Two days of wearing shorts, and the miniskirt fields over near the high school are in full bloom – summer is coming y’all. I’m done with this entry early, because the words just came. It’s hard to believe I wanted to write one story. One story; and out comes 10 paragraphs. It’s kinda good though, now I can concentrate on other things. Enjoy.
I realized I forgot to mention my massage experience from my last trip to Taiwan. Let’s set the scene: In Taiwan, massages are cheap. You can get an hour-long full body massage for $15. Every time I go, nearly everyone I’m with gets a massage. Not me, however. I’ve never been one for massages. I just don’t enjoy them. Mostly because I’m self-conscious of my neanderthal-reminiscent body hair, but also because being cursed with that very hair makes massages physically painful. Lemme try and break it down for the follicly challenged: you ever wear dress socks all day, and when you pull them off at night your leg hair is sore, painful to the touch? That’s what a massage feels like to me, with all the rubbing and pulling… you can have it. So, when everyone I’m with decides it’s massage time, I always sit it out. This time, however, Wayne somehow managed to convince me to go with him.
Against my better judgment, I walked into the massage place with Wayne. We both asked for hour massages. They escorted us back to a room with three chairs, and left little shrink-wrapped packets of clothes for us to change into. The pajama-like outfits are supposed to be loose-fitting and comfortable, and they even have a pair of slippers so you can take off your shoes. However, what is loose-fitting and comfortable to Joe Taiwan is Chinese-finger-trap tight and ridiculous looking on me. Already discouraged, I asked for a “bigger” set of jammies, and reluctantly disrobed. The slippers barely encompassed my big toe, so I just went barefoot. Sufficiently pre-humiliated, I was ready for my massage. About then, two women entered the room with some hot tea. Wayne’s masseuse was young and attractive, mine was (of course) old and not-attractive. With everything having gone so swimmingly thus far, I was ready.
My masseuse instructed me to lay down on my stomach on this reclined chair. I removed my shirt when she motioned, and listened as she and Wayne’s young masseuse exchanged some words in Mandarin (too bad I don’t know the Chinese word for “hair,” because I’m sure that was the topic of discussion). After I removed my shirt, my masseuse proceeded to roll down my little pajama pants, high-school cheerleader style, until I could feel the breeze waft across the top inch or so of my buttcrack. She then started layering hot towels on top of me. Not just one, not just two, she fully covered my entire body in steaming hot towels – until it was literally four or five stacked towels deep. Now, if you know me – you know I have a heat problem to begin with. I hate hot. I hate it so bad. So here I am, sweating like I’m in a sauna, what must be 30lbs of hot, wet towels heaped on my back… for me, it was the Taiwanese massage equivalent of the Medieval torture where they stack stones on a man’s chest until he suffocates. To make it worse, when I glanced over at Wayne his nubile young masseuse was busy giving his towel-less neck and shoulders what looked like a killer workout.
After 10 or so minutes of sweating under the steaming mass of terry, during which my masseuse completely left the room, I was beginning to wonder if I’d ever actually get a massage at all. Soon enough though, my lady came back, removed the towels, and started digging her elbows into my back in a most painful manner. I just kept sitting there thinking, “Why the hell am I paying for this?” After removing the towels, she started in on my arms and legs. I think my lady may have studied medicine at some point, because she seemed to have a great knack at locating my tendons – and then grinding at them with her vice-grip hands. I swear she could crush rocks with those hams. Every minute of the experience was torture, at several points I was seconds away from crying out “uncle!” and being done with the entire thing. When I could catch a glimpse of Wayne, meanwhile, it looked as if he were about to doze off to pleasant dreams.
Just as my patience was waning, my masseuse eased up a bit. Little did I know, she was just switching gears. With the 20/20 vision of hindsight, I now realize that she was simply entering the 3rd and final phase of her sadistic plan to break me. Phase 1 was the hot-towel iron maiden, cunningly designed to attack my temperature weakness and strong aversion to perspiration. Phase 2 was the targeted stimulation of every pain-generating pressure point on my arms and legs. Phase 3, as I was about to learn, involved several NGEs (near-genitalia experiences) and an unwanted cavity penetration. Her bonecrushing force somewhat lessened, my lady now started greasing me up with lotion and doing a gentle rub down. For a normal person, I’m sure this might actually feel good. For the manly (read: hair-covered), it’s akin to combing your quaff with bubblegum. However, as innocent as the rub down seemed… it was soon about to get a little iffy.
