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”.

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