Hey guys, it’s Seven. How ya goin’? This week, I’m starting yet another series. It stemmed from a conversation I overheard on The Steakhouse Co. terrace between a bunch of sad American dudes who were crying in their beers and moaning about the events of the night. The long-and-short of it was, they went gogo hopping for a few hours and got nothing out of it, and by nothing I mean, nobody got laid. The conversation ended with one of them whining, “All we did was spend money!” So in an effort to help those sad sacks who blow their savings on plane tickets, hotels, and Abercrombie shirts, come all this way, and still strike out, here’s part one of Patpong for Dummies—how to red-light. (Just FYI, these tenets will also apply to Nana and Cowboy. Also FYI, this is my 3rd or 4th time covering this topic, so apologies for any redundant info).
When these sods lamented that all they did was spend money, I got the impression that they expected something else to happen. I assume that ‘something else’ was likely to get lucky. I imagine that they imagined that the scene in gogo bars would be similar to what they’re used to back in their home country, where you go in and use your pick-up skills to lure in and seduce a woman.
Either that, or maybe they expected the opposite—to acquire arm candy with no effort whatsoever, as if gogo dancers don’t require any effort to get got. Maybe they went in, sat down, and waited for the magic to happen on its own, and when it didn’t, they finished their drinks and moved on to the next bar, where they again sat down and waited for the fish to jump into the boat of their own volition. Their mistake was likely one of these two. They either expected their Sunset strip bar banter to work, or they expected to score simply by virtue of walking in and sitting down.
You’ve heard the phrase, “You have to spend money to make money.” Well, in the red-light, you have to spend money to get lucky. Being handsome won’t help you. Your $100 flip flops won’t help you. Your man-bun won’t help you. Your cheesy pickup lines won’t help, because the girls won’t understand what you’re saying. Take all the social norms about dating that you accumulated through all those years of LA clubbing failures, and flush them. They won’t fly in Thailand. Here, money talks, and your bullshit cuts you off at the knees. Not to mention that in addition to the likelihood that Thai won’t understand what you’re saying about your expensive car and cushy job, they also won’t give a shit. Thai girls don’t value the same things white girls do. A Thai girl wants to know if you’ll be kind, funny, and help them pay their rent. The rest doesn’t matter. They also don’t care what you look like. To them, a chubby, balding, old dude with a fat wallet and polite demeanor is preferable to really handsome man with no cash and a dickish attitude.
And if you just walk in, sit down, and wait for the girl to throw herself at you, you’re probably going to schlep back to your hotel room broke and alone. That’s not to say it never happens. It does. From time to time, if you hit the exact right bar at the exact right moment (that moment is: a girl whose taste perfectly fits your look who also has an outgoing personality, and who is desperate for diaper money and who came to work in a great mood) you might experience that Bermuda Triangle of bargirl alchemy where she throws herself at you with no effort on your part. But that usually only happens in the smaller bars in the slower parts of town where there isn’t a lot of customer foot traffic. In that case, the girls and bars have to compete for customers, and that’s why they grab your arm as you pass by. It’s not cuz you’re hot. Sorry to burst that bubble for you.
Conversely, if you’re walking down Patpong Soi 2 past a busy gogo and not a single girl out front even takes notice of you, it’s because they’re not hurting for your business. If you want a girl to jump into your lap without making any effort, choose a bar with few or no customers. It’s basic supply-and-demand.
Now, if you’re in a busy gogo and you see a gorgeous dancer who hasn’t noticed you, all is not lost. But if you want her at your side, you do have to be something other than a dipshit. You need to buy her a drink. You need to make some friendly conversation. You can’t sit there like a bump on a log and blindly believe that somehow your wang will magically find itself inside her coochy. Maybe that’s sad news for all the shlubs who can’t get laid in their home country, and came there thinking it requires no initiative to find strange tang. But you do actually need some game to make it happen here, unless you’re Japanese. Gogo dancers do actually jump directly onto the laps of Japanese tourists, after first lining up before them like a buffet. If you’re farang and want a buffet line of your own, you’ll have to go to a teen massage joint (Sukhumvit 33). But in the gogo, you need to give her a reason to take interest. Now, the good news is, you don’t have to do much. Make eye contact. Smile. That’s usually enough to lure her over. If not, tell your server you want to buy her a drink. Then once she’s over, be something other than a boring dickhead, and you’re in. Ask for her name and where she’s from. If she speaks enough English, she’ll ask you questions. If your answers make her smile, you’re in. Ask her if she likes farang. If she says yes, point to yourself. If she says yes, ask her if she will barfine. If she says yes, ask her how much. Done and done. If she says no to any of these questions, give her tit a squeeze, finish your drink, pay, and leave. This is how it works, for the most part.
