Single Lady on tatami next to me
Massage lady 2, massaging Single Lady
The English-accented voice known as David on tatami next to Single Lady
Massage lady 3, massaging Daivd
Your neigborhood massage place, corner of soi 22., central Bangkok
Friday at 10:30pm, end of a long day. I was lying on a tatami, the end of a row of about five tatamis, separated by muslin curtains. Massage Lady was plucking my hamstrings when a male voice emerged from the other side of the curtains. I swear I cannot make this shit up if I tried.
Act 1: Old enough to know the game, young enough to play it
The male voice went: “Aw. Difficult day at the office”
“Oh… just… you know, executive stress”
- Silence for about 10 seconds
Male voice from the other side of the curtain: “Are you engaged?”
“No, are you?”
“So you used the name Single Lady in the chat room. That to me suggested that you were available and were looking for men?”
“I also use other names that you will never know about. Depends on my mood”.
“But you were specifically looking to chat with men?”
“Why do you want to know?”
“I want to research you”.
“Girls are not that interesting to me”.
“And are you more interested in Farang men? How do they compare with Thai men?”
“Have you had any experience with Farang men?”
“Why aren’t you interested in Thai men?”
“Thai men like girls who are pale, skinny, small… and Chinese looking. Which is very not me”
- I was getting a bit grossed out and annoyed. Massage lady was stepping on my lower back and I tuned out for a moment, but the following was too good to miss.
Male voice goes, “You know, I get massages a few times a week, near where I live. Sometimes I get a foot massage, sometimes with oil. Sometimes a Thai massage, and sometimes with a happy ending. You know about happy endings?
(Massage Lady goes into a coughing fit)
“How old are you?”
“Ho old do you think I am?”
“Really? Wow. That makes me sad. I was going to pay for your massage but now I won’t. I’m terribly upset”.
“So how old are you?”
“Why do you want to know?”
“Because I want to know!”
“Old enough to know the game, but young enough to play it, I tell you”.
- I tried to contain my chuckles by pressing my face against the pillow. Massage Lady stopped everything she was doing and asked me if I was okay, showing grave concern
Act 2: I would like to meet your sister
Male voice from the other side of the curtain: “Do you know how to massage?”
“But do you want to give me a massage?”
“Can I say something to you?”
“You have really big breasts”.
(At this point I actually thought eavesdropping might be better fun than the massage I was receiving)
“They look like they may fall out of your shirt”.
- I, by now, was cringing. Massage Lady was kneading my shoulders and commented, “Ah. Very tense”
“Do you live alone?”
“Did you understand what I said? Do… you… live… with… someone…?”
“Is your sister home tonight?”
“Probably there now”.
“Well I might have to meet her”.
“Why do you want to meet my sister?”
“Because I am interested in where you live. What are we going to do after the massage?”
“Go to the pub?”
“So, do you have a lot of experience?”
(I was thinking… oh for goodness’ sake! Put it away! This is a family kind of place! But hold on… it gets better)
“With men? With women?”
“Not with women. Have you with men?”
(To be honest, I didn’t really catch the second part of this sentence because she was whispering. But I deduced so, based on the subsequent dialogue)
“Yes. I started when I was 8”.
“How was it?”
“It felt like he was tickling me at first. But there was a happy ending”.
“And you were 8?”
“Maybe I wasn’t 8. More like 10. Maybe 12”.
“So if you didn’t meet me tonight, you would have met with )!£$”^%?” (I failed to catch the name. At this point I really wished I had a tape recorder or a notepad on me)
“Yes, but I’m glad we met. This massage is a good idea”.
“What would you do instead?”
“He would probably force me to drink lots of beers. And then take advantage of me. You know, I didn’t used to have a lot of fun. But when I turned 27, I realized that I didn’t have much of my youth left. You understand youth? My years of being young were… almost over. So I decided that I should go out and meet people, do things, have fun.”
“So how old are you?”
“My point is, you are only young between the ages of 18 and 30. So you don’t have that much time. You should have fun, you know, do things, while you are still young. I am trying to remind you”.
- Silence. Now I was thinking I was too old for any sort of fun and action!
Act 3: Better than jogging
Male voice goes: “Do you think I’m fat?”
“Not fat. But maybe you should do exercise”.
“How can you tell that I don’t exercise?”
“You’re right. I don’t do a lot of exercise”.
“Like my ex-boyfriend”.
“Your ex-boyfriend didn’t exercise either? How old is he?”
“Maybe same as you. How old are you?”
“But I take care of myself. I eat well. And I don’t drink beer. Maybe we can exercise together”.
“Okay! Go jogging?”
“Not what I was thinking, but yes, jogging is a kind of exercise”.
“Swimming?””Closer… but something more fun than swimming, that we can do together. (giggles)”
- At this point I was thinking, is this guy for real? When was the last time this worked for him??
“So do you know of a place that we can go afterwards? Where… you can give me a massage?”
“No, not the pub! Too many people! Then everyone else will want a massage too! Can we go back to your place? Can you call your sister to see if she’s there?”
“Why do you want to go to my place?”
“Do you know of another place?”
“What kind of place do you want to go?”
“I know a place on Sukhumvit Soi 40. 40 Wings. Have you heard of it? We can go there”.
“It’s a hotel?”
“Short stay. So we go there after here, yes?”
“We go to the short stay hotel on soi 40 after this, so you can give me a massage. After this. We take Skytrain, yeah?”
“No… we can walk there”.
“I don’t want to walk. Takes too long. Let’s get a taxi. My treat”
- Note: A taxi from "here" to Soi 40 would probably cost 2 US dollars, so Mr Casanova over there isn’t exactly splashing out on his date like he's making it sound to be.
Act 4: It’s not me, it’s you
Massage Lady braced me from behind and swung me around. I was getting a bit sad that my massage was coming to an end.
Male voice goes: “So do you think we can catch a taxi from here? Will the driver need to turn around?”
- I sensed desperation. Lots of it.
“This is our last time”
“Our last time? But our date is not over! Why do you say that??”
“I am afraid of you”.
“What do you mean? Afraid of me?”
“I am afraid”.
“What do you mean? I didn’t do anything to you”
- By now Massage Lady was tapping my back and said “Finished”. No no no, I thought, their date is not over yet!
Male voice went: “Is the lady at the end still there?”
- I was quiet and pretending to stretch—an ill attempt at buying some more time, hoping to be able to catch a glimpse of this loser of a man
“…” (silence from the other side of the curtain)
“David, are you okay?”
“I am sad”.
“Because you said you’re afraid of me. No one has ever said that to me before. Everyone says I’m a nice, easygoing guy”.
“Is it me, or are you always afraid of men?”
“Aha! That’s it! You’re not afraid of me! You’re just afraid of men in general! I bet you’ve had a bad experience with men. Have you had a bad experience with men? With a Thai man?”
“… (no response)”
“Those Thai men are something to be afraid of, I tell you”.
“… (still no response)”
- At this point I contemplated opening the curtains and rescuing the girl, because David was sounding like a maniac.
Male voice started again, “I had this girlfriend. She later told me that she had a baby, but the baby died. I asked her why the baby died, and she told me the story how she was raped by her boyfriend…”
“Rape. Do you know that word? It means… he was rude to her and hurt her” The voice continued, “but she still stayed with him, and had the baby. But the baby died shortly after birth. Sometimes I just don’t understand this country. It’s so fu*ked up. I can’t stand it”.
- And irony, ladies and gentlemen, is what keeps us going (or at least stretching and getting dressed in slow motion so as to catch a glimpse of the couple concluding their first date).