On a recent trip to Pattaya, still slightly hungover, I rolled into the downtown area of Thailand's 'Love Capital', to catch the elusive Tim 'Sharky' Ward. I’m met by a large inked up Australian man at a downtown Pattaya gym. He finishes his last set of curls before he comes out to greet me. He doesn’t fit the archetype of people you imagine lurking in the back streets of Pattaya. Then again, he fits right in. Among the local girls, stray dogs and foreign men seeking love and fast fun, he’s carved out a place for himself. By the time we part ways I've heard some bizarre tales – some of which I can’t print here. But this one made it. This is for anyone thinking about heading to Thailand in search of love. In the words of Tim Shark – don’t be a wood duck.
What advice do you give to men coming to Pattaya or Thailand to find love?
TIM: I don't believe there is any love here. That’s something you've got to understand with these girls. What I say to people is this: "I will line up 100 cocks, and you suck every cock, and then you tell me if you're normal once you get to the 100th one." You're fucked up, and these girls are fucked up. They've been doing this for so long that love is a matter of you looking after them and their family. That's as deep as it gets with these girls. It's a tragedy, and they're a tragedy, but I'm a tragedy too. Everything here is a fuck-up, including me, so that's why I think I get on so well with them. I don’t bullshit them and they don't bullshit me. I have a pretty good relationship because we don't even talk about love, it doesn't even get to that. I could spend two weeks with the same girl and love won’t even come into it because we're both on the same page, we know where we are. So if you're coming here looking for love, I think you're going to be bitterly disappointed.
So, should we bother moving to Pattaya?
Hell yes. I love my life. I love my relationship with my girls. For the first time in my life there is no jealousy. When I'm with a girl we have the best time. I'm a very jealous guy. If you're my girlfriend, I'm watching you 24/7. I'm going to check your phone. I want to know where you've been; I want to know why you were home late. That was me and how I acted in my relationships right up until I moved to Thailand.
Now, I don't want to be the girls’ boyfriend, I actually find that it's better if my Thai girls have boyfriends because the boyfriends can do all the hard work, and then the girls come over and see me and I get the best of it – I get the easy part. The girls say, "I want to come over and see you, I just want to come over and hang out, you got some beer in the fridge?" And I'm like, "Hell yeah, come over; I've got beer in the fridge, I've got food in the fridge." And the girl will come over and I will get an anger fuck. That's a better fuck than the boyfriend's ever getting because the boyfriend doesn't get anger fucks. She comes over, she'll fuck me in a fit of rage, drink a few beers, eat some food and then she'll go home, back to this poor sorry sap who's telling her he loves her. But I will never tell her I love her, because I don't love her and she doesn't love me.
Do you think the idea of monogamy is wrong?
I don't think we are designed for it. When I go home to Australia, I'll get a Gold Coast Bulletin, and if you go to the classified section there're 500 girls selling rub and tugs, their pussies and a good time. These 500 girls are all getting clients. Who do you think the clients are? They're married men who are bored shitless with their wives, the same wife they've been stoking for the last ten years, and they're ringing these girls up. I know this for a fact because I used to look after a couple of these girls to make sure they were safe when I was back in Australia. These married men are sneaking around to get a quick one away – just to get a bit of fantasy and excitement. That's how we are as human beings. But I don't want to cheat on my partner. Imagine if you're lying to the person you're sleeping next to every night, what kind of human being are you? But now my life is so simple, I don't cheat on anyone. I don’t lie to anyone, I don't deceive anyone. I am completely free. You may look at me and say, "What he's doing is wrong," but I'm not lying, I'm not cheating, and I'm not deceiving. So for the first time in my life, I'm actually free.
What’s the best way to enjoy the sex scene in Pattaya?
