Friday, 15 July 2011
So maybe it seems like I disappeared off the face of the Earth with a month of postless-ness. But actually, I was on a family vacation at some cities that just are far enough to be off the face of the Earth. Family vacation = no action = no point to even write this blog, right? And indeed, I got zero action until the final day when I was traveling alone, back to my current home.
I got to stop through a developed city in the Middle East. It was a fun treat and a cool cultural experience. Since I was doomed to two nights in a row in an airplane, I booked a massage in the middle of the day so I could be refreshed, maybe a little cleaner, and could sneak some Z's in. Before getting there, I found a place with high ratings from fellow Americans, made a smooth albeit noise-ridden international call to make an appointment, and got excited reading all about the city.
It was one of those atmospheric massages with oceany music, dimmed lighting, a nice silk sheet covering me up, and lavender-scented oil. The masseuse was a normal middle-aged guy from Bali and we had usual conversation, though I was mostly just relaxing and half-dozing off. The massage felt great and was a little strong (enough to still hurt two days later). He also hit some spots that most masseuses didn't hold in their repertoire - my thighs, my stomach, and my VAGINA. As I innocently laid there, at one point his hand got too close to the inside of my thigh, and before I knew it a finger was massaging a place that had forgotten its own existence during this whole family vacation.
As in, fingers were actually going inside a certain somewhere. It took me a while to realize what was happening, until I suddenly asked, "Is this normal!?" My thought process: "Is this some cultural thing? I should be understanding…" -> "Will I have to do something in return?" -> "He's probably really talented though." -> "Wait, will this cost me extra?" -> "Ack wait he's old and not that hot and the walls are thin and I don't know how to react, and awkward and aggh! Though wow he's not bad...."
After I inquired on the normality of his unique massage style, he immediately stopped (just as he was slipping off the blanket covering my chest) and apologized profusely.
The massage then went back to normal and things were good. It turns out "apparently" they had confused me with a certain "special" client over the phone with its bad sound quality and thought I had specially requested this masseuse. When it was time to pay, the store people seemed horrified that I would sue for sexual harassment (being the evil American that I am), but I just let it slide.
So in the end it wasn't a cultural difference (well okay, I guess that was obvious), but I wandered the city the rest of the day wondering about my own different way of thinking. For most people, wouldn't this feel like some sort of violation or rape or something? Or isn't this me becoming a consumer of the prostitution industry or something? But I just found it was funny and I found myself a little curious. How morally wrong would it have been if I had agreed to getting a "happy ending" in the end? How bad is it to let someone I don't know anything about and don't find at all attractive do something to me if it feels good ? Things worked out safely and honorably this time, but I wonder what I would do if a similar situation happened again.
So yes, this was the highlight of my vacation! I hope everyone is enjoying their summers just as much (but hopefully less awkwardly) as I am.
What would you have done in my position? How would you react?