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Tawan: Home of Muscle Gods and Misconceptions

Maybe the myth that is Tawan makes sense. For gay men who are into muscle, Tawan holds a special place in their fantasies not unlike Shangri-la, Utopia, Cockaigne, or Ys, all mythical locales of pleasure and indulgence. The difference – beside the naked beefcake – is that Tawan is not just a legendary place; it’s real. Tawan, if it were just imaginary, would be heaven on earth for many. Confronted with the reality of the place, many walk away disappointed. Many more never even make it to the bar’s doors, but have no problem in helping to build its reputation, one that is constructed by misconceptions.

The myth that is Tawan is difficult to resist, even for those who will never visit the place. No other bar in Thailand manages to capture the attention of so many. And no other bar in Thailand manages to get so much bad and incorrect press. Part of the Tawan’s PR problem, just like with other places of legend, is rather than turn to fact many prefer to stay within the realm of fantasy. Tawan as a subject comes up on the gay Thailand forums regularly. Most often the thread is started by someone who has heard of the bar, has not been there, and has a few questions – usually already demonstrating they’ve fallen for the hype by the manner in which their question is posed. In one such thread not long ago, three punters – Pattaya aficionados – all immediately chimed in with valuable advice. All three stated they do not like muscular men. All three stated they had never been to the bar. And then all three went on to complain that the guys who work at Tawan are duds in bed and charge the highest fees in Thailand. None of which is true, all of which the three claimed they had heard from a friend.

This has led to the bar’s undeserved reputation. And it is not just the cost of Tawan boys that have become exaggerated, everything about the bar takes on unrealistic proportions in the collective mind of the internet. Meanwhile, back in the real world, Tawan packs customers in even when the other bars in town are empty, the guys there get offed more frequently than they do elsewhere, and happy customers return again and again. Tawan is one of the oldest continually operating male gogo bars in Bangkok. The owner and manager have been running the place for decades and know what they are doing. And speaking from personal experience, I have never once been disappointed with any guy I have offed from Tawan. Which have been legion.

Six packs are not cheap, but it won’t cost you an arm and a leg to enjoy his arms and legs either.

The Myth: Tawan Guys Charge More.
The Reality: Many seem to buy into the idea that pound for pound the more muscular bar boys in Bangkok should command a higher tip. And I really can’t disagree. Though in my fee schedule it is the twinky little fems who should be penalized with a discount from the norm rather than the muscular being awarded bonus baht. But the fact is that the off fee and average tip is the same within any bar regardless of the build or masculinity of the boy. And while off fees from one bar to the next may fluctuate, the guys from Dream Boys, where the off is the highest on Soi Twilight, do not generate higher tips than do the guys from any of the other bars on the soi. The same holds true for Tawan. Just because the bar specializes in muscle does not mean the boys there are worthy of higher tips. Regardless of how willing some may be to pay them more.

This idea always springs from the mind of the uninitiated, those who have not experienced the bar world of Thailand. First, bar boys in Thailand do not charge a set fee. The system is based on tips, the amount of which is up to you. Yes, some bar boys specify how much they want in advance (though I believe in many cases this is in answer to being asked how much they charge and not something they initiate.) But that is not the norm.

Tawan guys do in fact often get higher tips than boys working in the other bars around town. Part of that is the misconception among punters that they are supposed to pay a bigger tip. The fact is this is not true. The boys are just as happy (well not as happy, but just as willing) to accept the normal short or long time tip paid elsewhere. Large tips at Tawan are a self-fulfilling prophecy started by customers. There is no reason for you to buy into the falsehood. Tip as you would at any other gogo bar in Bangkok.

Tawan guys might just surprise you.

The Myth: Tawan Guys are duds in bed.
The Reality: The ratio of duds and studs at Tawan is no different than at any other gogo bar in Thailand. How good of a time you have in bed with any one of them – or with any bar boy – has a lot to do with your attitude and with your preconceptions. In a perfect world every guy working in a bar would automatically know just what each of his customers wants, and then would deliver the time of your life. In reality, bar boys are not mind readers, what makes one customer ecstatic does nothing for the next. So communication is key.

Before agreeing to off a guy you should fully communicate exactly what you want unless you will be happy with whatever you get. If it is important to you, speak up. Telling the guy what it is you want to do and what it is you want him to do provides him with the information he needs to make your ending a happy one. And if what you want is beyond his abilities, most will tell you so. Though you may want to brush up on Thai culture and nonverbal communication covered elsewhere in this blog so you know what it is he is really saying.

