Yes, I’ll admit, there were times when I went there. Par example :
- There was this time in grad school when I went to a strip bar. I used to bus and bike past that neon-lit facade all the time and for months I thought about going there. It was difficult to work up the nerve. There was a vast feeling of uncertainty — would it be gross? Would I like it too much? There was also the nagging fear that the girls would either be openly hostile or all syrupy-sweet despite resenting my presence. In the end, they just mostly ignored me. I sat alone at a table with my one expensive beer. I liked it that the girls were all different shapes. I didn’t like it that, flanking the stage, there were a pair of TVs tuned to separate sports channels. It seemed disrespectful. These women were taking their clothes off. The least people could do was watch.
- I paid for phone sex once, long ago. The woman sounded like she was in her forties and talked to me like I was four. She probably thought I was a reporter, or cop, or some kind of religious nut and not a wildly curious bi girl who wanted to see if a sexy voice would turn me on. Also, I paid for five minutes. She stiffed me by hanging up after three.
- When I visited Bangkok, checking out its notorious red-light district was high on my list of things to do. But Patpong proved disappointing. Although the touts still beckoned from neon-lit doorways, they were mostly hidden behind the stalls of a brightly-lit night market. The halogens were so intense that walking between them was like being in some emergency staging area for the zombie apocalypse except with t-shirts and cheap, plastic pagodas all around. In the end, I did go see one show. Those stories you’ve heard about ping-pong balls are not exaggerated.
It seems odd how popular the sex trade is, given that it doesn’t seem like all that much fun.
Featured image: Patpong 1 by krisvanexel