You’ve heard of the CIA and MI6 but I bet you have never heard of the NMN, the Nanny Maid Network. We all know the Las Vegas motto: What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. This might be true for Vegas but what you must remember about Bangkok is that what happens here might stay here but everyone is going to know about it.
Back in the South, I never really had to encounter the sex industry like you do in Vegas. I’ve been to Vegas and it’s all around but it’s what you come to expect and really it isn’t surprising; they don’t call it Sin City for nothing! In moving to Bangkok, I had a rough idea of the sex industry and I had read about “Soi Cowboy” in my research before moving here and yes I had seen Hangover 2 but it doesn’t really prepare you for what you actually see once you live in it day in and day out. Before you move here you think that the “red light district” is Nana, which is a few BTS stops away from where I live but in all reality, it is everywhere. My home is located between two sois, on one you have restaurants, salons and shops but then on the other you have brothel after brothel.
I hope to paint a picture with my words for all of you who won’t be able to venture to this side of the world. As my husband and I walk down the soi you have some beautiful and some not so beautiful women and probably men surgically altered standing outside each “bar” or “massage parlor” dressed in prom dresses or if the bar has a theme a sexy Halloween costume, I think the other day I saw sexy sailors. As you walk down the soi, you see these women and they see you as a potential customer (man or woman, as I am sure they do not care) so you get hollered at worse than a pretty woman walking past a construction site back in the States. I can’t help but notice the names of these places such as lips, lookie lookie massage parlor, sexy teen massage and the farang men entering the bar alone and coming out with a new girl on his arm. The sex industry in Bangkok is more in your face than Vegas and it is hard knowing some of these women are not here by choice but are victims of human trafficking.
In a city where whichever sin (women, men or children) you prefer is so readily available it is a tempest of temptation for most. I discovered the NMN when talking to my nanny the other day. She came rushing in and our conversation went something like this:
Pai: Becky you know who I saw last night?
Me: ummm no
Pai: my friend’s mister (which translates to her friend that is a nanny, her employer)
Pai: No, he was here in this building with a Thai lady!
Me: O really!? Wait is this guy married?
Pai: Yes married, with 2 kids!
Me: O no this is awful!
Pai: I was downstairs when I was leaving and he came in with lady on his arm and he saw me and looked away and I looked away. (The mister knows Pai from a previous job.) When he went in elevator, I asked the man at the desk if he knows the mister. The man at the desk said “yes, he is in here all of the time. (In addition to our building being apartments it is also a hotel.) Sometimes the lady goes up and waits on him; sometimes he is here first, different every time!” So I call my friend and say “hey you know your mister has Thai lady?” my friend says “yes and Madame knows too and so do the kids”
Me: What!? The wife and the kids know!? What a jerk!
5 Tips for any married male expats or tourists reading this blog:
1. Do not to cheat on your family with a sex worker, not only is it immoral but you are more than likely aiding the human trafficking process.
2. If you do decide to cheat, keep in mind the NMN is always watching. Just because you might not know the nannies or maids in your building doesn’t mean they don’t know you and your entire life story.
3. If you are cheating, please be smart enough to not take your new lover to a location where you will see your friends or other nannies that you have met before.
4. Don’t be the jerk that isn’t smart enough to keep it a secret, especially from your children! It’s just appalling!
5. (This is my favorite) A word of advice from one of our first friends here in Bangkok. “Just assume everyone is a man.” Some of the lady boys here are very convincing and have amazing plastic surgeons, just because she looks pretty and you think she is a woman that you would like to have an affair with, there is a very high probability that she at one time had an Adams apple and a penis.