My body was speaking loudly to me in a variety of ways; from shoulder pain to gluteal tightness. After a ridiculous 34 hour plane journey from Canada to Bali, my muscles were screaming. I was hoping that a good night’s sleep would help, but sadly, it did not, as I was too restless; tossing and turning trying to get comfortable between 2 massive pristine white body pillows without success. To make matters worse, my random iPhone time checks kept annoying my sleepy brain. At the 5am phone check, I had had enough. I made a mental note, that when 6:00am rolled around, whether I was asleep or not, I would get my sorry ass up and practice yoga. I had to do something to release my minute by minute mounting tension.
It started out as a quiet morning, until the employees of the hotel began their morning breakfast duties near the pool where I had laid out my mat. I did my best to ignore the clinking and clanking of pots and dishes and to act as if I was alone; moving and breathing. I finished my physical session with a 20 min. meditation and felt amazing - loose bodied and blissed out. As my eyes focused and my mind cleared, I had a brilliant thought - a Balinese massage would make this day even more… more of what you ask? More of everything!
Little did I realize how much more.
I ate breakfast and showered up, making sure I was clean and shaved where I needed to be. I walked past reception where a beautiful Balinese woman, who I met the previous day, asked if I needed a ride to the main road. I took her up on the 5 minute golf cart ride, as I felt we could chat and get to know one another. As we slowly made our way down the narrow uneven paved road, we talked about her schooling in tourism and her work at the hotel. Our voices raised a few octaves as the friendly beeps and honks increased by cars and scooters letting us know that they would soon be passing our meandering electric vehicle.
She dropped me off at a cross roads, where I could either walk strait or go right. She made one last attempt to convince me to use the hotel’s massage services. I sweetly smiled and said maybe another time and got out and started walking strait.
The side walk that I needed to secure myself to, to avoid being hit by the non-stop traffic, was nothing more than several large pieces of concrete that reminded me of a dangerous game of hop scotch; where one misstep could permanently take you out of the game, by falling into a massive crack. As I steadied myself I skipped, jumped and hopped over large gaps, making my way to the closest massage salon offering a variety of esthetics, only a few minutes from the hotel.
The weather in Bali can be intense, especially when the sun makes an appearance, so I was deeply grateful for the cool air that smacked me in the face as I pushed opened the massage parlor’s glass door. The space was small, cramped but super friendly, as I was greeted immediately and told to disrobe in the first curtained off massage room. I was told to leave my underwear on. No problemo! Having had several Balinese massages in the past, I was quite comfortable lying face down with a nearly bare backside, ready for my oily rub down. I stripped with joy and plopped myself down on the cushioned table with a cut out face hole.
Now this is living!
A few moments went by when it dawned on me that I laid down so swiftly, that I didn’t even cover myself up with the light weight sarong folded neatly by my feet. I chuckled… silly me. Being lazy and in an awkward position for properly pulling up the sarong around my whole body, with very little effort, I grabbed the edge of the covering and threw it, still half folded, over my butt cheeks.
Then I waited.
I waited a while. Kind of seemed like an eternity of being face down naked, chin resting on my crossed arms, debating about the appropriate amount of time to be left alone before I should yell out. I decided to clear my throat instead. That worked. A young woman flipped the curtain open and quickly said in broken English, “One moment ya?!” I replied, “Yeah.” What other choice did I have? I wasn’t going anywhere… I’m on Bali time. It was time to chill the fuck out.
About a minute later, HE walked in. A thin Balinese man, whom I guessed was older than me. We said the usual first time meeting in a foreign massage room things; what’s your name? How long had he been massaging? He answered me 11 years. Thinking back, he could have actually meant 11 days.
And so it began.
From the moment I laid down, I had set my intention. I was there to relax and calm. Yes, that’s what I will do… sigh…
WTF? Mental question: Why was he re-adjusting the already poorly situated sarong by lifting it clear up off my barely there thong ass, only to lay it down EXACTLY the way it was before. Interesting. I wouldn’t have cared so much if HE was a SHE, but I really didn’t like the feeling of having just flashed my goods to a dude. BUT, he is a therapist, so I’m sure it’s fine. Gawd, I wish I was wearing full back panties or grannie ginch. And why, oh why, did I choose to sport these pink leopard print panties. Maybe he’s getting the wrong idea about me… maybe he thinks I’m an international whore who wears pink leopard thongs.
Ok, time to turn my mind on pause and stop overthinking this.
He started the massage with my low back and worked into my painful shoulders. I didn’t love his immediate hand pressure or massage style; but it was only the first few minutes. As mentioned, I’ve had several Balinese massages in my day and never once have I been bored.
