So! You head on over to Thailand. You land at Bhumi Airport. You’re in Bangkok. Krung thep. City of Angels. All there is left to do is jump in a Taxi and head on down to Khaosarn Road or Sukhumvit Road. Ya check into your hotel room. Ya take a nap to prepare for the parties that are surely to be roaring up and down KSR and the Suk later that night.
You’ve heard all about the parties and clubs around Bangkok, but, it’s your first time there.
You get up. Get showered. Dressed and are out on the town. Ready to get it on.
You meet the lady of your dreams.
But…something seems a little off.
She’s tall. You heard that Thai ladies are too short.
She’s got perfect breasts, but, they’re surgically enhanced. There are other things that hit you as odd, but, you keep blowing it off as paranoia. You might also notice other Thai gals looking at you occasionally with what seems like a knowing glance and other Western men glancing in y our direction and chuckling or outright pointing and laughing at ya.
You figure you’re just paranoid. You spend the night drinking and dancing with your new lady friend. She seems friendly, shy, reserved. She’s polite. Doesn’t talk a lot.
As the night goes on, your drinking and feeling your buzz.
Suddenly, you seem to notice that her shoulders seem a bit too wide for a lady.
A hazy memory comes to you. Something you read in a travel book or in a blog before you flew to Bangkok.
KATOOEY! pops into your head. LADYBOYS! The blog said to watch out for Bangkoks many transexuals.
You start to freak out a bit. You might even lose your cool.
Don’t. Just calm down and ask her. If she is, she’ll probably tell you. If she’s not, you might get smacked or she might laugh at you and you just broke the ice with a hot, unusually tall Thai chic.
Katooey or Ladyboys are just a part of life in Thailand. Much of Asia actually. It’s no big deal to them. If you make it a big deal, Thais will look at you like you’re a fool.
The way I see it is that they’re just another group of God’s creatures. I don’t understand it. Probably never will. I don’t need to understand it. It’s their life. Not mine. As long as they’ve been truthful with me and not tried to trick me into anything that is not for me, I’ve got no problem with it. To each his own. Some men like it.
I’ve noticed that Brits, Aussies and Japanese tend to be the big group that gets into the transgender dating/sex scene. If you sit in a bar on the street on Walking Street in Pattaya or Bang La Road in Phuket or off Nana Plaza on Suk Soi 4, it seems that most of the guys talking to the Katooey are from those islands. I may be off on that assessment, but, I noticed it during my first trip to Thailand back in 2004. Since then, I’ve paid attention when I see a dude with a Ladyboy. Almost without fail, they’re from one of the aforementioned island nations. Don’t know why and it may just be a string of coincidences over a five year period. Who cares.
I’ve met a few and they seem nice. Normal. Outside of the fact that they are women who used to be men. Chances are, if you’ve been to Bangkok for a while, you’ve met one and didn’t know it.
When I was traveling with my friend Becca, I was pretty good at spotting them. So we made a game out of it. If we wer out and about and I saw one, I’d rub the back of my neck as I passed her so that Becca could spot her too. It was pretty funny. About half of the time, Becca couldn’t tell.
What’s that tell you about your chances. lol
Like I said earlier, it’s no big deal. If it’s not your thing, don’t freak out. Just tell her and leave gracefully. If it’s your thing, well, that’s between you and her.
In Thailand, it’s so normal that they have Miss Thai LadyBoy Beauty Pageants in the larger, mainstream shopping malls. Everyone gathers around and watches them in their gowns and bikinis and everyone applauds them. I saw one beauty pageant with a talent show. One of the girls was belting out Whitney Houston and sounded damn good. It’s remarkable only for how unremarkable that the ladyboys are for Thais. It was the same in Cambodia, Malaysia and, though a bit more subdued, it was the same for Vietnam. I saw them in India as well.
Like I said, if you meet one of these ladies and you’re not comfortable around them, just depart the scene gracefully. Otherwise, you’ll look like the ass. No reason for it to ruin your evening or your trip. After a few days, you’ll be able to spot them and know which ladies to talk to and which ladies to avoid.
Almost everything can be surgically altered. Hips, voice box, Adam’s apple, derriere, breats, jaw structure. I mean everything.
Well almost. First things first.
Height. If they are taller than 5′ 6″, it’s almost certain.
If you want to be certain, check out the feet. Big feet. A sure sign. Never met a Thai lady with big feet.
Last thing that is almost always a dead give away is the shoulders. If they’re rail skinny and still have wide shoulders, they’re probably a Katooey.
That will probably save you.
Now. All that said, they’re still just people. No reason to be disrespectful to them or treat them badly. Just as you don’t know them or their interests until you meet them and get to know them, they don’t know you and don’t know if you are interested or not until you tell them that you are or are not.
If you aren’t, no need for a scene. Some of them are nice folks just like anyone else. Some of them are scamps just like anyone else. You’ll find transgender and transvestite all over the social strata of Thailand. They work at 7Eleven, they work as bartenders, wait persons, Executive, Mall Store Clerks, Government Office personnel. All over. That gal whom you cursed out or spat on or belted the night before may be your bartender the next night. She might be the customs clerk that handles your Visa. Don’t get yourself in a bind and make a fool of yourself. It’s just as easy to politely excuse yourself and walk away. After all, you’re in Thailand to have fun. You’re not there to cast social judgments. By demurring gracefully, you might impress that beautiful little Thai girl standing next to you enough that she approaches YOU. It happens.
And then, who knows…