Today I spent the day treading through the prostitute garment district of Bangkok. Pratunam is where all the ladies of the night find the most dazzling outfitry. Beads and sequins stuck to the soles of my shoes. Heaven.
My mission: to find two one-piece bodysuits to enable me to closer resemble Brigitte Bardot and Bambou, two of Serge Gainsbourg's many lovers. Did I mention that my job is to dress up in random costumes and make people feel moderately uncomfortable while they eat overpriced fig salads? Well it is.
After much confused wandering through narrow corridors populated with retired working girls and lithe ladyboys, I finally found a face I deemed friendly enough who would try the least to rip me off. I met two faces: a mother and a daughter spending a Monday afternoon stretching lamé over buttons.
I approached the mother-daughter duo and showed them my haphazard pencil sketch of a one-piece leotard. I explained that I needed song ("two" - I just learned to count to ten in Thai yesterday!), one in black and another in a colour that was not black. I get directed to another stand to buy fabric. There, I (inevitably) get (moderately) ripped off. I pick black PVC and a Barbie pink Lycra to complete my contrasting bombshell looks.
I return to the mother-daughter team and the daughter takes my measurements while the mom talks through a sandwich. The likelihood that she is insulting me is about 90%. Of course, I don't understand a thing. I can only count to ten and give driving directions to a moto-taxi. She does not understand me, either, but I refrain from throwing out any insults.
Talking louder than I should, all the while overcompensating with grand and erratic hand gestures, I try to explain that I want to look like a superhero.
The daughter asks me, "Fit fit?"
To which I reply, "Tight? Yes. Like Batman. You know Batman? Spiderman?"
We stare at each other a bit, she looks at my shitty drawing. A long pause. She opens her mouth: "Catwoman?"
"YES!" I exclaim. "YES! CATWOMAN! Make me CATWOMAN!"
"Same same?" She asks me.
"Yes. Same same." Everything is fucking same same in Thailand. But it's NEVER the same. But by this point I'm sweaty and exhausted and looking much like a buffoon when I really just want to look like Catwoman, so I take my chances and agree to come back in two days, at which point my 2000 Baht should be met with two sexy Cat suits.
Let us pray that I am so lucky to be same same Catwoman come Wednesday.