neck (and all points between).

After the towels come off, she’ll bring on the oil and proceed to give you a more gentle Thai massage with plenty of oil for lubrication. And once your backside is done, you turn over and she’ll start on the front acreage.

She’ll start at your feet and work her way up, being very careful NOT to avoid your personal sundial. Next thing you know, you’re shooting putty at the moon.

After a bit of tidying up and more oil massage for your upper body, it’s off to the shower again where she’ll give you another complete shower (and the operative term here is “complete”). Then she will dry you off and escort you back to the massage room, where she will help you get dressed again.

Then she’ll escort you back down the staircase and bid you a very fond adieu at the bottom of the stairs. You’re still a few meters away from the lockers and she’ll disappear up the steps before you can get back to your wallet (in case you were interested in tipping her a bit extra).

So it’s clear that tips are not expected here (just as in Japan, where tipping is not the custom and in fact would almost be an insult).

You pay at the front desk on your way out and you’ll be smiling as you step outside to greet the afternoon. It’s a very pleasant experience all the way from start to finish. No “attitudes”, no hustles, no stopping to haggle just when it starts getting good … just the traditional work ethic (“service with a smile”) that is becoming less common in the modern world.

So if you’re ever in Bangkok contemplating getting an oil massage, why not go one better? Head for Sazanka and let them pamper you the way God intended.

It’s good fun!

And now for something completely different

With apologies to Monty Python for stealing one of their catch phrases, it’s no secret than humans crave variety … especially in the horizontal sporting events.

That even holds true for experienced Asian-babe-a-holics like your old Uncle Hannibal. After enough trips to Southeast Asia (or after being an ex-pat here for some time), you’ve done all of the usual bonking spots many times over … not that’s there’s anything wrong with that. Sooner or later, you’ll want to try something different from your usual fare.

Perhaps we can make a suggestion?

If you find yourself in Bangkok and you’ve done all the usual haunts often enough to want a change of pace, here’s one you might enjoy:

Sazanka Massage

What’s that you say … you’ve never heard of it? That’s not surprising; many ex-pats haven’t been to this one either (unless they have been here a very long time).

Sazanka Massage is tucked away in a non-descript section of one of the less upscale ex-pat hangouts, Washington Square (which is just off Soi 22, Sukhumvit Road). The nearest Sky Train stop would be Phrom Phong (the same stop for Baron Massage that we had featured in last month’s column) but Sazanka is a bit more of a walk from the station (maybe 400 meters). So the first time you go there, you’re probably better off taking a meter taxi to Washington Square.

I’ve found that very few cabbies know the name “Washington Square” and so you’ll need to ask for it in Thai:

“Sukhumvit, Soi Yee-sip-sawng, krap”

[For pronunciation, the “v” in Sukhumvit is pronounced like a “w” in English. “Soi” is pronounced like “soy” (as in beans). “Yee” and “sip” are pronounced the way they look, “sawng” is pronounced like the thing they sing at Karaoke places and “krap” is pronounced like “crop” (and not like “crap”).]

When your cabbie turns down Soi 22 from Sukhumvit, he won’t know where to stop, so you’ll need to show him. Washington Square will be on the left side maybe 100 or 150 meters down from Sukhumvit. It’s not marked and the driveway is not obvious until you’re right there, so the thing to look for is a small, multicolored, striped awning in front of one shop … that’s where the Washington Square driveway will be. As you see those colored stripes approaching, have the cabbie slow down and turn in there (into the driveway). Have him drive in (you’ll pass by the parking attendant) and continue going straight for maybe 30 more meters.

Sazanka will be in a blue-gray building on your right side. Hop out of the cab, settle up the fare on the meter and stroll into Sazanka. You have arrived.

What makes Sazanka different (from other massage places that the average Western visitor will have been to) is that Sazanka is set up to appeal to Asian (as in Korean and Japanese) palettes.

It’s billed as a Korean place, but the girls are Thai. And unlike most of the places in Thailand that cater to Japanese men (e.g. Soi Thaniya), this place does not turn away Western men. I haven’t seen any other men entering or leaving, though, so I can’t handicap the ethnic mix of their clientele. But your old Uncle Hannibal – and his band of merry reprobates – have always been welcomed warmly here.

Unlike Thai massage places, there’s no “fishbowl” here (where their girls will be seated behind glass so that you can select the one that gives you the most urgent wood). Instead, they show you a menu at the front counter that has several combinations of services (ranging from 500 baht to 1380 baht, with the time and particulars varying for the different combinations).

In the interest of being thorough my first time there, I went for the last choice on the menu (which included the works). The tab on that came to 1380 baht (about US$35). They don’t collect in advance, by the way … you pay them on the way out. And for that you’ll get two hours of their finest personal attention.

Once you’ve decided what you want done to your handsome physique, they’ll have you take a seat on a couch and they’ll show you a photo book with the name and picture of each girl. Some may be unavailable (either they are off that day or are with a customer upstairs) … those ones will have a yellow Post-It sticker over them. Just tell the manager which of the remainder tickles your fancy and he’ll call her down.

