Everyone told me that, while I was in Thailand, I had to go to a ping pong show. While I didn’t have a burning desire to see any vaginas, let alone tiny plastic balls popping out of them, I must admit I probably would have gone along for the sake of my curiosity. However, as fate would have it, the opportunity arose for me to attend what I can only really summarise as the “gay version” of a ping pong show: a live gay sex show. Not one to turn down the offer for such a unique experience, I went along with a group of people – all of whom wish to remain anonymous (I can’t imagine why?) – to witness what was sure to be an interesting performance, to say the least.
I don’t know what I’d had in mind, but I was a little surprised when I walked into the bar. It felt like a pretty normal club, although all the seats were in fixed rows facing towards the stage. Oh, and there was a rotation of slender Thai boys in their underwear moving slowing around the stage. They had numbered pins attached to the minimal clothing that they were wearing, so if you saw a boy you liked you could pick him out by number, by him a drink, chat to him and, if you so desired, take him home – it was basically a prostitute sushi train. The boys would smile at us occasionally, and I often found myself blushing and looking away to break the eye contact, not wanting to give any of them the wrong idea. I had come for to satisfy my curiosity with the show, but I was definitely not about to delve any further into the world of sex tourism. I felt some mixed emotions, watching the guys walk around the stage. I didn’t want to come in and impose my Western sympathy on a culture I didn’t fully understand, but I wondered how these guys had come to be in these situations, doing these kinds of things for, and with, complete strangers.
Then the actual show started. The stage cleared as the lights dimmed, and then slowly faded up to a guy sitting on a chair, centre stage, with a cowboy hat cocked over his face. I couldn’t help but laugh at the cliché, but as the music started up, and the strippers various garments of clothing came off, I couldn’t help but giggle like a little school girl, a combination of the several drinks I’d already consumed with the novelty of seeing my first ever live male strip show. Of course, I’d seen these kind of situations in films (no, not those films), and even though they’re weirdly similar… Well to be honest I don’t know exactly what I was expecting. I guess it looked like I was enjoying it so much – I won’t lie, I wasn’t hating it or anything – because the next thing I know the stripper is down on the seat in front of me, his crotch thrusting into my face, miming a pulling motion along his side seams.
My first reaction was mortified embarrassment, throwing my hands over my face, yet laughing hysterically at the situation. When I realised he wasn’t going anywhere, I reached up to where his short shorts were gyrating and pulled the front forward. I didn’t really think about it as I did it, but in retrospect I’m glad that he was wearing a G-string under those shorts, or I might have really copped a face full of surprise. Instead, I just continued my unabashed laughter – I don’t know if that was considered rude, but I guess it’s means I was being entertained one way or another – and threw the Velcro tear-away pants back onto the stage.
The stripped was just an appetiser – now began the real show. Again, I’m not sure what I was really expecting, but I had not envisioned any S&M displays when I walked through the doors of this bar. Two guys emerged from behind the stage curtain: one was naked except for a face mask, leash and collar, and the second was also completely naked, wielding a spanking paddle and furiously striking the first guy across the buttocks. Previously, I’ve had the pleasure of selling such kinky wares for a living, so I was familiar with their uses and purpose, but this was the first time I’d ever actually seen them in action. And despite all my theoretical knowledge of these practices, seeing them in the flesh was quite shocking. I jumped and squirmed a lot, letting out a gasp or shriek every now and then, but I was barely heard above the music.
The rest of the show was… well, I wouldn’t call it tame, but it shifted from the S&M theme and into something less frightening. One by one boys would come out on stage, completely naked and penises fully erect, and go through a similar display process from the beginning of the show, except now everything was on display. Some of them were also wearing condoms, which seemed strange because as far as I could see no one was having sex yet. That didn’t stop my from giggling in amusement – I felt like an annoying hens night in the middle of a gay bar, but I couldn’t keep a straight face as most of them came forward and bared all for us, shaking their manhoods in our general direction.
There were a few other acts – a transsexual doing a geisha-styled number, with a kimono just short enough for her member to poke beneath the folds of the gown, and a dance routine that actually involved little nudity and was surprising elegant and graceful – before the grand finale of the whole show. It almost snuck up on me by surprise – though it looked as though they were about to recreate a frat boy hazing scene, so I don’t really know why it surprised me. I was expecting some more S&M displays, maybe another kinky slap-around, when suddenly – BAM! There it was. I was watching a four man gang bang, live in the flesh. I could go into more detail, but I feel like I’ve already pushed the limits of graphic detail in this recount. All I will say is this: mid-intercourse handstands. It happened. It only lasted a few minutes though, and as soon as it had snuck up on me, the show was over.
The whole experience was bizarre. Not as bizarre as being molested by a Buddhist monk, but still very bizarre. I can’t say it’s something I’d ever do again, let alone the kind of thing I would visit on a regular basis, but I’m glad I saw it before leaving Bangkok. Besides, is a trip to Thailand really complete without a little bit of casual sex tourism?