I Was a Ladyboy Pimp
stands outside the bar, well-dressed in black slacks and
a dark, skintight button-down. It's his job to attract
customers. His counterpart, the unfortunately nicknamed
Nut, works inside, dressed seductively in a schoolgirl's
uniform. Judging by the number affixed to her chest, it's
her job to screw those customers.
atop each other, Nui and Nut would maybe come up to my chin.
dwarves, one whorehouse. Welcome to Bangkok's Nana
Entertainment Plaza, where fucking midgets is just the beginning.
not here as a customer, but an entrepreneur. In a country
where it's cheaper to buy a handjob than a large cappuccino
at Starbucks, I'd be a fool not to take advantage
of the sex trade. And with Thailand's transsexual
katoey more popular than ever, I'd be a fool to waste
my time peddling real pussy.
come to Bangkok to pimp ladyboys.
being, like, so over in the eyes of pissy backpacking types,
Bangkok is still wild around the edges and dirty in its
center. Khao San Rd., made famous in Alex Garland's
novel The Beach and then the movie, is still crazy
mad with scruffy tourists; there's ample opportunity
to get laid by chubby white girls.
c'mon. Think globally, fuck locally.
else is. You can't walk one city block without seeing
a round-eye fattie with a hot woman on his arm. Back home,
this man has a thankless job, crippling mortgage payments,
a fat-assed wife and a daughter older than his "date".
he's a god. Every afternoon, he eats a meal his wife
would normally disallow and slurps down overpriced bottles
of Singha, the local beer. As soon as his wrinkled erection
is recharged, it's time to find another woman. Since
nobody ever accused a sex tourist of originality, he heads
to Bangkok's three main prostitution districts.
it's the world-renowned Soi Cowboy ("Cowboy
Street"), a neon-lit, slut-filled back alley where
the tiny stages are crowded with hookers gyrating lazily
to pounding dance beats. For fattie to get laid, he simply
pays the "bar fine" -- 600 baht is the going
rate; that's less than £9 -- then negotiates
directly with the girl. A full night of sucking and fucking
should run about £21.
up is Patpong, a neighborhood famous for matching the simple
elegance of the ping-pong ball with the surprising dexterity
of the vagina. In bars that smell of liquor, smoke and girl,
our fat friend watches those ping-pong balls, plus whistles,
candles, even sewing needles -- sewing needles! -- ejected
from the closely shaven snatches of Thailand's fairer
it's a trip to the Nana Entertainment Plaza at Sukhumvit
Soi 4. Don't expect pussy shows here; Nana's
three-storey courtyard offers hundreds if not thousands
of prostitutes simply sitting at the outdoor bars and grinding
on the indoor stages, pulling in the foreigners, or farang,
with cleavage and compliments.
everywhere, the ladyboys may actually outnumber the real
women. Every farang swears he can tell the difference --
they talk of cheekbones, jaw lines, hips, Adam's apples
-- but I'm not so sure. For my money, voice analysis
is the way to go.
a genuine Thai woman screams for your attention, -- "Helloooooo
handsome maaaaaaan!" -- it sounds like a cat being
skinned alive. When a katoey bleats out the same greeting,
it's the screeching cat and a squealing pig and a
set of bagpipes being destroyed in a blender. The katoey
now, having pimped out my lovely Ae, the most beautiful
ladyboy in Bangkok, I don't think you can ever be
the katoey, anyway? Though transvestites and transsexuals
are found around the world, Thailand offers more than its
point to the Buddha's famous tolerance. In Theravada
Buddhism -- which accounts for 95 percent of the Thai population
-- transgenderism is not a sin. Some even say that katoeys
were adulturous men in a previous life. Everyone's
turning on the same wheel, so it's important to remain
compassionate. In the next incarnation, the katoey may be
all ladyboys are prostitutes, of course. Some are kickboxing
legends and professional volleyball players. At least according
to two recent movies that broke Thailand's box-office
records. Beautiful Boxer tells the story of Nong Toom, the
katoey muay thai champion who eventually underwent a sex
change and now lives as a woman. In The Iron Ladies (and
the sequel, Iron Ladies 2) a team of katoey volleyballers
become national champs. Both are based on true stories.
not in Bangkok to hang out with athletes with tits. I'm
looking to make cash from an artificial gash.
I decide, will be my turf.
between your legs?" I ask one particularly
friend sends a hand down below. Sure enough he finds a mass
of flesh that's "vaguely vagina-like".
doubt it matches her face, a plastic abomination that's
part drag queen, part alien: Angelina Jolie lips, tall forehead,
arched eyebrows and acne-scarred skin. One needn't
count the chromosomes to know this was once a man.
I ask my question because not every
ladyboy has a cock. Not every ladyboy has a vagina. Many
katoeys begin popping hormone-rich birth control pills in
their teens to soften puberty; some start as early as 10-years-old.
