Like most Israelis that have just completed their army service, I too decided to venture off to backpack in Asia, but unlike my backpack-y comrades, my agenda went beyond just seeing the sights and eating Pad Thai from sketchy street vendors. I went to Asia to lose my virginity.

Well re-lose it, I guess. I had already slept with a Moroccan paratrooper (oddly named Patrick), but he was too big for me to handle and after only a few seconds of penetration I asked him to disengage.

He was a sweetheart, lovingly assuring me that it was OK, and that it didn't really matter since he had a real girlfriend in Jerusalem anyway. I was left scarred, scared and with an increasing sense of freakdom with every passing day, dating men and dumping them before they expected sex.

No matter how hard I tired, I could not be intimate with a man. So I ran off to Asia in the hopes of starting anew, afresh, of finding a man that didn't know about my awkward history and would be willing to lovingly bring me over to the other side, the side of the sexually active adults, the side I so desperately wanted to be on.

Bangkok was my first stop. And one of the first things I did there was hit a Thai sex club.


We're led directly to the front row. I take my seat and lean back, trying to appear cool and comfortably non-virginal.

The lights dim. A naked woman crawls on stage and begins to pour hot wax on herself before opening a non-twist-off beer bottle with her vagina.

Very soon other props are brought into the fold: Arrows. Balloons. Cigarettes. Disgust. Terror. Titillation. Before I can cheer “Go Kegel!” a peeled banana has disappeared into her cavernous insides. THE WHOLE THING. Poof! Just like that.

I look to Yoni, who grabs my hand nervously. I'm confused. What's going on?


The banana launches itself from within her diseased innards and flies straight at me at 45 mph. Yoni tries to pull me out of the way, but it's too late. The banana smacks me right in the mouth, which opens in shock, enabling some sweet and sour shmutz to creep in. Yoni lifts my arm in victory, spurring some patronly applause and a loud cry of Gooaalllll! from the Germans. They're beaming, in awe of the girl lucky enough to have sipped the juice they have to pay to taste. Their acceptance feels oddly satisfying, as if I've somehow climbed up a notch on the sexual status scale. After all, I just discovered the milk and honey of the underworld, the banana-coochie shake.

I'm up ridiculously early this morning, thanks to my trusty bowel alarm clock*. Not that I managed to sleep much anyway, I was too busy worrying about where I could get an AIDS test after last night's fruit fest.

The Emergency Room at what Lonely Planet calls the “Best Hospital in Bangkok” is completely deserted. Since my Thai lingual skills are limited to “BLT on wheat” and “Kao San Road”, I'm hoping the employees here speak English. I accordingly prep my special English for foreigners.


A mousy woman sporting a crisp white uniform and dirty green flip-flops scurries her way toward me.

“What you need?” she pelts.

“AIDS test.”



“Very popular.”

Is that supposed to cheer me up?

“Thirty minute for result.”

How could a test that requires two weeks to process anywhere else in the world take only half an hour here? That's absurd! Then again, I am in the AIDS capital of the world – they obviously know what they're doing. Then again, I am in the AIDS capital of the world – they obviously have no idea what they're doing.

Well, I've got nothing to lose besides some blood, really, so I relinquish my arm to the mercy of her needlepoint skills.

I return to the deserted waiting area and peruse the crusty Thai periodical I spotted earlier. Less than five minutes transpire before Sister Doogie comes scuffling back down the hallway.

“You okay,” she says, expressionless.

“Uh...thank you,” I reply, wondering if she determined my HIV status on intuition alone.

“No problem,” she replies. “Be fun.”

“Thanks. fun too.”

* Available in both digital and analog models.

© 2007 by Iris Bahr. Reprinted by permission of Bloomsbury USA.