Men like to think of Thailand as a Disneyland for one sex of the species. Truthfully not many farang women frequent Patpong or Nana Plaza other than those harridans testing the fidelity of their disgruntled boyfriends and husbands. The temptation of Thai hookers is sometimes too strong for their spouses as was the case of Ava, my good friend in Palm Beach. Back in 1977 her husband and she were visiting Bangkok.
Back then Patpong was Patpong au natural. No CDs, copy hand bags, or backpackers. The action was strictly sex and beer. Both appealed to Ava’s husband’s weaknesses. The couple sat in a bar. The name is unimportant. The oil engineer was mesmerized by the parade of passing girls."Do want to go back to the hotel?" Her husband eyed a go-go dancer across the street."Either way." Ava had an open relationship with him. The slender brunette came from the upper class. Marriages often ended badly if one partner clung too tightly to the other. "You want to slip the leash?""You mind?" He had spent the last two years in Iran, where women were stoned for wearing short skirts."When in Bangkok, do as the Thais do." Ava picked up her pack of cigarettes and hailed a tuk-tuk. "I'll see you later.""I want to go to the Malaysia Hotel." She told the driver."You not want see sex show?" the driver countered with a hushed voice.“I saw a ping pong show on Patpong.”
“Not the same. This real show.” The driver promised a Sodomesque spectacle.
“Why not?” Ava figured her husband was MIA till dawn and gave the driver $5 to be her chauffeur. He drove into Klong Toey. The streets narrowed in the tough neighborhood and the lights dimmed, as they neared the Chao Phyra River. The tuk-tuk driver stopped before a waterfront warehouse. It was without windows, but music faintly seeped through the walls.
“Inside.” He hooked his index finger. “Not many farang see this show.”
The plump driver pushed open the door and Ava followed not wanting to be left alone in the middle of Bangkok’s most notorious slum. A narrow hallway with red light bulbs led into a large room with mattresses on the floor. Couples were having sex; menage a trois, menage a quatre, and orgies. The driver bought a bottle of whiskey.
“You want have sex. Take off clothes. Give to lady.” The driver pointed to a coat check room. The lady behind the chicken wire was in her 70s. She had two front teeth and a nice smile. “Not worry. Everything safe.”
Hands beckoned to Ava. She was the only farang. Every man wanted her. Every woman too. She wai-ed her admiriers and retreated outside. After ten minutes she came to the conclusion the tuk-tuk driver had quit for the night. Ava walked for 10 minutes and found taxi.
“Very dangerous here for Thai farang. Bad people here. Crazy people.” The taxi driver was as eager to leave Klong Toey as AVA. It took them twenty minutes to get back to her hotel. “You lucky. Get back hotel before curfew.”
“What happens if you don’t.”
“Police arrest you. Stay in monkey house.”
Ava tipped him $2 and entered the hotel. The key wasn’t at the desk. Her husband had come back already and she climbed to the second floor. The door was locked. She knocked and her husband opened it with his shirt off. A stunning oriental woman sat on the sofa. She was in a mini-dress. Her hair was perfectly coiffed.
“Oh sorry.” Ava had returned too soon.
“Nothing happened?” Her husband protested with a look of panic.
“Nothing.” Her husband brought her over to the side. “Well, not really nothing. I started kissing her. It felt a little weird, then I found out she wasn’t a she.”
“Not a she.” repressed a laugh.
“Yes, she’s a man. A she-man.”
“Not she-man.” The woman on the sofa said with a polite tone. “Ladyboy.”
“Yes, a ladyboy and she has a penis.”
“Not a big penis.” The ladyboy bowed gracefully.
“Bigger than mine.”
“Bigger.” Ava was curious and turned to the woman, who looked like Nancy Kwan from THE WORLD OF SUZIE WONG. “My husband not have sex with you?"
“No, we no boom-boom. I no go. Have curfew.”
“Yes, I know.” Ava pulled the lady boy to her feet. They were the same height. “You ever go with lady?”
“You go with me?” Ava indicated the bedroom. Her husband started to protest this arrangement and Ava quiet him with a hush. “I know this looks very innocent, but you did say she was bigger. Not that size matters, but I want to make sure. I’ll see you in the morning.”
Ava led the lady boy into the bedroom and locked the door. In the morning she paid the ladyboy $20. After the ka-toey left AR turned to her husband.
“And you expect me to believe that?”
“Darling, I believed you.” And Ava was telling the truth at least about one thing.She did believe her husband, because ladyboys never lie to sisters.