I Went to a Sex Show in Bangkok
“You haven’t truly experienced Bangkok until you’ve seen an old white man finger a young Thai girl in the street,” said my cousin over a round of Polish vodka shots.
I’d been waiting for the most opportune moment to visit Thailand, and it had finally arrived. My cousin had been living there for several years, but seeing as she had a full-time job, a boyfriend and two cats, I had to be careful with my timing so as to not risk being left to fend for my non-Thai-speaking self during my stay. But then the stars aligned. Another cousin had just moved to Bangkok, and with no job, a high tolerance for mixing alcohol and the knowledge of how to do cheap Thailand even cheaper, she sold me on a visit.
The first stop of our Girls Night Out in Bangkok’s red-light district was along Soi Cowboy at Country Road – and I don’t mean the shop that supplies duffle bags to every girl and her mum across Australia. This Country Road is a karaoke bar, the type where convenience runs all the way from the price tags the waitresses wear around their necks to the ‘Lady Drink’ menu options patrons can buy the said waitresses.
After a drink, a few duet requests from an old man who knew ‘Honky-Tonk’ better than Dolly Parton herself and the seedy looks of the bartender, we were out of there. We then made our way to the next location – the infamous Suzie Wong’s – just moments before a blacklight show started.
A small, elderly hostess ushered us to our seats next to a group of Japanese businessmen. She wiped the seats down, took our order, then fist-pumped her way passed the eight nude girls on stage – none of whom could muster even an eighth of her energy – to the bar.
The lights dimmed, the music slowed and a Japanese hand moved towards my thigh. On stage, the dancers dark bodies were quickly painted with the abrupt strokes of a male artist who must’ve thought he’d hit the job jackpot. The girls were transformed into neon butterflies, winged angels and swerving flowers in a matter of minutes.
“This isn’t so seedy,” I thought to myself.
Less than 10 minutes, one drink and three repeats of a Dido song later, the lights came on and the girls switched shifts. And what was the blacklight show opening up for, you ask?
Six girls took the stage, split into threes, parted their legs and pleasured each other in various yoga poses, many of which I no longer feel comfortable practising. The slow music and movements tried to set a certain mood, yet the bored faces of the receiving participants implied numbness despite the heads between legs and hands on chest.
When the tongues needed a rest, the beat quickened just in time for some good old-fashioned needle-pulling from vaginas. À la a magician tugging rainbow ribbons from his sleeve (which were also pulled from the girls’ nether regions later on), rows of tethered pin needles came out one after the other, popping balloons in patrons’ hands as they pulled.
While most in attendance couldn’t take their eyes off the spectacle on stage, a group of fellas managed to scope out the only three girls in the audience (I’m referring to us) and buy them a drink. Delivered by our favorite peppy hostess, a round of cocktails was brought our way. We nodded across the room in acceptance, downed the drinks and contemplated what kind of man thinks a sex show is the ideal pick-up spot.
As we stood to leave, we shook the hands of the Japanese businessmen to our right, dodged the gropes of the elderly Americans in the front row and held back our gagging as one patron launched himself on stage to eat out a performer before being removed.
As we neared the end of Soi Cowboy to hail a cab to our next, less sexual destination, my cousin gave me a fierce nudge, pointing with her eyes to what was a very pubic spectacle.
Outside one of the many strip clubs sat an old white man fingering a young Thai girl.