Monday, January 12, 2009

An enjoyable night in Bangkok

"Which of those boys do you like the look of?" B asks, as we're sitting together at one of the gay bars on Silom Road Soi 4 in Bangkok.

Glancing over to the table that B's referring to, there are five Thai guys sitting down, all joking with each other and looking around. Although B calls them 'boys', they're all clearly over 20, but all of them look quite short and slim so 'boys' isn't a bad description. A couple of them are smoking, and I notice that one of the others has a cigarette packet in front of him. While I'm surveying the scene, one of them spots me looking at him and smiles back. He looks quite cute.

"A couple of those guys look quite feminine," I tell B, "and I'm not into that. The others might be OK if it wasn't for the fact that they smoke :-(. I enjoy kissing when I'm being intimate with another guy, but kissing guys who smoke isn't very pleasant!"

"Well none of those guys will do for you then!" says B sounding disappointed, "But in general, I don't think there's much harm in hooking up with guys like that."

"How do you mean?"

"Well, they're clearly all money boys!" explains B.

"Is 'money boy' the same as a 'rent boy'?" I ask.

"Yes, same thing. Some will be upfront about how much they want before going back to your hotel with you. Others will spend the night with you, and then in the morning they'll say things like they've got to go and visit their family or something, but don't have any money for the bus trip! But none of them probably want more than 1000 Baht, so it's a win-win situation. You get a fun night and a nice experience for your holiday which hardly costs you anything by your standards, and they get some money they can live on for a few days plus a cosy night in a comfortable bed!"

I'm not sure that I agree with B's assessment of the benefits of sleeping with Thai rent boys, but I let it pass. We carry on chatting about Bangkok gay life but soon I start to feel tired. The jet lag still seems to be affecting me, so we finish our beers and B walks me back to my hotel.

Five hours later, it's 4am and all of a sudden I'm wide awake. The jet lag is playing tricks on me :-(. It's 9pm back in London so if my body clock was still on London time I'd be going to bed within a couple of hours, however it feels like I won't ever be able to get back to sleep again!

Reluctantly I get up, and head into the lounge area of the small suite of rooms that I've hired and turn on my laptop. I answer a couple of emails, check the latest BBC news, and then a cunning plan hatches in my mind. If I could find a nice guy to visit me in my room for a bit of fun, I might well be able to get to sleep afterwards, because fun can be an excellent sedative :-). On top of that, as I've said before, I find it much easier to sleep when I've got a guy to share my bed with me :-).

I decide to try rather than gaydar, because gaydar is only popular in a small number of countries worldwide, whereas seems to be much more widespread. Logging into the Thailand chat room, I'm surprised to see around 60 guys there, even though it's the middle of the night. But most of them may be asleep so to stand any chance of finding a guy I put a little advert onto the open channel. Soon a couple of guys start chatting to me and one of the guys, who turns out to be called F, seems particularly promising:

F: Hi
GB: Hi
F: you in BKK?

A reasonable question, given that my profile probably still says London UK!

GB: yes, I'm in at hotel in central Bangkok, are you nearby?
F: yes, nearby
F: you got pics for me?

The pics on my online profiles exclude my face, so I tell him the address of a web site where he can find some pics which do show my face. We then chat a bit about what might be on the menu if we do meet up, and then he's got another question for me.

F: you have MSN?
GB: yes, somewhere, but I don't use it much at the moment.
F: we chat MSN?

I start my version of MSN, or "Windows Live Messenger" as it seems to be called these days, and I give him an email address so he can contact me on the system. Soon we've abandoned in favour of MSN:

F: hi
GB: hi again, this is GB, what's your name?
F: I 'F', nice too meet you
GB: nice to meet you too, F :-)
F: How long you in bkk ?
GB: just two more days
F: i c

Suddenly I get an invitation to start viewing webcam with F. I accept the invitation, but I need to tell him that I can't properly reciprocate.

GB: I don't have a webcam on my laptop here
F: it ok, i have seen your pic
GB: I see you, looks like you're in an office?
F: yes i am

Looking at him on his webcam, he looks just like he does on his profile pics, namely an attractive Thai guy. We chat a bit more, and I get the impression that he's quite keen so I tell him exactly which hotel I'm staying in. Occasionally he smiles at me through his webcam with a really cute smile that completely disarms me, so I start to get quite keen on meeting him too :-).

