I could write a bad-ass story about a ladyboy-go-go bar

One day, my newspaper boss Hans in Pattaya had the strange idea that I could write a bad-ass story about a boy-go-go bar. How does he imagine that? I’m not gay! “It’s always stories about ladyboys. Well, after he had announced me an extra bonus fee, I surrendered, sighing into my reporter fate. Around 8 p.m. I set off. But now it’s off to the men’s paradise. I notice that in this particular neighborhood, only guys serve in the restaurants. Quite unusual here in Pattaya. At the tables sit older Farangs with younger Thai boys and eat fried potatoes, schnitzel and tomato salad. I order the same. With a full stomach, it’s better to do hardcore research. What strikes me is that the doddering old men and the willowy boys don’t really fit together that perfectly. Purely visually. With the older men and the younger ladies, the contrast now seems almost normal.

The power of habit. So with two beers and a lot of schnitzel in my belly, I went out onto the street and into the first boy-a-go-go. A very polite young man with lots of gels in his hair takes me in. “I like your tongue.” I start to feel queasy, but then I realize he just means the Rolling Stones tongue on my T-shirt. Then the fear of sweat runs down my neck because now I’m standing in front of a dance floor on which seven young boys in white underpants are lolling. I am led to a bar stool, I know all this from the Lady-Go-Gos, only that here in the semi-darkness Farangs are making out with young men.

The guys in their Calvin Klein underwear bend on the bars, the music is a bit more sultry than in other bars, and with the beer I also get served a flirt partner right away. That’s all I need – but I’m supposed to be doing hard research. So I get to work on the boy. First the usual: “What your name?” and so on, then I ask him the key question: “Tell me Koi (that’s his nickname), why did you become like that?” “How so?” “Yeah, I mean you only like men.” “Nah,” the boy replies. “I’m not gay. I like girls. Just here to make money.” Gosh – now that’s some real info. Now I’m going to go all gay and ask him if he can send me a real ladyboy. “Sure I can,” he lisped, slapped me on the buttocks and disappeared behind a curtain covering the toilets. “Kopp khun kaa!” I call after him gayly. Two minutes later, Tom sits next to me – a real ladyboy. I ask him the same question, “Why did you get like this anyway?” “You first order me to drink?”

All right. Finally, he tells me his story. “When I was 16 years old, I was raped on the beach. I’ve been like this ever since.” He looks all sad. “So why didn’t you run away?” He frowns. “Run away? How? It’s not so easy in high heels.” I’m afraid he’s out of his mind – or he misunderstood my question. The waitress, also a ladyboy, of course – in short panties, wants to see cash right away. I feel for my wallet and notice that my back pocket is empty. That was guaranteed that guy at the door Koi, which has groped my butt earlier. So I get off my stool and into the men’s room. Koi is counting through the fresh 1000 baht bills, and his face freezes when he sees me standing in the toilet door like a vengeance demon. “Just kidding, just kidding!” he laughs and tosses me the wallet. Now it’s my turn to count, and damn – 2000 baht are missing. I’m just about to get him when I feel a huge bruise on my right shoulder. It belongs to a bouncer and he probably doesn’t like boys, but power machines. “What’s going on here?” I explain the facts, then Koi tells him his version in Thai.

Finally, the bodybuilder laughs, slaps me hard on the shoulder and comes over with a compromise. “I don’t know who’s lying – so let’s make a game. Mister Tiao, if you dance on stage in white underwear – just one song – Koi will pay you 2000 baht. Otherwise, the money is gone.” Inside, I’m boiling with rage as I see Koi’s boyish face distort into a smiling grimace. The boy thinks, of course, that I don’t have the guts to expose myself publicly in this men’s whorehouse. But he has miscalculated. First, I’m slightly tipsy, and second, nobody knows me here anyway. So I get out of my clothes and up on stage in my shooter underpants.

The boys are laughing their heads off, clapping in time to my dancing contortions, and giving me little slaps on the butt. Everything is not so bad. In the flash of the spotlights, I almost fall into a kind of dance ecstasy and only see out of the corner of my eye that new guests are coming through the door. “Gee Tiao, what are you doing?” one of them yells across the room. My heart slips into my underpants in shock: There stands my buddy from Pattaya. Since I can sink badly into the ground, I leave the stage in a hurry and hurry back to the toilet. Well – once the reputation is ruined, life is really easy. Afterward I confessed the whole story to the guys – and those bastards had a hilarious evening at my expense. “But – what are you actually doing here?” I finally ask. “Just out of interest,” Hans says. “We’ve seen everything else here in Pattaya.” And Koi, who is actually quite a nice guy, finally even gave me back the 2000 baht. I’ll tell you: it’s pretty exhausting being a pensioner here in this vacation paradise.