Just before going upstairs, you’ll see a bank of small lockers on your right. That’s where to deposit your valuables while you’re being taken care of upstairs. They open with a key and you’ll be given the key (on an elastic wrist-band) to keep during your massage.

[I’ve heard an unconfirmed report by one buddy that the same key opens all of the lockers but haven’t checked it out personally. He had reported that he accidentally tried to open the wrong locker and it did open … with his key. That said, I’ve never had anything lifted here.]

Once you pick your girl, she’ll be called down to escort you upstairs to a room with a massage table on it. There, you disrobe (she remains clothed for the entire two hours) and wrap a towel around yourself. Then she escorts you down to another room with a tile floor and another massage table covered by plastic where you’ll lie down.

While there, you get a series of rubdowns, starting with just dousing you with warm water. Then on come the Loofah mitts. They’re not genuine Loofahs (the type you’d see at a fancy spa) … they’re more like a pair of mittens that have been woven out of the same material as the Brillo soap pads that are used for washing dishes.

After a thorough “all over” with the Loofah mitts, you’re covered with some kind of a course salt … it might be “sea salt” but it felt to me to be about like the consistency of the salt they put on highways in the winter in places like Montana (or Siberia) and not the finely granulated stuff that you’ll find in your salt shaker. Massive quantities of salt are massaged into your skin (all over … and occasionally under).

Once you’re wearing the full suit of saline body armor, you’ll get some all over “body slapping” (for lack of a better description). The slapping isn’t quite vigorous enough to give Netguard wood; it’s more the type designed to stimulate circulation. If you’ve ever been to a real sauna in Finland where you smack yourself with branches, they seem to have a similar logic here.

Next, you get rinsed off and rubbed (simultaneously) with more warm water to remove all that salt from your skin (and from any nooks and crannies where it may have migrated). Then, if you wish, she’ll wash your hair for you. If you do want your hair washed (she’ll ask first), you’ll have a seat on a little plastic stool and she’ll do the honors. If you’ve been to a hot springs in Japan and seen the stools that were specially designed with cutouts in the middle (so that your nads don’t have to touch somewhere that other nads have been), they use those here also.

At that point, you put your towel back on and head upstairs to the room where your clothes (and the regular massage table) are. Onto the table you go.

Next, she’ll cover you with hot towels (a few layers thick) … it felt a bit like Ibusuki (in Japan) where you can have them bury you in volcanic sand, but the hot towel wrap isn’t quite so hot. While you’re under the hot towels, she’ll give you an abbreviated (in time, not in coverage) traditional sort of Thai massage, focusing on pressure points and the occasional muscle, digging in the occasional elbow, at other times walking up and down your back.

Next up is your oil massage … more oil than massage, I’ve found. She sprays oil on various parts of your body and then basically fondles you all over with her now slick hands on your now slick body. Didn’t take her all that long to discover “the General” and she got right to work treating him like her new best friend. No stopping to haggle for an extra tip or anything, she just kept on going when she got to it. The hand job seems to be included as an integral part of the massages.

After that, it’s time to don the towel again and head for the shower room where she’ll shower you (keeping her clothes on), dry you off and then take you back upstairs where she’ll help you get dressed again. Then she’ll escort you back downstairs, bid you a fond adieu and head back upstairs again before you have time to head over to the security locker to retrieve your cash (in the event you wanted to tip).

Clearly, tipping did not seem to be the norm here (same as in Japan) and the prices seem to have been set to include the equivalent. For example, many Thai places that offer an oil massage in the Sukhumvit area ask 800 baht for a two hour oil massage and then the masseuse will want another 500 baht for a hand job, which would make the total 1300 baht … toss in another 80 baht to cover road salt and you’re at just about the same price as the full course at Sazanka.

[Based on subsequent visits by your humble narrator and also by a few buddies, it seems that getting you off is included in all the menu choices. You might even get lucky and get a BBBJ in the process, as did one buddy … and he had gone for the cheapo 500 baht menu item. Can’t complain about that calculus.]

That was the blow by blow. Now for some impressions. All the folks there seemed friendly and professional, no hint of a hustle as there is at some places I’ve been to in Southeast Asia. As for the girl I took, she was very sweet and did her best to try and make sure I had a good time. She even interviewed me as a possible boyfriend when she found out that I live in Thailand and don’t have a wife.

I found the same with the other ladies I’ve taken there in follow-up visits (and I have heard similar reports from buddies) … all the ladies had excellent attitudes. In looks, they were more like 7’s than 10’s, but they do take great care of you.

As for the specific courses offered, those Brillo mitts scratch your skin more than you might realize as you’re being rubbed down. But when the buckets of salt are piled onto you, you can immediately tell exactly where your skin had been scraped … if you’ve ever watched old pirate movies and seen the facial expression on an unfortunate seaman who has just been flogged and then doused in salt, that’s the sensation. It smarts!

[The closest sensation I had before to that salt/SOS combo was when I got sandblasted up the back of my shirt by a buddy as we removed old paint from a ship hull.]

One other odd development … when I was putting my socks back on, I noticed that the hair on my legs was missing. I can’t recall exactly how much I had going in but the Loofah and rock salt combination seemed to clear-cut that particular forest.

