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Monday, June 06, 2005

Silk Stalkings 3: The Dark Side of the Always-Connected Mobile Life

It may be merely a side effect of my early inexperience with women, or it may be, as some people have recently claimed, something about my personality or ways I choose to meet women, but I have accumulated four stalkers in the past few years. This post covers the third one... Endless Love is a story of a first love that never leaves, and Dedicated Reporting is a story about a very focused journalist in pursuit of, well, something involving me... I'm not sure what, and I know I don't want to find out.

Obviously due to a subconscious desire to replace my aging liver, I have visited many drinking establishments in Asia, which I tried to justify in a prior post. A few places I go to more than once. A regular can gain some benefits, I suppose, but since I am usually taken there rather than going there, I don't always get a choice.

The higher-end, so-called "A level" establishments are quite nice. They are decorated tastefully, and look like a really big room with little nooks of couches and chairs that can seat between four and ten or so. You can pull up a chairs if you feel cozy. There is usually a karaoke system augmented by one or two musicians (pianist, guitarist, saxaphonist, or, at least in once case, one person who could play all three.) The ambiance is like a club where you can hear (and support) the singing of others.

They also have women that serve you drinks and can make conversation, or not, as the occasion may warrant.

Because there are usually only four to eight seating areas, not anybody can wander in at any time. Usually the patrons are part of a similar extended network: professors, diplomats, corporate executives, musicians and actors, or general movers and shakers across professions.

So it's quite different from a bar.

There are also places that are a warren of karaoke rooms. These are more famous on the Internet because some of them will allow sexual activity with the women. They are considered B or C class places. And I'm oversimplifying, there are a variety of other places in between, including ones that are family oriented and places for nightclub dating. But I digress.

I am mostly attending these A level drinking establishments. One that I have attended a few times has a woman named Susie. She pours drinks and engages in conversation, similar to what Jenny did at a different establishment.

Most of these places are owned by women who successfully found men to sponsor them. As described in my previous post this is the career path for a woman who works at such a drinking establishment.

Given that a huge proportion of young women are working in such places, the competition is fierce to be in the higher end establishments that have richer clientele. Most of the girls will trade sexual favors with businessmen to make money on the side. Some of them do quite well this way. Park and Young told me they had mistresses this way, buying them condos and establishing their first businesses.

This gave me all kinds of paranoias about Jenny's background in a similar high-class drinking establishment, as I will write about later, but this post is about Susie.

I met Susie late last year. Susie looked a lot like an anime character, in a good way. She was twenty four, a sleek young woman with large anime-character eyes, a drop-dead gorgeous face and long hair, and nice legs. She was an aspiring Singapore Airlines stewardess, spoke four languages, and was raised in Russia. Her looks were outstanding. In fact, Park, the person who took me to this place, wanted her badly, and he was pretty picky. Unfortunately for him, his former lover was the owner of this establishment, and would sit with him whenever he came.

Susie was the #2 girl; there was a special term for this position, which was usually occupied by a younger girl with the largest number of regular clients. In order to retain her loyalty, the owner would mentor her and cut her in for some profits.

The drinking group was led by Park's older brother, a famous diplomat who routinely stayed out until 5 AM drinking. It was an off day for him, as we wrapped up around 4 AM, but the point is that Susie was drunk by the end of the evening.

All the remaining girls were at our table, since there was nobody else at the establishment. Susie was clearly interested in me; she would request my singing some American songs and would press closely to me to sing with me when I was up at the microphone, and when we were seated her hands would roam just a little bit, touching my hair, my arm and hands, or my leg. Although it was subtle, it was unusual initiative for an Asian woman in a semipublic area. It was enjoyable, as I was pretty tipsy myself, but I didn't think much of it afterwards.

A few days later Susie sent me an SMS saying that I should take her to dinner for her birthday. I was surprised, as I had explicitly not given her my phone number, despite her requesting it a few times. But she had pulled the abandoned handphone trick, and gained the courage to proposition me. After I figured this out, I replied, quite curtly, that I was too busy. I had assumed that she would demurely give up, given the traditional sterotype of the non-aggressive Asian woman. But this turned out to be wrong.

Yeah, I am not a fast learner.