GB: are you near my hotel?
F: yes
GB: cool
F: you like to meet ?
GB: sure, we could meet, how long would it take you to get here?
F: 15 mt
F: you like me to come?

Yes probably, but I've just got one more question to ask. I always play safe, however I still think it's useful to ask a guy what his HIV status is, because I'm keen to avoid being infected myself. Although a guy's answer is unreliable, both because he could lie and because he might not know the truth, the fact is that the question still acts as a statistical filter. In other words, in any population of gay men, the proportion of guys who are in fact HIV positive even though they say that they're HIV negative will be lower than the proportion of HIV positive guys in population as a whole. Asking about HIV also raises awareness of the issue, which is a good thing too.

GB: do you mind me asking - are you HIV negative?
F: me HIV-
GB: me too
F: i test every 3 month

I tell him my room number but then I realise that there could be a problem

GB: you can't come up in the lifts without a card-key, so I'll have to meet you in the lobby of the hotel here
F: ok
F: and may you pay for my taxi
F: ?
GB: sure, taxis in BKK are cheap, it won't be more than 100 Baht will it?
F: 100 ok
F: but i need your name too ?
GB: my name is GB, why do you need my name?
F: because when they ask i will tell your name
GB: OK, when you arrive, come inside and there's a big christmas tree
GB: I will meet you near the christmas tree
F: ok
F: 15 mt
F: wait me ok
GB: I will take a shower quickly now
F: ok
GB: see you soon F
GB: x
F: see you

As a parting gesture, he sends me one of the MSN big red kisses that leaps out of the screen at me. How sweet :-).

I turn off my laptop and head into the bathroom. Emerging from the shower five minutes later, I'm looking through my clothes to try and find a pair of shorts and a T-shirt to wear when the phone rings.

"This hotel security, is that GB?"

"Yes?" I say, realising now why F needed to know my name.

"There someone here who want to come to your room, what you want me to do?"

"Yes, his name is F," I reply, feeling mildly irritated that a valid guest of mine has been stopped on his way to see me, "can you send him up?"

"OK, I bring him to your room."

"You'll bring him?"

"Yes, I bring him!"

"OK, thanks very much :-)."

Well I guess that makes it easier. I now won't need to lurk around looking suspicious in the lobby!

Within a few minutes there's a knock at the door, and opening it, I see F face-to-face for the first time. In the background there's a stout guy in hotel uniform, who's got a kind but business-like look on his face.

"You got 100 Baht for the taxi?" asks F, smiling at me anxiously.

"Yes of course," I say, a bit taken aback, "hang on and I'll get it."

I'm astounded that F didn't have enough money to pay the taxi driver, and hence needs to ask me for such a trivial sum. 100 Baht is only £2! I assumed that he'd pay, and then I'd pay him back later. Looking in my wallet, the smallest note that I have that's any use if 500 Baht, so I hand that to F who gives it to the stout guy.

"I go and get change," says the stout guy in a very matter-of-fact way, before turning to walk away.

"Well come in :-)," I say to F.

Having closed the door, I turn around to see that F has taken off his shoes and is sitting cross-legged on the sofa, clutching a cushion in front of him. He's wearing one of his cute smiles, which seems to say "please look after me :-)". I walk over to the sofa, smiling back at him, and squeeze in next to him on the sofa. He shifts along the sofa a bit and puts his legs down on the floor, and I put my arm around him.

"Thanks for coming over :-)," I say. "I guess we'll have to wait for that guy to come back with the change!"

"Yes, of course," he replies, and he turns round to give me a peck on the lips.

"Do you live in Bangkok?" I ask, while we're waiting.

"No, I hotel worker, looking for work," he replies, "but very difficult at moment. I was working in Phuket before. Never worked Bangkok. If don't get job soon, I will have to go home."

"Where is home for you?"

"I come from Chiang Mai."

"Oh yes, that's a city up north isn't it?"

"I not from City, but not far away."

Putting the cushion down, he turns to face me a bit more, and with one hand he starts rubbing my chest gently, searching for my nipple.

"Ahhh, so I guess you're from Chiang Mai province?"

"Yes, that right. Where you from?"

"I'm from London, England."

He's still gently rubbing my chest, but now he looks me in the eye and starts leaning forward to kiss me. I lean forward too, but as our lips touch there's a knock at the door.

"Ahhh, excuse me!" I say, "That'll be the guy with the change."

