Monday, 30 June, 2014
I decided to get a massage at the weekend – mostly as a time filler, I had evening plans but nothing of note going on in the day. However, I also just fancied having one. There are massage parlours everywhere in Taiwan – so, for that reason alone, I gathered they must be good.
Sure, the large number is probably helped by many parlours offering the kind of extras that would give a nun a heart-attack – but, I like to assume that the majority are clean. I may be naive.
I’m not quite innocent enough to think that dirty parlours don’t exist at all though, and I wasn’t exactly certain how I could guarantee avoiding one. Yes, I’m sure there are subtle signs that can tell you if the parlour is legit or dodgy, but I wouldn’t know what they are.
In the end, I decided to go to the place closest to my house. Therefore, if somebody did try to touch me inappropriately, I could at least run away and be wrapped up in my own bed covers alongside a hot cup of coco within ten minutes.
The woman at reception asked if I would like a ‘regular massage’ or a ‘deluxe massage’ – concerned that she could be speaking in code, I went for the ‘regular massage’. Not only did this eliminate potential future awkwardness, but it also saved me a cool thirty quid.
A very nice woman came out from the back, sat me down and placed my left foot in a foot washing bowl. She then proceeded to softly massage it as it rested in warm water, before explaining that she would be my masseuse for the day.
Everything was going swimmingly, until the man walked in and ruined everything.
He instantly recognised my masseuse. He then informed reception that he was a regular and wanted ‘Cherry’ to be the one to give his massage. It turns out that the woman currently rubbing my foot was Cherry.
He got his wish.
It wasn’t long until the bloke was obnoxiously playing on his phone in the chair next to me, as his left trotter was receiving one of Cherry’s lovely foot rubs. I, on the other hand, was suddenly sitting alone, with one foot rested in a, at this point, pretty cold bowl of water.
Oh well, I was sure the next person I got would be equally good.
Around ten minutes later, long after Cherry and the thief had disappeared up the stairs and out of sight – I was greeted by my new masseuse.
Now, I’m almost certain that this woman sits in the back and only comes out in the event of an emergency shortage of masseuses. She seemed like she had just woken up, was wearing pyjamas (all other staff were wearing traditional pink tunics) and looked about seventy years old.
Frankly, her age is irrelevant – if she can do a good job, that’s all that matters. However, knowing that she is around seventy definitely adds humour to the story at later points. Hence, why I mentioned it at all.
Without saying a word, she went straight to washing the same foot Cherry did – this was going to be the cleanest my left foot had ever been. Her phone then started ringing, which she disappeared to answer. Once again I was sitting all by myself, with a foot that remained rested in a bowl of cold water.
I was half expecting a person with a violin to walk in and sit alongside me, before playing the kind of music that would bring a lonely man with a cold foot to tears.
A few minutes later, she came back and requested that I followed her upstairs – what about my right foot? I now have one foot that you’d be proud to rest your favourite cutlery on, while the other remains as dirty as it was the moment I stepped into the shop. I knew I should have gone ‘deluxe’, I bet that package would have included both feet.
She then took me into a small room and handed over a set of pyjamas, before disappearing on her phone again / offering me some privacy to change.
When she came back, she only slightly opened my door, pushed her arm through the gap and handed me, what appeared to be, a little black shower cap, before immediately disappearing again. That exchange puzzled me. I had just put on the pyjamas she had given me, was I now supposed to get a wash?
I then accidentally pushed my hand right through the cap – there was a great, big, hole in it. Well, this wasn’t going to be a very effective shower cap, was it?
She then walked in and noticed my confusion. She instantly pointed at my privates, before pulling the ‘cap’ out of my hand. I was actually holding some very thinly, netted, slightly see-through, underpants thing. So, she went away once again. I took off the pyjamas (seriously, why did I ever wear them) and tried to slip into the shower cap pants.
However, these things didn’t seem to have an obvious front and back. Thus, I couldn’t work out which bloody way around I should be putting them on. My masseuse then started impatiently knocking on the door and shouting, “Ready? Ready?”
So, I gambled. I picked a side, pushed them up my legs and then called her in. Unfortunately, I chose badly. When she entered the room, I looked like I was wearing a nappy at the front and a thong at the back.
She noticed, which in a weird way, was probably for the best – if she didn’t say anything, I may have just done the entire massage wearing the pants this way, which I suspect would have been pretty uncomfortable.
She then pointed to my privates for the second time in the space of five minutes – I chose the ‘regular’ massage in the hope that it would mean I would be avoiding that kind of nonsense.
Apparently, I wasn’t rectifying the problem quickly enough, either. So, she took it upon herself to help speed up the proceedings – with very little warning, she just yanked my pants down. I was now standing completely naked in front of a seventy year old woman, who had just very assertively pulled my kegs down.
I then quickly gave her a hand gesture to indicate that I was fine to take care of the rest by myself. She still stood alongside me as I switched the pants around though, I guess on standby in case she might be needed.
Once that was taken care of, she asked me to lay down on the massage table before rubbing my back. In a rather casual manner. You know, in a way that would indicate that she hadn’t just forcefully pulled my pants down and seen my widger.
After giving myself ten minutes to get over the trauma, the massage actually started to feel pretty good and I finally allowed myself to relax.
As she started working on my left shoulder, this place seemed really keen on prioritise the left side, her head ended up positioned pretty close to my ear. She then released this almighty burp right into my earlobe. Naturally, I was absolutely repulsed.
However, before I had time to react, her phone started to ring again. She once again put my massage on hold, answered her phone and walked away. Her professionalism definitely needs work. I can certainly now see why that bloke was so keen on Cherry. He probably knew that those who don’t make a request end up with Miss. Pull-Your-Pants-Down-And-Burp.
The burps kept coming too, she was a very gassy woman indeed – which obviously killed any chance of a tranquil vibe. She also continued taking phone calls throughout the massage. Her heart just clearly wasn’t in the job. In fact, when her stopwatch buzzed to indicate that time was up, she dropped my head on the pillow, offered a brief ‘bye’ and then practically sprinted out of the room.
I was left lying there – wearing nothing more than a pair of little black, see through pants. I must have looked like some recently finished with rent boy. Not the usual image I go for.
It was an experience. I probably won’t be going back, but you know, still, an experience.