Just what was it that Mark had done to earn him his new nickname? That’s what all of us wanted to know, were dying to find out. But Can-Can wasn’t telling secrets. And Mark was keeping mum.
We were at the end of a two week trip to Thailand, and had just got back to Bangkok, checking in once again at the Swiss Park. As usual in those days, Can-Can, the hotel manager, was waiting for us on arrival. It was my third trip to Thailand with my friends Ann and Char, a pair of dykes (yes, I collect pairs of dykes). We’d also brought along another friend, and third dyke, Karen, and to ratchet up the testosterone level, one of my roommates, Mark. The girls and I had spent a few days in Chiang Mai. Mark flew north with us, then took off on his own for a bicycle trip to the Burma border. Mark was an avid bicyclist, a gruelling hobby the enjoyment of which I can’t quite grasp; his resulting thick, muscular and meaty thighs possibly the sole reason for his chosen sport. Mark loved his thighs. Especially when there was some hot male flesh enveloped between them. Which was often.
Naughty Mark was in his early thirties. A short blonde haired little macho stud of Italian descent, the boy could score male booty in a women’s prison. A different enough outlook on life and his mellow attitude made for a perfect addition to our group of travellers. In Hawaii, Mark rented a room from me in the humongous house I leased in Manoa. He’d been living there for just short of a year when the girls and I decided it was time for another visit to the Kingdom. I had more frequent flyer miles than I could ever use, Mark was interested in joining us, so I traded my miles for his cash and we were both happy campers.
His boyfriend, John, wasn’t as thrilled with the idea of Mark heading off to a foreign land filled with dark skinned boys. Mark had a well-known affinity for dark meat, and a less than stellar track record for refraining from straying. But Mark promised to behave on the trip and John decided to believe his lie, incorrectly thinking the rest of us would play chaperone. Wrong group. Bad idea.
We flew JAL in those days. The airline offered the best deal for the trip from Honolulu. And by showing up with cream puffs from Liliha Bakery for the flight crew, we always got upgraded to the front of the plane. That was a great and cheap way to score first class seats, a sugar coated bribe that always paid off and is unfortunately no longer allowed since 9/11. Yes, the Twin Towers were a disaster; the loss of my free first-class seating an even more horrifying result.
After a too long layover at Narita, the trip got us in to the old Don Muang Airport a little after 11 pm, so it was usually the beginning of the next day when we finally got to our hotel. Ann and I had found the Swiss Park on our first trip to Thailand and made it our official residence when in Bangkok. We’d also met the hotel manager on our first trip and became fast friends. She had one of those Thai names no Westerner could pronounce so we collectively decided to call her Can-Can. Occasionally we’d get a ‘can not’ from her, but usually, whatever was asked from her received a ‘can, can’ in reply. I think it was her version of ‘ka’ for the English speaking world; she’d lavishly pepper any conversation with a series of can, cans.
God knows what time it was back home, but after over twenty hours of travel and finally a bed in sight at 1 am, the best plan was to catch almost a full night of sleep before waking to a new day in a new country and then hit the ground running. Mark had other plans. When we met for breakfast the next morning, he regaled us with his visits to three gay bars in the area the night before. He didn’t reveal what beyond the visits he’d been up to, but Ann made a dubious threat about having to call John.
Our first day in town was spent doing cultural touri things, the Grand Palace, Wat Pho, etc. Our first night, to introduce Mark and Karen to the pleasures Bangkok had in store, we hit the Telephone pub on Soi 4. On Ann and my first trip to Bangkok, we’d made friends with one of the waiters there, Ot. We’d spent the night sitting outside watching the gay boys. Ot had spent the night bringing us drinks and trying to figure out who, or what, we were.
