Today I got to experience my first Thai massage during a short stay in sunny Los Angeles, and the word ‘experience’ is definitely a word to describe it.
My Fiancée and I walked into the massage parlour and the smell of incense, coupled with the generic plinky plonky music playing in the background went some way towards relaxing us and making us feel welcome.
This is going to be great!
The friendly little old Thai guy behind the counter asked us if we wanted a Swedish massage in addition to our deep tissue massage.
Nah. We were just looking forward to our relaxing massage that had come with the hotel package we’d booked.
He smiled and showed us to our individual dimly lit rooms which were side by side. I say ‘rooms’, but they were more like huge cubicles without a ceiling and a curtain where the door should be. I was asked to strip down to my boxers and lie on the big comfy massage bed, face down.
No problem. This is going to be great!
I promptly stripped down and laid on my front, with my face resting in the hole designed for faces to rest in. It resembled a paper vagina. I’m not lying.
It was at this point I heard the friendly Thai gentleman say to my Fiancée in the next ‘room’ that I was a “big man” and asked if I was strong too. She said I was very strong. I must admit I felt a little smug and butch hearing this.
After a couple of minutes I heard the curtains swoosh open and a soft voice greet me. It was my masseuse; a small little Thai girl no older than about 23. She told me to relax as she turned up the volume of the plinky plonky music, swooshed the curtains closed and placed her small delicate hands on my right calf.
This is going to be….ow! What the fuck?? OW!!
What is happening?
Why is she hurting me??
HOW is she hurting me???
It was a pain I can’t convey in words alone, but let me say it was like having my muscles put through a pasta machine on the thinnest setting whilst being stamped on by an elephant wearing stiletto heels. At least I think that’s what it felt like; I may have passed out.
But I didn’t dare whimper or complain because this was a birthday gift from my American beloved and I didn’t want to be the soft Brit who couldn’t handle a simple Thai massage. This was clearly something that was common place in California, like dentistry without anaesthetic or being shot in the head.
So I laid there whilst this young girl gave me a deep tissue massage that actually bordered on domestic abuse, holding my breath and dribbling. At least I now know why the flooring was laminate.
After about 10 minutes of abuse on my calves and back muscles (that I didn’t know I had), my killer, er, I mean my masseuse told me to “rerax”.
Relax? Are you shitting me? That’s like telling an angry woman to calm down. Not happening.
She asked me if I was ok, to which I replied through dribble and tears, “My god you are freakishly strong!”
She giggled like a small child. There’s no way this petite little thing was responsible for the pain and suffering my legs and back had taken. I swear that when she moved out of my line of sight she traded places with a massive Thai wrestler with massive Thai wrestler hands. It was the only explanation.
It was at this point I heard laughter from my fiancée’s room and the room the other side of me. It seemed my comment had hit a chord with the other torture victims.
After a few seconds of ‘reraxing’ she started again, only this time she stood on me. I’d seen this in movies and thought it would feel nice; I was wrong. I thought her hands were strong but they were nothing compared to her feet. Oh how soothing her heels felt with her entire weight behind them.
Wait; is that blood on the floor? I thought I was simply weeping tears. Clearly I was wrong.
Why does this girl hate me so much?
I was desperately trying not to make any noises that would indicate my suffering, like crying or asking for my mum, when I heard a faint whimpering and the occasional “ow!” from the next ‘room’. It seemed my fiancée was suffering too.
Honestly, it has to be one of the most slowly painful experiences of my life, and I’ve endured hours under the tattoo needle! She prodded, poked and stretched me to within an inch of my life, using her hands, feet, elbows and knees. The worst moments were when I realised, after having completely destroyed an arm or leg, that she was about to do the same to its counterpart.
She made me wish I had fewer limbs.
At the end of the hour long ordeal she sat me up and asked how I was feeling. I looked her in the eye and said “I feel like I’ve been beaten up in slow motion”.
She laughed and left.
My fiancée and I walked out of there in utter disbelief, laughing at the fact we just allowed ourselves to have the shit gently kicked out of us.
Well, I say ‘walked’….