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The Travel Issue

Fa Fa Fa Fa Fa Fa Fa Fa Fa

I just got back from Samoa, and I would like to be the first to say, "Holy fucking shit."
Κείμενο Brad Strickler

Hugh Hartstone

I just got back from Samoa, and I would like to be the first to say, "Holy fucking shit." I only went there to surf and hang around on the beach, but instead I got an eyeful of a verdant transsexual paradise that's left me questioning what it even is to be a boy. In other words, I think I might be turning into a gay. Samoa has these guys called fa'afafines. They're men who are raised from birth as women. Everyone is cool with it, they are everywhere, and they are really pretty. I saw my first one in the airport right after I landed. I was walking behind a chick in a sarong, checking out her ass as I normally would. Then she got to the revolving doors and stopped for a second, and I saw her five-o'clock shadow. Swear to God, I almost puked. I'd been daydreaming about fucking this dude in the ass not two seconds before! I mentioned it to my cab driver on the way to the surf camp where I was staying, and he shot me a look in the rear-view that said, "Do I have to fucking explain this whole thing again?" He gave me a half-assed breakdown. "That was a fa'afafine, my friend," he said. "The population here has too many men. It always has. So certain children that are born as boys are made to be girls. Then everything is even." Um…what? The bartender at the camp, a secluded place on the coast, was a lot more helpful, mainly because s/he was a bonafide fa'afafine. After three drinks, I was plying her with questions. What's the deal? Do you choose the life or does it choose you? Do you do everything that women do? According to her, the fa'afafine lifestyle is a Samoan tradition that goes back at least as far as the first missionaries arriving there in 1830. Fa'afafines do all the kinds of jobs that real ladies do in Samoa—teaching, waitressing, stuff like that. Then she confided to me, in a sultry basso voce, that fa'afafines are highly regarded in Samoa for their expertise at every aspect of fucking. "Most teenage boys here have their first sexual experience with one of us," giggled my fa'afa-friend, who asked that I not repeat her name. "It's better than being with a girl because there is no way I will become pregnant." Turns out, the gorgeous fa'afafines are regarded as the gateway to sex in Samoa, and something about hearing this from the genuine article in a smoky Samoan bar, drunk on rum, was turning me into a full-on cock grenade. Maybe it's just an extension of travel. You know the whole rule of how it's not cheating if you're in a different area code? And of course there's the old chestnut about "when in Rome." I didn't act on it right then, but I've already booked a trip for the spring. You tell me: Is it okay if (only in Samoa) I make out with guys (only if they're fa'afafine)? Will that make me gay, or just an especially well-seasoned traveler?