I have always been told that I look pretty international. In India, I was recognised as Indian. In Singapore, I was often mistaken to be Malay or Eurasian. Once, someone in a bar thought I was Burmese. During our stay in Cambodia, the locals thought I was one of them too and some asked if I was American, African or Filipino. And in Thailand, people often spoke to me in straight-up Thai. All was fine and dandy. Until one day in Chiang Mai. We were just about to leave a restaurant and my husband was settling the bill. I walked towards the exit of the restaurant and a waiter walked up to me and spoke to me in Thai. I did not understand a word. So I told him politely that I did not speak Thai and was not Thai. Then, I asked him with a smile in all friendliness, “Sir, do I look Thai?” He proceeded to speak to me in good English. He said “I am so sorry miss. May, I tell you something?” I asked him to go ahead. He then said ….”Miss, I thought you were a Lady Boy.” The fact that he apologised before his sharing made it all very sincere and earnest. I swear my face twitched for a few seconds. Do I say thank-you very much? What was the proper reaction? I stood there and my face continued twitching uncontrollably, horrified beyond my wits end. There was nothing wrong being a ladyboy. But here I am being told I resembled one when that was beyond the objective of my wildest dreams.
For the next few hours, I went through a panic attack of sorts. Would wearing more make-up or less make me look less of a Lady Boy (which I am 100% not, for those of you who are still wondering) Should I ditch wearing coloured contact lenses or keep them on? What the heck does a girl do when faced with such a catastrophe? My husband just found it all very funny of course.
P/S – I still wear make-up and coloured contacts whenever I want. Whether I look like a Lady Boy or not. Life goes on.