“I love you long time Mister!”

Ah, whatever happened to the good old days of Saigon and its ready population of mamsans, girls, and far-less mentioned boys? Oh, right. Communism won, prostitution – just another name for capitalism – lost. Big time. Over the border in Thailand where G.Is went for some R & R from the flesh pots of Vietnam , business continued as usual. And still goes on today though the customers’ cammies have been replaced by T-shirts bearing the names of corporations who have since bought what could not be won through the use of armament. ‘Long-time’ is a tradition in SE Asia, one that today still allows you a chance to fall in love with a paid companion.

Short-time, on the other hand, is the more familiar scheme in commercial sex transactions all over the world. The twenty dollar blow job is still a staple of the industry on street corners across America. There are pros and cons to short-time trysts. And there are pros and johns who prefer them. It’s wham, bam, and no time left for a thank you; get in, get off, and get on your way. In the local parlance it’s a case of you cum, I go. There is a world of difference between long-time and short-time offs. With all the benefits a long-time off offers then, are you shorting yourself with a short-time off?

That’s the easy question to answer: Hell no. An orgasm is an orgasm. The rest is but a side dish. If all you are interested in is that quick moment of ecstacy and relief, short-time offs are the answer. And it’s a discounted, cheaper climax too boot. There’s little need to establish a rapport with your boy du jour in a short time off. It’s about sex, not friendship. And for many visitors to Bangkok’s gay gogo bars, that’s exactly what they want.

Cheap bastards are aficionados of the short-time off, too. It depends on the town and area you are making your purchase, but generally a short-time off will run you 500 baht less. You won’t be on the hook for associated costs either. No need to feed the boy, buy him gifts, or fall for the ‘I need money for taxi’ ruse. Guys who get offed for a short-time know the opportunity for additional income is limited; all his customer wants is a quicky. Paying for sex instead of paying for the illusion of love is a much cheaper proposition.

After the question of ‘how much’ the second most frequently query from newbies to Thailand’s world of gay gogo bars is the difference between short time and long time offs. Not the price difference, the difference in time. For the newbie it’s a confusing issue. When does a short time off turn into a long time off? And how long do you get for a shorty?

The answer, like with many things in Thailand is, it’s up to you. A short-time off can last only as long as it takes you to climax. It doesn’t even necessarily require physically offing a guy. Some bars, especially those along soi 6 in Patpong, have rooms available to save you the time of trekking back to your hotel. There are also several nearby inns, hoe-tels well-known by the boys if you are clueless, that rent their rooms by the hour saving you time once again (though not necessarily saving you money). That’s the paradigm customers are used to even if they don’t use the services of sex workers back home and requires little explanation. The short time off that last a long time is the confusing one.

If you leave the premises, whether its your hotel or a flop house you go to, the expected tip for a short time off is the same regardless if you spend twenty minutes or several hours. Some customers like to take their time. Others just want to get on with it. Some boys want to get the whole thing over quickly too; there’s always the chance they can score another off if they get back to their bar quickly. In other cases though, the boy who is not entirely repulsed by his customer, might want to spend a bit longer. If nothing else, he can get in a few hours of TV time.

Some customers don’t want to rush through the experience either. They may want to spend time getting to know their boy du jour; they may need some time to become comfortable with the experience. Depending on how early you hit the bars and how quickly you pick a companion out, a short time off can last several hours. And if it is the finish and not the lead-in that curls your toes, you can be done with the whole thing in a matter of minutes.

The dividing line between short-time and long-time offs is not the hours spent, but the hour of departure. If the boy snuggles in to spend the night entangled in your arms sleeping, your short-time off just became a long one. While I am a proponent of avoiding miscommunications by stating what you want before offing a guy, on the ‘how long’ question I usually let the circumstances dictate the length. Some guys only do short-time offs. They either have a wife and kids to get home to, or friends they want to hang out with after work. Whether it is for that reason, or they just were not all that impressed with you, they’ll let you know yours was a short-time off by getting cleaned up and dressed as soon as the sex is finished.

Sometimes either the sex isn’t all that good, or you just didn’t connect with the guy and you don’t want them to stay. It’s just as easy to signify that you’ve decided the night was a short-timer: you can ask him if he wants to take a shower before he leaves, or just get your cash out. Traditionally, you pay at the end of your time together, so when the baht makes its appearance, both of you know your time together is done.

In my experience, most guys who want to spend the night will ask. “I stay?” is a common query when the boy wants to stay over night. Non-verbally, if he showers and then hops back into bed, his intentions are clear too. It’s still up to you then, but unless he was a total dud it’s difficult to not agree to fall asleep with him in your arms. With an over-nighter there is also the possibility of morning sex, though there is some debate on that issue. Some believe you are paying by orgasm, if you had yours the night before you are not entitled to another one before sending the boy on his way the next morning. Others feel that as many orgasms as you can fit in are your right. More than likely, the boy will settle this matter for you, sometimes, even in Thailand, it is not up to you.

Great. So now you know what short-time offs are, and how short and how expensive they are too (kinda, sorta). That leaves the question, are they worth it? Is finishing quickly anti-climaxtic?

Many customers prefer short-time offs, feeling that they are not paying the boy for sex but rather paying him to leave after sex. A long time-off opens you to the prospectus of a long time relationship; there’s little chance you’ll move from lust to love during a short-time off. Butterflies, those who flit from one boy to the next, are notorious short-timers. That only an hour of so of his time is all that you are interested in lets the boy know right up front that you are a butterfly and your patronage will be a one-time thing.

Short time offs boil the transaction down to its basics, it’s all about the main event: sex. A short-time off allows you a full night’s sleep as well as the time to do what you want on your holiday unencumbered by the presence of a companion. Short-time offs provide for variety, and for those who can never get enough, a multitude of guys daily. It’s often about quantity not quality (though quality is not a given just because you offed a guy for long-time). And short-time is probably the best time for newbies to the Kingdom. Once you have a few dozen boys under your belt, you’ll be more comfortable with the experience, more confident in negotiating your way through the bar boy world, and can then, if that is your desire, open yourself to a long-time off and the possibility of a full-on holiday fling.