Cum to Thailand part 2 - the first part of this story is here.
When I planned this trip to Thailand, I made a short list of things to do. I wrote the list down and now I can’t find it but one of the things at the top of the list was a ping pong show.
A ping pong show is a live sex show where girls do “tricks.” SE Asia everywhere but Thailand specifically is known for sex tourism, which was one of the draws for Jack and I and our planned love affair. Like us, tourists come to SE Asia to see sex shows and get prostitutes that will service ANY clientèle. The Thai are very service oriented in all ways and the answer is never “no” but always “how much?”
The specifics of sex tourism always involve human trafficking, which is not something I thought about then. Not really. I was uneducated about sex work at that point in my life and I was overwhelmed by the fundamentally selfish nature of both this trip and our love affair. I only considered our activities from my own point of view. That’s actually a general tourist problem and not one specific to sex tourism. Tourists are consumers. By nature they take from a country and don’t give back and when it comes to sex tourism, this equation gets infinitely more complicated.
I now a lot more now than I did then.
I’ve told this story so many times in so many ways that it’s tempting to rewrite history from my perspective now. I’m trying not to do that here. I’ve decided to leave this story as I wrote it during the experience, understanding that my lack of education made me unknowingly complicit in one of the world’s worst crimes.There’s a huge legal case in the US right now about this very subject and to those men on trial and to my younger self, I can only say this: ignorance is not a defense or an excuse.
Fortunately, this Thailand trip taught me better, as you’ll see. But I had to learn the hard way. This story was the beginning.
The Pink Poncho
We didn't have much of a plan for meeting up when Jack got to Thailand. I had an international cell phone but I didn't have a Thai number so Jack had no way to call me. It would have been smart to get his phone number, but I didn't. Plus I changed hotels while he was en route so I couldn't tell him where I was staying. PLUS, he didn't have an exact flight arrival date or time so I didn't know when to expect him.
Given all of that, the fact that we finally met up on the streets of Bangkok is nothing short of a miracle. But maybe that was just par for the course.
Our first kiss was on the street with a crazy taxi driver hanging out of his window, laughing and waving at us. I was staying in the least romantic hotel room ever with two single beds. There was an intense smell of mildew and much of the room was dominated by the bathroom, which was mostly a shower nozzle in the wall over the toilet and a drain in the middle of the floor.
Welcome to Southeast Asia.
But it didn’t matter because we were naked within 15 minutes of seeing each other. The sex was hot and crazy and desperate and fast the way you might expect after 2 months of teasing. We took a shower together afterwards and added a flood to the total destruction of the room and then locked the door and went out on the town to find some trouble.
Before Jack arrived, I had traveled for a week with two friends from work – Mark and Ainsley - and I told them about ping pong shows. They’d never heard of such a thing and they were fascinated. One night I stayed in the hotel but they walked out to Khao San road, the Bangkok French Quarter, and Ainsley heard someone say “Ping pong show?” and tried to give her a little business card. After they walked past, she said to Mark “Annie was right! I can't believe we just got offered tickets to a sex show!”
Mark said “No way! He said 'Pink Poncho!'”
Ainsley just looked at him and said “Pink ponchos? At 2am? Really???” and Mark said “It’s Thailand! It’s always raining!” They declined to take the guy up on his “pink poncho” invitation but they told me all about this story with much hilarity the next morning over breakfast and Ainsley gave me the approximate coordinates of the guy and his location on Khao San Road.
So when Jack arrived we went looking for the pink poncho guy. Ping pong shows aren't legal, even in Thailand, but we didn't have much trouble finding a guy who knew of a place and would take us there for a price. Jack negotiated, they agreed on a number, we hopped in a tuk-tuk and took off.
We arrived at a drab multi-story building that was empty on the bottom floor. A small man met us at the door, saw our tuk-tuk driver and knew why we were there because tuk-tuk drivers have agreements with managers of restaurants, souvenir shops, sex shows etc. When they bring tourists in they get a cut of the door price or the bill. This door man very carefully and specifically gave us a run down of what we would be seeing, told us the the price only involved the show but if we wanted “extras,” that could be negotiated . We verbally agreed to the show, but not the extras, and paid for two $15 tickets.
Upstairs was a small round stage with several poles, a couple runways leading to the stage and the small audience section was a series of couches about half-full with foreigners. When we got there I was the only woman and we were the only ones speaking English. The atmosphere was quiet, dark and low-key. Secretive, maybe. We sat in the front row since I was curious and Jack figured we should get our money's worth.
The show was divided into “acts” with an announcer introducing the girls, telling us what they would do and controlling the play lists. The girls were all attractive, young and lean, but they had world weary faces. I remember thinking “If eyes had really looked into the pits of hell, I bet they would look like this…” They all wore black bikinis and when they started their acts they would take their panties off of one leg and tie it up around their other leg like a garter. Unlike America, none of the girls were completely bare and instead had neatly groomed pubic hair.
