Thailand is known the world over as not only the land of smiles but also as the land of a short time, meaning that many of the people who visit Thailand are there for the nightlife and the services it provides. These services usually come in the form of a young Thai Go-Go dancer who is “owned” by the bar she works in.
Now prostitution in Thailand is not necessarily legal, but the bar owners have found a way around what few laws are enforced. By buying a dancer ten “Lady drinks” she is considered free for the rest of the night and can go with you to handle business on her own.
Many foreign men, called “Farang” by the locals, have made the devastating mistake of thinking they can help and change these young women by taking them away from the bar but they soon learn the truth behind a seasoned ex-pat saying, “You can take the girl out of the bar but you can’t take the bar out of the girl.”
There are hundreds of horror stories about men being taken advantage of and left heartbroken with empty wallets. Why would these women want to return to a life that is not only considered shameful by their own people but also generally looked down upon by the rest of the world? The answer to that is a complex one.
Poor, young, and pretty
Almost all of the bar girls in the touristy areas of Thailand places like Phuket and Bangkok come from the poor rural area of Isaan. These girls were more than likely bought for less than fifty US and were forced to sign a contract that limits them to only working and living in the bar with almost no days off.
They agree to this because the families, either by circumstance or laziness, could use the extra money they could send them. Money is very important in Thailand, as it shows the status and is associated with well-being.
A fact of life
The economy in Thailand is bad, farmers barely ink out a living, and factory work is dangerous but moderately well paid. An average Thai could live well on less than two hundred US but they would live far lower than people who work in large corporations or western businessmen.
A bar girl gets a taste of living among the upper class and can make a large amount of money in a single night. She dances, drinks, parties, and doesn’t have to get up until the afternoon. Gone are the crack of dawn labor days and just getting by. A bat of an eye, a well-timed dance, and a bargirl could be set for the week.
Why it happens
The average Farang falls into the bargirl trap because he makes a simple mistake; he believes the words that she tells him. He believes that she loves him, that she has never felt this way before, that to her last night was special. He does not take into account that she has told this to many men before him because she knows that is what they want to hear, it’s part of her job.
So the Farang offers to pay her bar fine for the week, maybe even send some money back home to help out her parents and that infamous sick water buffalo. Then when the sad day arrives that he must leave she promises him that that life is behind her and that he is the only one for her. He goes back home, talks with her every night on the cell phone he bought her, and pines away like a teenager.
Then the requests for money become more and more frequent, and phone calls go unanswered but when the bill comes in she’s gone over her minutes, so the Farang assumes it is the distance that is the problem and doubles his efforts to return.
He shows up at the airport but his sweet and loving bargirl has already departed, now she is constantly asking for money, ducking out on him for ours and to his horror, the innocent passion in their relationship has dwindled. So he gives and gives until the day she moves on to someone else with deeper pockets.
In the end, it comes right down to the fact that bargirls and westerners live such different lives little to no common ground can be found. What is just a fact of her life, sadly brings out the white knight in some men. Is it any wonder that when that man, who has more money than she or her family will ever have, comes by and offers to give and give that she takes it until it stops or something better comes along?