Dubai's Desperate Housewife

Trials and traumas of a full-time mum in Dubai

The massage with the (un)happy finish

with 24 comments

I went for a massage today. Those of you who follow me on Twitter (@mrsdubai) will have some inkling of what I’m about to write. Let’s just say, it wasn’t what I expected.

So the massage name had the word ‘Back’ in it. Being one who adores nothing more than having my back (feet and scalp) massaged, I read no further than that. A 75-minute back massage, I thought, what bliss – and booked at once.

And when I got to the spa, I thought it a little odd I had to fill out a form saying on what part of my body I’d like the therapist to focus. Upper back? Lower back? Shoulders?

So the massage starts and it’s bliss. I’m sinking into the massage bed like it’s made of feathers. My brain waves are switching to alpha and, I do believe, that for some time, I’m awake but not even thinking at all. 75 minutes of this. How often can I come?

And then she exposes a leg and starts working on my thigh. I’m one of those who thinks having your arms, legs, elbows, shins and knees massaged is a complete waste of time, but I’m relaxed enough to think: Okay, maybe “back” includes backs of the legs.

And after she’s done both legs she taps me on the shoulder and says, “khlease turn over” and I realise I’m not having the massage I thought I was.

It was going so well until she flipped me over

So she starts on the tops of my legs and I’m already getting irritated because, honest to god, who goes to the spa for a shin massage? Am I missing something?

The worst is yet to come.

After she’s worked all the tension out of my shins and elbows, she covers up the limbs, whips down the top towel, exposing me to the waist, and starts on my tummy. And, as I’m lying there, a fixed smile on my face as I contemplate my nakedness and wonder what to do about it, her hands slide up and she’s massaging my boobs.

Yes, you read that right. She’s doing my boobs, and I’m half expecting her to say, “Madam, you not need khmassage; you need boob job. I give you number. My khousin…”

And, by then, all the goodness of the relaxation has gone and I’m tense as can be and I lie there rigid as a poker until she’s finished.

“Please be seated,” she says next, and I wonder what to do given I’m already lying down. She tugs my arms and it becomes apparent she wants me to sit up and put my arms behind my back. The towel falls down and, by then, I’m freezing cold as the a/c’s on the “winter ski resort” setting and she starts pulling me through a series of Thai-massage stretches, my bare boobs pointing to the ceiling.

“Enough!” I yelp as joints click and muscles squeal. “Stop!” and, finally, she quits.

“The oil is good for your skin,” she says as she leaves the room. “Leave it on for at least two hours.”

She says that, but what I hear is: “Why not wipe your oily arms all over your luscious leather handbag, gunk up your jewellery with it and slide your oily arms all over the cream suede interior of your hot car?” so, as soon as she leaves the room, I grab a towel, soak it under the tap, and frantically wipe off as much as I can.

In future I’ll be sticking with the nail-bar foot-rub. The only risk with that is oily flip-flops and a bit of extra cuticle care.

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Written by mrsdubai

May 30, 2011 at 9:26 pm

24 Responses

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  1. I was expecting that to end with the happy ending offer my husband was given at the place across the road from us (I stress the word “offer” in that sentence – he didn’t take them up on it – he wasn’t gone long enough!) Ironic thing is, I sent him there because I thought it would be easier and cheaper than him heading down to Dreamworks.

    Sarah walton

    May 30, 2011 at 9:41 pm

    • Do they really offer that here in Dubai?! No wonder the Municipality is getting so antsy about massage parlours!

      mrsdubai

      June 2, 2011 at 11:57 am

      • Park you car in Nasr Square have a walk through the main street. Guys are there, handing out cards for massage and they don’t care if you have your family with little kids with you. Be back to your car in 1 hour and you will see a dozen of these cards sticking out of different parts of the car. Worst thing to happen.

        Dennis

        January 19, 2014 at 10:23 am

  2. Yep, happened to me too. Awful, most embarrassing! Then there was the drilling and banging, beacuse the ‘spa’ was still being built. Think I will be avoiding Thai massages in future, and understand that there maybe a reason that treatment is half price and advertised on a certain group-purchase platform …

    BearLady

    June 1, 2011 at 11:37 am

    • BearLady, we must see each other constantly in Dubai. We seem to move in the same circles! Anyway, I thought that spa was one of the more reputable ones. Can you imagine if you went to one of the more dodgy ones?

      mrsdubai

      June 2, 2011 at 11:59 am

      • Its always nice to learn from our past experiences 🙂

        Max

        January 21, 2012 at 3:23 pm

  3. oh dear god. why? why? why?