Indeed, when I open the door it's the stout guy from hotel security. He hands me four 100 Baht notes.

"Oh, thanks very much," I say, but once I've closed the door I suddenly feel a bit guilty. I realise that I should have given him one of the notes as a tip! After all, ferrying around the gentleman callers of the hotel guests and the change for their taxis presumably isn't in his job description. Next time, I'll try and remember to do the right thing.

When I turn around to walk back to the sofa, F is wearing one of his cute disarming smiles again.

"Why don't we go into the bedroom?" I say, reaching out my hand for him to stand up as I walk back to the sofa, "We'll be more comfortable in there :-)."

F stands up and I put my arm round his waist as we walk over to the bed. Turning to face each other when we get to the foot of the bed, I lift his T-shirt off over his head. He takes my T-shirt off too, and for a few seconds we just stand there hugging each other. The warmth of his bare-chested body against mine feels so good. Reaching my hands down his back I find the top of his shorts, and instinctively I bring my hand round to the front to loosen them. He puts up no resistance. After a few more hugs and kisses, we're soon both standing there in our underwear, so I nod my head towards the bed. He smiles, and I can tell from the look in his eyes that he's looking forward to getting to know me better.

Disengaging himself from me, he walks round to the side of the bed that's closest to him and gets under the covers. I do the same from the other side. We meet in the middle and immediately we start hugging each other. For a while, we just lie there with our heads on the pillows, kissing and cuddling as we let our hands explore each other's bodies. Reaching down, I realise that he's still got his underwear on, so I playfully rub his erection gently through the fabric. Before too long, we're completely naked, and slowly nature takes its course. It's a comfortable bed anyway, but now with a gorgeous guy underneath the covers with me, it's absolute heaven ...

"I think I'd better take a shower," I say to him shortly afterwards, "do you want one too?"

"Yes, good idea," he replies, with a satisfied tone in his voice.

Carefully I get out of bed, trying to not to let anything drip on the bed covers or carpet, and reaching the safety of the shower I turn the water on and wait for it to heat up. F reaches the bathroom shortly after me, and since it's a big walk-in shower, I beckon to him to come into the shower at the same time as me. By the time he joins me the water has heated up nicely, so we both quickly rinse ourselves before looking for the shower gel. We start by washing each other's backs, but then it seems stupid to stop there so we end up washing each other's chests and equipment too :-). Looking after each other like this feels so natural and comfortable.

"Will you stay for a while," I ask him while we're drying ourselves down, "you're welcome to sleep with me for a few hours if you want?"

"Yes, sleep would be good :-)," he replies, so we both head back to the bedroom and climb into bed again. It's around 5:30am and realising that I may fall into a deep sleep, I set the alarm for 8:30am before wrapping my arms tightly around his clean naked body.

We're still cuddling when the alarm goes off. Exploring his body with my hands, he's hard again and it feels great to hold it in my hand. Unfortunately though, there's not going to be any time to do anything about it because I've got to meet my Thai friend B soon, and I want to eat breakfast beforehand.

"Would you like to have breakfast with me?" I ask, "but we'll need to be quick!"

"Mmmmmmmm," he replies, and with his eyes half closed and an absolutely enormous smile on his face, he stretches his hands slowly out on either side, "still so ... sleeeeeepy!"

I can't resist cuddling him a bit more, but before too long we have to get up. While we're putting on some clothes he accepts my offer of breakfast.

The hotel does a good breakfast buffet, so we sit together and chat a bit about our lives. He seems to please me too, because he offers to fetch me stuff from the buffer.

"You want some fruit?" he asks, having finished what was on his plate.

"Yes sure, that would be nice :-)."

He returns with a plate laden with fruit from the buffet, including a couple of waxy dark red fruits that look a bit like apples.

"What are those?" I ask, pointing at the red fruit.

"Um, not sure in English!" he replies, "Chomphu in Thai," and later I discovered that the English word for them is 'Rose apple'.

"How do you eat them?" I ask, and he picks one up and indicates that one bites straight through the skin to eat it, indeed exactly like an apple.

Back in the room, F goes and sits on the sofa while I turn on my laptop to check my emails before meeting B.

"Let me show you where I working in Phuket," he says once my laptop is switched on.

Indeed, I'm curious to see where he worked, and after a few false starts we manage to bring up the web page of a gay guest house near Phuket. We then manage to find the web site of a big hotel where he also worked as a waiter in one of their expensive restaurants.

