GFE - The Girl Friend Experience
One of the oddest concepts of the whole tourism sex trade must be the GFE -- Girl Friend Experience. It is quite fascinating to spend an evening down Bangla Road and notice just how many guys have picked up a holiday girlfriend. We are not talking about picking up a girl for a quick squeeze for the night, we are talking about a working girl who will be their companion for the length of their holiday.
The GFE is a strange concept but it is actually a significant section of the tourist sex trade. There are many men who come to Thailand knowing exactly what they are looking for, but they do not want the hassle of looking for it every night. It is much easier to make the effort once and then settle on the same girl.
How does it work? Basically, a man comes to Thailand for his holiday and on one of his first nights, he goes around the girly bars, picks up a girl and then keeps her for the rest of his holiday. She becomes in effect, his temporary girlfriend. She will not only be his sleeping partner. She will also be his companion. They will stay together, eat meals together, go on daytrips together and generally act like any other couple on holiday.
It is an odd idea but when you think about it, you can see the appeal for a single guy on holiday. He not only gets a sex partner, he also gets a companion and tour guide. He has someone to share his holiday. He has the chance to get to know his sex partner, to even form some kind of emotional bond. He avoids many of the hassles of being a single guy in Thailand such as not being able to enter a certain type of bar without being jumped on by all the working girls.
It is a convenient option. It gives the man a comfort zone.
Who Does the GFE?
There is a certain type of sex-tourist who scorns the GFE. They consider it soft. They are usually old-timers who have been playing the game for years. They have become cynical about the games the girls play. Perhaps they have done the GFE themselves and been burned. They talk about the golden rule of never going with the same girl more than once. To them it is just about the sex, get in and get out, no attachments.
It is often the first timers who do the GFE. They do not know the ropes so they let the girls lead, and many of the girls like the GFE. They get a regular customer, a comfortable hotel bed and plenty of good meals. They also get plenty of time to work on the guy. He is a potential long-term money source, perhaps even a potential husband. She will tell him her life story. It will be a heartrending tale of poverty and misfortune. By the end of his holiday, the girl will have him wrapped around her little finger.
However, it is not only the newbies who do the GFE. Many of the regular visitors also swear by the GFE. They like the convenience. It is a lot of hassle to deal with a different girl every night. They have to negotiate a price and then get her safely out of the door when they have finished. It is much more convenient to settle on a girl they like and keep her for the length of their holiday.
One of the big objections the cynical old-timers have about the GFE is that it can be very expensive. You are not only paying a barfine and a payment to the girl. You are also paying for the girl's food and they tend to be very good at ordering food, often way beyond what they can actually eat. Then you start paying for them to come along on daytrips or to go and see a show. It will not be long before she feels comfortable enough with the man to want a few presents. The GFE can quickly become an expensive experience.
The bar where the girl works will almost certainly want a barfine for every night that the girl stays with the man. By the end of the holiday, this will add up to several thousand baht. The bar may even expect the girl to bring the customer in for a few beers every evening.
At the end of all this, the girl still expects to be paid for her time. It is amazing how often guys are surprised when they find out their temporary girlfriend actually expects to be paid. They point out that they have already spent a small fortune putting her up in good hotels, buying her expensive food and taking her on trips. The thing is the girls do enjoy their little slice of the high-life but they are not that bothered about it. What they are actually working for is money.
This is one of the great misconceptions that many men have about the GFE. They think they are giving the girl something special by showing her good hotels, food and taking her on tourist trips. The girls really do not think it is that special. If they have been working for long, they have probably done it all before anyway. They come from poor backgrounds and they are accustomed to sleeping on mats and eating noodles. They are happy eating noodles. What they want is money.
This is the other big objection the cynics have about the GFE, it is so often followed by some sort of scam. It is usually the biggest scam of all, the 'falling in love' scam.
Even trying not to be cynical, it is hard not to be cynical about girls who stay with a man for two-weeks because he is paying them and then say they are in love. And of course, she will remain in love as long as there is some form of payment on the horizon.
These payments can come in many forms. She will need paying so she does not have to work in a bar. Sometimes the girl says she needs to be 'bought out of the bar'. That is a good one. She cannot just leave the bar, no, she has to pay to leave. Then she has to have more money because she is no longer making money from the bar.
It is amazing that western men have been coming in large numbers for several decades now and year after year, there always seem to be new ones who will fall for this absurd scam. The old-timers try to talk sense into them but there is usually no reaching them. The charms of a pair of big brown eyes and a cute body are always more convincing than some guy in a bar saying he has seen it all before.
Perhaps the most amazing thing of all, many guys actually find a great girl
from the GFE. Despite the absurdity of it all, through all the scams and horror
stories, despite the cynical old-timers, sometimes love does actually shine
through. There are many, many guys settled down in Phuket, happily married
to their temporary girlfriend.