Well…I think that’s what they were going for at least. It didn’t quite end happy; more like baffled and confused with what happened, and wondering if we all experienced the same treatment.
Jim and Sandra (Ryan’s parents), Ryan and I went to Suzhou this past weekend to spend our time together experiencing a really beautiful part of China. Suzhou is about a 1hr car ride away, depending on where you go, or a 10 minute bullet train ride from our place here, in Wuxi. Sandra was already spending her time with us here in Wuxi, and Jim decided with his work schedule that he would just meet us at the hotel in Suzhou. It’s been really nice having Sandra around! It’s great to have someone English-speaking that I can talk to during the days when Ryan’s working!
Anyways, we were staying at this beautiful hotel in Suzhou and had just spent the day walking around and seeing the city. If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you may have noticed some of the interesting things I made Jim and Sandra try, such as the fried squid or chicken claws. Not necessarily their most favourite things they have eaten, but at least they tried it! I personally always make an effort to try all kinds of different foods when I travel because I think it’s all part of experiencing another country. So I think maybe I pushed Sandra and Jim a bit, but they handled it well!
After our day of walking around, seeing and old parts of Suzhou and doing a little bit of shopping along the way, we were ready to head back to our hotel and hang out for a bit before dinner. When we arrived, Jim and Ryan thought it would be a good idea if we all got a massage. Because I hadn’t worked out yet (and had been eating maybe a bit too much), I was reluctant to go because I wanted to workout. Jim suggested that I workout first and then Ryan and I could go for a massage later. This worked well for me because at least I could fit both in! Turns out I may have regretted fitting this massage into my schedule…
After our workout, Ryan and I take the elevator from our hotel down to the spa, and they guide us to the room that we’ll be in. The lady shows us the bathroom and tells us that we need to shower off and put on the underwear they have ready for us. Really, they were just thin, paper diapers, so Ryan opted out and wanted to wear his own undies. I wasn’t really sure what the rules were, so I put them on over the underwear I already had on. I also wasn’t quite sure what the bra situation was…so I left mine on.
For those of you females that have gotten massages before, maybe you’re wondering why I decided to leave my bra on. So far I’ve gotten two massages in China and they have required that I leave my clothes on. So this time around I was really confused as to what the customs were! I mean maybe I should have taken the shower and the undies as a bit of a foreshadow for what was to come.
So we lay down on the bed and get under the towel because Ryan and I really don’t know what else we’re supposed to do. We wait for a few minutes and finally we hear a knock on the door, and two tiny women let themselves in. They start to close the blinds and turn off the lights, light some candles and put on some soothing music. They also tell us to turn around onto our stomachs since our backs are being treated. I can speak for myself here on out, since I’m not really sure what treatment Ryan got from his masseuse. The lady working on me lathered up the oil in her hands and started working on my back. This is where she laughed and noticed that I kept my bra on, so I understood some of her broken English that she was suggesting my bra is to be removed. So she removes it for me and now can begin working out some of the kinks in my back.
From this point on, I’m sorry if I make any of you feel uncomfortable, but I’m honestly just trying to describe my experience to you. It was awkward for me too…so feel my pain!
Anyways, while she was working on my back I noticed that she was moving uncomfortably close to my sides, where my boobs are…like that’s not my back thank you!! But I thought that maybe Chinese women just feel more comfortable in their bodies..so I might be over-reacting. So as she continues on down to my lower back, she ends up pulling my underwear down so that most of my butt is showing. And from my memory, I pretty much remember her hands massaging all around and pretty well in my butt crack. Again…I’m trying to stay calm because this may just be what the massages here are like! So eventually she asks “Some people think 30 minutes is too short, do you want to continue?” And I was really confused because I was 100% sure that Jim told them we wanted a 70 minute massage. With the language barrier, she didn’t understand my confusion so I just said “Yes, okay, continue”. So she says “Okay, I just need a drink of water first, okay?” And I’m like…yeah no problem. I was a bit confused about this for some reason but the girls thirsty! So yeah, stay hydrated.
So after she’s done getting her water, she comes back and says that we will begin (I mean, I thought we already did??). This time though she begins massaging my calves and my feet, which actually felt nice since I usually don’t get that area massaged. This is where things start to get interesting…
After working on my calves and feet for a bit, the lady decides to move up to my thighs and as she is doing so, she’s removing the towel I carefully placed over myself. Well, she moves even higher up and is getting really close to my inner thigh-crotch area. In my mind I’m like “What the HELL is going on…this can’t be normal why is she getting so close to my private parts!” But I’m also like “Are you over-reacting?” And pretty much it’s a battle in my head which I ended up deciding that this probably isn’t a normal occurrence. Then I’m wondering what’s going on with Ryan. He’s in the bed beside me, and so far hasn’t said anything. So THEN I’m thinking “Is she hitting on me?? In a really strange and abnormal way…is she trying to start something with me?”
Luckily, she asks me to turn over onto my back which I’m really thankful for since I really don’t want her to be massaging me the way she has. But then she was trying to straighten the towel on me, and ends up fixing it up like you would the bed sheets where they’re floating in the air before the end up falling on the bed. It’s during this time that I notice she takes a good look of what’s on the table…me! I feel extremely exposed to this stranger that has been feeling me up in the past little bit, and I’m really regretting my choice to stay for a longer amount of time. But it gets worse…
She starts massaging around my neck and arms and then just removes the towel completely, the one that was comfortably covering my chest. Now my mind is screaming and just wishing the time would be up. I don’t want to be rude because this is something I signed up for. And again, I don’t know what a regular massage in China is like! But THEN she actually ends up massaging my breasts…yup…that happened. And she does this weird thing where she’s tickling my belly with her nails. I mean, I guess if I were into girls, and this were meant to turn me on, maybe it would work…I don’t know! But I’m just super uncomfortable with whats going on. She moves further down to my legs again, and yet again is about a pinky nail away from my privates when she’s working on my inner thighs. My mind is screaming for me to get out of there, so it’s really quite the opposite of what a massage should be. I’m pretty tense and not relaxed at all. I’m trying to tell myself to not be so uptight about whats going on because so far, there’s been no attempt of rape. I’m pretty sure I could throw her across the room if she tried.
FINALLY the massage ends, the lady helps me sit up and puts the towel over my shoulder asking if I’m cold. While she’s sitting behind me, she gives me a light traps massage and rubs my back a bit. The lights are on a this point and I really just want her to leave the room and stop touching me…but I’m trying to be polite so I smile and say thank you. Technically, she did her job!
The ladies leave the room, Ryan and I sit there for a few minutes saying nothing, look at each other and burst out laughing realizing that it happened to both of us. We’re both super relieved we experienced the same thing!!
On our way back to the room we notice Jim and Sandra. As we got closer to each other, we all end up crying laughing with what we all had just experienced….
OH CHINA! Never again will I get a massage…