"But no work there now :-(," he says sounding sad, returning to sit cross-legged on the sofa. Again he's holding a cushion in front of him while wearing his cute disarming smile.

"Are you going to be OK?" I ask. "Do you have any money?"

"No, I have no money! Trying to find work here."

"Well I'll give you a bit, which will help you for a day or two anyway," I say, wishing I could do more for this lovely guy. Walking over to the sofa, I get a few notes out of my wallet and put them on the table in front of him.

"That's 1000 Baht!" he says sounding amazed.

It's still not quite time to go and meet B, so I quickly do a few more chores while F sits on the sofa. But when it is time to go, F stands up leaving the money on the table.

"Look," I say, picking up the money and forcing it into his hand, "please take this, don't worry, you didn't ask for it but I want to give it to you."

He looks at me with a very grateful smile on his face, and kisses me quickly on the lips before putting the money into his pocket. Walking over to the door together, we kiss each other again, before heading out to face the outside world. Soon we're downstairs in the lobby saying goodbye to each other.

"It's been really good meeting you," I say, "and good luck finding a job!"

"Thanks, I try. Send me an email sometime :-)."

"Will do!"

We don't kiss again in front of everyone in the lobby, and F walks towards the doors and out into Bangkok while I hang around waiting for B.

Looking back at those few hours with F, it was definitely a very enjoyable experience. However, I can't help wondering whether F was a 'money boy' after all. His story about trying to find work may well be true, but other aspects such as knowing that he needed to know my name to come and visit me suggest that he was a professional at meeting foreigners in hotels. If he was a money boy, he was certainly a very very good one, because the way he worked managed to overcome my biggest problem with money boys. I really don't like the idea of handing over cash in return for sex, but allowing me to think I'm gave him the money just to help him out is an excellent solution to that problem. In any case, either way it doesn't matter, and I certainly hope that he's OK and he finds hotel work if he that's what he wants.

One of the things that I've learned while being in Thailand, which is a predominately Buddhist country, is how important 'Now' is. The past has happened and one must let go of it, otherwise one carries it around like baggage. The future is also less important than 'Now' because it hasn't happened yet, and who knows what it has in store for any of us. An appreciation of 'Now' also has some correspondence with 'Freshness of appreciation' in Maslow's work. 'Now' is what matters most, and for those few hours that I spent with F, he was the most important thing to me. Although all my family, friends, boyfriends were still important to me, for those few hours that I was with F it was him who was my most important boyfriend, and I gave him all the love that I could. Now that it's all in the past, writing down what happened in this blog posting is helping me to let go of it too, otherwise I'll be sad because the experience is over and can't be recaptured. Instead, I intend to be happy because it did all happen, in exactly that same way that I'm happy because of all the other good things have happened to me in my life :-).


K said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
M. Knoester said...

On the other hand, he could just be a hotel worker who knows how these things go...

Sir Wobin said...

What a lovely story GB. A familiar tale but told this time from the perspective of the hotel guest. :-) If he was a hotel worker previously then it's highly likely that he'd know hotel protocol regarding visitors. He sounds to me more like an occational little wentboy than true blue money boy.

In 2006 when we visited Shanghai, an expat we made friends with said that the fashion among money boys there was to go shopping for designer clothing for him together in the morning rather than for him to accept hard currency.

Anonymous said...

Such a moving a account of your experience.. transient though it may be and tinged with melancholy. I would find it very difficult to disengage once there has been an emotional connection.. probably a character flaw in me :)

John Doe said...

Very interesting experience: how F sold his service to you without you even realising. He is a pro!

Judging from his background working at a gay guesthouse I am sure that he knows how to "soft-sell" his clients his service. He knows that those who log on the chat-room want company but may not be too comfortable with the idea of renting a boy, so they sell you what you need without feeling that you are buying the service. Just like truly luxurious hotel: they provide service without you being notice.

I am wondering how we can employ his selling skill in other areas of business. Mini-bond seems pretty close: selling you high risk investment products by packaging it as high yield low risk, to cater those who enjoys high return but refuses to accept speculative financial products.

Now you understand why Thailand excels in its tourism industry!

close encounters said...

great post GB - was also probably one of your most revelatory !

however, i do wonder (hope this doesn't sound too pompous) whether paying sex workers in those positions just encourages it ? not that i see a problem with people selling sex, if it done from a position of strength ...

Sean said...

I don't think he was a sex worker.