Susie sent me daily SMS. They were relatively innocuous, justifiable as an English lesson more than an SMS-driven flirting. But of course I wasn't picking up on the cues very well in these very short messages. This became apparent when I next went to her locale. I made mild objections to the location, wanting to avoid meeting her again, but Park's brother insisted. When we got there Susie immediately sat with me and resumed the touching behavior. This was our second establishment we were visiting that night, so we all had a little to drink. By the end of the night, Park's ex-lover was showing off her singing talents and doing some dirty dancing with Park, and Susie was trying her best to seduce me. But unsuccessfully.

By this time I had my relationship-altering kiss with Jenny. This had not made me a believer that I loved Jenny, not at all. What it made me believe was that alcohol had an aphrodisiac effect on me, and my instincts were not be trusted. So I controlled myself and told her no.

As we stumbled out, Park said I must be insane.

Actually, rather than any jealousy Park was strangely pleased that Susie took a liking to me. I think it's a hobby for my business associates in Asia to try to set me up with women. Some kind of odd challenge for them after they "adopt" me as a "younger brother." Young, for example, tried to set me up with Jenny. (I'll preview a fact I'll address in a later post: Young does not know I continue to see Jenny.)

But that really started the torrent of SMS messages. Susie had a lifestyle typical of attractive girls at these A-list places. Generally they wouldn't get to sleep until nearly dawn, and they would wake up around 2 PM. Then they would shop, grab dinner, and go to their drinking establishment. On the weekends or day off they might meet their patron or patrons. They would be constantly answering SMS and phone messages from prospective patrons.

Sadly, this cycle made it difficult to make much personal or alternative career progress, and in Susie's case that was advancing her likelihood to make it into Singapore Airlines.

(By the way, this lends some context to the magnitude of achievement of Jenny's focus in order to attend both work and teaching certification classes while she was doing thrice-weekly stints at her drinking establishment and being tempted by offers for fast money -- although she confessed she would fall asleep in class. More on this later. I promise.)

Nor was it easy for them to date people of their own age and circumstance. Part of the issue was the way their schedule worked, another part was the nature of their job (how easy is it to have a girlfriend that drinks every night with rich men?), and yet another part was the difficulty for a young man to compete with these elite customers. Another related issue was also the outlook on men that women would gain from work like this. The men were generally arrogant and drunk, and when not discussing business would engage in what I call "fraternity flirting", which although usually not explicitly demeaning to women, would certainly show a chauvinistic sexual outlook.

Anyhow, Susie's daily schedule gave her sufficient free time to call a half-dozen times in the afternoon, and send a dozen SMS messages in the evening; and as the night wore on and she got more influenced by the alcohol at work, the messages would become more suggestive or more desperate. It was getting to the point between Susie and Haley where I was so jumpy that I wanted to run away from my handphone whenever it rang. Its tones became sinister and fearsome.

This whole situation illustrated the kind of desperation that would normally start hitting women in her profession around their early thirties, the urge to start making their career work, otherwise to face growing old alone and without material support. It's a cruel society, but it is the society they are in. I wonder if it hit Susie a little earlier than normal because she worked in an establishment mostly with older women, and she was also very close to her boss, Park's ex-lover.

Susie wasn't a very smart person, but she was tenacious. Her instinct was to grab hard and hold on, and her understanding of how to turn men on was geared to men raised in a different society from mine. I dislike the feel of entitlement, for example, which she was very good at giving the illusion of providing such to a man.

Another sad woman, looking for a relationship in the wrong place.

As of early May Susie stopped sending me messages. According to Park, she quit working, and he said that his ex-lover claimed that she had found somebody to support her. It's interesting. Maybe this is her dream come true. But then again, maybe it will ruin the only dream she has.

What does this say about society and relationships?

2 Comments:

Blogger SBB said...

Generous, polite and well-mannered guys always leave themselves prone to stalkers. Why? Because women can be psychotic bitches when they don't get what they want (sometimes even when they do).

So can guys, but that's the 0.1% who will actually come over, stalk you and then cut your dirty heart out.

Girls typically do the stupidly desperate things you wrote about (repeated sms / phone calls, hanging around outside your house, threatening and perhaps feigning suicide). Perhaps it's because most women have very little dignity or a real sense of self-worth.

Understanding that "Everyone wants what they can't have" works both ways is a very, very difficult thing to do.

6/06/2005 2:58 AM  
Anonymous Von said...

That's quite an annoying generalization. Over the past few years, I've had more male friends/ex-boyfriends threaten suicide and persist with phone and mail messages than female friends.

8/24/2006 11:12 PM  

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