Try it the next time you’re in Bangkok and want something completely different. This place qualifies. But if your leg hair isn’t firmly attached, you might opt for one of the menu choices that does not include salt.

Idle Hands

This month, we’ll present the first of two columns about “straying discretely” in Bangkok.

If you show up in Bangkok unattached (and manage to evade the leash while you are here), you’ll have nearly unlimited options for “meaningful social interaction” during your visit. There’s Patpong, Nana Plaza, Soi Cowboy, BJ bars, S&M clubs, body massage places, freelancer hangouts, and just about every other venue that you could imagine. What a friendly town!

But there’s always a fly in the ointment … most of us don’t stay 100% unattached while here.

Chalk it up to human nature. Maybe we brought our significant other with us to Thailand. Or, once here, maybe we got outmaneuvered into going steady before we were ready. Or maybe we met someone who was much wilder than most and we decided to put her on retainer. Or maybe we just found a good one and converted that into a relationship so that other guys won’t go poking around inside her.

That last one happens often here. We were programmed by evolution to go ape-shit about the prospect of some other guy taking liberties with “our woman” … and what constitutes “our woman” gets defined very broadly. That’s why guys who go back home to the West often send money back every month to a young lovely they had met in a bar over here … to keep her from going back to work in the bar (or so they hope). It doesn’t usually turn out quite that way, of course, since girls will be girls. But the guys are hoping that this one will be different.

That’s how we’re built. We really don’t like our women to stray … but we also really do like to stray ourselves. That’s a dynamic every one of you will recognize.

Is it fair to have that sort of double standard? Nope. But since when is life fair? That’s right, it isn’t! But we’re not here to moralize, since your old Uncle Hannibal falls well short of sainthood.

We’re here to help you get away with it.

Let’s start with the premise that you’re in Bangkok and that you have a sweetheart here who expects (and maybe even believes) that you’ll be monogamous. And you – being you – will be secretly lusting after every cute little thing that you see walking by.

It won’t take long before you’ll convince yourself of why it’s fair for you to be able to step out for a bit of strange (even though you’d go postal if your sweetheart did the same):

(A) “What she doesn’t know, won’t hurt her.”

(B) “It’s just meaningless sex.”

(C) “It must have been that second beer … normally my self-control is much better than this.”

(D) “I’ll do it just this once.”

(E) “I’m paying her to be monogamous … she’s not paying me to be monogamous.”

(F) “My last wife cheated on me, so I’m just balancing out the cosmic scorecard.”

(G) “We’re men, damn it, and men are just built that way!”

Do any of these explanations sound familiar? We suspected as much.

Let’s take it as a given that you’re interested in straying. After all, this is you we’re talking about. But there’s a catch … your sweetheart will know you too well. And that means she won’t trust you.

Can you really blame her?

If you bring your wife from Bakersfield and she’s never been to Asia before, she won’t know where all the naughty places are. But if you hook up with a local girl here, she will know where most of the better-known pay-for-play venues are. Women keep track of competition.

This means that if you slip off to Nana Plaza, you run the risk of one of her friends spotting you as you’re strolling erectly down Soi 4. You can always claim later that you were just stopping in to buy a shawarma (they do make a great shawarma there), but she’ll see right through that one.

What’s a naughty boy on a short leash supposed to do?

You’re in luck … this is a common enough situation that a number of venues in Bangkok (and elsewhere) cater to it. There’s not very much publicity on these places, so it isn’t widely known that they offer some discrete extras. But if you ask around among ex-pats, they’ll know of the better places.

This month, we’ll look at Baron over on Soi 24 about fifty feet off of Sukhumvit … it has long been a favorite of knowledgeable (naughty) ex-pats and frequent visitors to the Kingdom.

It’s one of thousands of massage parlors here. By way of introduction, there are two categories of massage places in Thailand … the naughty kind and the wholesome kind.

The naughty kind is “body massage” (also known as “soapies”, since your massage girl will massage your naked body with her naked body, using soap suds as the lubricant). If you get the chance to try one, do it … you will enjoy it. A BJ and a bonk cum … er, I mean come with the massage. How great is that?

It was massage places like this that put Bangkok on the map. In other words, these kinds of places are well known and are, shall we say, less than subtle? They’re hard to miss and there’s no mistaking what style of massage place they are. If you’re spotted stepping into one of these massive garish venues, there can be no doubt as to what you’re up to. So that can be risky if you’re attached to a local girl here.

And then there are the wholesome places, usually called “traditional” massage (or just “Thai massage”). You’ll see a few of these places on just about every block. If you see a multicolored schematic of a foot out in front of the shop (with about three dozen numbered sections showing what part of the foot corresponds to what part of the body), you’re at a traditional massage place.

Most offer no hanky panky. Some might offer a hand-job (for a 500 baht tip) if you order the “oil massage” but only certain girls will do this so it’s very hit-or-miss … and mostly miss. Plus the ones who will do it tend to be the aging plump ones that may not be your preferred type.

There’s nothing hit-or-miss about Baron, though … it’s hit-or-hit.

