One of my friends tells me I am so resourceful – it’s called survival of the fittest. Not that I want to think of myself as just surviving by continuing to live in Dahab but by choosing to stay here it certainly has become more and more difficult to make ends meet.
I learnt to do massage in eNZed just for fun so when I first came here and shared a house with a German physiotherapist, she taught me more skills and techniques. She remarked I am a natural however I suspect the “natural” feeling came from years and years of grooming horses. My son says I am always equating whatever I do in my life according to horse mastership, including child rearing (since he is an awesome son, I believe I am on the right track). A good groom should follow body lines, use sensitive pressure, notice behavior, know all muscle groups, feel what is happening under their hands – and it is physical, one gets a good sweat up. Most people never really groom their horse, they just flick a brush over to remove dirt but that is hardly effective. Ask any horse.
I was struggling to earn much money over summer as a Dive Master so my German friend encouraged me to do some massage work. “Yea, why not?” Many women masseuses here will not ‘do’ men, any men; others refuse to touch Middle Eastern men. Sometimes this is because they have local Muslim husbands who do not approve of them touching the body of another male; other times it is because they can’t be bothered with the possible hassle. Here in Egypt it is often equated, as was previously in western culture, as a front for prostitution. I have a completely open mind about prostitution – if it is a contractual agreement between two consenting adults, anything goes. However I have never been that broke! Might have had sex with a pizza in mind, but that’s another story.
Anyway as I believe one’s pudenda should not affect one’s agenda, I am non discriminatory. Massage is a relevant health treatment that aids body and mind. Giving a massage requires one to be prepared mentally and physically as for anyone who works in a profession that requires sharing personal body space of another human. This is not something most people do in their daily lives with strangers and requires trust on both sides. Energy passes from one to another on many levels so afterwards the client should be relaxed and comfortable while the masseur may feel exhausted and drained.
The booking was for an ‘in house’ guest of a reputable beach front hotel where I was working for another masseuse who was taking a summer break. An Egyptian man entered the room, about 40 or so, a little overweight but not obese – hard to tell once they get over 30 as smoking and Egyptian life takes effect. For the sake of my story, let’s call him Ahmad. I greeted him and clarified that he had indeed booked a full body massage with reception. “Yes”. “OK. Step behind the screen to remove your clothes, except for your underpants. You can leave those on, just wrap the towel around you.”
He stepped from behind the screen stark naked carrying the towel. Ding, ding went the alarm bells but I must have been in a particularly Zen mood that day. “I said you could leave your underpants on.”
“Oh, I don’t wear them.”
I grimaced involuntarily but I suspect Achmad is too narcissistic to notice details like that; probably thought I was smiling. “Okayyyy. Just hop up on the massage bed, lie face down and I will cover you with the towel as I work.” Ahmad did so and I placed a towel strategically over his buttocks and back to begin work on his legs. I made small talk in the beginning – to relax both of us in this case.
He complained of being too warm and removed the towel. Unsightly pale buttocks now exposed, Ahmad says, “You do happy endings don’t you?”
What the hell is a ‘happy ending’? That expression is not something I grew up with as a teenager in country NZ where we call a spade, “A spade”. I have been known to fake it until I make it but my mother always said, “If in doubt, don’t”, so for once I followed her advice and silence ensued. Not being unintelligent, a few seconds later the penny dropped. He is asking for what!!!
Visions of Borat came to mind. There is a scene on the DVD outtakes that never made the movie (least that is how I recall it) where Borat goes to a masseur. Borat is unbelievably obnoxious (yes, even more than in the movie,) pretending he doesn’t know how to lie on the massage table, asking a demonstration then jumping on top of the masseur, blaming the masseur for giving him an erection, etc. The masseur is totally professional throughout the ordeal. “No sir, I did not give you the erection. You did that to yourself.”
So I decided to treat Ahmad like the professional I am and said, “No, I do not do that. That is about sexual health and there are other places in Dahab for what you require.” Not that I really knew but I had been told there was a place somewhere in Masbat area. “I do not do sexual massage. That is private and between me and my partner.”
Ahmad was persistent and insistent that he got that service in Dubai and other places. He even tried to tell me massaging his prostate was for health … I don’t think he really understood the situation – he was naked on a bed with his arse up and I ride horses. The dominatrix in me was rapidly coming to the fore and visions of long dressage whips flashed across my mind. I ignored his whining until he gave up.
Of course refusing to continue would have been an option, but as I suspect he has intimidated other women in this situation I wanted to set an example to Ahmad that he couldn’t bully or shock me. I was determined I would have control and he was not going to get his own way, any way.
I completed the massage without vomiting and took my hard earned money, no pun intended. He even had the nerve to ask me I wanted to meet up for a cup of coffee. Tosser!!! When I told the hotel what happened, they asked why didn’t I come and get someone from the hotel, “I don’t see the point of running to a man to sort out my difficulties”. I hope I did some woman in his future, a favour.
Just recently I returned to massage to earn some dosh. A relatively up-market hotel called to make a booking for two guests at their hotel where I use their well appointed massage room. There were two guests, a man and his wife so I was to treat one after the other starting at 6pm, early evening in winter.
The first client was the woman, a young Egyptian in her mid twenties I guessed. She entered wearing hijab (head scarf worn by many Egyptian Muslim women) and western clothes. We didn’t make much conversation but I can tell she didn’t do much physically because although she was slim, she had little muscle tone.
About 10 minutes before the end of the massage, she was lying on her back with a towel over her breasts and abdomen, when there is a voice outside and the door slides open. I hadn’t locked it but I wasn’t perturbed as she recognized the voice and didn’t stir. I realised it was her partner coming to prepare himself for his massage on the other table.
An Arabic speaking man, certainly not Bedouin but I couldn’t say from exactly where, of about late 40’s came in and over to the table and started speaking to the woman. Odd but not too many alarm bells went off in my head. They were obviously familiar with each other when he touched her on her arm. I was massaging her legs as he made some small talk with me and I started to get annoyed. “Why doesn’t he just go and make himself comfortable on the other table? I will soon be finished here”.
He does not leave the woman. In fact he continued to talk more and kiss her and she is quite comfortable with this. I was not! In fact I could believe this was happening. What is it with these people!!! Supposedly publically the most frigid uptight region of the world yet totally socially unaware of other people’s attitudes, mine in this case! I was not the least curious to see these two having sex! When he starts to fondle and kiss her breasts I have had enough. “Low somaht! – excuse me! Helas – stop this please.” The look he gave me was meant to kill but the one I returned just said “Fuck off!” He did, el hamdo allah – thanks to God.
The woman did not react in any way and as I was essentially finished the massage, she got up and put her clothes on, including hijab. I kid you not. I waited for him to return as the next booked guest thinking I do not want to be alone with that creep. The angels didn’t want either, so when he did not return I went out to find out what was happening. They were both sitting with other men outside and I asked “Is there someone else requiring a massage?” One of the others replied “He doesn’t want it now” Thank the angels for that! “So you owe me xxxLe.” No tip, surprise, surprise! Wife or prostitute I do not know nor care, but the duplicity of some people here is extraordinary but generally people are nice and appreciative so the good outweighs the shite. Like the rest of life.
What time is it?…. gotta run, massage booked!