That may be the extent of their gender manipulation: tiny
little boobs and undeveloped penises tucked up against their
opt for complete sexual reassignment surgery. Fortunately
for them, Thailand is one of the world's sex-change
local surgeons, I'm told, do fine work. After a bilateral
orchidectomy ("removal of the testes and spermatic
cord"), skin from the cock shaft is used to create
a "neovagina"; inner and outer labia are made
from the scrotum and other leftover flesh. Nerve endings
from the penis head become a clitoris, and the urethra is
relocated to the appropriate spot. Even after a tracheal
shave and a brow lift, your new woman costs less than a
an additional $7000, the serious katoey can return six months
later for a rectosigmoid colon vaginoplasty. During this
procedure, which adds depth and functionality, four to six
inches of the colon is used to augment the vaginal canal's
depth. According to one doctor, the advantages are twofold:
colon vagina had less tendency to shrink comparing to the
standard vaginoplasty" and "It is self-lubricated
by its own mucus."
self-lubricating colon vagina -- clearly worth every penny.
search for a saleable ladyboy takes me to Cascade,
up on Nana's third floor, one of several go-go bars
trading exclusively in katoey flesh. Here, 20 meat puppets
stand on a revolving stage like pies in a restaurant display
case. Another 30 work the room, shoving their glistening
asses in your face, tweaking your nose, tickling your chin.
they are a bell curve of gender transformation. At one end,
bony young men with budding breasts and damning cocks pushing
against tiger-stripe bikini bottoms. At the other, voluptuous
trannies prettier than your girlfriend.
we've all fucked worse.
hire two girls at 1500 baht (£21) each. The first
-- let's call her Bee -- has the standard katoey alien
face but she speaks English very well. I hold little hope
for a sale; she'll be my translator for the second
"Ae" is slim, curvy and young, and has a facial
structure that's different than the typical ladyboy's.
Wearing a Hello Kitty necklace, tight green shirt and white
mini-skirt, she'll pass under any newcomer's
also doesn't speak much English, so I won't
have to listen to that katoey caterwaul all night.
Take it from me: If you ever decide
to hire a ladyboy, fuck her in the mouth. Not just because
vaginas sculpted from eviscerated penises and mucus-lined
stretches of colon are scary shit. Anything to shut her
up. Really, they're unbearable conversationalists.
I guess you don't indulge in the local talent?"
I ask a Swede in his mid-50s. He's just refused my
I do," he answers, "but after four years it
gets a little old."
should all have such problems: banging chicks "gets
a little old."
be told, the Swede isn't talking about women; he's
referring to the process of whoring. I can appreciate his
situation. I've been on this strip just four days
and I'm already sick of the sex trade. It's
like having ice cream for breakfast every day.
girl on the right," I say to Mark, an American English
teacher in his mid-20s. "How much would you pay to
go home with her?"
hundred, but I'd need to get a room." That means
another £3.50, short-term only.
another 20 baht for condoms," he adds.
interest in going home with her?" I ask, anxious for
I'm drained of bodily fluids. I just spent a week
Pattaya. Thailand's most popular resort town, where
the sex industry actually puts Bangkok's to shame.
If Nana is a simple cesspool, then Pattaya's strip
is the neighboring ditch filled with your turds plus aborted
fetuses and used jitbags.
beach to the south can be quite pleasant, though.
I spy a pair of chubby Australians admiring Ae's tight
little ass and perfectly pert tits. I ignore the trio of
German evangelists holding Bibles and screaming for repentance
-- farts in the wind -- and launch into my standard line:
is my friend," I say. "She's working with
do you mean you work with her? What are you, a pimp?"
A man who understands my valuable service.
continue: "Around here, you can end up with a ladyboy
who knifes you or drugs you. With me, there's no bar
fine and you can trust me."
offer Ae for just 2000 baht, or £28; £42 to
more sober Aussie examines the goods closely, not entirely
girls look alike in the dark," the drunk one urges.
heard that a few times," the friend answers, examining
Ae's jaw line. "And I just don't think
at 1 a.m., the crowd spills out of Nana Entertainment
Plaza like seed from a burst condom. It oozes down Soi 4's
legs, into its ass crack. The whores are off the clock.
Some buy a dinner of grilled chicken feet and fried grasshoppers
at the street carts, others go freelance.
The closest I came to reselling my plastic-pussy pals was
a one-armed man from Scotland. He wasn't overly concerned
with the chromosome count, but was more keen on drinking
with his mates. There was also a trio of Turks who would've
taken a 3000-baht package deal. But judging from their desperate,
angry eyes, my product would've come back damaged.
I pay off my girls, despondent and
broke, and wish them good luck. As they run off -- no doubt
to find those Turks or the one-armed Scot -- I take a last
look at Ae's lovely ass. I consider chasing after her, getting
my money's worth.
"Honestly," I think, "we've all