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While visiting the red light district in Asia, you’ll will be faced with phrases such as ‘beer bar’, ‘go-go bar’, ‘mamasan’, ‘lady drink’, ‘bar fine’, ‘short time’, ‘long time’, ‘GFE’, ‘freelancer’, ‘butterfly’ and many more.
I wrote a mini guide with the most used terms to help you understand the meaning and understand how things work.
There are stools around the bar and there are usually a couple of poles on the bar for the girls to dance round. Customers stroll around the complex until they choose a bar or are dragged to a bar by the girls working there.
The girls will then try to sell themselves to the customer by talking to him or entertaining him with bar games. Typical games are connect-four, jenga, dice games and hammering nails into a block of wood race.
AGo-Go Bar – these are indoor bars where the girls dance on stages. The Ago-go girls usually wear bikinis – they are no longer allowed to dance topless although it may still happen if the bar thinks the authorities are not taking notice.
The girls have numbers and customers can request a girl they like by number.
Mamasan – a woman who manages the girls working in a bar. Only the big bars and go-gos will have a mamasan. She will be an older woman who demands respect from the younger girls. She will be responsible for recruiting new girls, making sure the girls work well and liaising with customers.
Lady Drink – a drink that a customer buys for a girl. These will usually cost 90-180 baht above the normal bar price. The bar pays the extra to the girl as reward for selling the drink. Effectively, you are not only buying the girl a drink but also giving her a tip.
Bar Fine – the fee charged by a bar for taking a girl from that establishment.
The beer bars charge between 300 to 500 baht. This money is for the bar – seen as an introduction fee and recompense for the bar losing a worker for the night. The bar may pay a percentage of the bar fine to the girl but the customer still needs to pay the girl for her company.
The Agogos charge higher bar fines. Some Ago-go will ask for 1000 baht or more but this usually also includes the payment to the girl so the customer does not need to pay her directly.
Short Time – the customer takes a girl to a nearby room for a ‘short time’. The beer bar complexes and go-go bars often have short time rooms at the back of the premises. The customer will pay a bar fine, a charge for the room and an agreed price to the girl for her services (500 to 1,000-baht). When they are finished, the girl will return to work while the customer moves on to his next port of call.
Long Time – the customer will take the girl for the night (a ‘long time’) usually back to his hotel room. The payment to the girl is normally 1,000 to 2,000-baht. Some of the more up-market hotels do not allow overnight guests while others will charge a guest fee. (See the bottom of the page for some ‘guest friendly’ hotels.)
GFE – Girl Friend Experience. This is where the man takes the girl for the full length of his holiday and treats her like his girlfriend. The girl will act as a companion and guide. They will go to restaurants together, take day trips together and generally act like boyfriend and girlfriend.
Of course, the girl is still working and the man pays for everything and pays the girl for her time. The bar where the girl works will probably expect to receive a bar fine for every day the girl stays with the man.
Few stories develop from here; romance has blossomed from the GFE and develops into the WE (wife experience). This may be followed by the divorce experience and the going home with no money experience.
Freelancer – a girl that does not work from a specific bar. These girls will pick up customers at nightclubs or off the street hence saving the customer paying a bar fine.
Freelancers are often attractive girls who are confident they can pick up men without the advantage of a work base. They may therefore charge more than bar girls. They are also considered less trustworthy as they are harder to track down in cases of theft from the customer.
Butterfly – someone, male or female, who flits around from one partner to the next.