This post was submitted by contributor Joanne Pettit-Meyers.
As the name suggests, Thai Massage originated in Thailand. While there is no historical evidence (yet) as to how and why this ancient body work morphed into a sensual massage in that region, there is no denying its reputation.
Even in the news, you only hear about people going for Thai Massage for naughty reasons. Poor Calvin Harris was demonized in 2015 for spending two hours in a Thai Massage Parlour. I sometimes massage people for 2 or 3 hours. Does it have to be sexual to be that long of a massage?
When I took my first training in 2012, I remember the teasing that followed. “Oh, you offer Thai Massage now... how was the ‘Happy Ending’ Training..?” While I had heard of the “happy ending” before – yes I watched Russell Peters speak of his Thai Massage in Bangkok “that came with something extra” – I was still not prepared. See, my first introduction to Thai Massage was with a warm, caring and elegant man named Dr. Blake Martin from York University, and he instructed with such a high level of professionalism and grace that these jokes felt demeaning to my experience and intentions . Yes, he talked about the sexualization of Thai Massage, but warned against it. He went so far as to say that you shouldn’t sexualize massages even with your husband or wife. He cautioned that it would sexualize every massage you gave going forward and change the energy of the room and your mat... His advice was to just stay away from it. Oh, and it’s illegal.
The first time I was propositioned for the illusive “happy ending” was over the phone. I was booking a massage client for one of my staff-let’s call her Patrice, because it is not her name. The call was from a business man visiting the city. We talked about a price and made a reservation and then the conversation turned:
“So tell me Joanne... Is there any way of getting you to do this massage instead of Patrice? You just sound so nice,” he flirted.
“Sorry Sir, I am out of town, but Patrice is a great practitioner,” I said, at first thinking he sounded innocently playful... Oh I am so naive.
“That’s too bad... But do your girls offer anything for the travelling man who needs a little extra relaxation?” His voice lost what I had misinterpreted as innocent and he now seemed confidently creepy. I knew exactly where he was going with this and I needed to shut it down. I would also like to add that I was dealing with an increasingly sick feeling in my stomach... even over the phone, I felt violated.
“Sir, all Thai Massage is great for relaxation and here they are all completely professional.” My tone changed to meet his, but mine became stern.
“Yes, I’ve had Thai Massage before... I mean, do you have anyone who would offer a lonely man a happy ending?” His voice didn’t waver, he was not embarrassed. He was asking me if one of my staff would be willing to offer him some sort of sexual release and he thought that this was perfectly acceptable..?
“Sir, I have already stated that we are a professional establishment, so no, I don’t think that this is the right place for –“ I got cut off.
“Oh, come on... You must have someone.”
“And we’re done here.” I hung up the phone.
The sad part is that although I know I handled it properly-in fact, I handled it with a tact and strength that any woman would feel proud of-I still felt violated. I still felt cheap and dirty. One might say that it doesn’t hurt to ask... Um, yes. Yes, it does. Assuming that anyone is somehow for sale or willing to offer sexual favours for money is degrading, offensive and abusive.
My advice for those of you looking for the “Happy Ending” is to only go where it is advertised. What? It’s not advertised? Oh, that’s shocking, I wonder why... Oh, right—it’s illegal. By asking, you run the risk of offending your practitioner, perpetuating gross stereotypes, and potentially being reported to the authorities for solicitation. Doesn’t sound like a happy ending to me!