Just like any typical American or European person would know how a typical western hotel works, he probably knew how a typical Thai hotel worked....Especially since he worked in the industry, and has stayed in hotels before. It's not like it's an uncommon thing to know. Or can typical Thai people not afford hotels that foreigners would stay in?

GB said...

Well, it’s fascinating that people seem relatively evenly split as to whether he was a money boy or not! For what it's worth, apart from knowing that he needed my name to get into the hotel, the other things that me wonder were (1) being HIV tested every three months, and (2) the fact that he dressed like the money boys that we'd seen in the bar on the previous evening. However his English was reasonable, unlike any of the money boys in the bar, and he wasn't a smoker either.

I suppose that my best guess is that he is a young gay hotel worker who just enjoys meeting foreigners like me for fun in their hotel rooms, and probably acts poorer than he is in the hope of getting a bit of pocket money. Is that a type of part-time money boy? Anyway, I'll never know the truth for sure, but as I said in the post it really doesn't matter! Either way, I was glad to have his company :-).

GB xxx

Anonymous said...

What a lovely post, thanks. Just one question which I don't understand - this comes from previous posts too. How do you trust someone you've met an hour before to fall asleep with. God knows what can happen once you've fallen asleep? Sorry I'm not stirring but it's genuinely something I can't get myself to do.

Anonymous said...

Yes a lovely post!

The importance of Now is often under estimated.

You have inspired me to do something positive tomorrow (when It's now) to appreciate myself and the wonderful people who are in my life now.

I'd like to think that F wasn't. Ha ha but then again maybe I am just naieve.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for the post. Very touching.

I guess it doesn't really matter whether F was a moneyboy or no. As long as you had a great time, and felt like you were just helping a poor fellow.


GB said...

Good point Kail. I do worry a bit about that, so in this case I made sure all my valuables were locked in the safe in my hotel room before he arrived. Another thing is that when I'm with a new guy, I enjoy cuddling up to him so much that I only sleep very lightly, so if he got out of bed it would definitely wake me up. In any case, most people are honest, and as long the guy isn't an axe murderer I'd say that all the nice experiences that I've had outweigh the risk that one day something inappropriate will happen while I'm asleep.

Glad you guys liked this post Antony and harry_d.

GB xxx

The Honourable Husband said...

I don't think it's just a question of Buddhism, GB.

Many who aren't in the life, as it were, underestimate the spiritual dimension of a casual encounter.

If I may be horribly sexist for a moment, I suspect that women are good at being sensually in the moment, but not sexually so. A straight sexual encounter is so often laden with unspoken sexual expectations that real spiritual connection gets lost.

I have retired from the casual encounter game, with a splendid hot hubby. So I can hardly speak as a current preactitioner. But for me, the gay one-night stand was never the soul-less, draining experience which so many of our enemies argue it to be.

I met many fine men, and shared a spiritual connection with most--even if that momentary spiritual connection was never meant to last.

It's a myth that sex without romance must needs be shallow and exploitative. That's so heteronormative.


An amusing word verification this evening--poombena. Surely that should be poofbena?

Anonymous said...

moneyboy - 100%. dont romanticise the time you had - it was a transaction to him and you consumed his service. 1000 baht is a lot of money for most Thais. A construction worker earns about 3,000 baht a month - and an office worker about 15,000.

Anonymous said...

Money boy? Desperate guy in a tough situation? Who knows? What I do know is that there is a large cultural gap between we (usually older) farang, and the local boys. We're just lucky that these guys are happy to be friends with us. I doubt it would happen so easily in the West. Often I think we judge things from our own perspective, and often we get the wrong end of the stick.

I certainly felt a lot more comfortable about paying for things in Thailand once I understood that the local expectation and custom is that the person perceived to be the wealthiest picks up the tab. And in most cases, that's us. After all, we're seen as millionaires by the locals, and compared to them, we probably are. Certainly baht millionaires!

Having said that, I'm good friends with a wealthy Thai businessman. I've been out to many top bars and restaurants with him and his friends, and he has always paid - for everyone - despite my best attempts in a Western way to pay for some of these outings. Does that make me a money boy? Of course not! So I, in my turn, pay for my less well off friends, who accept this as the normal way of things. And they certainly aren't money boys either.

I hope this gives people another perspective on the subject. F was grateful for the money you gave him, and I'm sure he would be genuine in that. Good karma etc. Cheers.