It’s a traditional massage place that even has a barber chair. The word on the street is that they don’t know much about cutting hair, though … the chair is there mostly for appearances. They’re a lot more skilled at working on your other head.

Baron is located just around the corner from the Emporium Shopping Center. You can cab it if you like, but the easiest way to get in and out is on the Sky Train (just get off at the “Phrom Phong” station). Pardon the double entendres.

[Map is from http://bangkoktonight.com/massage/baron_map.shtml]

So if you’re seen disappearing inside, you’re just going in for a Thai massage … or even just going for a haircut. That’s entirely innocent, isn’t it? Of course it is! (wink, wink)

It’s open early enough in the day that you can bring your handbrake …er, I mean your sweetheart to Emporium for a nice lunch, turn her loose to go shopping and then excuse yourself to pop into “one of the traditional massage places nearby” to get that old war injury attended to.

And if your sweetheart gets suspicious and decides she wants to join you, that’s cool also … Baron has anticipated that eventuality. Most of the traditional massage places have “group rooms” where individual mattresses or groups of mattresses can be curtained off (so that you and your sweetheart in effect can have a private room together). Of course, that would mean that she can watch you at all times to make sure you are not having “too much fun”. Pop some wood mid-massage and you will be stopping by at the jewelry store later to buy her some gold (the all-purpose “tranquilizer” for Thai women) in order to get back into her good graces.

Baron doesn’t have group rooms … they have individual rooms with just enough room for one narrow mattress (i.e. not enough room to put a second mattress in so that your sweetheart can play warden as you get kneaded). There is space at the top of the walls between the rooms (so that one A/C unit can cool two adjacent rooms), and that’s enough to allow conversation between you and your sweetheart (you know how much women love to chat). But it’s too high up to look over (so she can’t sneak a peak).

So as long as you don’t pull a Meg Ryan in mid-orgasm, your lovely bride in the next room need not know anything is up (oops, sorry!).

Your masseuse will be very skilled at communicating in sign language about whether you’d like extra hanky panky … and if so, how much. Flash her a nod plus a silly grin and she’ll take over the controls.

If your sweetheart calls over that you’re “awfully quiet” in there, just stir a bit and tell her that you had started dozing off because you were getting so relaxed.

Another twist here is that the traditional massage girls wear a dress in the public areas. Nothing frumpy, just not especially sexy … you could probably see something like it on an IHOP waitress back in Kalamazoo. Once in the room with you, though, the dress comes off and they wear a tiny pair of knitted shorts and a halter-top.

I’ve never taken a girl to Baron with me, so I don’t know whether they would leave the dress on for one’s distaff companion or not. If they do leave it on for her, your mate will assume they did the same for you. If they take it off for her and your mate mentions this to you, just do the same thing that your old Uncle Hannibal does whenever he’s caught in a delicate situation: play dumb.

“She did what???”

Then act miffed because you got gypped. For good measure, sulk for the next hour and the illusion will be complete.

Here’s the deal: if you bring your mate, ask for a traditional massage. These are actually quite reasonable … they’ll do an excellent job for two hours for only 300 baht (or roughly US $7.50). Most other places in Bangkok charge 400 baht (or sometimes more) for what usually is much less skilled massage service than the Baron girls provide.

The traditional massages are all done in the small individual rooms so your mate will be unable to join you (and supervise) while you’re being worked over. Aw darn! And if she grumbles about this when she sees the rooms, just give her a very puzzled and disappointed look:

“Are you really that insecure? This is a traditional massage place, for Chrissakes! There’s no hanky panky at places like this. What is wrong with you???”

Sometimes the best defense is a good offense.

With the traditional massage, you get your choice of two luxury décor options … “manual relief” (a hand job) for a 500 baht tip, or a BJ for a 1000 baht tip. Some girls will only do a BJ with a condom while others will do them “commando style” (BBBJ). It’s the luck of the draw.

But either way, you can get off right next door to your princess, carry on a conversation with her the whole time and have her be none the wiser. Well, assuming that you resist the temptation to come out with a shit-eating grin on your face, that is.

If you’re unaccompanied, you can try the traditional massage or you can try the oil massage. The oil massage rooms are less subtle … they have an actual bed in them (not a mattress on the floor). Some rooms even have a shower right in the room (to wash the oil off afterwards).

There’s not much chance of mistaking what goes on here.

The oil massage goes for 400 baht for one hour (or 800 baht for two hours). Take the two hours. And for a 1500 baht gratuity, they’ll give you excellent “full service”.

I’ve never had a bad experience there (and we’re talking about a very significant sample size, statistically). They hit their marks every time.

We learned in religion class that “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop” (they sure had my number!). So the next time you find yourself in Bangkok with a pair of “idle hands”, you could do a whole lot worse than spending a couple of hours at Baron.

Your old Uncle Hannibal gives the place “three thumbs up”.

Going Steady Before You Are Ready

We looked last month at guys who bring their wives or girlfriends with them on holiday to Thailand and how that’s not the ideal travel arrangement. But maybe they had no choice … it was that or don’t go at all.

