So somehow I found myself heading into a dark back room at 6:30 pm on a random Monday night in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Why you may ask? It was to get a Thai Massage. 1<- – – Click this little footnote.
Lauren loved Thailand on her first trip here in 2012 and was anxious for me to experience all of her favorite things about the country. Which included a Thai massage.
Now, in general… I don’t like massages. I get about one or two a year when Lauren wants me to go for some couples massage special she found on Groupon, but usually I find them painful and not relaxing. So I know what some of you are already thinking… I probably shouldn’t have agreed to a Thai one then since, well, a Thai massage is very different. I knew going in that it wasn’t the relaxing kind where they work out tension in your back with good smelling oils or whatever. No, in a Thai massage they bend you around to I guess work stuff out. In our case… for an hour.
It started innocently enough by washing our feet2 and then our ladies took us to the back room. The opening move was kinda boring – about 18 seconds of her rubbing my feet like a traditional massage. No problem, right? I got this. 3
And… Then… She started pulling.
At this point I fought through the pain to think4 “man I wish I could live tweet this horror show” but I couldn’t. So I did my best to remember the play-by-play for all of you.
So that in case I survived, which I clearly did5 I could present to you the details of my experience. Every.Excruciating.Detail
6:31pm: Well. I thought we’d ease into the rough stuff, but I guess not. After rolling my left leg around in a few motions to loosen it up after the 18 second foot massage… my opponent shows her hand early in this fight by going right to a “sweep the leg” move:
My first bone, and spirit, are now broken.
6:34 pm: She presses on a few spots on my left leg. I think to see if blood is coming out anywhere or maybe to identify, medically, the places in that leg where I still have feeling.
6:38 pm: So the lady has now lifted up my left leg….but… is… moving it across my right leg to the floor way over there. Waaaay over there. Now she’s pushing my left shoulder flat… how does that work? I don’t think I bend that waaaaa….ouch. #Crack
6:42 pm: My masseuse “lady” – and I now use that term begrudgingly – is now apparently finished with my left leg. I think it’s still there, but it could be a phantom limb thing. She’s grabbed the other leg now.
6:44 pm: My lady now looks over to another lady in the corner and says several things in Thai.
I think it was to her boss. I do not speak Thai, but I am pretty sure my lady said “I don’t think he can take any more” and her boss just said “No mercy” and then just glared back at her, John Kreese style:
And it scared my lady. Scared her badly. Into what I can sadly only call No Mercy mode. If you have children reading along, put them to bed now, please.
6:47 pm: Well, this is strange. She’s got both hands on my right ankle in the air and her feet are pushing on the right calf to stretch all that out… but now I feel my left leg is pushing away too. But all her hands and feet are occupied with the right one???
Which can only mean two very terrifying things: either 1) she’s got my left leg in her teeth or 2) she’s tagged in a partner. Presumably to do a finishing move. Like the pro-wrestlers Dudley Broz “3D” move from my youth.
6:50 pm: Having fully removed both legs at the hip, as far as I can tell… she’s now on to my arms. She pulls my left arm across the right side of my body. Then behind me. Then behind her. Then further somehow. Like I am Mr. Fantastic.
I think that this would hurt a lot more if she hadn’t pulled it out of the joint with the last move so now it’s basically just loose tissue flapping around…
6:52 pm: She’s moved to my right arm. But after enduring all the moves for the left one, I’m ready for this. Go ahead! Grab that arm and bend it forward then left then pull. Bring it lady!
Wait, why are you going backwards and down…. No! Pleeeeeasse! This is new and I’m not ready…ahhhhh.
You see… the best torturers keep the victim guessing. I did not see this new wave of attack coming. Lady 73; Chris 0.
6:58 pm: Now that my right arm – and remaining willpower – is broken… she goes back to the move I originally expected and it hurts all over again. Aren’t I supposed to be in shock by now? Why does it still hurt???
7:01 pm: Oh, sh*t. I didn’t see this coming but clearly should’ve.
I’ve been turned over onto my stomach with my arms at my side under her. Basically zero chance of getting into the fetal position now.
7:02 pm: Crap. I just realized I spent the last sixty seconds trying to send a S.O.S. to Lauren – who is at the table next to me BUT IS NOT SAVING ME FROM THIS TORTURE – by tapping out morse code with my head against the wall.
But then I realized… Lauren doesn’t know morse either. Eff.
7:04 pm: With me on my stomach, incapacitated, and unable to defend myself… she’s now using what professionally trained Thai masseuses call the “blunt force trauma” application.
