Friday, July 23, 2010


On our visit to Bangkok, our friends Eugene and Kajorn invite us to join them for their weekly Sunday afternoon massage at the Blind Thai Massage Center. The name says it all: the people working at the Center are all blind, something believed to be an asset when it comes to massage. I'm eager to experience the highly touted Thai version.  
A young woman nicknamed April does me the honors. Although thoroughly pleasant, the massage is not quite firm enough for my taste. I'm left feeling unfinished. Maybe I had gotten spoiled by Yani, my powerful massage therapist in Bali, who goes deep, and then deeper still, pushing and pulling my body into the most exotic of pretzel positions. Come to think of it, Yani may have picked up some Thai moves.  I decide to go ahead and give the blind guys another chance, thinking that maybe a male masseur might give me a more satisfying experience. Kajorn arranges to have me worked on by a man named Phetjuk (sp?) who is the most experienced masseur there.

Thai massage starts with the feet and moves on up along the legs with the masseur sitting next to the client on the bed. Legs, torso, and arms are pushed and stretched into different positions. The head is the last part to be massaged. 

I watch Kajorn's masseur stand straight up on the bed, pushing Kajorn's legs up toward his head, folding him almost in two. That looks delicious. I want Phetjuk to do that to me too. Instead, he is taking an unusually long time massaging my legs. At one point I notice that when he reaches the top part of my thighs, he lets his pinky finger lightly skirt my groin, as if in apology at first, but firmer, more aggressive with each following stroke. Finding no testicles, Phetjuk quickly places his full hand onto my groin for final confirmation, then quick as lightning pulls it off, struck by the terrible realization that I'm not a man.  He leaps off the bed and blindly (in his case literally so) runs out of the room, bumping hard against the other beds in his fury. I hear him arguing in the hallway. 

He stays gone for a very long time.  I'm feeling sorry for myself.  While Phetjuk is gone, everybody else is getting their rightful hour of massage.  I'm missing out.  When he finally does return, he has calmed down, but the rest of the massage is done “woman style,” meaning not strong at all. Sigh. Maybe I should have asked for the strongest woman masseuse.

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