We’ll look at a more common pattern in this column: guys who show up here unattached and then inadvertently acquire a girlfriend once they’re here. A lot of guys seem to get caught that way, so this month we’ll look at some ways of avoiding that plight.

How does a guy show up here and inadvertently acquire a girlfriend? Here’s the progression. The guy arrives on holiday after many months of minimal (and tepid) sex back home with women who look like me in a wig. Once in Southeast Asia and surrounded by nubile lovelies all wanting to be his new best friend, he succumbs. How could he not?

So he selects his bride du jour and they retire to his room for some quality time. Soon after, it’s “Flip flop, panties drop, he’s on top, bop bop bop.”

And when morning comes, so does he (again). At this point, he’s had a round or two of her bonking him happily and eagerly. And perhaps she had started out the festivities the night before by swallowing his tadpoles, all the while gazing lovingly into his eyes.

He’s not used to this kind of “service with a smile” back home, and so he is instantly smitten. Next thing you know, he decides to keep this girl for the rest of his trip. Yesterday, he had no girlfriend. Today, he has one … just like that. And tomorrow, he’ll be researching visa requirements back in his home country.

That’s a common pattern among newbies. But even returning scamps who have had several campaigns under their belts can sometimes end up with an unplanned girlfriend here.

Imagine the same scenario as above … you “early-released” a young lovely, you have enjoyed your night of bliss together and now you’re dressed and getting ready to go out and greet the day. The obligatory gratuity changes hands and you bid her a fond adieu.

And then she makes her move: “So … you’ll come to see me again tonight?”

That’s the moment of truth … you didn’t come to Asia to be a one-woman man. Maybe you’re just naturally poly-amorous? Maybe you had an “okay” time with her but it didn’t register as high on the Richter scale as you had hoped?

So, what’s a nice guy like you to do? You could always be honest and tell her, “Nope, one night with you was plenty for me … I think tonight I’m going to try to find someone else who’s a lot sexier that you are”.

But you won’t. After all, it might hurt her feelings. What that really means is that she might cause a scene. Women will do that now and again and it isn’t pretty.

So you take the path of least resistance and tell her what she wants to hear: “Um … uh … okay … sure, I’ll see you tonight.”

That’s what motivational gurus refer to as “buy-in”. And she has now gotten it from you. The advantage goes to her.

One of two things will happen next: (1) You keep your word and show up at her club again tonight; or (2) You do a “no show” and avoid her club tonight.

If you show up, there’ll be no graceful way to not take her again (as she may cause a scene otherwise). So you’re now on the slippery slope to acquiring an inadvertent girlfriend. The same dynamic will unfold the next morning as did this morning and you’ll soon be hers.

If you don’t show up, will she just blow it off? Maybe, yes … maybe, no. It’s the luck of the draw (although I’m guessing it will depend more on whether or not someone else early-released her that night). If she didn’t get early-released, she may show up at your hotel when her shift ends.

You had promised to come see her but when you didn’t, she started to worry that maybe you were ill and needed her to come over and nurse you through your bout of sickness. Well, she may phrase it that way but she is actually thinking that you met some other woman you like better and the interloper is probably in your bed right now. And that’s not such a bad guess on her part, either.

She will want to come up to your room to nurse you back to health. Which really means that she wants to come up to your room, see who’s in the sack with you and then have both a cat-fight (the interloper is the other cat) and a dog-fight (you’re the dog) all at the same time. If the interloper decides to bail out on you (the more common pattern in my experience), then it’s just you and your “previous liaison” in the room now.

She’ll scream at you, cry, pout, maybe throw things … in other words, all the things women pull that men have no idea how to handle. She’ll accuse you of not loving her, of thinking she’s no good, of not thinking she’s pretty and so on. In an effort to cheer her up (i.e. stop the tantrum), you will deny that she is any of those horrible things. “Oh, no, you’re really a very fine person,” you’ll suggest hopefully.

That will give her the opening she needs. “Oh tilac [that’s the Thai word for ‘honey ko’], you really do love me!” she’ll exclaim excitedly. Before you can respond, she’ll smile coyly and say, “Okay, we go to bed now” and then she will hop into your bed.

You’re toast.

The next morning, she won’t gently ask you, “So, you’ll come to see me again tonight?” This time, it will be much more direct, as in: “I’ll see you tonight.” If you don’t come for her, she’ll come for you.

Voilà … you’ve now got a girlfriend! See how easy that was?

Most experienced Asia hands eventually learn how to evade these traps. But if you’re still fairly new at the game, your old Uncle Hannibal will share his bag of tricks on how to avoid going steady before you’re ready.

Be Vague. How do women avoid being pinned down when you try to get them to commit to something? That’s easy … they become very tentative. They won’t tell you “yes,” since that would represent buy-in. And they won’t tell you “no,” since that would at the very least motivate you to keep trying to wear them down.

Instead, they’ll use an expression such as “I’ll try”. Let’s look at that phrase. What is she promising? Only to make some level of effort but not to actually deliver any results. And who can say she didn’t make some effort somewhere along the way?

Houdini couldn’t have done it any better.

