Monday, June 15, 2009

Barking in the wrong forest

A few nights ago I was having a beer on the street with friends when a French guy approached me and said, “You have the most beautiful legs I’ve ever seen.” I thanked him politely, a little embarrassed at this unwanted attention, and not wanting to continue talking to him. He continued, staring at my legs, “Come on, you have to stand up, let me see those legs!” I tried to decline politely, “No, it’s ok, I’m just sitting here with my friends.” Again he persisted, tapping his friend on the shoulder and pointing to my legs, “You have to take a look at her legs, they’re incredible.” The friend replied, “I don’t even dare to look, I don’t know if it’s a man or a woman.”

I sat there, taken a little by surprise, once again like a deer caught in headlights, but before I could say anything, T, a friend of a friend, got in his face and stood up for me. He said, “That is the most ignorant thing I’ve ever heard. Can you really look at her and say you can’t tell whether she’s a woman or not?” The guy, still refusing to look at me, says, “I can’t be sure. There are so many lady boys here. I just can’t tell.” T was heated at this point. He got in his face and said, “ You can’t come to our country, as ignorant as you are, and disrespect our women like this.” I was flattered to have someone stand up for me but this guy really wasn’t worth our time. He clearly was going to remain closed minded and I just wanted to get out of there as we were starting to cause to scene. Luckily, my friend, J, scooped me up and said, “Let’s get out of here.”

While I was in the taxi, replaying the past few minutes in my head, I just couldn’t believe the conversation that had just ensued. What are the odds of me being called a lady boy twice in 2 weeks? Do I really look that manly? This time though, I wasn’t as hurt by the guy’s comments because, for one, he hadn’t even looked at me. So it wasn’t that he thought I was a man, he refused to look incase I was one. He was so incredibly ignorant and disrespectful and I was satisfied knowing I was a better person.

The following night, I went to a club with my friends. I was pretty hungover from drinking till 6 AM the night before, and it was so hot in the club that I was struggling to drink anything other than ice water. Being sober in a hot, packed club usually does not go over well. I was being bumped into from every direction. Slutty girls’ hair whipping my face and Middle Eastern men’s body odor invading nostrils. Regardless, I was determined to have a good time. A Brazillian guy approached me with a huge smile as if we had met before. Just being on Koh Panghan a week earlier we had met a bunch of new friends and had drunken conversations that we could not remember the next day so it’s possible that I knew him. Before I knew it this guy was grinding on me, moving my hips side to side, and holding one hand behind my neck. This was extremely forward, not to mention too close dancing for my comfort or liking, and so I pushed him away, politely but firmly. This guy was persisted and approached me 4 more times throughout the night until D finally had to tell him to leave me alone.

Later an Irish looking guy danced up behind me and just stood, literally on the back on my heels. I walked away and was pulled up on the stage by my girlfriends. We were just having a good time dancing with each other when the same guy walked right up to me, his head at my knees, and danced with me from down below. I moved back and put up my hand hoping it was a universal sign for, “Not interested.” Apparently it wasn’t for assholes. He stroked his hand on my calf and I reached down and grabbed his hand and did my best attempt to break all of his fingers.

At 3:30 AM when the club closed, I walked down the dark corridor to wait outside for the rest of my friends. A Thai guy walked up beside me, a little too close, and asked where I was from. I said New York so that he would fuck off, pretending I didn’t speak any Thai. He asked where I was going and just when I was about to answer he leaned in to kiss me. I quickly moved out of the way and said, “Fuck off, asshole.” Even with that clear rejection he still tried to grab my arm and pull me with his friends.

My friends were headed to another after hours club but my mood was ruined by these disrespectful assholes. Don’t these men have mothers? Sisters? Didn’t anyone ever teach them that they’re not cavemen and you don’t just club your prize over their head and drag them home? I don’t care whether you’re at your local bar, on Spring Break, or a hedonistic getaway. I don’t care if you’re looking for a nice woman to date or a one night stand. You DO NOT approach a woman by grabbing her or leaning in to kiss her.

Last night we decided to have a change of scenery, me a little tired of the packed clubs full of guys looking to screw you. We decided to go watch a drag show at a gay bar, DJ Station in Silom Soi 2. We got there near the end of the show but were fully entertained for its finally minutes. Gay men and men in drag dancing around the stage, lip synching the wrong words to Mariah Carey: priceless. We were in hysterics. After the show we danced the night away, without a single man approaching me, while music videos of hot bodied Justin Timberlake and Enrique Iglesias played on a big screen. I was still in a club packed with men (I was the only girl there) but not one of them wanted to screw me. I was able to have a great night out with my good friends without being mistaken for a man (gay men know better) or a prostitute. Is that too much to ask for in a night? Apparently it is in Bangkok. Who knew I'd find my comfort zone in a gay bar?

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