7:05 pm: While I still can, I consider trying to get the other “customers” in the room – oh, if you didn’t know it’s not a private room because you have these robe things on – to join in a mutiny. We can totally take these chicks! We can rise up and we can revolt and we… can… say… No More! **waits for applause**
And then I realize that I maybe at best have 30% capacity left in one limb and most of the others have been here longer than Lauren and I. So our rebellion is going nowhere. Crap.
7:07 pm: Here’s the thing. When I order crab legs at a restaurant, my crab-meat-removal-technique is legendary. I can get every single piece of meat out of those guys. Nothing goes to waste.
This lady is basically that talented, but with human bones. If she wanted the marrow from what’s left of my broken body… she would not leave a single drop behind.
7:09 pm: Um. Wait. Is she moving up… why is she…. She’s pushing my butt; she’s pushing my butt; she’s pushing my butt; she’s pushing my butt. I didn’t know there was anything to stretch back there, but if you really want to know more I’ll show you on the doll. Let’s move on. Right now.
7:11 pm: She’s now trying to do something to my arms and legs while I’m laying here, but she can’t seem to get the result she is after because something is getting in her way.
YEAH, LADY, THOSE ARE JOINTS THAT ARE GETTING IN YOUR WAY. Joints. You know… those things that tell a person which way a leg is supposed to bend. Because if you try OOOOWWWW. STOOOPPPP.
7:13 pm: Oh no. It’s here. The move that I’ve seen before. The move I was dreading. The only move I knew from Thai Massage going in. She is now sitting on my butt and has just grabbed my arms. And is pulling me up. And baaaaaaa owwwwww
That picture is total b******. No person has ever looked that happy in this move. THAT MOVE IS WHERE YOU TAP OUT. The girl subject in that picture is probably already dead. #WeekendAtBetthany’s
In fact, not to use another pro wrestling move… but that “Thai massage” move one tiny deviation away from the finishing move of one my my favorite childhood wrestlers Chris Benoit.
7:16 pm: Well this is weird, different, and all together a new level of dangerous. Now I’m sitting up and facing forward. But the lady is sitting behind me. I think probably because it’s easier to remove a human spine with your bare hands that way.
7:20 pm: Nope, no spine removal. But just as bad. This girl – all 4′ 5″ of her who maybe weighs 60 pounds soaking wet – seriously now has me in a straight up full nelson.
This isn’t going to end well. I’m being pushed forward.
Ground control to Major Tom… your circuit’s dead is there something wrong…
7:22 pm: Still in the full nelson but now she’s trying to turn my torso around to face her (without my legs moving). Well this should end well.
And. I obviously forgot the safety word. Forty minutes ago. But from process of elimination it is clearly not ouch, crap, ugh, umph, eeee, ungh, owwww, sh*t, ooogth, or mommy.
Or just tears. Apparently those don’t work either.
7:24 pm: I’m not even sure which side she’s coming from now. I think there are three of her.
I black out. For the eighth time.
7:29 pm: Ouch, that new pull hurts, but hey it’s ok. Maybe it’s for my own good. Should I thank her? This is just her way of showing affection. She’s so sweet. I wonder what her favorite kind of flowers she likes. I wonder if she…. wait… hold on a minute… oh crap is this what Stockholm Syndrome feels like?????
– – –
Wait, hold on. I check my watch.
It is now 7:35 pm. Huh? Where am I?
I have my street clothes back on and I’m sitting in the front with Lauren. Wearing flip flops. Drinking tea. How did I get here? When did it end? What exactly happened? Did my lady zap me with that little thing from Men in Black?
Or was it all a dream? 6
Then Lauren says to me on the way out… “I kept looking over at you and you seemed fine. And you didn’t make any noise.” Well duh. I told Lauren that part of my strategy going in was to show no emotions because dogs and bees and apparently masseuses can smell fear. Which clearly didn’t work. My lady obviously didn’t need fear to hurt me. She was a true professional.
But hey. You know what? After all that. I actually feel pretty good. I think the Thai massage actually worked.7 Weird.
Thanks for reading,
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These little boxes are where I try to explain something in more detail in case it’s new to the reader. Other times I’ll just try to make a funny comment. You’ll just have to click to know which… ↩
which I found weird and creepy, so this was going to be a looooong hour ↩
famous last words. ↩
for some reason that is a sad commentary on my generation ↩
well kind of… ↩
No. It was a nightmare. ↩
as evidence…. I’ve written this post with my toes. Behind my head. ↩