Here’s a story one of my followers sent me…
Thank you Joe R.
So during the summer of my junior year I was staying in in town over the summer working as a certified nursing assistant and taking a chemistry course through the university. I had joined a gym to get back into shape and maybe lose a couple pounds. It had been awhile since I weight-lifted and anyone who’s been in that boat knows how sore you are after the first couple times getting back on the horse.
While, on my drive to work out, I kept passing a dilapidated white building with a bright red sign reading “Asian Massage” on the outside. I mean, this thing was a glorified shack. The first time I passed by gave me a chuckle. The stereotypical Asian massage parlor with happy endings had long been ingrained in my mind. I had seen plenty of jokes and portrayals of the places in pop culture, but I took them with a grain of salt. Surly most things like that hold some grain of truth, but I was skeptical any but a small fraction actually operated like that. Still….it got me thinking.
I would like to say that my reasoning for my trip there the following week was purely out of rationality. I was really sore and stiff from working out. The parlor was close and probably didn’t charge as much as some of the…..we’ll go with, more established massage businesses in the area. Although, to be truthful with myself, it was mainly out of curiosity. Now, did I go in there expecting anything, not at all. It was surly in the back of my mind, but I thought the stereotype was overblown. There also wasn’t anyway I was going to ask about it. How would one even go about doing something like that? There is also a conception that Asian massages are rougher, which is exactly what I needed for my sore muscles. The expectation was I would get a good massage and at least be able to put some context to the stereotype.
*Disclaimer: When I refer to Asian massage, I simply mean a massage where the techniques are derived from Chinese or Asian culture and not necessarily performed by a person of Asian descent, although that it true a majority of the time.
Back to the story,
I parked my car in one of the two spots they had and gained my composure for a minute. I could feel the butterflies rising in my stomach and felt my heartbeat picking up. I felt as though I was breaking the law or guilty of some misdeed as I did have a girlfriend at the time. I thought for a moment to just leave and get a massage somewhere else, but my damn curiosity wouldn’t let me. I needed to know. So, I entered the dimply lit building.
Complete exaggeration, but might have well been the place with how I felt going in
There was a stairwell that led upstairs and then a door that I presumed was the parlor. I entered the later and was met by a dark room with a counter and couch and several doors jetting out from there. Traditional Chinese decoration covered the walls and music played prominently throughout. I was greeted at the counter by a middle-aged woman with a thick accent.
“Welkom, welkom, do you have an appointment”.
I managed to stammer out a “no”. My eyes were wide with a combination of discomfort and naivety.
She said that was okay and pointed to a chart with different times, prices and what each massage entailed. She started to explain them. I simply choose the half hour option because it was the cheapest. She then led me to a back room that held a massage table and chair with a stereo that played the music. She asked If I ever had a massage before. I hadn’t and she told me to put my clothes there and then get under the sheets. I asked, “all my clothes”? She said yes, then swiftly exited. I could hear her talking to another woman in Chinese.
I started taking off my clothes, throwing them on the chair, but stopped at my boxers. Surly she didn’t mean EVERYTHING, just down to my boxers. Although, I did ask all clothes. Never having a massage before I didn’t know if that was normal. At first it didn’t seem like that would be the case, but you did get under a towel so it wasn’t like you were exposed or anything. I needed to make a decision so I went with the full nude option.
At this point you might be reading and thinking dude, really? Full Nude? You think that was reasonable? To those I say yes, at the time, but thinking about it in hindsight, probably not the norm.
Anywho, I’m settled in and finally breathe a sigh of relaxation just before she returns. I let my head sink into the hole with my body going limp. She enters and immediately begins giggling.
“Oh no silly, too many towels”. She immediately rips them off me! Exposing my naked body on the table.
I shoot up completely nude and for a couple seconds she just stares at me and I back at her. I watch her gaze travel the length of my body as I try to cover up, then she begins laughing again. This time even more.
“It okay, it okay, not all clothes but okay. Here, lie on the table”. I sheepishly jump back on the table and begin to apologize. I was embarrassed to say the least. She took her sweet time placing the smaller towel to cover me then left the room again. I was cursing myself for being so stupid. She left for a moment and outside I could hear her talking and laughing with another employee in Chinese (undoubtedly about me). She returned and started the massage. It started out really nice, with oil and stretching out my limbs and deep tissue massages to my muscles. I was sinking into relaxation and starting to forget about the awkward start.
She asked where I worked and other common conversation mannerisms. The first question she asked though was where I was from. I paused for a moment because I could try to use my origin to explain earlier, implying that it was perhaps different in other cultures. I blurted out Nigeria, the first African country I could think of, and she gave a long, “oohhhh”.
Disclaimer 2: I do not think it is normal cultural practice that Nigerians, or for that fact other African cultures have the practice of getting naked during a massage, but I needed a culture foreign to her and my skin tone funneled me to that answer.
I quickly followed up with, “I moved when I was younger” to account for my lack of accent.
The massage continued without incident until she got on top of the table startling my back and sitting on my butt. I was a little confused because that seemed an outside the bounds of what a normal massage would be and of course in my previse mind ushered in other thoughts of what could be going on.
I wasn’t able to think too much more as a jackhammer plunged into my back.
My head shot up from the table. I wanted to let out a yell from the pain, but I didn’t want to be rude or seem like a wimp, so I bit my tongue. Another shot came down right on my spine. What the hell was this woman trying to do, paralyze me? I started to think it was punishment for my earlier embarrassment. The pain train went right on trucking as elbows were buried deep into my pressure points. That soon subsided thankfully and I let out a breath. For a few moments I felt relaxed and loose, the beating was a good pain. But no sooner did I relax, then my arm was twisted back. It was pulled into a position I don’t ever think it has gone, nor will again and I kid you not I thought my arm was about to tear or pull out of the socket. She must’ve felt my body convulse because she let up almost immediately. The stretching continued for a little while and then she left the room again. She left the room several times during the massage to talk to what must’ve been another employee because I could hear them. They sounded like they were arguing. I kept thinking it was about me and I hoping it didn’t cut into my half an hour.
She returned and finished the massage with a more relaxing touch, culminating with an abrupt , “all done”. It was a fast half hour and I wanted longer, but It was worth it. She left the room again and I put on my clothes. When I emerged, and approached the front counter she asked how I liked it and I told her very much. It was just what I needed for my sore muscles and it really was. For how unorthodox it seemed, I really felt amazing. While paying she told me next time to come back for an hour and they would do my front. My head shot up from counting my money and she just smiled back. Well hot damn, maybe there was something to these places after all……
Hope you enjoyed and got a laugh steemians. If by some lottery chance this gets 100 upvotes I will share what happened when I returned to this parlor.
Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.
My new book, Angel with a Broken Wing is now for sale on Amazon!
Listen to the Phicklephilly podcast LIVE on Spotify!
Instagram: @phicklephilly Facebook: phicklephilly Twitter: @phicklephilly