Laying on the table staring at the ceiling tiles, I wondered how I had gotten into this position again, not the lying naked on a bed part, I do that most nights while staring mindlessly at the telly, the part where two men rubbed hot oil into my skin and massaged / fondled my exposed genitalia.
“Here we go again”, I thought, another weird massage experience…
How I got into this predicament
You may know that a few weeks ago I hurt my neck. Three weeks of pretending it wasn’t that bad, trying to work out, and substituting neck rotation with hip rotation, surprisingly, only made it worse.
So it was I decided to go to a massage/ chiropractor guy Sarah had met (her Travel Blog)and see what he could do. This doesn’t sound like such a big deal I’m sure, probably not even story worthy, but as you can probably tell by the intro, there is a bit more to it.
So as not to keep you in suspense, I will let you know that this massage was pretty good, an American fella living and working in a little room on the outskirts of Playa del Carmen, bent, prodded, cracked and stretched me to the verge of tears. It didn’t do much for my neck, but felt great on the old muscles.
Massage for me has become synonymous with bad experiences. I have had 5 massages in my life, one was just uncomfortable, one was very awkward, one was extremely inappropriate, and one hurt physically (the 5th being the latest, and good one).
In order of discomfort, for your amusement, I present, The Massage Memoirs:
Massage number 1 – The leaky bladder
Massage 1 happened a few years ago in Thailand, my first experience of being fondled by another human being (or myself) without it being a sexual prelude. So it was I lay down on the bed while a little Thai woman in her late 50′s squeezed and pounded my muscles with vice like fingers, hammer-esque elbows, and liberal use of massage oils.
All was going well until about an hour in, when I felt a strong urge to empty my bladder. I am sometimes too polite, and not having a way to explain my predicament to the Thai speaking lady going at my musculature, I decided to hang on, thinking it would only be a few more minutes, surely.
Half an hour later…
I was in agony, I kept expecting the massage to finish, and she kept applying pressure to the region around my bladder, oblivious to the imminent danger she was in. Fortunately the massage finished just in time, and I ran to the toilet for one of the best urination’s of my life,
A happy ending in a sense.
Massage number 2 – The Mosquito Magnet
This one takes place on a little island off Cambodia, a veritable paradise, nothing but a few basic bungalows and family eateries on the beach. We spent a week swimming and staring out across the ocean. A more idyllic scene you would be hard pressed to imagine.
Except for the bugs.
Sundown in Cambodia is the domain of the giant flesh destroying mosquito, previous experience had ensured that I always took precautions and smothered myself in ozone destroying amounts of bug spray. This evening however, we had wandered to the other end of the beach and decided on an impromptu massage.
I lay down on the outdoor bed, closed my eyes and sunk into a deeply relaxing state as the Cambodian lady with magic hands began kneading the tension from my body,
And then, “Eeeeeeeeeee, eeeeeeeeeee!” They attacked.
I brushed one away from my arm, then a couple from my leg, then the noise was in my ear, then in both ears, then I was slapping myself like a crazy person. As I swatted furiously, the monstrous carnivores actually seemed to double their efforts, as if word had spread to get the bastard who had killed their comrades.
The massage lady was oblivious, within a minute, I had a dozen bites and was itching like crazy, and she had not been touched.
Deciding I could not maintain my politeness anymore, I jumped up, shouted a quick thank you, and ran in as manly a fashion as one can when fleeing from tiny little bugs, into the ocean. I felt bad that she would think her massage was under-par, but the pain these tiny little demons were causing was unbearable.
I made my way back to our section of beach by keeping myself submerged in the oceans viscous shield, hoping the mutant mosquitoes had not evolved a way to attack underwater.
It always amazes me how such tiny creatures can single-handedly destroy paradise.
Massage number 3 – ‘The effeminate body climber’
Then there was the guy in Nepal. I’m not sure how we found this place, or why, but we wandered into a massage parlor in the squalor that is most of Kathmandu City. Sarah went off to have her massage with the ladies, and I walked off with my masseuse who happened to be an extremely lady-like fella, really just a bit of lippy away from a vagina and one bad week a month.
I don’t have a problem with a male masseur, but right or wrong, there is a slight sense of whoa Nelly when the real touching begins. So it doesn’t take much to get to that next level of discomfort. My very lady-like touchy guy, didn’t make the situation better by wearing very light, and very little, clothing.
If this had been the only issue, I would have been fine, but he proceeded to give me a terrible massage, while regaling my worn out ear drums with tales of how crappy his life was.
Not very relaxing.
Then, to top it off, he climbed on my back, clenched his bare legs against my oily side, and rested his obviously loose hanging testicles between my buttocks and lower back, right in the curve (there was, thankfully, a bit of thin trouser material between me and my first tea bagging).
The massage ended with me being more stressed than when I went in, yet my ridiculous need to be polite (which I am for the most part cured of now thanks for asking), meant I tipped him for, well I’m not sure what…Maybe there’s something in that?
Massage number 4 – ‘The Testicle Touchers’
I know what you’re thinking, ‘Wasn’t the last one the testicle toucher?’ Well yes, he touched me with his testicles, but at least mine came through unscathed. This massage, although innocent and pretty good, took my unfortunate luck a little bit further; further being all the way up my inner thigh.
‘Where’s this going?’ you’re thinking, well, pretty much to third base.
Sarah and I found ourselves in a holistic-type retreat in India, we were only staying for a couple of nights on the way through, and had no idea it consisted of veggy munchers with shaved heads and the obligatory off-white uniform of the “truly enlightened” (I myself was once a veggy muncher for 2 years, and still mourn all the hamburgers and KFC I could have consumed in that time).
Making the most of our time, we went for a traditional Ayurvedic massage. By now I should have known better, but I had to at least once in my life have a good massage, things were surely bound to change!
With this thought in mind I fare welled Sarah as she went off with the ladies, and was led into a room with not 1, but 2 Indian gentlemen, who although very friendly, were completely lacking in boundaries.
I was asked to remove my clothes and given a towel more appropriate for hand drying than genital coverage. I lay down on the massage table and had warm oil dribbled over my skin, from there the 2 gents grabbed a leg each, and began vigorously rubbing me down.
It felt good, great in fact, the oil heated up under their hands and I could feel my muscles releasing their tension, and then…bump? Oh its nothing, just slipped a bit I’m sure.
OK, 3 bumps is not necessarily intentional, but,
Basically, these fine fellas didn’t care, a testicle bump to them meant about as much as a fist pump at a rave. The testicle massage continued in a fashion which completely overshot any sort of boundaries we may have in the West, my man bags and butt muscles received about as much attention as possible without a fella batting for the other team.
After they had pretty much had their way with me, I was taken to a shower, stripped of my itsy bitsy towel, and stood with my whirly gig on display, they turned on the shower and made sure it was the right temperature before leaving me to scrub away the shame, and cry into my spilled milk (metaphorically speaking).
Actually, it was a good massage, and to these guys, googly bits are just in the way of getting the job done.
So what have I learned
Well, nothing earth shattering, I now know that underwear is optional in Nepal, you should urinate before a massage, mosquitoes are the devils plaything, man touching is acceptable in India, and I am surprisingly OK with it.