You will also find that the guys at Tawan, likes bar boys elsewhere in the city, react well to customers who show them a good time and are enjoyable to be with. Sanook, the Thai ideal of having fun, is part of their culture and you’ll have more of the fun you are interested in if you in turn see that they too enjoy themselves. Just being pleasant to be around can make a big difference. Try smiling – it will put a smile on your face after you are done if you start out with one.

I realize newbies to the bar world are a bit nervous, are unfamiliar with the process, and many off a guy expecting him, as the experienced one, to know what to do. It seldom happens that way. You have to take matters in your own hands unless you want the results to be no better than if you stayed in your hotel room and took matters in your own hands.

Ready, able . . . willing?

The Myth: Tawan Guys Won’t Do Anything In Bed.
The Reality: The truth is there are some things guys from Tawan won’t do in bed. And then again, some will. It’s easy to claim after the fact that the guy you offed was not willing to perform. Or only did enough to earn his tip and then flee. Regardless of who should be responsible for your satisfaction, again, it is up to you to determine how well things turn out.

Many Tawan bar boys get offed by customers who want to do nothing more than admire their muscular bodies. It is a standard of customer desire for that bar, and it is one of the few things that differentiate Tawan from the other bars; muscle worshipers need muscles to worship. How does the guy know that that is not what you want unless you tell him so? Most of the guys working at Tawan want to please you. And being Thai, do not want to do anything to displease you. Give them a hint. Seldom will they initiate specific sexual moves out of concern that whatever it is they thought up is something that would not be to your liking.

Once in bed is not the time to determine if the guy you offed is willing to do the things that curl your toes. Lay out the parameters of your desires before leaving the bar. Or better yet, just go with the flow and enjoy whatever comes your way.

But is he really straight?

The Myth: Tawan Guys Are All Straight.
The Reality: Almost all of the guys working at Tawan are straight. So this one is true. But then so are most of the bar boys working at gogo bars in Thailand. Who cares? Let’s not forget where it is they are working and what that job entails. Having sex with another man might not be on their list of favorite things to do, but it is something they have agreed to. And Thais tend to be quite fluid about sexual identity.

Just like bar boys working elsewhere, both gay and straight, some kiss, some don’t. It has nothing to do with being straight or gay. Some are willing to top, some are willing to bottom. Neither may be a natural choice but if needed the little blue pill is a bar boy’s best friend, and if you have set them up to want to please you – and are willing to be discreet – you’d be surprised at how many of these macho studs will roll over for you.

I’m always amazed by punters who claim they would never off a straight bar boy. First, unless the guy is a screaming queen, the idea that they would know how the guy self identifies is ridiculous. Just as humorous is the idea that a gay bar boy is the holy grail. The boy’s sexuality has little to do with how good of a time you will have with him. You are just as likely to land a dud who is gay as you are one who is straight. And gay bar boys are no more likely to want to do whatever you have in mind than straight ones are.

There are muscle gods and then there are muscles . . .

The Myth: Tawan Guys Are All Muscle Gods
The Reality: I feel for the touri who make the grand pilgrimage to Tawan during off season when there are no body building contests on the horizon. Expecting to walk into a muscle queen’s wet dream, he enters Tawan only to find a stage full of beefy – and running to fat – guys who even the most generous, at best, would call not that good looking.

Even at the height of the season when all the current crop of stars are in the house there is still a B list – or maybe that’s C or even D list – of guys working Tawan who qualify as beef thanks to flab not muscle. Do not expect that every one will be a god. The hottest guys tend to get offed early, so waiting for the midnight show to hit the bar is not a good idea if you plan on offing a boy. Go early. And if you arrive ten to fifteen minutes before showtime, don’t think that the guys on stage are all that is available that night. Many who will be in the show are busy getting ready for their grand entrance. It may pay to hang around and wait to see who else makes an appearance before you make your selection.

Tawan has survived for decades because it consistently offers Bangkok’s best selection of well-built guys. Despite the rumors you may have heard, the boys there are friendly and willing to please. Ignore what you may have heard, go with an open mind and with a friendly attitude and you will have a good time. Communicate your desires before offing a guy, tip him the amount you feel comfortable with, and you are guaranteed a happy ending.

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