“Nice to meet you. My name Neon.”
When entering a Thailand watering hole, I first look for a pool table, then a halfway cute partner. Failure to select someone means you will likely be paired with one of the less attractive girls while the bar proprietor keeps the “lookers” stationed out front to draw in more suckers. Neon clearly stood out, then further impressed me by taking one out of three games of Eight Ball. As one who has little patience with women who whiff shots then giggle uncontrollably, her left-handed, no-nonsense pool stroke was refreshing. I quickly bought her a beer as I nursed a Jim Beam and coke.
Unlike the U.S., when you buy a woman a drink in a Thai bar, the question is not if she will go home with you but when. It definitely cuts through the BS one runs across back home and most important, eliminates the need for the guy to have some dynamite pickup line. (Me, I could not talk an alcoholic into entering a liquor store.)
With the booze flowing, we soon were having a merry time, not really caring who won each game. Soon I broached the idea of our going home together, with Neon quickly consenting. Paying her bar fine (the fee for taking a girl out of the establishment), I gallantly escorted her around the corner and up the street to my studio apartment.
In my room I already had the usual weapons of mass romance in place: candles, Elton John’s greatest hits, a used towel immaculately folded, a used toothbrush carefully inserted back into its wrapper… For one frightening moment I feared I had misplaced the condoms, but when I brushed against my suitcase and it rebounded off the wall, I realized where they were.
Nevertheless, there was one unforgivable oversight: I had forgotten the wine! What was Neon going to think, entering an apartment that lacked a robust Chardonnay?
There are moments in your life when you stand at the precipice. When the difference between ruin and redemption hinge on a few well-chosen words.
Neon supplied them: “You have whiskey?” A pretty, lithe, brown woman with a mischievous smile asking if I had hard liquor?!?! This was beyond anything I had ever fantasized about. Nervously, I suggested that though I was out at the moment, perhaps a run to the nearby 7-11 could be done to pick up a bottle (or two or three).
Neon said that was fine and while I was out she would take a shower.
The neighborhood 7-11 is right around one hundred meters from the front gate of my apartment building. I made it there in .03 of a second under the gold medal time at the Beijing Olympics.
Arriving back at the love nest with the booze, I immediately poured her a Seagram’s and water, then hurriedly took a shower of my own. A few minutes later I was back in the room and noticed her empty glass.
This concerned me. Had she spilled it? Seeing no evidence, I decided to make her a second drink and stood slack-jawed as it quickly vanished.
“I corny! You make me very corny!”, Neon suddenly and repeatedly exclaimed as she climbed onto the bed and began sliding towards me. (And just what the hell was she saying? Horny?)
To my horror, and far too late, I realized the monster I’d created. Grabbing the Seagram’s bottle (the one non-organic object with a chance of sustaining her attention), I slowly backed into the bathroom. In a last, desperate attempt to stave off a sexual version of the Alamo, I raised it over my head. “Stop!” I cried, trying to keep the terror out of my voice. “You try boom-boom me, no drink more whiskey!”.
My neighbor found me the next morning. The door was partly open and I was curled up in a fetal position in a corner of the room, mumbling something about Davey Crockett. I was taken by a friend to a local physician who prescribed some sedatives while gently poo-pooing the idea of a woman with an uncontrollable sex drive. While intrigued to have met a Thai who had obviously married an American girl from the Midwest, I nevertheless tried to convince him of the lethality of the local species and the need to warn other foreigners. But it was an exercise in futility. Finding his condescending attitude infuriating, I finally stormed out of the office.
That afternoon I left an envelope addressed to Neon at her bar. Inside was the doctor’s business card. I figured he deserved a walk on the wild side.