That magical phrase has a number of cousins that women use (it’s the same concept as rotating your inventory to keep it fresh): “We’ll see”, “I’ll have to check my schedule”, “If I get a chance”, “I’m not sure yet”, “Maybe” and so on.

In each case, it sounds almost like a “yes” but without actually being one. That way, women can extract themselves from unpleasant situations while avoiding scenes and also not having to come through later on.

There’s no reason why you can’t use the same weasel technique in the other direction. When your early-release friend asks whether you’ll be coming back to see her again that night, you can say “I’m not sure yet” or “I’ll try”.

Now you’re covered … if you meet someone better, great. If you don’t, you still have the option of taking the original one again if you really do wish to. Total flexibility.

Let’s add a few more twists. If your new friend is highly skilled at this game, she may not give up so easily. Instead, she may press you to be much more specific (hoping to extract a firm commitment). Here are some ways you can frustrate those efforts.

Lack of Authority. One way to deflect pressure to make a decision is to not have the authority to make that decision.

That’s easier to fake than it might sound. Suppose you’re here with a bunch of your buddies. Then you don’t really have the authority to pick which clubs to hit that night because it will be by group consensus … wherever most of the guys want to go, that’s where you all will go.

Now you know and I know that if there’s a hot little number from the night before that you simply must have again (and soon!), your buddies will all forgive you for peeling off from the group for some primo bonking. But the girls are less familiar with male etiquette and they’ll usually fall for this sort of demurral.

So if she presses about why you won’t commit to come back and see her the next night, you can say “It’s not up to me … I already promised my friends I’d go bar-hopping with them so it’s up to them where we all end up going.”

It’s Just Business. If you’re tag-teaming with only one or two buddies, then you’ve got even more room to evade commitments. Just refer to one of the buddies as your boss (and if you have a second buddy with you, you can refer to him as your biggest customer).

That transforms a night of debauchery into a work-night for you. Then, you really would have no authority … it’s “up to the boss” when and where you will go drinking and for how long. You can even ham it up for good effect: just roll your eyes and look extra annoyed as you explain that “My jerk-off boss wants to go bar-hopping again tonight, so I’ve got to go along.” Then mutter a couple of muffled obscenities under your breath and the illusion will be complete.

Occasionally, the girls will try to go over your head. They’ll approach “the boss” directly to ask him if it’s okay for you to knock off early that night. If that happens, all “the boss” needs to do is to pretend to get annoyed himself. We’ve all had an irascible boss or two or five or ten in our careers, so it’s just a matter of imitating one of their outbursts: “No, he can’t take the night off! We don’t pay him to party, goddammit, we pay him to work! I’ll fire his sorry ass on the spot if I see him trying to sneak out early! Nobody pulls that crap on me!!!”

As veteran Hollywood actors will tell you, it’s always more interesting to play the role of a villain than to play the “good guy” … try it, it’s great fun. I’ve used this one often enough with my buddies that we do it on automatic pilot by now. If we’re out drinking and a bar-girl comes over, addresses me as “Boss” and asks if it’s okay for a buddy to leave now, I’ll know that he has told her I’m the boss and so I’ll launch into my faux tirade.

The funny thing here is that girls expect “the boss” to be an unreasonable tyrant. Apparently bosses are much the same, the world over. So other than worrying momentarily whether she might have gotten the guy into trouble with his boss, she won’t take it personally at all.

There’s no loss of face involved … it’s just business.

Plus there’s an upside to playing the role of the tyrannical boss … some of the girls are drawn to such an obvious alpha male. As Henry Kissinger is reported to have once claimed: “Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac.”

Avoid Easements. Even if you follow the other rules, there’s still one more way that guys get cornered into going steady. Be careful of establishing a pattern.

In some countries when people cut across your property often enough (to get to the beach, for example), in time an “easement” is deemed to have been created and you then are obliged to let them keep crossing your property in that same manner. The pattern of unchallenged behavior becomes a legally enforceable right.

Something similar happens with women. Whatever regular dating pattern you fall into with them, that becomes their expectation. If you early-release a winsome lovely seven nights in a row and then don’t show up on the eighth, she will feel mistreated. Those seven nights in a row created an easement. She can’t enforce it in court, but she will feel that you have treated her in a shabby way and she’ll be upset. She’ll also be likely to come looking for you (and looking to see who else might be gracing your mattress in her place).

So even if you never tell a woman you love her or you want to be her steady beau, just seeing her regularly will eventually cause her to infer that she now has “steady relationship” rights with you. And that will make her clingy.

Are You a Butterfly? At some point in your conversations with a woman, she will ask you if you’re a butterfly. Most guys will say no. After all, being a butterfly doesn’t sound like a compliment when women accuse us of it.

But I think it’s a mistake to deny it. If you tell her you’re not a butterfly, she has buy-in from you again. So if you are ever spotted straying, she’ll accuse you of being a liar as well as a butterfly.

I take a different approach. When asked if I’m a butterfly, I’ll say, “Of course, all men are … that’s how we’ve been designed.”

