A longtime chronicler of Bangkok’s go-go bars and nightlife who kept tabs on current events but kept his attention firmly fixed on young women’s cleavage has called it quits.
Mike McKay, who eight years ago branded himself “Stickboy” and began issuing reports on the popular Stickboy Bangkok site told Coconuts today that the long shadow cast over Bangkok’s once rambunctious nightlife led him to throw in the towel.
“I rode through Covid with nightlife dead, but when the PM [Prayuth Chan-ocha] u-turned on the ‘180 days, everything [will] reopen,’ I’d had enough really then with each postponement, more stupid restrictions, hands tied not wanting to drop open venues in it,” McKay said in a message. “I just decided f**k it. 2022 is going to be another wasted year with no revenue worth talking about, so took the decision to call it a day.”
He added that the banishment of nightlife took most of his income with it.
Just days earlier, on Saturday, McKay announced that he was ending his run and had already left the country. McKay avidly embraced Twitter, where he was a fixture of the English-speaking Bangkok scene and portal for the male gaze. While his @StickboyBangkok Twitter feed has been set to private, McKay said he would leave the website operating.
The name Stickboy paid homage to a predecessor who went by “Stick” and shared his affinity for large breasts and sex workers on the former Stickman Bangkok site.
They celebrated the portion of Bangkok’s red light culture which unabashedly catered to foreign men and was mainstream in the last decades of the 20th century, on the heels of the Western sexual revolution. It was a trail blazed by the likes of Bernard “Nite Owl” Trink, who commanded a loyal audience writing about prostitutes in Bangkok Post.
But what was mainstream has receded back into the margins. Commercial sex is still endemic, but it’s certainly no longer cool or cosmopolitan. As the city molts, changing social mores have reframed the horny enthusiasm of the fading boy’s club as problematic objectification or outright misogyny.
Whether that history is swept under the rug or can be reclaimed as kitschy anachronism, the line drawn from Trink to Stickboy underlines an era when sex was part of the cultural conversation – at least for some.