I had been learning all about Thai massage techniques, with varying degrees of success. Fancy a laugh at my expense? Step right this way…
I decided to try out a massage. Now I'd heard about massage parlours in Thailand before I'd left, and made a few mental notes about them. On the way to my regular internet café, there's a massage shop where I say hello to the giggly girls every day when I walk past. It's a perfectly reputable establishment on Bangkok's Silom Road, near a number of upmarket hotels.
Having seen a few other Western people using the place (not just men either), and noting the smart uniforms that the girls wear, I decided that this would be the place for me to relieve some of the considerable stress that I'd built up in preparation for this trip. So in I went, at about seven in the evening, and opted for a foot massage as a gentle introduction.
Aside from the fact that my legs stank like a football changing room for the next few hours when I went out on the town, it was magical. The girl who performed the ankles-and-calves massage had the most lovely smile you're ever likely to see. It made me want to take her back to Britain and rent a small farm in the middle of nowhere, and keep her locked away from the eyes of the world. Perhaps I'd also get free foot massages whilst watching the game on the television.
The dozen or so giggly girls I mentioned, who sat around doing nothing but spring into life whenever the place got busy, laughed at me every time I flinched when my feet felt tickled – about every four seconds. The South African guy I was chatting to, also getting his feet done, recommended I get an oil massage some time as they are "fantastic."
Brilliant news. I'd found somewhere to get a proper massage done. I returned the following day looking forward to getting my back done, and ordered one Thai Oil Massage.
My farm girl wasn't there, which was a shame because I was going to ask her if she fancied milking cows and mucking out pigs for the rest of her life on some windswept moor in Wales. Another girl was immediately on hand and I was led upstairs to a cubicle. My suspicions were aroused (I said suspicions) when she told me to undress and stayed in the room. I tried to explain that I wasn't wearing underwear on this particular day, but her response was to look at me as if I was from the planet Mars.
You can see where this is going. Stay with me.
I took everything off, carefully keeping my decency and laid down awkwardly on account of being given the world's smallest towel – much like one you'd use to mop the sweat from your brow at the gym.
Approximately three nanoseconds later, she whipped the towel away. Jeeesus! My eyebrows raised to a previously unknown height and my eyes nearly popped out of their sockets, as they would if King Henry VIII rolled up outside this internet café on a Harley Davidson, holding a cigar in one hand and the head of Anne Boleyn in the other.
An oil massage to the back and neck followed – quite pleasant. Or at least I think it was because my mind was elsewhere. By the time she moved on to do the backs of my legs, I was singing football songs at about three times the speed they'd originally meant to be sung, in an attempt to avoid – you know what.
More was in store. After finishing the back half of my body I heard her say, "You turn over now."
Bloody hell, what was I to do? I'd already made myself look like the stupid tourist that I no doubt was with the towel incident, and didn't want to look any more daft. So I did as I was told and she started on the front. I cannot begin to describe what was going through my mind, yet I will say that the football songs upped in pace to Chipmunks speed, or, for the older generation, Pinky and Perky style.
She did the front half of my body, me unable to open my eyes due to the sight that confronted me each time I did just that. It was awful! Just when I thought she'd finished, she asked me if I wanted han-mei or something similar sounding. When I gave her a quizzical what-does-that-mean look, she responded by demonstrating the international sign language for male masturbation. Aha! I declined this offer, sweet of her though it was!
My Thai friend, Tong, almost killed himself laughing hearing about this little experience. This is called the "Happy Ending" massage, he informed me, after his sides had stopped aching.
Afterwards I was led back downstairs, paid the bill, 500 baht, about seven GBP. The girl made some comment to her supporting cast in the shop area, and they predictably had a little laugh at my expense. Whether this was at my incomprehensible naivete or because I was singing "Spurs are on Their Way To Wembley" at 3,000 rpm, I shall never know. Photo: kudumomo