“Would you like man on man and woman on woman, or man on woman and woman on man?”
What do you say to that? I said… nothing. I stood like a rabbit in the headlights, my brain trying to compute what I’d just been asked.
“What do you think?” Andy looked at me for something, anything.
I failed her. There were no messages whatsoever coming from my grey cells.
“Woman on woman,” Andy finally blurted out.
Before I regained my composure, the female masseur hit us again.
“Take off all your clothes… all of them,” she commanded. “And put these on.”
She held out two little packages. They looked like hairnets to me.
“What do I do with this?”
The masseur opened the package; it was a tiny paper thong. “This goes at the back,” she pointed to the string bit, clearly having decided I was a complete yokel, then pointed to the bit with slightly more material. “And this goes at the front. Put them on and lie face down on the tables.”
With that the mixed-sex masseurs left the room.
I was glad I’d asked. I’m not sure I could ever have lived it down if when she returned I’d have been totally naked except for wearing a thong on my bonce. Really not a cool look.
The woman’s assertiveness meant there were no margins for misunderstandings regarding what state of undress we should be in when they returned. It made stripping off easier; it felt natural and suited to the situation even if the thongs didn’t really have enough material to be fit for purpose. They were more a psychological cover than a real one; a comfort blanket that didn’t even cover your toes, metaphorically speaking.
If you’re going to go for a full-on body massage and Oriental treatment in a spa, there’s no point in being coy. That’s not to say that I didn’t have my concerns over the potential for embarrassing situations to… err… arise.
Being almost completely naked in a darkened room with scented candles and relaxing Oriental music whilst having warm oils massaged into your body whilst your partner is having the same done on the table next to you is a sensual experience – even if having a man knead your bare buttocks is somewhat unnerving. My strategy was to lose myself in the soothing Oriental music and to try not to think about Wobbles MacDonald.
When the masseurs finished massaging our backs we were instructed to turn over. I didn’t dare look in Andy’s direction and summoned all my willpower to banish the visually provocative phrase ‘woman on woman’ from my head. I’d read that masseurs were used to their clients becoming aroused during treatment, but when your masseur is of the same sex it just seemed seriously bad form to me. But then would it be any less embarrassing if the masseuse was a woman? These thoughts kept me off the straight and narrow so to speak.
A greater test was to come.
When the first massage was over, the female masseur instructed us to follow her to a small sauna/shower booth with two seats facing each other making it impossible to ignore the fact that we were both naked and glistening seductively with oil. It was a situation that could have been inflamed by the masseur’s advice about showering the warm oils off – “wife can help husband and husband can help wife.” Just to help things further, the shower also made the already pointless paper thongs even less effective.
And the winner of the wet thong competition is…
Then a surreal thing happened that changed everything. The masseur asked us if we’d like a cup of tea. There’s something very British about having a mid afternoon cup of tea; there’s something not at all British about being served a cup of tea when you’re naked… and in public (okay it was only two masseurs but nevertheless). It was a defining moment and the bizarreness of sitting, sipping tea au natural helped wash away the spectre of Wobbles MacDonald. I may even have commented to the masseur that it was a nice day out (essential to mention the weather when you’re drinking tea if you’re British).
After that I completely relaxed into the experience; dozing to the point of snoring during the warm embrace of the Saharan mud wrap; regretting not having my camera when same mud bath and muddy head massage left Andy looking like a scary, wild-haired warrior who’d just emerged from the Amazon.
By the time the session was rounded off with a bone-melting aromatic massage that left the skin feeling 10 years younger, I was floating.
It was an addictive spa experience and I’d plunge into another in a second – thong, no thong, shower cap… whatever.
Apart from being an exquisite pleasure, it was also wonderfully liberating. I’d come through it with dignity and I could walk out, proudly holding my head high.
The Tale of Wobbles MacDonald
At the volatile and vulnerable age of 14 as we lined up for our annual health check, which involved the infamous ‘cough’ test, we were horrified to discover the tester was a female nurse. Wobbles MacDonald was first in line. When the nurse placed her hand on his groin and asked him to cough Wobbles got a stonner (slang West of Scotland word that you’ll have to Google if confused). Her reaction scarred the rest of us in that line for life and left us all with a dread of the badly timed stonner – she slapped his face.
Jack is co-owner, writer and photographer for BuzzTrips and the Real Tenerife series of travel websites as well as a contributor to lots of other places. Follow Jack on Google+