I feel like I’m not making this simple enough. No wait, that’s not right. I feel like the dudes outside The Steakhouse that night aren’t smart enough to get what I’m saying, so let me try to make it easier. Here’s exactly what happens when you walk into a gogo:
First, you step inside. Your senses are overwhelmed by A—the loud music and flashing lights, B—the sea of long legs and boobs in tank tops, and C—the bar staff beckoning you to an open seat. Focus on the latter, and find a seat. Then order a drink. If you’re lame, you’ll need a menu. It will not be helpful. The average price of a beer or cocktail is currently 150b so just order something. If you’re on a budget, order whatever draft special they were advertising outside before you walked in. If there isn’t one, get a Thai beer—Leo or Chang. Then sit back and take in the joint. Only half the dancers will be onstage. In a few minutes, that shift will leave and a new set of girls will come on, so if you don’t see anyone you like, take your time. Your drink will arrive along with your bill in a small cup or container. This is called a check-bin. Leave it there if you plan to have a girl over. You don’t have to pay until you’re ready to leave. People often moan in hate blogs about bars padding their bins, but in 10 years of living here it’s only happened to me in one place. Nonetheless, if you’re worried about it, just keep an eye on your bin. At the same time, check out the chicks. Some will ignore you. This is either out of shyness, or because they’re not interested in talking to customers. Some will try to make eye contact and coax/goad you into taking interest in them. This is for one of 2 reasons. Either they’re after a drink and only a drink, or they’re after a drink and a shag. If a girl is making eyes at you and you’re not interested, look away. If a girl walks up to your table and waves or asks to sit down and you’re not interested, say no. Otherwise you’ll get roped into buying drinks for girls you’re not into. If you see a girl you like, smile at her. If she looks away, try again. If she continues to ignore you, pick a different girl. When the one you want smiles back, point to her and make a drinking motion. This is you offering to buy her a drink. If she smiles and nods, it means she’ll come over after her dance shift. Then follow the above smalltalk instructions and you’re in.
If after waiting for the dance rotation you don’t find anyone you like, or anyone who is also interested in you, pay and leave. Repeat at the next gogo. If that prospect sounds like you’ll spend a lot of time and money on a wild goose chase, here’s a breakdown of where to go based on your girl-getting goals…
For the best looking girls: King’s Castle 1, Glamour, Bada Bing, Pink Panther, Black Pagoda. Caveats: King’s 1 girls favor Japanese tourists, but they’re not abject to farang if you’re charming and kind. Barfines in these places are at the expensive end (800-1,000). Competition among customers for the hotter girls is high.
For the best barfine prices: Thigh Bar and Kiss Bar. Caveats: there are fewer smokin’ hot girls in these joints, though that said, they each have a handful. If you want access to them, get there early as they usually get scooped up quickly.
For the best drink prices: Glamour, Kiss Bar, Thigh Bar, Black Pagoda. Glamour and Black Pagoda have happy hour deals. Kiss and Thigh have cheap Chang draft specials.
For places with less foot traffic but at least one hottie in their ranks: Thigh Bar, Kiss Bar, King’s Castle 2, The Strip.
For places with the most outgoing girls: Bada Bing, Black Pagoda, Kiss Bar, Thigh Bar, and The Strip.
For Belgian beers: Kiss Bar, Thigh Bar.
A side note about barfines and taking a girl out of the gogo: I almost forgot to mention it because this is elementary info for seasoned whoremongers, but for you noobs, there are two kinds of barfining—short time and long time. “Short time” is when you get the girl’s company for an hour, and then she goes back to the gogo. Typically this means hitting a short-time hotel somewhere in Patpong for your bedroom activities. If you want the girl to stay with you overnight, that’s called “long time” and it usually costs double. So to be clear, you pay the barfine to get the girl, and then you still have to pay the girl. The short-time fee is one price, while her long-time fee will typically be double the short-time fee. And many of the girls won’t go long-time, because they have kids, boyfriends, or both waiting back at home. Be aware of this before you seal the deal.
The rest is up to you. For dudes looking to get lucky, the Bangkok red-light comes the closest to shooting fish in a barrel, and yet somehow some of them still screw it up. I hope the above advice provides some help for those wide-eyed, wet behind the ears greenhorns trying to navigate the naughty nooks and crannies of Patpong. One final tip: sit back, relax, and enjoy yourself. Happy vibes are better bait for gogo girls than that grim, depressed scowl you brought with you. In the immortal words of that cartoon bitch in that one movie, Let it go, let it goooooooo! And have fun. That’s the whole point.
Swing by on Friday for a frowback, and cheers to another week above ground in the greatest red light district in the world—Patpong. Peace out!