[Okay, I have three (maybe four) drafts waiting on the line to get finished and published. However, this story definitely calls to get publicised ASAP.]
Someone told me that I should never go to massage shops with colourful beaming lights in its facade. He said, the expert that he was, that these lights indicate the availability of a “happy ending”. In my mind, I imagined these shops filled with filth and unborn children. Nevertheless, I was curious if this was just prejudice.
Today, I was desperate for a massage. Dying, even.
I normally get attacks of unbearable back pain every now and then. Lately, however, they have been coming in more frequently. The last episode being two weeks ago. I blame it to my increasing stress levels and self proclaimed depression.
I think this episode started over the weekend. I decided to hold off getting a massage as it was out of the budget. I assured myself, it’s gonna go away eventually.
Last night, the episode got stronger. I can no longer hold it off. My back was frozen in pain and no matter how much stretching and position changes I do, it just won’t go away. I did planks and back stretches inside the office in attempt to relieve the pain. Tried to do push ups, jacks, and exercises to waken the muscled and keep them warm. Turned off the AC, drank something hot, ate something hot – but to no avail. Now I think about it, I realise it was the reason I had an upset and bloated stomach earlier today.
I was in the brink of getting frozen solid again. I’ve had episodes that came this bad that I’d cry myself to sleep. Afraid this might recur, I googled for the nearest massage spa. Apparently, the nearest one that was open at 8 in the morning was Wensha which would cost me around 1000 peso, tip included.
It isn’t practical to spend a thousand peso in a spa that offers buffet and sauna if I’m not gonna use them, I convinced myself. I wasn’t really up for a steam bat or a dry sauna, anyway. Plus, filling up my already bloated tummy was out of the question. I continued my search in Google.
Since Google was limited spas that are registered in the internet, I barely got results. Regardless of it’s distance and price, the earliest that would open is 10 AM.
I. CAN. NO. LONGER. WAIT. THAT. LONG.
As I come to realise that I might end up enduring the pain for the next few hours, possibly just sleeping it off; everyone gets off the jeep. I was at the last stop of my commute home.
Fck. That was fast.
It was like the heavens had heard my dying muscles, I saw a massage spa with beaming lights as I get off the jeep.
Dang it. The beaming lights.
Should I or should I not?
It looks fairly new so I should be fine.
Nah, you’re crazy.
What are you gonna lose? It’s worth a try.
Nope. Not gonna happen.
I walked away.
Then walked right back.
On the door it says, “Open 24 hours”, “with male and female therapists”, “ring the bell to open”.
I press the red, and only, switch.
No one answered.
Did it again.
Roughly a minute and someone answers the door.
A girl wearing a white shirt and jeans and socks in slippers. Her hair was a mess. No make up. She looks as if she just came out of bed. Possibly from sleep.
I asked “Pwede po ba magpamasahe?” [Can I get a massage, please?]
She let me in while she fixed her hair; asked me to take a seat in the make shift couch which was just wood covered in wallpaper. She was handing me over a pamphlet when I said I needed a Swedish massage, one that takes off the muscle pains (lamig). This seems to have prompted her to stop midway handing me over the piece of paper. She said, “yes, we do it.”
Having come to an agreement, she asked me to take off my shoes and socks and wear one of the slippers inside. Sweet! they looked brand new. I won’t have to worry about fungus. She then asked me to follow her to my ‘room’. But before we got out of the very narrow receiving area into what seems like a hallway currently draped by soft strands of cloth, a voice of a man steals my attention. He gasps. She peaks inside and tells him to shush. I almost felt fear if I didn’t have to hold off my laughter. How silly is this?
We made our way to the second floor. It was a tiny apartment along Taft Avenue; painted and cleaned nicely but the signs of it being an old was apparent. To get to the stairs you’d pass by two make shift rooms covered in thick red drapes making the insides fully covered. The narrow stairs, painted red, had a dirt trap rug in each step. It was amusing, actually, as each dirt trap had a different style, one had a butterfly; the other, a dolphin; another, a heart.
As we reached the top, I noticed red lights almost like the lights of the entrance of a night club in a dark alley. Right above the staircase were laundry being dried. There were three small partitions with the same red drapes. This time they were open allowing me to see what’s inside. The partitions were just enough to fit a single 36″ (maybe 42″) foam which is laid down on the floor. They were divided by a thin piece of wood. Despite being entirely closed, drafts had allowed tiny beams of sunshine to pass through. Shit. What have I gotten myself into.
She asked me to enter the one right across the stairs.
“Tangal ka nalang ng damit, ate. Balikan kita.” [Take of your clothes, miss. I will be back in a while.] And she leaves to go downstairs. I assume to talk to the guy who I heard earlier back.
I don’t know if it was me getting nervous or the combination of the ceiling fan and AC was just becoming unbearably cold. Maybe it was also because my back already feels frozen.
I sat there. I felt silly; at the same time, scared. Curious was also part of the cocktail of emotions I am having. I was pondering whether to leave or to just stay and see what happens. I thought, maybe I could just go down and tell her I forgot I didn’t have cash, or that I lost my wallet, or pretend a friend called and had an avalanche in their backyard? But my life desperately needs something right now. Something interesting. I took a deep breath, and said to myself, “what could possibly go wrong?”
Just in case I die and never be found, I sent a messaged to the same guy who told me never to go to spa’s with beaming lights. Once that was settled, I took my phone inside my bag, secured my necklace, and sat there until I heard footsteps climbing up the stairs.
Is it going to be a guy with a knife in his hands ready to kill me and steal my stuff?
As the curtains opened, a voice of a girl asked, whew!, why haven’t I took off my clothes yet. I mumbled, “Anlamig kase ate” [I’m really cold] as I point to the ceiling fan. She put down the towel she had on her hand and turned it off.
I explained to her I just need a back massage. My back is really in pain and full of “lamig”. She said, it’s still gonna be the same price. I said it’s OK. An hour of back massage for 300 peso doesn’t sound like a bad idea. Plus it is my perfect compromise to still have my bottom half dressed in case there are any spy cams inside. She assured me they’re all gonna go away after the session.
So, I took off my shirt and my bra. Lied down on the mattress facing down. I couldn’t stop worrying that she might be a lesbian who’s going to suddenly offer me a “happy ending”. Or maybe talk me into availing something of that sort. Thankfully, none of that happened. I wondered, what could have happened if I asked a male therapist instead though. loljk. (half joking, I’m kind of curious of that, too)
So yeah, I went home safe. Still with a bit of back pain but at least was temporarily relieved. If you’re going to ask me about the quality of the massage, it was bad. I have friends who can do better massage than that. It felt as if she just splattered oil on my back and randomly pressed and pinched my back for twenty minutes. Yes, twenty minutes. To be fair though, it sort of helped getting the unbearable pain off. Otherwise, I won’t be here writing.
To end this story, I haven’t been able to confirm if massage spa’s with beaming lights offer happy endings. But one thing’s for sure, you won’t get you’re money worth if you’re looking for a decent massage. At least not in this spa. I guess paying 300 + tip was worth paying for for the experience. Lol.
Maybe I’ll write about getting a male therapist next time. 😀
This photo should give you the vibe of how the “spa” looked like: