So, there I was, standing in my underwear in a room full of people, and I thought to myself, “This is not how I expected this evening to turn out.”
I know what you’re saying, “Been there. Done that. Got the under shirt,” but this was a new experience for me. Well, not really. I’ve had nightmares about it. Chronically. (I probably need counseling.) But it was new in the sense that it was really happening this time. So I had to ask myself, “How exactly did this happen?”
It had started out as a semi-normal outing. The group decided to ditch the tour of the Bangkok Night Bazaar and head to the infamous “Bridge on the River Kwai.” (I know what you’re thinking, “Didn’t they blow that up?” Yes, but it was put back together again by the Japanese after the war so that the Thai’s could blow it up themselves each night for sightseers.) Ninety minutes later, we were doing the tourist thing with our cameras but without the shorts and the knee-high socks. This was followed by dinner on a “floating” restaurant on the river. Not bad so far. Should have stopped there.
Then, someone says, “So-in-so (at the end of the table) is a Thai massage therapist.” “Oh, really? That’s interesting.” (Conversation moves on…)
“Hey! (same person who made the first comment – obviously has an agenda) We ought to go get a Thai massage.” “Yeah, that would be funny (since we’re in Thailand).” (Conversation moves on…)
“So, who wants one?” (this person obviously can’t read body language or basic social signals)
Now, at this point, I’m thinking, “Not me. I hate massages. They hurt. Besides, aren’t they a little seedy? Nope. Not interested.”
“I would do it.” (A new person has entered the conversation.)
“Yeah, me, too.”
“Sure, I’ll do it.” (That was me. Don’t ask me why. I felt this pressure to give in to my inner-lemming.)
The rest is a bit of a blur. I remember a woman telling me to “take it off, take it all off,” and I remember me saying, “Really? …for a shoulder massage?” Then some knowing laughter and, “the pants! the pants, too!” And me, looking at the guys I came with, “Weren’t we supposed to do some heavy drinking first?”
Then I was 7/8ths naked (briefs, not boxers) trying unsuccessfully to cover myself with a towel. After that, about an hour of self-consciousness, whimpering and pain in-between giggling comments in Thai from the three massage therapists. Our friend (the one who suggested this whole thing – the one who decided he, himself did not feel like a massage) came into the room every few minutes to laugh at us and share jokes in Thai with the staff.
“Are you asleep yet?” he kept asking. Not a chance! Even if I hadn’t been in pain, there’s something about getting a massage in your underwear one bed over from a pastor friend that keeps you alert for any inappropriate hanky-panky. I was thinking survival, “I can do this! Only 35 more…aaahh….minutes!” (I might have missed the relaxing aspect of the massage that they promoted in the brochures.)
The hour over, my pants back on, we paid hurriedly and loaded up the van. An uncomfortable silence fell over those assembled.
“Hey! There’s a tattoo place! We ought to get tattoos!”
“I would do it.”
“Yeah, me, too.”