That seems to end the discussion quite cleanly. She can’t hang a guilt trip on me because I’m just being normal, not deviant. And there’s no buy-in. If she sees me with someone else later, hey, I never claimed I was not a butterfly. And in a twisted sort of way, she can even admire my honesty for admitting what she already knew is true anyway (that all men are butterflies).

Soft Heart. The best counter that I’ve heard yet to being accused of being a butterfly is the “soft heart” excuse. Amazingly, this one was suggested by a bar-girl to a buddy. We spotted the potential immediately.

Women get angry at guys who butterfly, partly because women will assume that if they were that great, you would be back to see them again. So if after sampling her wares you decide to move on, that will imply that the woman was somehow deficient. And that’s a blow to her ego.

The “soft heart” excuse comes from the other direction. You don’t butterfly because she’s not wonderful enough … you butterfly because she’s too wonderful.

In Thai culture, the concept of “soft heart” means that someone falls in love very easily. So describe yourself that way. Because you fall in love so easily, it would be much too dangerous to take a lady as wonderful as she is for a second night. If you did, you would not be able to keep yourself from falling deeply in love with her. So, when the time came for you to return home, you would be heartbroken. You wouldn’t be able to sleep, to eat, to work … your whole life would fall apart.

She is just much too easy to love. And that’s why you will have to take someone else tomorrow night. It’s the only safe thing for you to do.

As strange as it may seem at first glance, that angle has worked quite well for me over here.

And there you have it … an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. But for those guys who do end up in Bangkok with a wife or a girlfriend (whether imported or local), the next two columns will explore a couple of out-of-the way places where many ex-pats and other old Thailand hands enjoy straying in the afternoons when they need to butterfly but still keep a discrete profile.

Stay tuned …

Taking Coals to Newcastle

Let’s start this month’s column with quick poll: How many of you are aware that Thailand has something of a naughty reputation? Hands up? Hmm, it’s just as I thought … all of you knew that already.

It’s no big secret. If you should casually mention to your office-mates back wherever your home town is that you are thinking of going to Thailand for your next vacation, they’ll unanimously accuse you of planning a nonstop orgy of kinky sex with winsome babes half your age. Which of course is exactly what you’re planning, but you’ll still deny it vigorously … after all, it’s important to keep up appearances.

Given that world-wide reputation, who would be the last person you would want to bring along to Thailand with you? If your answer was your wife (or your girlfriend), you’re right again. Who in his right mind would want to bring his “significant other” to the world’s premier sex destination and thereby ensure that he could not partake in that most bounteous of buffets?

That would seem to make no sense at all. And yet, that’s exactly what many guys do … in both Bangkok and Pattaya, you’ll see many angry-looking Western women ambling through the entertainment districts with their usually sullen mates following behind wearing a hang-dog expression. What were they thinking???

It’s far more common than you might think. My best guess is that the guy really wanted to go to Thailand and his better half said “No way in Hell!” … unless she gets to go also, that is. So he figured half a loaf is better than none and reluctantly brought her along. Who knows … with luck, maybe he’ll even be able to slip away for some meaningful social interaction without getting caught.

In other words, it may not be the ideal arrangement but it’s also true that “some is better than none.” Since you might find yourself in just such a predicament one day, we’ll focus this month on how to come to Bangkok with your “one and only” without her actually ending up being your one and only while you’re here.

Here are “Uncle Hannibal’s Handy Hints”:

Where Not to Stay. If you’re bringing your “sweet petunia” with you to the Land of Smiles, under no circumstances should you take her to Pattaya. That’s just asking for trouble. But even in Bangkok, you’d be very wise to avoid staying in any hotel in the Sukhumvit corridor.

If you do go to Pattaya or stay in Bangkok near Sukhumvit, then your wife/girlfriend/warden will be treated to a non-stop parade of portly older gents (i.e. guys your size and age) who will have delicious young trollops (i.e. babes who are only about half of your wife’s size and age) hanging onto their arms. And those guys will be looking pretty damn happy about it, too.

That will put your own mate into a full defensive mode. It will not take a rocket scientist to figure out that she ought to keep you on a very short leash during your entire time in Thailand. And that is just what will happen: she won’t let you out of her sight.

Yes, lads … then you will be just another PDB (“poor dumb bastard”) sullenly following his scowling bride around the streets of Bangkok. It isn’t even fun to watch those guys, let alone to actually be one.

Better Places to Stay. You’re far better off avoiding the Sukhumvit area if you’re with the little woman. You may still see an occasional compatriot with his little slice of Heaven in tow, but it’ll be far less “in your face” than around Sukhumvit. That will help to keep your choke chain a bit looser so that you might be able to arrange to get a bit of unsupervised time here and there.

What alternatives are better? If you’ve got the bucks, some guys find the nicer places along the river to be good choices. These places are upscale and classy, which means that the men staying there will look less like reprobates and the hotels will keep bar-girls out (for purposes of image). The end result is that, if you’re lucky, your wife or girlfriend might decide that Bangkok’s reputation as a “Sin City” is far overrated (in much the same way as New Orleans).

