Thai ladyboys

Tap, tap, tap. You feel the insistent open hand slaps on your shoulder as you walk down Pattaya’s Beach Road while out for your evening stroll. Someone you know? After all, that kind of physical contact is unusual from a Thai. You turn to see and there she is. Strike a pose.

“You like?”

Smile, “No Thanks,” and quicken your pace because this brand of Thai is known for not taking no for an answer.

And why would she? Can you not see the hours of work at wardrobe and makeup that resulted in such an utterly stunning display of womanhood? Yes, you can and it’s not so much that something just doesn’t seem quite right but more that the only Thai woman who would be so familiar to a white foreign male would be a go go bar hostess . . . and they don’t look quite this good.

Katoey, or ladyboys are an historical part of Thai culture and accepted (sorta) by society. One even recently rose to prominence as the country’s top ranked kickboxer, which also shows that these girls are not to be trifled with.

Thai ladyboys are not your U.S. style drag queens, men in women’s clothes with five o’clock shadows peeking through their face paint. The Thai version looks and acts like a woman, possibly a bit over feminized, but that’s one of the few clues as to their true gender. The slight build and delicate features of Thais lend themselves well to ‘he’ becoming a ‘she’.

Most, of course, are on the prowl for sex tourists be that in Pattaya, Bangkok, Phuket, or other locales where touri gather. And there are certain bars and areas in each city the girls tend to frequent, not that these are necessarily gay or transvestite bars, but rather those places where single male touri drink a lot and may not notice, or mind, that the beautiful lass they’ve been chatting up is really a lad.

In the old Patpong days (the mid 80’s for me) there was an open air bar of good size that, as a lure, staged Thai kickboxing matches. Was on the corner where McDonald’s once stood on Suriwong. Anyway, on my first and subsequent visits with my buddy Dave, this became our hangout in Patpong as it was easy to stop for a quick brew before heading off again to check out the sights and sounds of Bangkok’s red light district. We got friendly enough with one of the bartenders, Somesong, and tipped her well enough and often enough that she took good care of us, which mostly meant chasing off the ladyboys who prowled this bar looking for business. Had great fun doing the ‘is he or isn’t he’ thing, though generally they were all ‘is he’s’, or more properly, she is.

One night we headed to Soi Cowboy which, at the time, promised to be a bit raunchier than Patpong. After drinking our way down the street and through the various hostess bars we ended up in a large bar at the far end, each of us surrounded by a bevy of friendly bar girls who were quite taken by our willingness to buy them all a drink. While I was playing no favorites, Dave had fixated on an extremely friendly blonde (a Thai blonde, right!). Now neither of us was shopping for sex that night, just out for a drunken night being attended to by a bevy of women. I’d kiss one occasionally, but usually only to pass on a valium. Dave, on the other hand, was in lust and had his tongue buried down the blonde’s throat. I was buzzed enough and having a good enough time to not think too much about it, much less talk to him about it, but early the next morning, or afternoon when we finally got up, I did.

First, did he remember the blonde. Yes, he did, and what legs! Next, did he remember deep throating her? Yep, and what a great kisser! Last, did he know it was a guy? Deep pause and with his machismo at stake whichever way he answered he finally decided on the casual, “Of, course.”

Dave’s not really into ladyboys, he was just too drunk that night. But it’s given me years of enjoyment in bringing up ‘that blonde in Bangkok’ to see how quickly he can change the subject!

Though you’ll usually, and most frequently, find the ladyboys in the bar areas at night, you can also spot them in the major department stores, often working in the cosmetic departments. Makes sense, they’re pros at applying the stuff. I’ve noticed that while at many stores they wear their women’s clothes, at Sogo’s they have to wear the male outfit of black pants and white shirts. Must be a Japanese corporate thing. But with the makeup and hair still done to the max it makes it even easier to tell she’s a he.

So you really want to try the exotic in this exotic land? The ladyboys are still quite evident in Patpong. Don’t worry about exact locations, just stroll through the area and they will find you. I’ve also noticed several bars full of ‘em along Sukhumvit between soi 11 and 24. I’m sure you’ll find plenty around the Nana Plaza complex, too. Then again, isn’t that an adam’s apple peaking through on the maid cleaning your hotel room?