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An Idiot Abroad and the Lady Boys

I found a new favorite show this week called ‘An Idiot Abroad: Bucket List’. The whole premise is that Ricky Gervais and some other guy send the same poor fool out on worldwide adventures to fulfill common items on people’s bucket lists. The funny part is that the guy has no desire to do any of these things, and Ricky takes special measures to ensure even an innocuous sounding item, like swimming with the dolphins, results in a bad time for him. It’s pretty hilarious, as the idiot himself is quietly serious and complains considerably about his little side assignment like being roped into Mongolian honor wrestling in traditional garb, or being buried alive by a suspicious looking shaman in the Siberian wilderness.

On the last episode, when he was in Thailand to swim with dolphins, Ricky sent him to spend some time with the lady boys. “Oh, here we go.” My expectations of how the poorly misnamed Thai trans would be portrayed was pretty low. Generally speaking, having someone sent to spend time with you because it would be hysterical doesn’t speak well how you are perceived by them. I saw what happened when they dumped him in a segregated Chinese village specifically for little people, whom they still referred to as ‘dwarfs’. It also didn’t bode well that the very title of the show designated this guy as an idiot, and none of his actions or opinions prior to this really swayed the viewer away from it.

As a side discussion, I’m sure not a whole lot of us care for the term ‘lady-boy’ to begin with. The very implication is that this is someone of the male gender who remained as such, and had the descriptive term ‘lady’ slapped in front to designate “him” as a particular kind of male. This becomes especially infuriating when it remains after the person has already had SRS or GRS, or whatever we are calling it this week. Not that this really matters since being mentally female equals being female, but bottom surgery is a powerful enough statement to even convince the bureaucracy that enforces government documentation. To me the term seems like a way of marketing these individuals to the type who take a fancy to the trans.

It wasn’t as super bad a depiction as I thought it was going to be, although it strayed in typical territory. They took him for a manicure and pedicure of course, because trans people naturally spend all their time in nail salons, something I have done twice now in my life (fine, I do like pedicures, but it’s only so I can wear sandals in the summer and not look all gross buckets). Next of course they are dying to give him a makeover. This part kind of annoyed me because I think it plays right into the fear that insecure masculine men have that we are out to make them more girly. Ugh, as if! Personally, I can’t think of anything more onerous than trying to slap makeup on some hairy faced dude and picking out an outfit for him on top of it. I can barely dress and do my own face without looking like a hooker or the old lady from ‘Hee-Haw’.

The idiot took it all as well as he does anything with lots of complaining followed by him waxing philosophical. He ruminates on whether he would care if his long time girlfriend “used to be a bloke” and decided he didn’t care as long as the parts he cared about were there to “do the job”. Oh, they are going to fight when she catches this episode. Then he went on to say one of the good parts would be knowing “it was really a bloke” and so he would no longer have to carry all the grocery bags or buy flowers. “Really a bloke”? That’s just great. Then again, I suppose that might be the ultimate straight male fantasy to have a best bud to watch the game with, not worry about being sensitive, and still bend over the coffee table for a quickie without feeling gay. It’s probably also the gay male fantasy also, you know, without that last part about not feeling gay.

Well, the title of the show did designate him as an idiot and they did deliver. In abundance when it came to this issue. It did serve as a reminder though that a great many people do still look at us as if we are “really” a man or woman, but in disguise for some reason. At least this idiot had the “bollocks” to come clean on it.

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