My Life as a Gik

Elijah H. Lovejoy examines the very Thai world of the gik and in doing so find out he has become one.

By | Thu 28 Jan 2010

When I first came to Thailand some months ago, I made a big effort to learn some rudimentary Thai. I tried to memorise the more important words for food, drinks, how much…you know, the usual. I kept coming across one word time and again, both at work and at play, and for the life of me couldn’t quite pin down an exact translation: the word was ‘gik’.

I have since been told that this is a fairly new word; as yet undefined, or indefinable. As a matter of fact, when I asked around at work it seemed that no one could quite agree on its meaning. For some, a ‘gik’ is what you would call a lover, an f-buddy, or a friend with benefits. But whether you have to be in a relationship already to have a gik (thus implying that a person with a gik is a cheat), or whether you can have a – or multiple – gik while single, we couldn’t agree on. It also seemed that the word means different things to different generations. While adults seem to identify gik with sex, for the younger generations, tweens and teens, the word is innocuous. To them it is simply a friend to at most flirt with, and more commonly talk with, on the telephone or online. Or someone who is a special friend, belonging to the sexual orientation they are attracted to of course. Most agreed that it was a bit naughty to have a gik.

Little did I know that my knowledge of gik would greatly expand as I myself inadvertently became one.

My experiences with life as a gik all started when I joined a local gym, where I proceeded to spend much of my time. As usual at any gym, people watching was a collective pastime and at my new gym we had all of the gym-stereotypes you seem to bump into all over the world: overly buff steroid-guy with pimples on his back and an obvious lack of self-esteem; Tour de France-guy who always appears in state-of-the-art cycling gear in psychedelic colours and spends hours on the spinning bikes; sweat-guy, who perspires way too much, even though he does not really work out; mirror-guy, who likes what he sees in front of the mirror; the screamer, who roars when he lifts weights; and last but surely not least we have gym-babe, the hot girl in her early twenties who shows up for aerobic classes wearing evening makeup and tight clothes, and who has a great body and knows it. I must admit that I liked gym-babe. And even though she seemed quite superficial, did not share my interests, and flirted with most of the guys, we soon started dating. Well, if you can call it dating. See, she always insisted that we would spend intimate time at my place; she was not really keen on going out. The few times we did go out, she always insisted on bringing along one of her female friends. I later found out why. Gym-babe had a boyfriend and the additional girl was there to play the part as my girlfriend, in case gym-babe’s boyfriend, or some of his mates, would show up.

A few weeks into our ‘relationship’ when I suggested we get more serious, she finally told me about her boyfriend. It turned out that he had been cheating on her so she decided to take care of her needs elsewhere too.

So there I was, someone’s gik. During the following weeks, we sneaked around when we got off from work and had amazing nights…with no conversation. She went to great lengths to conceal her infidelity: she hid my number under a girl’s name on her mobile; she would pack a gym bag before she came over to my place and moisten her exercise clothes and towel in my shower, just in case her boyfriend wondered why they were unused. She even bought a bus ticket out of town and showed it to him when she wanted to spend a weekend at my place. I found the whole situation kind of amusing and don’t forget … she was hot!

But I knew it had to end eventually. And what an ending it got. One day, while I was having some drinks at a bar with a good friend, I met a great girl. She was beautiful, intelligent and shared my interests for movies, food and so on. We started hanging out, when I was not with gym-babe. I didn’t think twice about it, since I was only a gik and hence still available. But I didn’t tell gym-babe about my new friend or vice versa. Not until my new friend and I decided to go steady. To my amazement gym-babe exploded in rage when I told her that it was over. She called me all kinds of nasty Thai names and she even slapped me and scratched my arm with her fake fingernails – just like in the soap operas! She wanted to know who my new girl was so she could beat her up. She even threatened to tell her boyfriend about me, but I knew it was all just hot air. I quit my role as her gik and she quit the gym.

Though I was a gik, I admit that I still don’t quite understand the boundaries, characteristics and scope of the word. And so ended my odd gik-experience. It was fun, while it lasted.