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Less than impressed by Bangkok’s strip shows

The finest view of Bangkok can either be found if you turn around and look the other way, or at night when the white hounds come panting to the bar from behind their shutters and lift themselves from their sticky beds for another round on the town. The city’s strip exposes the world’s community at its most bare. The lethargy of the day’s sweating is lost to thoughts of drinking and shagging. I walked into my first go-go club. I did not cover my eyes in shame, but did wish to leave immediately. My only similar experience was visiting Bury St. Edmunds meat market with my dad as a boy. Cattle wearing numbers would be lead around a pen in a circle as the best of Suffolk’s farming community shouted out its price. But here the cattle were beautiful women in underwear, each with a number, and faces equally as uninterested as the animals of Bury St. Edmunds. For a circular ring with sand to soak up the cattle’s excrement they had a semi-circular aluminium and perspex bar which they strutted along as their white masters to-be scribbled down numbers on pieces of paper. Little deliberation went into it. Once selected the white man took his paper to the girls’ Thai guards, and for the price of a pint in England made the girl his own for an hour. I slouched in a stall as their stilettos passed me by at eye-level. Why come in if you don’t want a girl? Why come and pretend to be interested? I quickly left and entered the strip.

Down side streets more white men hovered, suckered in by the promise of anything they wanted, no matter what gender or age. In one club a sex show was starting. An ageing local woman stepped out from behind a curtain to reveal her chubby figure. She lay down on the stage and inserted a plastic tube into her vagina. Above the stage hung three balloons and she projected her vagina tube towards them. Out shot a dart, and then two more, three shots, three hits – the vagina markswoman sent the balloon fragments to the floor. No one clapped, laughed or cheered, just watched silently as she then removed the tube and began to pull a long piece of string out from her vagina. On the string sat glaring razor blades yet she did not wince, just took them out like she was taking coins out of her purse to pay for a pot of local honey in the market. She then picked up a bugle lying on stage and stuffed it up her well worn vagina. She blurted out a few notes but even the music could only lift the glasses and not the spirits of the crowd. The torment continued as a naked man strapped her by her hands and feet to a contraption resembling John Leslie’s Wheel of Fortune. She was spun full circle. When the man stopped the wheel, he inserted his penis into her and then spun it some more.

As the show continued more Thai women came out and massaged the male crowd. My friend was getting on well with his masseuses. I leaned over to him. “You know they are ladyboys.” “Yes”, he whispered back “I was just testing myself to see how far I could go.” Bangkok is a test, where lines of sexuality, gender and morality are whisked together and retched out into a gutter by 4am.

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