On that trip, late into the evening I made a visit to the mens room on the second floor. Ot satisfied his curiosity by waiting just outside the facility then hugging me and grabbing my crotch when I came out. Probably a safe move even with a straight guy in a gay bar. Since he didn’t get punched, and I returned the favor, he adopted us and spent the rest of that trip with us. Finding a bed mate was not one of my travel plans. But Bangkok has a mind of its own and fortunately it decided I needed a hot Thai boy to wake up to each morning.
Ann and Ot became good friends, Ot and I good fuck buddies. They emailed constantly between visits and he was always thrilled to see her again. I ignored him between trips, and he was always hard to see me again. Ot had a knack of appearing in the most unlikely of places during my trips to Bangkok over the next ten years. Seemed every trip, with or without the girls, I’d run into Ot somewhere in town; at a mall, on one of Bangkok’s streets, at a BTS station, though seldom at Telephone. We hadn’t seen him yet on this trip though so he was excited to see us again and immediately sat down at our table to catch up with Ann and Char. Mark was a bit more action oriented. After a few minutes of idle chitchat he leaned over and whispered, “Come on, I’ve got something you have got to see!”
His first time in Bangkok, my sixth, and already he was playing tour guide. We left the girls and Ot chatting away and Mark led me back through the warren of streets that make up Patpong, I’m pretty sure we headed toward Suriwong; there was no hesitation on his part, he knew exactly where he was headed. Turned out his initial exploration the night before had taken him a bit further afield than Sukhumvit. He’d made it to Patpong. And found a gay gogo bar.
I’d been in the girl bars before, both with the Ann and with my running partner Dave. Hard to miss, the touts offering ping pong shows and a litany of acts involving things going into or coming out of pussy were hard to miss walking through Patpong’s night market. But the gay gogo bars, you’d have to go looking for. There were several in the area, not hidden down dark alleys, but not the street full of places offering Boys, Boys, Boys like there are today. No problemo. Mark already had the scene scoped out.
The place was cavernous with a good hundred patrons standing, crowded around a small stage on the far side of the room filled with hot young guys wearing skimpy shorts. But not for long. We’d barely ordered drinks before the underwear came off. And I fell in love with Thailand. Looking back, it’s amazing that I’d managed to miss the gay gogo bars on previous trips. I’d found tons of bars, discos, girl gogo bars, and had even frequently – with Dave – offed a bevy of girls from one of the hostess bars in Patpong. The bar scene and commercial sex scene in Bangkok was already a routine part of my itinerary. But then so was Ot. So there was no need to look further. Until Mark shared his version of Bangkok with me.
I’d love to be able to tell you the name of the place. But haven’t a clue. And it was several years later before I started hitting the gay gogo places on my own and never found that bar again. I’ve asked Mark, but he has no idea, and he was the one who discovered it. Maybe a reader knows. It had a street level entrance, not an upstairs bar. But certainly sounds like the original version of Twilight. The location sounds right, the show seems a match, too. But – and correct me if I’m wrong – Twilight has always been up a flight of stairs. Whatever its name, the place was too good to be true. Hot guys parading about naked. Telephone paled in comparison.
Seedy comes to mind thinking about that bar. These days, for me, it takes a place like Nature Boy to claim that title. But seedy is in eye of beholder. Take a first time visitor to Bangkok’s gogo bars to Jupiter, and his jaw will drop. The naked male flesh on display and the constant “You want boy?” come-on from the mamasans will prompt the seedy moniker in his mind, not knowing that just across the street there’s a soi filled with bars with boys fucking on stage.
Neither of us offed a boy that night. I had to get back to where we’d abandoned the girls. And Ot and I had some reunion sex to take care of. Mark had heard of yet another place he needed to visit. He grabbed a tuk tuk and headed off, I strolled through Patpong back to Telephone fulminating on how I’d manage to dump the girls and get back to that bar the next night.
