May the Lord spare these lost, lost souls 😉
My BIGGEST apprehension coming to Thailand was the prevalent sex industry. Don’t get me wrong I am not against any magical, wonderful, creepy, scary things people might be into (as long as it’s consensual and legal, mind). But I haven’t had much exposure to the sex industry personally (confession: Although I did work in a certain type of call centre during university but I won’t go there in this post).
I’m just not the type of cat to go out and seek these services. I had no idea what it would be like in Thailand and due to my travel brah’s main goal of having reeeeelations (darling) with a lady(boy) of the night I knew I would have to dip a tippy toe into Thailand’s sex industry and night life… eventually.
Well. I didn’t dip a tippy toe. I waded waist deep through it. Not my intentions. I was a babe magnet! Jason and I got our first taste of the rauchy night life in Phuket, specifically, Patong Beach. We would walk through Go Go Bars and those strip clubs where there’s no walls so it’s all open to the street. The girls would practically hurdle over tables and stools to get to me, they linked arms with me, hug me, tell me compliments etc etc.. am I building a picture?
Now I am no fool, they want money. They want customers and they will do and say whatever it takes. I get that. I know this. But I was put in a situation that as a female, I can’t say I have ever been in. I got a teeny tiny look into what it would be like to be essentially an attractive (or not!?) male that has females dripping off him like jewels. IT WAS WEIRD. But I quickly learned to embrace it, to be polite, kind, and flirty back. I didn’t pay for their services but I had many fun, flirty but innocent exchanges with many of the women and ladyboys in Thailand, including being whipped and whipping a female stripper (equality right?!)
I liked that because it humanised the industry. These were humans as I or you. It put a face on the industry, or in my case I got to see and interact with dozens of faces. It made it not so scary and more fun!
The prevalence of the sex industry kinda made it seem more acceptable and not as seedy and back alley-vibes. Now, I am sure a lot of bad stuff still goes on despite it being so open. But I can only speak about what I experienced and luckily nothing bad happened. I am not at all suggesting it’s all nipple tassels and rainbows for these workers and customers, I don’t doubt there are many people in danger or not happy with the work they feel they must do.
Another stereotype that was blasted to pieces was the types of men who would visit Thailand specifically for the sex industry. I mean yesssss a lot of them were that stereotypical not so attractive older richer white male. BUT! If I told you there was a place on this planet that you could go where it has tropical weather, cheap drinks and thousands of young females that will adore you… you wouldn’t be even slightly intrigued?
Witnessing these men made them human too, they were lonely, or lacked self-confidence – whatever their reason, they to, were human like me and you.
It was an eye-opening, positive, fun experience – something I did NOT expect to be saying when reflecting on my time in strip clubs and sex shows!