Sunday 27 December
Christmas came and went pretty much as it always did – getting pissed up on Christmas Eve and cry-singing Fairytale of New York alone on a street somewhere in Almaty, Kazakhstan, while planting my face on ice. The hitchhike to India was on a brief hiatus for the festive period. I’d been venturing to a load of ex-pat bars, which sometimes I can stand and other times I’m just met with a load of middle-aged business wankers who think the sun shines out their collective arses and they know everything about everything. Thankfully my experience here is more the former, and is nothing like that of Baku. The same can’t be said about the hookers.
Now most people who know me – and maybe a few who don’t – understand my stance on prostitutes. Perhaps I’ve mentioned it before: Never have, never will. I used to work with them – the desperate end of the game, trying to feed a child, get off heroin and back into society. I swore I would never pay for it. Not even so much as a happy ending. I wouldn’t be my father’s son if I did. The only times I frequent strip bars is to try and convince beautiful strippers to come with me as I can save them from this insalubrious life.
That last part isn’t strictly true.
Recently this staunchly unwavering stance has begun wavering, and there’s a number of reasons why. A large percentage of the most gorgeous women I’ve ever seen are in this part of the world, and a large percentage are for sale – and it’s not out of desperation or a final straw. These women actually enjoy it. Many of them are just adding a bit of extra pocket money. Some are paying college tuition. All of them are stunningly beautiful.
Added to that, ever since I began traveling, men of all ages, colours and creeds have been talking about their experiences with ladies of the night, and it has to be said, they make a lot of sense. It’s no different here. I’ve been told it’s just a matter of time by wiser men than I. One friend in particular (a good-looking 51 year old business owner) talks a good game. He tells me he doesn’t chase girls. He claims he doesn’t date in the conventional manner of going out drinking, splashing out on dinner, buying a girl this and that, spending wildly in order to take a girl home. He sits and he does his work, then when he feels horny, out he goes, pays less than $100 for an Aphrodite or two, then goes home to continue working or something equally as productive, and is consequently very successful. I quote: “I sell my brain, they’re just selling a different part of their bodies.”
Of course maybe there’s something to be said for youth, but you have to admire the simplicity.
Now when I think about the amount of money I’ve “spent on women” it beggars belief. And by “spent on women” I mean spent entirely on myself at the bar hoping to drink myself attractive. Oh sure I’ve parted with dollars on the occasional meal/round/flights/all expenses paid weekend away to further my chances of getting lucky, but haven’t we all? A friend once said that if I pursued an acting career as much as I pursued girls I’d be a superstar. Imagine if I’d put into practice my hostel friend’s logic and just popped off to do the deed, then back to focusing on work? The amount of time, money, energy and effort I would have saved?! Not to mention how thankful my lungs and liver would be?! Think how much Lego I could have built?!
So one night my concupiscence is abnormally rabid and I find myself in a hooker bar. I say a hooker bar, it was just a bar where every girl was a hooker – which is pretty much standard in many places in central Asia. To be honest the only real reason I was there was the late licence and I can drink until dawn, and get a kick out of ignoring a hot girl’s attention in favour of booze. Actually I’ve got delusions of grandeur some smoking babe will feel my pain and drag me home for a freebie but, if you’re good at something, never do it for free. Every goddess in this place has a price.
Now there’s this one leggy femme fatale, schmoozing at my arm, with either a deadly shade of lipstick or a pistol in her purse. She’s mesmerising in a movie star figure-hugging red dress, with blonde hair and that Slavic look I adore. An extra from Lord of the Rings. And no, not an Orc. Eyes like a wolf, cheekbones like razors, skin like fine China, she’s nursing a coffee and trying to get my attention by swinging her incredible pins suggestively in my direction from the bar stool. She’s pivoting her (one imagines) perfect arse back and forth, but I’m intent on not being sucked in. Until I decide to ask her a question.
“Why do you do this?”
She glides over and we fall into a brief conversation, but I can see the glazed expression that comes over her eyes when she realises I’m probably wasting her time. It’s the same look an actor gives you when not talking about themselves. Anyway I’m drunk enough to play the “I’m interested” card in order to keep her talking, because I so desperately want to understand more about “them”. She’s a 23 year old medical student, charging $100 an hour to cover her student fees. I ask “what would that get me?” “Anything you want except for anal”, comes the reply. I take a massive swig of my gin while I weigh up the proposition. For a first timer, you couldn’t do better. 100 bucks for a ten out of ten, then I could stop boozing and go home. But at that precise moment a group of excited business men with money to burn bustle in and I lose her. She knows a real paying customer when she sees one. Looks matter not.
Since I’m the only guy at the bar, she’s replaced with two of the same calibre who swoop in. One has breasts I can only dream of, the other looks like Lauren Bacall Mark II. $200 for the two of them to take me home. My first ever threesome for less than it would cost me for my usual night of frivolous hedonism, hunting and smashing back liquor. In the UK at least. Apparently this is quite expensive for here.
OK, think about one of your heroes Stuart. What would Charles Bukowski do..?
Something that my father wouldn’t. And so I up and leave, swaying into the taxi-rank and slurring at a driver to find me “real” girls, only on arrival to once again fend off chicks turning tricks and mainline vodka, while bizarrely being shown a load of baby pictures by a proud new Kazak dad. Finally I call it a day sometime when there is actually day in the sky, and return for a crying wank in the shower. Except I can’t get it up, so the whole night would’ve been wasted regardless.
Obviously not all of this is so “glamorous.” The Dickensian side exists too. While returning from a night out with a friend in Shymkent, I ask a taxi driver to take me to a sauna. Now I’m not about to do anything – it’s just out of curiousity. He leads me to a darkened ally, and a door slightly ajar. Urging me in, I’m greeted by two old women, who spring up, and hastily make their way through to another room, crone fingers beckoning. There, on the sofa, are two young girls being ushered and poked awake by elderly hands and voices. I honestly couldn’t tell you their ages and I didn’t stop to find out. In that moment I was disgusted by everyone in the room – including myself. I made my excuses (as always intended) to the driver, using charades to explain that there’s been a mistake and all I wanted was another beer. I beat a hasty retreat, shuddering in the cold as I left those two poor wretches behind.
Never have, never will. It still stands.
To sum up dearest readers, in spite of hearing some cogent, persuasive arguments while traveling, I’m not going to give up my resolution just yet. Plus mum and dad would be turning like tornadoes in their graves if I did and cause an earthquake on the west coast of Scotland. After having survived already through many parts of the world with the most gorgeous prostitutes (I’m looking at you Colombia) this side of Valhalla, I feel pretty pleased with myself I’m still a hooker virgin. However my toughest test is yet to come if I make it alive to South East Asia. They don’t call it Bangkok for nothing.Read More