Massages are insanely cheap in Asia. You can pay just $5 for an hour-long oil massage so it’s no surprise that I find myself getting one almost daily.
November 15th 2011 was no exception.
It was my first day in Thailand and I had spent the entire day exploring Bangkok with a friend. We were completely drained and in desperate need of some relaxation. As we walked down Khao San Road and saw the hundreds of massage parlours in the street, it didn’t take much to persuade my friend and so we went in search of a relaxing oil massage.
We chose the cheapest place we could find and followed the frail old owner through the maze of neon lights and street hawkers advertising their stores.
The entrance to the massage room was hidden behind dusty velvet curtains and we were quickly ushered inside.
Coughing as I inhaled the overwhelming scent of incense, I waited for my eyes to adjust to the dingy light. The room was bare except for a couple of paintings adorning the walls and several bottles of massage oil on the floor. As I noticed the peeling wallpaper and two faded mattresses laying next to each other in the corner and couldn’t help but start to feel a little uneasy as the room was unlike any massage place I’d been to before.
“You must remove clothes now. I come back.”
That’s certainly one way of instantly increasing the awkwardness between you and your new friend as you’re suddenly forced to see each other with barely any clothes on.
Giggling nervously as we stripped down to our underwear, I was glad when the tension was broken by our masseuses entering the room. They cackled and shook their heads when they saw us sitting uncomfortably in our underwear.
“No, no, no. You remove everything. No clothes. Naked.”
Is this what massages are like in Thailand?!
After removing said underwear we both very quickly and awkwardly averted our eyes and laid down next to each other. As the massage began I was starting to relax but was still very aware of the fact that my friend and I were completely naked.
Thirty minutes into the massage any calmness I’d been starting to feel completely vanished.
The masseuse forcefully grabbed my left arm and roughly pulled me towards her, flipping me over onto my back. Completely exposed and extremely flustered, I had no idea what area to cover first and the giggles from the mattress next to me let me know that my friend was in exactly the same situation.
As I battled with my internal urges to run screaming out of the room, I felt the masseuse tightly grip the sides of my face. She began pulling my head towards her before firmly pressing it into her lap.
Unable to escape, I felt incredibly helpless. As I repeatedly attempted to cover myself, she would giggle and force my hands away – I was lacking in strength and so weak from laughing that I had no other option but to give in. I gritted my teeth and cringed as I felt her hands slowly and deliberately work their way down from my shoulders and towards my chest where they remained for the next five minutes.
Oh my god. Am I really getting a boob massage from an old lady?
After the most awkward few minutes of my entire life she fortunately stopped and I was allowed to roll back onto the safety of lying on my front.
Or so I thought…
Still reeling from the shock of having just had a five minute boob workout, I found myself beginning to smile as I started mentally composing the blog post I could write about the experience. As the masseuse began working on my feet, I barely even noticed her gradually applying more force and starting to rub my legs progressively harder, working her way further upwards with each stroke…
And then it happened.
Faster than the time it would take for me to yell sexual assault she slid her hand all the way up my leg and…um… poked me.
Yes, she popped her greased up fingernail into my vagina.
What do you do in a situation like that?
My eyes widened in horror and my mind instantly filled with a million thoughts.
Did that really just happen? Could I have imagined it?! No. No, it definitely happened. Was it deliberate? Maybe it was just an accident…? I mean, it was only a tiny poke? Does it even count as a poke? Yep, she definitely just slipped. I really hope she doesn’t do it again. What if she does it again?! What do I do?! Maybe I should say something… Or is it part of the massage? I don’t want to offend her… Did the same thing happen to my friend too?!
…And I did nothing.
I clamped my eyes shut and desperately prayed for the whole ordeal to come to an end — fortunately, it did with no further incidents.
After filling my friend in on what just happened and realising that I was alone in my poking experience, I hurriedly got dressed, paid, and ran away from the scene of the crime as fast as I could.
In the months following the incident, I found myself cringing whenever anybody I was with mentioned the m-word. I’ve been avoiding anywhere that offered massages. I’ve not had a massage ever since and I don’t think I’ll ever get another one while in Thailand.
I am scarred for life.
Why do these things always happen to me?
[Images via JD'na/Flickr, crisp1986/Flickr]