Lola, L-L-Lola, L-L-Lola

Trip Start Aug 04, 2011
Trip End Jan 04, 2012

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Saturday, September 24, 2011

All lads groups that return from Bangkok return with stories of visiting a lady of the night and finding a surprise when they get down to the nitty gritty of the bedroom operations. Its almost a requirement that someone in the group has to be caught out by a Thai Kathoey (Ladyboy). We had heard stories from others about these men that are so effeminate, it is near impossible to tell the difference. They are as attractive as the real thing. If anyone ever tells you this - they are talking absolute crap in 95-99% of the cases. The people who cannot tell the difference are either not at all picky or are probably talking while heavily intoxicated.
We visited one of the pricier Ladyboy cabaret shows in Bangkok; The Calypso Cabaret staged at the Asia Hotel. I read a review prior to attending from a guy who almost sounded as if he had turned after the performance; these ladyboys were so attractive he had to ask himself serious questions about his sexuality. I can only assume it was a different crop of personnel for him.
Don't get me wrong before I get into the details, we both enjoyed the show; but for different reasons- to which I'll elaborate.

We arrived and entered the Asia hotel after stopping across from the hotel for some food at a group of restaurants. Kate didn't care where we ate, and so when I selected a place I was sure it would be fine. It wasn't as the seats were too low and the tables not square enough or something. So if you are ever told 'I don't mind where we eat", you should realise you should really clarify this statement with additional questions such as "does it matter what drinks they serve?, do they have to be playing any particular types of music? what types of seats and tables would you prefer to use? etc. It was a schoolboy error on my part and I should have been smarter. After a nice curry at a place with tables approximately 2ft 3inches from the floor (the apparently correct height for a table as it seemed to be adequate) we went across to the Asia. The theatre/cabaret hall is a nice intimate venue with seats arranged around tables pointing towards the stage which can be seen clearly from pretty much everywhere. The ticket price includes a drink and you are quickly visited by the waitress as people take to their seats. At the start of the show a compere esque male introduces the show and the 'lovely beautiful ladies' we are all to behold.

The show starts and the diva takes to the stage. Heshe mimes a classic number while wearing a body hugging dress and pouting to the crowd. There are no obvious signs of a tuck job going on. There is either a good deal of strapping down there or this boy is closer to the lady part of the operation process. Kathoeys tend to be heavily operated on. They take hormone replacement therapy, they get boob jobs, buttock work, Adams apple reductions and the final act of turning their outie to an innie. This last step can be held back to allow them to keep working as a trans-gender. The Kathoey people very much see themselves as a third gender, not male or female. If the first one on stage is an example of the best, I can't wait to see some of the worst. Heshe has a good body, I cannot deny that. The problem comes when you look at the face.

Following acts seem to back up these initial observations. Good bodies, all with boobs and everything - they just look like men. A couple appear more effeminate in the face but then will let themselves down with shoulders Geoff Capes would be proud of. Most of the acts are mime acts and the reason is obvious. These beauties haven't mastered the ability to talk like a lady. When they speak, the husky gravelly tones quickly turn a 75% positive, to a 100%. It is just too obvious.

Going back to the show. Kate loves it, I enjoy a couple of the dances when I can forget what it is I am watching, its quite funny and totally innocent. But the problem occurs when you do realise what you are watching. We paid somewhere in the region of 20 quid a ticket for this show. The cabaret is bright and colourful, its reasonably well choreographed but it just is OK. And when something is just OK, you don't pay 20 quid a ticket. You might see something like this at a holiday resort thrown in free with your all inclusive package. So what we are paying for, what 40 of our hard earned pounds are going on, is paying for the privilege of gawking at a little bit of a freak show. They cannot sing; they are lads trying to look like ladies and so they will always be slightly less than the real thing and the show is just a bit basic. Its damning, but ultimately it's a little sad. These people have such a mixed life that they have turned to being a freak show for the tourist public. On this stage they become something special but its probably all for the wrong reasons.

As the show finished you are invited to take your photo with the stars. The performers all stand in a line along the wall of the theatre hall beckoning you over to take a photo with them. They are wonderfully friendly and appear to just want to be liked. Up close you can see some of the cracks in the appearance a bit clearer and maybe 2 out of the 50 performers could put up a show as being a lady. Kate takes a photo with the star of the show, a fella who did a very good comedy routine in drag which was actually highly entertaining. Kate thought him quiet and really sweet when she talked to him, and I thought he was easily the best part of the show.

Kathoeys appear to be everywhere in Thailand. They are blatantly obvious and clearly just trying to fit in. I found the show made me more accepting of them and destroyed the mystery behind them. For the couple of days before we attended Calypso I was actively pointing people out to Kate on the quiet that I was sure were transsexual - it was as if it was a game - I picked out somewhere in the region of 20, I could spot a giveaway Adams apple from 20 yards. 

They have a hard enough time as it is without some pillock being judgmental and making a game out of them. I still play, but I accept I'm being an Ass when I do.
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