The first act was a “ribbon show.” The girl had what looked to be a mile of string tagged with little glow-in-the-dark flags tucked up into her pussy. She pulled the end of the string out, tied it to a pole and then wrapped it around the stage poles while she walked around the stage. The flags glowed under the black light and I wondered how she kept that string from getting tangled. It was a curious act but not very erotic.
After the glow-in-the-dark flags was another ribbon show, this one with razor blades. (!) The girl pulled the ribbon out the same way, wrapped it around the poles and cut the string with the razor blades to prove their sharpness. I put this act in the category of unerotic and also terrifying.
Following her, a girl tucked ping pong balls inside herself and then squatted and dropped them into a cup; another girl poured water into herself and then poured it into a bottle and then a pair of girls played musical instruments with their pussies.
All intriguing. None erotic.
At this point the show ramped up a bit with obvious audience favorites, like the girl who asked for Jack’s name and then put a pen in her pussy, balanced herself on her hands and feet like a crab and wrote “Welcome to Bangkok, Jack” on a piece of paper.
I paid her 100 baht for that paper and I still have it.
Another impressive physical act was the girl who had two bottles of carbonated water with metal caps. She squatted, stuck those bottles up her pussy, arched her back and popped the bottles open with such force that the water sprayed all over the stage and the front row where we were sitting. Let’s assume that she had a bottle opener tucked up there but still, I just… couldn’t even wrap my mind around the muscular control to keep that opener in place.
My favorite act was the girl who gave out three balloons to audience members and stood them in the three runways leading up to the stage. Then she laid on her back in a yogi bridge position, put a blowgun in her pussy, and popped those balloons by shooting darts at them! Those darts traveled at least 12 feet! She took out the first two balloons with two shots and then she missed the third one. So she put in another dart and missed it again.
Oooh, she was pissed.
She motioned the guy further over, had him raise his arm a little bit more and I watched her reposition herself, take a deep breath, gather all the force, her chi, the magnitude of the Thai sex gods or whatever it was and she flexed some muscles somewhere and fucking shot that balloon right out of the air.
I’ve never seen anything like it, ever.
The ping pong show ended with a man and woman having choreographed sex in all kinds of kama sutra type positions including hanging from the rings on the ceiling. The girl looked intensely bored, the guy looked very focused and athletic and the whole thing was anticlimactic after the blow gun event. As with most of the rest of the show, it wasn't sensual or erotic and I walked out thinking, as I so often do, “huh, that was interesting...” and checking ping pong show off my life to-do list.
That was my first taste of the Thai sex industry. The next taste, however… that’s a story for next week.
I've been wanting to write more in this space and also participate in some of the weekly blogger memes. When I saw the "Risk" prompt over at Brigit Delaney's Erotic Journal Challenge, I thought this was the perfect opportunity to start sharing this particular story. I mention a few men who are peripheral to the story and if you need to know who they are, you can find a cheat sheet here.
Cum to Thailand
A daring fellow is the jewel of the world.
- J.M. Synge
I planned my trip to Thailand by myself. I had never traveled alone internationally and solo travel seemed terrifying but I wanted to see the world and I was tired of waiting for my friend’s schedules to align with mine. I also felt like it was an important step to conquer my fear, travel by myself and survive. Emphasis on the surviving...
But despite my solo plans, I wasn't opposed to other people joining me for this trip if they could make it happen. I told my lover, Daredevil, about the trip and he said he was definitely interested. Since he'd actually met me in Alaska and we'd had a really nice week, I figured I had a good chance of him following thru. But as time went on he wanted more from me than I was willing to give him and he was unhappy. I think it pissed him off that we weren't in the same place with our relationship but he didn't want to stop seeing me either.
I saw him in April and things were ok but by the time I finished that weekend, I was ready to be done. He mentioned that he was still interested in Thailand and I said “ok” and left it at that. We didn’t talk much in the next few months. I felt like I’d been pretty clear that I wasn’t in a space for a long term steady monogamous anything and he was fine with that initially but then he wasn’t. Instead of having that conversation directly, he got passive aggressive and I got more distant and unreachable. I should have been more direct with him about our relationship and the trip but I wasn't sure what to say except that I didn’t want to be with him anymore and I didn't want him to go with me. Instead of saying that, I just left the country... which is also pretty direct.
In June, I talked to a different former lover of mine, Austin 31, and mentioned Thailand and he said “I've always wanted to go to Thailand!” and I said, “You should! Come to Thailand...!!!” And this time I meant “Please cum to Thailand!” I thought he would be a great traveling companion, he's hot and the sex is amazing and I knew that if things went south he’d just take off and do his own thing rather than stick around and make me miserable. Plus I liked him and enjoyed his company. Between those two guys, he was the one that I most hoped would actually make it.
