I went into Patpong the other evening, and for the first time in a long time I went into a couple of the better-known girlie go-go bars. My usual trail takes me to the French Kiss, an elaborate bar-beer where you can enjoy a thoroughly good menu of French food, and on of course to KC3, the first ladyboy bar in Bangkok and still going strong. I don’t usually bother with the Patpong girlie bars, because they have for many years now descended to a sad formula of crap music and far too many unattractive girls.
I was amazed at the emptiness of both the bars I went into. I was very nearly a lone customer in both. Okay, so it was early, about 9pm, but even so, the bars used to be heaving by that time in the old days. I get the same story from friends who go to Patpong on a regular basis, and also from a couple of the old-timers who work there.
Yet this is only the girlie bars. KC3, which of course is 100 percent ladyboy does good business. The al fresco music bars seem to do well too, given that they have proliferated in recent years and they always seem to attract a good crowd of tourists.
My own memories of Patpong go back to *COUGH!!*. There was no street market there at that time, and it really was a raunchy place. The street market brought the tourists. The tourists diluted the raunchy atmosphere. Patpong has been gradually changing over the years, and the advent of the music bars has given the street something of a carnival aura, rather than a dark place with dark doings going on behind dark doors.
In other words, it has become palatable for the fat-arsed self-righteous kind of Western woman who is prepared to be steered through the street by her hubby, as long as he has the blinkers on.
Compare this to Nana Plaza. Nana is still jumping with high-octane sex and sensuality. And along with having some hot girlie bars one of the most surprising things that has happened to Nana is the increase in the number of ladyboy bars. It used to be just Casanova, a decade or so ago, but there are now I believe six ladyboy bars there, and they all seem to do rock-solid business. Certainly, a very large number of ladyboys depend on these bars for an income.
As I have mentioned before on this site, many men who would have previously come to Bangkok looking for female company, now come looking for ladyboys. Talking to a friend over the weekend, a fellow ladyboy lover, we wondered how the average Western woman would react if she found out her husband was indulging in ladyboy company.
We agreed that, yes, we had a pretty good idea of what would happen if hubby went off with a cute little genetic girl for the evening. But a ladyboy?
A Western wife would, we concluded, be lost for both words and emotions. A ladyboy does not represent a challenge. No one is going to divorce his wife and marry a ladyboy. Or get a ladyboy pregnant. Or flaunt a ladyboy as a mistress.
Would she accuse him of being gay? His reply: “Well, dear, you really should know the answer to that one.”
As always, the world of the ladyboy is a continual puzzle with no easy answers.