You enjoy the girls for a short time and you don't get emotional with them. You can get to know them; you can have a good relationship with them, but don't let any emotion come into it and don't try and make them your girlfriend. Look at it as a business transaction. She comes around and you have your good time, you pay her and she leaves. There is a guy I knew who came over here from Australia looking for love. He booked a suite in The Hilton and met a bar girl. By about the third day he bought her a beautiful motorbike – it had been customised as a Hello Kitty motorbike, so it was double the price. He rode it up to The Hilton and handed her the keys. This was a girl that he was planning on spending the rest of his life with. A couple of nights later, while he was asleep, she cleaned out all his money – it was about 300,000 baht ($11,000 AUD). She took the motorbike, the spare key and she was fucking gone. So he lost the motorbike, he lost his 300,000 baht and he lost his heart because she fucking destroyed him. When you put your trust in someone like that and they deceive you so badly, it's going to destroy you. You cannot make a hoe a housewife.
How does the sex industry work in Thailand?
I probably know the girls' mindset better than anyone because I speak to them –they talk to me because we've bypassed the whole love shit, so we actually talk to each other about how it works. The longer you've been in Pattaya, the less attractive you'll be to girls. They like the fresh guys – I call them wood ducks, because the wood duck is the easiest to extract the money out of. And if you think learning Thai is going to impress a girl, it's not – the more you try and impress a girl by speaking Thai, the more she's just going to be like "fuck this guy." The dopier you act, the more attractive you will be to the girls. Act dopey, act stupid, act like a wood duck, but don’t be a wood duck. The girls like the gullible guys, the goofy guys, the guys they think they can extract the most money out of because these girls are not looking for love. They will tell you they are looking for love but they are looking for financial gain. So act stupid, but don’t be stupid. That's the best advice I can give.
She grabbed her clothes and ran back down to the beach and jumped into the hammock and cuddled up next to her drug-dealing boyfriend.
So you think a lot of Westerners come over here with the wrong idea?
Yes. The other misconception that Western people have is that these poor girls need to be saved. I call these guys 'Captain Save-A-Hoe.' They come into town with their big money, and their big dreams and they're like, "Honey, I will save you." She doesn't want to be saved. I'll tell you a story to give you an idea of how this is: One of the girls that I have looked after in the past now has a Thai boyfriend who sells a bit of marijuana.That's how he makes his living – he sells a bit of grass down on the beach. They've got a hammock strung between two coconut trees and this is their home. He sells a bit of marijuana, she sells her pussy, and they have a perfect relationship. They sit on the ground, they eat their som tum and at night time they buy their Leo beers. They’re happy. An American guy comes along – Captain Save-a-Hoe, and he falls for this beautiful girl. He was taking her for a short time, and actually fell for her. He lives in a beautiful apartment building; he has the widescreen TV, he's a share trader, so he has plenty of money and he can practically do anything he wants in the world. He says to her, "I want you to move in with me." She went back to her boyfriend on the beach and said,
"Oh, falung (foreigner) want me to move in… what do I do?"
“How much is he going to pay?” This is the first thing the boyfriend asks.
He was going to give her 40,000 baht a month ($1,500 AUD). He said: "Go, go, I'll take half that. You can bring half of that down to me and drop it in my hammock here on the beach."
She went and lived with this American guy. She lasted two weeks. In two weeks' time, she was back on the beach, in the hammock, eating her som tum with the Thai guy who has no ambition. His dream is to be in the hammock with a bottle of beer, on the beach. Mr American took the girl to his fancy condo, showed her the widescreen TV, tried to get her to watch movies like Titanic and get her interested in share trading, by explaining the American share market to her. Her brain just exploded. Her fucking brain just exploded and she basically ran out. She grabbed her clothes and ran back down to the beach and jumped into the hammock and cuddled up next to her drug-dealing boyfriend. They are so simple. The more complex you make it for them, the more you'll scare them off. You know, they just want simple. They just want to squat on the ground and eat their som tum and lay in their hammock. And the more complex we try and make it for them, the less they will enjoy it. So that's an example of the mindset of these girls. You know what, it's like they don't learn what we learn and they don't want to. They don’t want to know about foreign affairs and politics, they don't want any of that. They just want to know that there's a hammock between a couple of coconut trees that they can go lie in.
All Photos by Nathan Harmond.