    Britney of Arabia

    June 2, 2011 at 12:53 pm

  4. thanks for sharing the experience

    Uday

    January 16, 2013 at 10:06 am

  5. Your story was so funny, thank you for enlightening me!

    Expat State of Mind

    March 5, 2013 at 11:06 pm

  6. Did having your breasts kneaded like that take you back to your first snog at the under 14s disco? too funny

    emmakcontact@yahoo.com

    March 12, 2013 at 10:00 pm

    • Love it! But sadly I was never that popular!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      mrsdubai

      March 13, 2013 at 5:50 pm

  7. Howdy! I just would like to give a huge thumbs up for
    the good data you’ve right here on this post.

    I will probably be coming back to your weblog for more soon.

    SEM

    April 12, 2013 at 3:35 pm

  8. hey! your post is really nice. thanks for sharing a great experience of massage.its really helpful for those who always runs to hear the name of oil. today’s generation not like to oil their hair because after that the hairs looks oily.so they avoid oil.so put oil on their body for two hour it is really a curse for them. thanks a lot for sharing a great information……………………

    gurman

    November 8, 2013 at 8:45 am

  9. Great post! thanks a lot for sharing a great massage experience with us…………it is really very useful information for people’s………good job…..keep it up

    anamika

    November 20, 2013 at 2:14 pm

    • Uhhhh, not funny but made me lough

      Maria D

      December 17, 2013 at 1:19 pm

  10. I’m new to Dubai and as a male, I truly didn’t expect for this to happen. Perhaps I am naïve, but to women as well? You described exactly what happened to me, down to the arm tugging and thai massage. As much as I crave a deep-tissue back massage, looks like I may have to wait until I get back to Canada- I did some digging and found it this is the norm.

    jalshal

    January 16, 2014 at 1:39 pm

    • Really, it is not always the case. As a guy you can get a reliable, professional massage at any of the male spas at the main 5* hotels.

      mrsdubai

      January 19, 2014 at 10:05 pm

      • True, unless you are looking for “extra”

        Maria D

        January 20, 2014 at 9:18 am

  11. oh please Maria D, extra is all that they offer

    Malcolm

    January 26, 2014 at 10:36 am

  12. hey! your post is really nice. thanks for sharing a great experience of massage.its really helpful for those who always runs to hear the name of oil. today’s generation not like to oil their hair because after that the hairs looks oily.so they avoid oil.so put oil on their body for two hour it is really a curse for them. thanks a lot for sharing a great information……………………

    Aanshu soi

    May 8, 2014 at 12:33 pm

  13. This type of behavior is the norm at the smaller/cheaper massage parlors here. I have been to a few where they have asked me as well. Trust me, for a bachelor male, it takes a special kind of holier-than-thou self-control to say ‘no’. My guess is that the Masseurs are a exploited lot (no breaks, low salary) and they are trying to make some money on the side by providing such services which are popular with the largely ‘forced bachelor’ patrons visiting such parlors in Dubai.

    XiaoHei

    June 27, 2014 at 1:22 pm

  14. This is absolutely hilarious! I don’t know whether to laugh for you or cry for you! Look forward to reading more of your funny experiences.

    http://lovelanguageloveliterature.com/2014/09/21/the-little-things-i-miss-about-dubai-part-2/

    richmalpass

    September 21, 2014 at 9:44 pm

  15. Hi, I’m an expat living in Indonesia (moving to Fujairah in december), and had the same experience here. Really embarassing and I was petrified. Worse: i had a masseur, not a masseuse. I also went in for a back massage, clearly stated that in the beginning. My husband even dropped me off!! So I keep my shorts,bra and socks on. But than the guy pulls off my socks and starts rubbing my leggs. I’m like, okaaaay, not what I expected, but ok. I thought it was my fault, that my request had been “lost in translation” but when I asked to quit it, and the message didn’t really come through, I just jumped up and ran away. I was very angry, shocked and very very ashamed. enormously ashamed and guilty, even though I don’t think it was my fault! I even had difficulty telling my husband, which I only did after half a day had passed. So thank you for sharing your story. It gave me peace of mind and I can put it behind me more easily now. traumatic experience…

    ps: what I did from then on is clearly state that I don’t want any other parts of my body touched, and I clearly state, no stomach, boobs or anything like that!! And never ever do I agree to a male masseuse ever again!

    R.D.

    September 29, 2014 at 8:56 am

  16. I used to use a Thai massage place in Garhoud long ago. Lovely girl who gave strong full body massage. Having calves massaged is heaven, and I enjoyed sitting up and having full-on body stretching/twisting at the end. We used to chat quite a bit, and I once asked her if she was asked for happy endings (knowing of course she would have been asked, many times). She said yes, but she did not give, however her sister did (working in the same place). I said I don’t want anyway, so we were fine, and I went to her for a few years until she left. Anyway, yes it’s extremely common to be asked if you want a happy ending, even in hotel spas.

    sirhenrylives

    June 18, 2015 at 9:59 am


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