If you’re on a tighter budget and the places along the river are beyond your spending limit, the other good choices would be any of the hotels in the Siam Square to Mahboonkrong (MBK) corridor. Siam Square and MBK are two shopping centers that are only about 400 meters apart.

There are dozens of acceptable hotels in that immediate area and any of those would be a decent choice. But there are two that I’d especially recommend if you’ve got a chaperone in tow. My first choice would be the Pathumwan Princess Hotel, which is located right at MBK (that’s an especially good thing, for reasons we’ll explore in a moment).

[The URL for Pathumwan Princess is: http://www.pprincess.com/]

If your budget is more snug, another good choice that’s less costly would be the Asia Hotel. That one is located one Sky Train stop up from Siam Square in the other direction (at the “Ratchethewi” stop) and there is direct access via a walkway from that Sky Train stop to the Asia Hotel. The place has several excellent restaurants and is only a Sky Train stop or two away from Siam Square and from MBK. All in all, it’s a very good alternative if Pathumwan Princess causes you a bit too much sticker shock.

[The URL for Asia Hotel is: http://www.asiahotel.co.th/bangkok.htm]

Timing is Critical. Problem #1 if you’re in Bangkok with your mate is how to keep your mate in the dark as to how much temptation there is in Bangkok for a man under ninety. That’s why you’d avoid taking her to the Sukhumvit area. Once you solve that problem, the next trick is to actually get some time apart from her (so you can avail yourself to those proverbial pleasures of the flesh).

And in that quest, the time of day is an important variable. If you slip away from ten in the evening until one in the morning, you’re going to have some serious explaining to do … and she won’t believe a word you say anyway. After all, she knows that men are skunks (because the daytime talk shows tell her so) and she will know that any town’s temptations come out in full bloom at night. After all, that’s why they call it night-life.

And it’s true … Bangkok kicks into high gear after dark. But it’s also true that Bangkok kicks into low gear after lunch, so there are many options for the eager monger during the afternoon. If you’ve got your mate in tow, that’ll be your easiest time for straying because she won’t realize that temptations also abound (albeit more discretely so) in the afternoons.

The Ultimate Baby-Sitter. Women are natural born detectives, so her suspicions will immediately be aroused if you seem too eager to disappear for a while. It’s a much better strategy to have her want to disappear for a while, since that way, you can be magnanimous about it and yet still end up with what you had been hoping to get all along (which is time apart from her).

Here’s the magic word: “shopping”. Women love to shop. It is their passion in life. Every year, USA Today does a poll on the favorite pastimes of men and women. For men, “sex” usually tops the list of favorite pastimes. But for women, “sex” is usually down around #6 on the list … their favorite pastime is always “shopping”. But if you have ever been married, you knew that already from your own experience.

But here you’re in luck … not only is Bangkok the world’s premier sex destination, it’s also very high on the list of top shopping destinations. And so you’ve got the perfect baby-sitter to keep your mate busy (so you can roam) … endless shopping and low prices. To a woman, that’s an irresistible combination.

Siam Square is fairly upscale and pricey … in other words, not all that much different from the malls back home. But MBK is different … it’s got endless stalls and kiosks carrying endless varieties of inexpensive stuff. More than you could imagine. Your mate could literally spend days wandering around the MBK complex looking at everything. And that is exactly my point. If you do stay at Pathumwan Princess Hotel, she need only walk through the door and she’ll already be inside MBK. She need never set foot out-of-doors and into the elements.

MBK also has many restaurants with a variety of exotic cuisines and it also has a food court with at least two hundred different food vendors to pick from … you can find just about anything to eat here other than “Twinkies”. Just take your mate there for lunch, have a leisurely meal, act like the heat must be getting to you and let her suggest that you go back and take a nap while she does a little shopping. Fact is, once she sees the place, there’s no way she will be able to resist spending hour after hour thumbing through everything. It’s Darwinian.

Not being quite so upscale, MBK is a bit warmer inside than is Siam Square, so it’s easy to fake weariness and heat exhaustion if you do get dragged along shopping. And since it’ll be in the afternoon, she’ll not realize the chance she’s taking when she suggests that you head back to stretch out and “watch a little TV”. And don’t worry, she won’t be back anytime soon. So you can head out for some quality time with some of the local lasses.

If you do get back and she is already back, just tell her you couldn’t sleep well because your muscles were feeling a bit stiff from all that walking and so you popped into a traditional massage place and got kneaded. Tell her that they really do a good job there and that she should give it a try also. That should allay any suspicions on her part since, if those places are dicey, you’d not risk inviting her to go along the next time.

And in a way, you’d be telling the truth … you really were feeling stiff (in one muscle, at least) from wandering around MBK. After all, it’s right next door to a major university and those co-eds in their school uniforms like to shop at MBK also when they’re between classes. Even your old Uncle Hannibal can wander around for an hour through MBK in a state of perpetual tumescence.

It’s the perfect crime. And now that you know how to escape the leash for a few hours in the afternoons, we’ll tell you in next month’s column about some of the places you can go for some afternoon delights. That way, you can then indulge in your favorite pastime while your mate is indulging in her favorite pastime. How great is that?

Stay tuned.