Thailand, the land of smiles, is known for having beautiful beaches and lots of elephants. It’s also known for its ladyboys. Last night, Ryan and I went to see the Simon Star Show. This is a Vegas-style show featuring young men and ladyboys dancing and lip syncing to a variety of songs in different languages. The sets of the show were impressive and the costumes were gorgeous. We had excellent seating, right in the front row, and I was fascinated by the idea that the beautiful women I was watching had once been men.
I know very little about ladyboys. It is my understanding that a ladyboy is a transgender woman or an effeminate gay male. To my untrained eye, it was impossible to identify the ladyboys from the other female performers (if there were any). Ryan said that he could see a few Adam’s apples, but I had a more difficult time spotting them. Had I not known ahead of time that the stars of the show were ladyboys, I would never have known. They were absolutely beautiful and could not have been more feminine.
While I had assumed that the reason for the lip syncing was largely a result of the language barrier, I later discovered that this may not have been the only reason. Most ladyboys still have a surprisingly low voice–even with training, the pitch might sound odd–so having them sing the songs themselves would have changed the show considerably. I discovered this myself afterwards when we were invited to take pictures with the performers (for 100 THB). They were just as beautiful up close, but their voices were somewhat of a surprise.
When all was said and done, the show was a little overdone for my taste and not all of the dancers were great, but it was a fun and interesting evening that provided a small glimpse into a mysterious world that I know very little about. One thing is for certain. I have a new respect for the potential results of hormone replacement therapy and sexual reassignment surgery. The ladyboys of the Simon Star Show were absolutely gorgeous, and in my opinion, they were worth seeing.