|Signs are everywhere for massage|
Thursday, 25 October 2012
Honesty is the best policy
It is often said that honesty is the best policy and I try to live by that rule, but when it comes to your spouse, a little white lie is frequently better. "Yes, Corazon, your singing voice is as good as Bocelli, yes, mi Amor, you've got the moves like Jagger, yes Darling, I liked your fried bean, cucaracha salad better than Jamie Oliver’s." For the sake of harmony in the marriage, keeping the peace can be more cathartic than being truthful.
This was the case in Phuket, Thailand, at a massage "spa". We had frequented many massage centres for Thai Massage and most of the times, the services were decent, if not exceptional. Before we made our final trek to the northern tip of the island, away from the tourists traps, noise, ladyboys, and partying, we thought we would grab one last quickie, cheap-o massage. We went to an establishment close to our hotel because the sun was blazing at 12:00 p.m. I knew we were in trouble from the minute we entered the run-down shop front called Pimpsia. There was no way I was laying on those flea-infested beds. They screamed of bedbugs, cockroaches and towels that hadn't seen a wash machine since the last monsoon. R2 was oblivious to this, or at least pretended he was. I went for a foot massage, and he roamed off with some masseuse to a curtained room.
My "lady," and let's just call her a lady for simplicity sake, couldn't take her eyes off of me. I tried to desperately ignore her while she rubbed and caressed my gnarly, beach callused feet. Thank the lord, I had my phone with me and I played a game while the caressing continued. Finally toward the end of the foot massage she informed me that I had a wonderful nose. I know I am no spring chicken anymore, and I have received a few compliments in my day for various attributes, but my nose? It turns out, Thai people enjoy the bridge of the noses on Western people. It is one of the top requests at the Plastic Surgeons, well that is, after they change from a man to a woman.
As in most foot massages, they escalate to arms, shoulders and head. This tiny Madam continued to tell me I was sexy, hot and gorgeous while she stroked my curls. Oh dear lord, keep massaging and quit looking at me like a giant, sunburnt, ATM machine. I am not going down that road with you.
I was never so happy to have one hour drag by, but poor R2. While I was being shaken down by a toothless, who-the-heck-knows-what, he was being propositioned only two meters from me. Being propositioned in Thailand is the same as breathing, but what has shaken him to the core is whether it was a man or woman. It seems he was in an awkward position, sans typical Thai massage comfy wear, when the Rubber asked if he was interested in an "off-the-menu-massage." Not wanting to offend and being in a vulnerable position, he politely declined and said, "I gave my money to my wife that is sitting outside this curtain." The look on the face of the masseur was either disgust or calculation on how to get the money from the wifey. He assured her/him, "Next time," which seemed to calm her down.
When he got off the mat, with his dignity, almost intact, he bellowed, "Layna, pay the, uuummm, lady." As in all Latino cultures, a lady paying is foreign so I wondered what the heck was going on. I whipped out his wallet he gave me for safe keeping so we could get the heck outta there and have a much needed, cleansing shower before heading off to a Five Star hotel on Mai Khao beach.
"Please tell me that was a lady," he begged of me. "Of course Corazonito, it was a lady. Did you see her hands, that had to be a lady. No way it was a man, and no, I didn't notice her huge Adam's Apple and slight moustache." Some things I will take with me to the grave, so if you see R2, don't ask him about his final massage in Thailand. Too many painful memories.