But then... I met a guy. Or rather, I reencountered a guy.
Jack was someone I'd known for a long time. I'd dated his brother and his sister was one of my best friends so I was all up this family's business. At that point Jack’s and my paths hadn't crossed much though. I'd mostly heard about him through his family members and had met him only a couple of times.
However, he joined Myspace and friend requested me around January and then emailed me and we talked on and off for a few months, nothing flirty just sort of talking about this and that. Then there was a long lull and one day in June I opened my email one day to see this message:
I know we are not close like this...But if you were here I would stick my tongue so far up your ass...
That’s a fucking bold statement to come out of the blue but he caught me at just the right exact moment and so I responded:
If you were here I might let you...
And it was on.
Things got hot and heavy quickly by email and IM. I was bored and not working and had plenty of time to enjoy the flirting. He had separated from his wife for reasons he declined to get into but it was clear that he was bored and lonely, deployed in the sandbox of the Middle East and we were both looking for something new and fun.
I remembered that he’d lived in Thailand so I told him I was going and asked for advice. He responded “I should just meet you there. I speak Thai and could really show you Thailand, the Thailand you wouldn't see otherwise...” That seemed like an amazing offer. I told him I would love to see him in Thailand. And so began the back and forth.
He didn't think he could actually go because of his deployment. He gave it a 20% chance at the beginning of June, but then his deployment plans changed and all of sudden we were up to an 80% chance at the end of the month. By the end of June, Jack started asking if I was actually serious about wanting him to come to Thailand and I told him I was. The opportunity to see the country with someone who knows it couldn't be passed up.
However, Austin31 was still trying to work it out as well.
When I considered that I might have two men meeting me in Thailand, I actually thought I could juggle them so their paths wouldn't cross. In retrospect that’s completely absurd, obviously, but then it ceased to be a problem because Austin31 told me he couldn't make it. Money was the main problem and no matter how he finagled it, he couldn't make it couldn’t happen. This time I was relieved because I knew that juggling Austin31 and Jack was likely to end in some kind of disaster.
Jack and I began to make serious plans and the longer we talked, the more things changed. In the course of a month, the trip to Thailand moved from sexy easy breezy fun and games to an epic love affair where we actually made plans to fall passionately, hopelessly, impossibly in love in Thailand. We knew it would be impossible for so many reasons but we decided to deal with the after effects later. To not let the fact that there would be consequences stop us from taking this big risk.
Jack can be quoted as saying “I want to be so wrecked that I cry in the airport when I leave you... ”
If you’re asking yourself how in the world that escalated so fast, I would point you to IM and video chat and the ability to create a little online fantasy world inhabited by only two people who talk to each other for hours every day but whose real lives never actually intersect. He was the first person I talked to in the morning when I got up and he was finishing work and he was the last person I talked to at night when he was just getting to work in his morning on the other side of the world. We talked while he was at work and he even jerked off on camera behind his work desk when the office was deserted.
The connection was about sex but we both craved something more. I wanted a chance to fall in love. I feared that the wreckage from my breakup with the Blacksmith had killed my ability to be close to someone. That I was walled up in a ivory tower, playing around with guys but never letting anyone get close enough to hurt me. The way I had abandoned the Daredevil haunted me a bit. I felt terrible about it but I still didn’t want to talk to him.
IMing with Jack was the first time I understood how easy it can be to say things to a screen instead of a person. I could tell him how wrecked I was and how scared I was of getting close to someone and getting hurt again. He could tell me how deeply he regretted the way his marriage had ended, full of duplicity and cheating and lies. We both wanted a new start.
He said “I want to take this chance to do and say things with you, someone I really like. If you don't like what or who I am at the end of all this then at least once in my life I can say I really put it out there in way that was real.”
Jack knew he’d made mistakes. He spoke of atonement. He wanted to move on. He wanted what we all want but are afraid to ask for, to confess our sins and have someone love us for them and in spite of them.
I found myself in the rare unexpected position of being able to really be there for him. To give him a chance to be himself, and in the process open myself up to possibility. He was very perceptive about my closed heart and said things like:
“Be mine for 2 weeks. Be my soulmate. Let me kiss you where the light never reaches and embrace the things about you that you thought were gone or you thought you did not need”
It’s a very odd thing to plan a love affair. But it’s a very great thing to be honest and truthful and ask for what you want. And then of course when we weren’t talking about love and light and broken hearts, we were planning all the taboo, insane, sexy, illicit things we could think of and get away with on this vacation. Thailand was the perfect playground for this kind of sacred and profane behavior and we wanted to cut the leash, go off the grid and see how far we could go.
The ultimate consequence of this madness was anyone's guess.