The next morning Ot and I joined Ann and Char for breakfast. Mark showed up a bit later dragging along Jeep, a dark skinned beauty, a duck farmer on the prowl for a farang who Mark had met at Babylon. Jeep’s English was practically nonexistent, but neither he nor Mark seemed to care and Jeep spent the next three days as the newest member of our group. Then he went back to his ducks, the girls and I headed to Chiang Mai, and Mark was off on his bicycle tour of Northern Thailand.
Can-Can greeted us on our arrival back at the hotel when we returned to Bangkok. When we checked in, she informed us with a look that implied there was something mighty foul in the air, “Mark here.”
“No, Mark won’t be back for a few days.”
“Mark here. Mark in room. Naughty Mark.”
Huh. Seems Mark had cut his trip short, had already returned, and done something Can-Can was not pleased about. Can-Can was not a prude. When the hotel you run is a few short blocks away from Nana Plaza, guests bringing new guests home for the evening is the norm. She knew we were all gay, and hadn’t raised so much as an eyebrow at Jeep having joined Mark during the earlier part of the trip. Same with Ot joining me. She even knew Ot on sight from previous trips, and welcomed him as warmly as she did the rest of us. But Mark seemed to have worn out his welcome. Curiosity got the better of me, “Naughty?” I asked. “What did Mark do?”
Tsk, tsk replaced her normal can, can. Details, however, were not forthcoming. She wasn’t willing to divulge a guest’s secrets, but wanted to make sure – whatever it was he’d done – that we knew he’d been up to no good. Ann invited her to lunch in an attempt to smooth her ruffled feathers. I made a beeline for Mark’s room to find out what in the hell he’d been up to.
Mark answered the door. Ot, as was his wont when he knew we were coming to town had shown up at the hotel to wait for our arrival, found Mark, and the two of them decided they needed to get to know each other better. Ot, laying naked in bed, covered his face with a pillow in embarrassment, leaving the more interesting parts of himself exposed. Mark turned red. I laughed. Can-Can evidently was more upset than I, labelling Mark ‘naughty’ for his indiscretion.
That night we had dinner at the hotel, guests of Can-Can who imperiously directed the staff to prepare and serve whatever dishes she thought up. The girls took great delight in grilling Mark about his adventures. Ot was a bit uncomfortable and not sure which of his boyfriends he was suppose to be with. Can-Can had no trouble with Ot, treating him as well as she did the rest of us, evidently only finding fault with Naughty Mark. Whom she completely ignored.
During one of Can-Can’s trips into the kitchen, Mark begged the girls to ease off. I told him that him and Ot having a one off was no big deal. Can-Can was headed back to the table as Mark quietly told me, “No. Not that.”
We flew home the next day. Naughty Mark’s misadventures forgotten until we got home and all had to lie to John that Mark had behaved himself during the trip. Two months later, at Christmas, Mark was touched that Ann had bought him a gift. Until he opened it. He wasn’t thrilled with the toy jeep with a stuffed duck in the driver’s seat she’d given him. And had to act clueless when John wanted to know why.
Naughty Mark eventually moved back to the mainland. We kept in touch for a few years. Unexpectedly one day I got a package in the mail from him. He’d sent a pile of photographs from our Thailand trip. It was great fun seeing the gang and the places we’d visited. One picture, however, made me curious. It was a group shot of the staff at Swiss Park. I didn’t remember him taking it, and couldn’t figure out why it was included either.
I called him that night and thanked him for the pictures. Then brought up the staff shot. This picture wasn’t worth a thousand words, it was worth one: naughty. Finally, Mark came clean. Can-Can was not upset about him and Ot. She was upset about him and her staff. Two of them. In the short time before the girls and I got back from Chiang Mai, Mark had bedded two of the bellboys (separately). That in itself was a no-no. The ensuing argument between them caused a problem that escalated when Ot showed up and added a third notch to Mark’s bedpost. Poor Can-Can had her hands full with her horny and jilted staff thanks to Mark. It wasn’t what he’d done, it was who he had done it with.
Ah, Naughty Mark!
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