THIS DUDE WAS MAKING ME YAWN. BUT THAT WOULDN’T LAST LONG.
It was the same stroke over and over without variation. 11 years had clearly not been kind to his development of technique. He finally made his way to my arms and I perked up. It actually felt good! I was so sore – I guess hundreds of Chaturanga’s (tricep pushups) a month are a regular source of my contouring and stiffness. Ahhhhh feels nice.
Mmmmm? Why is he leaning into the table like that? What is that? Is that his belt? Or is it his zipper? Oh shit, time to tuck my hands in. Clearly he’s just an extremely unaware therapist.
As I shift, he asks, “Ok?”
I reply, “Yup.” It’s all just a small misunderstanding.
He eventually works his way to the backs of my thighs and hips, where he in one swift movement feels that the sarong is no longer necessary or needed, almost as if he was a magician pulling a table cloth out from precious china. It startles me and I almost laugh out loud from confusion. He tosses it casually onto the ass cheek not being worked on and keeps going.
Ok ok… not bad pressure… but oh… oh my… I think he’s tugging a bit hard at my inner thigh… um yup my thong is not guarding me against this kind of maneuver - c’mon underwear buddy - widen out – or stay put. Holy Jesus!!! Part of me just slipped out. And if you have no idea what I’m talking about… let me slow it down.
Alright, now I’m very exposed and not really sure how to handle this – he’s not touching anything, but from his angle I am positive without a fucking doubt that he can see all my glory. That he could now and forever pick my privates out of a crotch line up. YIKES!
For the next 30 min, I’m pulled at, rubbed with an awkward intensity, which leaves me feeling a bit insecure. Then, without warning another wild twist to this tale emerges. My butt cheeks are being separated beyond anything acceptable and now I am laughing inwardly that either this guy is so clueless he has no idea what he’s doing OR this IS his style for the past 11 years/days and clients are possibly looking for a little more than a back rub.
Holy shit, did I ever pick the wrong place for my therapeutic massage.
Clearly happy hour started at 9:30am.
He flips me onto my back and carefully places the sarong covering every inch of me. I am thankful and think all is well. I close my eyes and start to calm.
He starts on my legs and the sarong again, seems like it is “in the way” and with one fling, I am quickly draped, with my genitals still covered. At least that’s all good. He massages my thighs and they are grateful. He finishes my leg and moves onto my arm and hand. He leans into me. Something about the way he leaned, didn’t feel quite right… his elbow and forearm seems dangerously close to hovering above my special place and yet he’s rubbing my hand, which feels good. Fuck I’m so confused. Am I imagining all of this?
NOPE - THERE IT IS…
His forearm, near his elbow, finds an extremely inappropriate place to land and starts moving in rhythm with his hand which is massaging my hand. I am in shock and can barely breathe. I gain my wits and make a conscious decision to shift my pelvis to the left enough to remove his forearm from his resting place.
Mental question, “Did he really just rub my hand while also trying to rub his forearm in my crotch? Good grief. Maybe he thought it was my hip bone? My thigh? He slipped? Ugh… what the fuck??!!
Now to the other side. He massages my left leg and yes it feels good. Damn him. He starts working on my arm and hands and I can feel him going in for the elbow rub. My right hand quickly lands onto my public bone in defense mode and clearly sends a signal to back the fuck off. The massage of my hand ends faster on this side.
I opened my eyes to him saying, “K done.”
No shit I’m done asshole.
I walk out shaking my head, laughing nervously, and also feeling confused and concerned. I don’t feel “taken advantage of,” but if this is what he does regularly for women; I sure hope they have asked for that style of massage.
I have no issues with people touching people, when it is mutual and consensual, not weird and misunderstood. Who am I to say that in Bali one can’t have a therapist touch them where they ache? Not my business. But it is when HE clearly missed all my body language to back the fuck off and when he clearly is not reading signals from women that don’t want the extras. He needs to be more aware of the subtle body shifts and the clear as day arm blocks, which should have clued him in that I was NOT in the mood for playtime.
I will be level headed when I speak to someone about him, at his place of
work. I will make sure he is not there, so I can speak freely. I hope that one of the young girls, who I will inevitably speak to, will have a talky talk with wandering elbow boy.
But till then, the beautiful Balinese woman, who gave me a ride at the beginning of my story, graciously offered me a free massage at the hotel tonight, to make up for the lack of wifi in my room and to compensate for the less than satisfactory XX massage.
Bali, I bow to your wild ride.