First, a pertinent aside: In Taiwan… you have to be careful just which massage place you go into. If you are really just looking for a massage, it’s best to ask the locals where a “legit” massage place is. Although, I sometimes get the impression that a place is “legit” only until sufficient money is on the table. Anyway, Wayne and I had made sure we were patronizing a “legit” massage place – just to have that level of comfort in knowing what lay ahead. Having been advised the place was on the up-and-up, I didn’t really have any problems when my lady’s hands started reaching higher and higher into my inner thigh with each rub. “All part of the job,” I thought, “Nothing out of the ordinary here.” So it tickles a bit, that skin is sensitive in there! Soon, I started to doubt my assurances… but I refused to flinch – even as her finger quickly brushed my nut as if to test my resolve. I would maintain. I would not give her the satisfaction of reacting. And before I knew it, I was left bewildered, but not necessarily uneasy; and the inner-thigh portion of the massage was over.
But the ass portion… the ass portion had yet to begin.
I’ll need you to remember from above that, somewhere near the beginning of this, the hour that lasted a year, my masseuse had rolled down my knee-length pajama pants at the waist – exposing the neon whiteness that is the top few inches of my buttocks. Right, on we go then. The lower-back massage started with another handful of lotion. Things were OK to begin with, but once again… with each massaging motion this woman’s hands delved deeper and deeper into the albino jungle. And people… this is it; this is the reason I wrote all these paragraphs with all these funny metaphors or similes or whatever they are. For this next sentence, and for it alone. Then, to my utter surprise, my masseuse began massaging the inside of my asscrack. I’m being for real here. She had both hands, karate-chop sideways, inserted fully between my cheeks – and was making some kind of “sawing” motion while pressing outward. I couldn’t believe that this woman was willing to put her bare hands into my ass for a percentage of $15.
As I lay in disbelief, my masseuse began wiping the excess lotion off my body with clean, damp white towels. The same type of towels which, then piping hot, she had previously heaped on me to a gravity-defying height of approximately 4 vertical feet. And lest you think she neglected to towel the lotion leavings from my nether regions, rest assured. She most definitely dragged the towel down the length of my crack, a couple times. The white towel; in my ass. Read back a few sentences. OK, you see what I’m getting at? The same white towels which she stacked on me earlier. I just sat there wondering whose ass my hot towels had been used to clean before they were piled on me. How many asses had this woman’s bare hands been in that day alone? To my credit, I masked all this inner turmoil extremely well. To the casual observer, I must have appeared the practiced massage recipient… taking each increasingly absurd phase in relaxed stride. I was a rock.
Now, maybe it’s just me – but I can’t always guarantee the cleanliness of my ass. Sure, I wipe, I take care of myself, I’m hygienic. But if I know there’s going to be a situation when my ass may be exposed, I’ll put a little extra effort into sprucing it up. Any other time – you’re playing a risky game of Russian Roulette down there. I mean, a brother can only do so much. If he’s been walking around in the city heat all day long with nary a bathroom in which to perform a “sanitary check,” there’s only so much he can promise you. Bottom line: You just don’t go butt-spelunking without giving a man notice… you just don’t.
After we re-dressed, paid, left the building, started walking way, and I’d safely tucked my shame away in the corner of my mind – I got up the nerve to ask Wayne if he’d been similarly violated. “What?!,” he asked, “She massaged your asscrack?” Dang, and I was hoping we could form our own two-person support group and share a tearful shuddering hug in remembrance. Looks like I’ll be all alone back in the hotel room where only the tiny bottle of Jack Daniels from the minibar can hear my sobs. Later on, I did mention to Wayne that I felt a little “looser” than usual, which was the truth – but sweet Lord it wasn’t worth it. This is one thing I shoulda stuck with my gut on – I’m not built for massage.