Chinese Women, Asian Women, Online Dating & Things Chinese and Asian
Peter lived for nearly a half-decade in China, including two as a Peace Corps volunteer, and is the author of Socrates in Sichuan: Chinese Students Search for Truth, Justice and the (Chinese) Way. It is the intention of his blog to foster the sort of intercultural understanding necessary for long term relationships.
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By Peter V
4731 Views | 4 Comments | 7/8/2013 5:32:00 PM

Three or four girls sit disinterestedly on a couple of wooden benches, lazily calling out "massage" in a half-hearted manner to passerbys on Lahkroi Street, only it is more like "Maaay Saahge!" One can understand their reluctance to put much effort into this activity. They are competing with literally dozens of similar places within a few block radius for at most a handful of potential customers. Their success rate has got to be, what, like one in a couple of hundred, or more like one in a couple thousand. But still, business being business, and their business being massage, one must persist. Although it is well before noon the day is hot and you are drenched. Thankfully, the clouds provide some relief, but it may only be temporary; the forecast is for sunshine.

"Maaay Saahge."

You are one of the potential customers today. You’ve come to Lahkroi Street not because it is one of the better places to get a massage; in fact it is not. It is one of the more notorious areas of Chiang Mai, best known as the bar girl street . Indeed, to be offered a massage without a happy ending on Lahkroi is about as rare as being offered a meal in China without chopsticks. But Lahkroi is nearby where you are staying and you are as lazy as the women and so you wander over for one of the true pleasures of SE Asia travel: inexpensive massages from beautiful Asian women.

Granted not all Thai massage girls are pretty, especially not the ones on Lahkroi. Indeed, one standard practice is to put the most beautiful girl out front to lure you into the shop and then substitute her ugly sister. You can see their point: if the siren is in there giving you a massage, she cannot be out there luring customers. In fact, you are better off avoiding the siren. Indeed, one's talent in this area might almost be said to exist in opposite proportion to one's beauty, although you would not throw even the average looking Thai massage girl out of your bed.

But how to choose which one of the dozens of shops to hand your money to? Perhaps because of its name you choose the Yin and Yang massage parlor, although why a Thai massage parlor uses a famous Chinese symbol in its title, you have no clue.

“Massage,” as you wander over in response to their call and the girls seem momentarily surprised, like the dog that finally catches the car. A small but solidly built woman in her mid-thirties with short cropped hair, darker than average skin, bright red lipstick and wearing a silver chain gets up from the bench possessed, like all Thai girls, of a contagious, ah, smile. You look and notice a strong pair of hands, definitely a good sign.

Before you enter she reminds you to take off your shoes. Inside, it is cool. A half dozen leather recliner chairs for customers to sit in after the massage are lined against the wall. It’s early, and so they are understandably empty. Indeed, it’s before noon, and many of the tourists, like many of the girls, are just getting up. In the back a few of the girls sit on the tile floor playing cards--the relief crew, to be called in when and if the other girls get busy or to take turn with shifts. You follow her up two flights of stairs, which are covered in a cheap, bright green carpet, a shade not seen in America since the 1960s. Before you begin the ascent, she points to an overhang that she clears easily but that even a relatively short Westerner like you will bump his head upon if not careful. It has to be a metaphor for something, but you are not sure for what.

The action occurs on the upper floor, which contains the bare minimum required to operate the business: girls, beds and a modicum of privacy. There is no attempt at ambiance or atmosphere, nor anything but artificial light to penetrate the darkness. There are two identical rooms, divided by curtains that subdivide each room into three or four separate units. The rooms are separated by a door so that air conditioning can be limited to the room actually in use. Inside each of the curtained-off cubicles a cheap mattress is thrown on the floor. It is covered with a white sheet, but you do not delude yourself that this has been placed there fresh for your use. You tell yourself that it is best not to think about what might have previously taken place here. She pulls back the curtain and motions for you to go inside. There is a large brown towel on the mattress. You disrobe, lie down and cover yourself with the towel, which is only enough to go from the ankles to the nipples.

She works her way methodically down the body, starting with shoulders and when she reaches the feet—and tries to pull your toes out of their sockets—she asks you to turn over.

It’s a no lose proposition, you tell yourself, going for the groin. The worst case scenario is that a prudish character will be insulted. But she will still get paid. Even the guys who turn her down will probably appreciate the effort and might give her a tip. And then there is the poor fool who actually takes her up on the offer. Just how well do you think he is going to negotiate under these conditions. In any case, she does not pressure you but simply offers and moves on as if nothing happened when you say no.

A hour passes quickly, as does the erection at your age, and it is time to go.

"Maaay Saahge" you hear as the door opens and she lets you out into the light of Lahkroi Street.

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(Showing 1 to 4 of 4) 1
#2013-07-08 20:32:11 by anonymous6823 @anonymous6823


#2013-07-09 16:47:18 by JohnAbbot @JohnAbbot

When I first landed in Shenzhen a decade ago it was loaded with the same style of massage parlors as you've described, right down to the girls in the street marketing their services by calling out to every male passerby. "Massajee Mister? Massajee?" The places weren't as obvious as in Bangkok, but they were there just the same.

#2013-07-10 01:46:23 by Tyler72 @Tyler72

My back is always a pretzal by the time I arrive in China from the US, so I usually go looking for a massage right away. It can be surprisingly hard to find a real, therapeutic massage sometimes. You find yourself trying to explain that you are actually in pain and dont want a pretty girl but someone who can fix your back. Or you have to try and explain in very broken chinese, its ok its ok when you start getting noisy and trying to breathe through the pain and she wants to stop for fear of hurting you.. Wo xihuan tang, i like pain! Always makes them laugh but eventually they will get the point. I usually get this at the spa in my hotel btw, not a pink lighted barber shop...

Once i was taken to an actual massage school run by a cross eyed blind woman who looked like she could kick my ass six ways from Wednsday and she did my friends and her best student did my masage, including cupping, which was imteresting and left 8 large round scary looking hickoes along my spine. Neither one of us could sit back on the car seat the next day due to our bruises but our back pain was completely gone and we felt great!! It was bette than anything ive had down at an expensive spa or by the therepists working out of chiropractic clinics at home.

#2013-07-11 09:36:30 by woaizhongguo @woaizhongguo

@Tyler72: You basically have the same two levels of massages in Thailand. Pretty girls who will rub you just about anywhere and the real Thai massage, which is definitely not a spectator sport and will kick your ass as much as anything in China. A good sign is if the place makes you put on a special outfit for the massage rather than just undress. Also, the masseuse (sp?) should begin the massage with a prayer to Buddha.

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