“It is better to be beautiful than to be good, but it is better to be good than to be ugly.”

July 13, 2007 at 9:44 pm (Abandonment issues, Beauty, Humiliation, Pants)

I have just been for a massage, where she broke down, not only my cellulite but my dignity too. It’s quite possibly more terrifying than my first Thai massage which I documented on my Sshhh (just before scary stalker man terrified me enough to wipe it) to refresh, I have transferred it over from my last blog, warts and all.

My first Thai massage was fabulous, I am very clicky clicky but on the plus side my hips feel more evenly balanced than they have in years. My Swedish massage on the other hand was a little more disturbing. I have had massages before in the UK; I am not a complete novice. So when I went in, I had a sauna, a shower and hopped up onto the bed in my pants and lay on my front. I was stroked and squeezed and even a little bit pummeled. At one point I was even pinched but my snort of disgust soon put a stop to that. I turned over, on request and my legs and shoulders and arms were done. Then slightly more unexpectedly, my breasts. Obviously I lay back and thought of England but I was in a state of mortification. This was in a genuine beauty spa; the masseuse had certificates on the wall and everything. I hadn’t accidentally walked into one of *those* massage parlors. It wasn’t erotic (anything that may have hinted otherwise was actually a result of the air con) in the least, just a little disconcerting and certainly quite unexpected. Later that evening I sidled up to one of the other girls I had gone on holiday with and asked her if she’d had the same and you can imagine my relief when she said yes. It’s just a shame the other girl with us hadn’t had her breasts massaged too as she had been in for a stroking session and now wanted to know exactly what was wrong with her breasts and why they didn’t qualify. In all honesty, none of us are small girls and I suspect by the time she got onto the massage table that the poor masseuse was exhausted and simply not longer had the strength or energy left for another pair of English breasts.

So all things considered, I was feeling remarkably blasé about my Slimming Massage + wrapping (cold gel with cupping massage) and hydrating ampoule and strawberry soft mask. The cupping should have given it away. I arrived in eager anticipation, was shown to a room and asked to take everything off. I double checked *everything* meant *everything* and when we confirmed *everything* I stripped off and put a towel round me.

I was quite pleased with the body scrub, which really was a scrub. It’s a bizarre feeling to have two Thais women rub you down with something that feels like sandpaper and even more disconcerting to have them place you in a shower. That was the dignified part. The cupping and the wrap are a little harder to describe. 

After I was showered, I was put into a heat blanket. This is a cross between a sleeping bag and an electric blanket, and it’s heavy, really heavy. I was wrapped up in this, my masseuse popped my iPod into my ears (the headphones obviously, not the whole thing, that would have hurt) and went to attend to the friend who was having the same treatment 15 minutes ahead of me. An hour later, I was still wrapped in the heat blanket. I’d finished this weeks Broadcasting House pod cast. I was also starting to feel a little trapped, when I said the heat blanket was heavy, it was really heavy so heavy in fact that I couldn’t move my arms and it was hot. Hence it being called a heat blanket I suppose.

Around this time, I started to hallucinate, imagining I was lost in a tropical dessert and was sweltering, with no water. Once I got to an hour and a quarter I was sure I had been forgotten about and started mewling. By the time the beautician came back to me I was as weak as a kitten, lying in a puddle of my own sweat and to weak to ask why she had abandoned me (whoops, the abandonment issues are resurfacing).

I was also too weak to stop them, when they took me into another room, lay me down naked and smothered me in something that felt like tiger balm. A first the heat was searing, I asked if it was supposed to feel this way and I was told “yes ma’am” I asked if it was supposed to burn, to be told “yes ma’am” Knowing the SEAsian attitude of agreeing to everything, I asked if my skin was peeling off. Guess what? “Yes ma’am”
Having been smothered in a burning liquid, it suddenly went very cold, like menthol. Apparently this cooling effect burns fatty tissue, while you’re being massaged to break down cellulite.  All the time I was squealing I was being pummeled and smacked. Apparently this is a cupping massage but frankly I think the girls were sick of me making a fuss and were smacking me out of spite.

And did I mention I was still naked?

At this point the head masseuse got out something that looked like a short pneumatic drill, with what looked like a pillow on the end. I had been half expecting this. It had been explained to me at the consultation before, that a pounding vibrator would be used on me (can’t wait to see the stats results *that* little gem pulls up) the pillow was covered in cling film the run up slowly over the back of me legs, my thighs, my bottom, then my back. Then I was flipped over and it stated all over again on the front. By this time the cooling effect was slightly more obvious. I was after all still naked. My finger nails turned blue and I started to shiver and my teeth started to chatter. Having had another good pounding with the vibrator and another smacking from the front, I was stood up, spread eagled (still naked) and wrapped in mud (naked except for the mud). In case any of my dignity was left, I was then wrapped in cling film (naked except for mud and cling film) and put back into the heat blanket.

Having been gently baked for several Woman’s Hour podcasts, (only ten minutes each, not the expected hour you might think Woman’s Hour would be) I was taken and showered off. Knowing this was pretty much the end, I washed and dried and put my knickers back on and waited for the beautician to measure me.

Which she did, to make sure she didn’t accidentally make my hips seem larger than they were, she grabbed both sides of my knickers and pulled them down. Gosh. That 5mm of material might have made a huge difference to the overall stats. At this point I had been beaten, baked, burnt and frozen for five hours, still I lost 5cm around my waist for the mere cost of $80 (around £25) so I would obviously do it again.


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“I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation”

February 10, 2007 at 11:15 am (Humiliation, Pants)

So, like Amber says as a blogger, it’s sometimes a case of “no humiliation wasted.”

The comment about maintenance seeing my pants was after a rather unfortunate incident the other day. I had a visitor. He’d called round that evening and I had forgotten to lock the door after him.  When maintenance called round to do some minor repairs (on the flat, not on me ) the following morning and they didn’t get a response from knocking, they tried the front door, which was open. As was my bedroom door, which is opposite the front door.
Then there was a sudden look of comprehension dawned across the face of all three maintenance men while they twigged to why I hadn’t opened the door. Never mind the mind bleach, they went straight for the sharp sticks to poke their own eyes out. I can no longer look any of them in the eye. Or anywhere else.

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“I like these cold, gray winter days. Days like these let you savor a bad mood.”

February 9, 2007 at 4:49 pm (Cardigans, libraries, Pants)

Monsoon season has passed and there is now a distinct nip in the air (Is that politically correct to mention in South East Asia?) We are now down to the mid seventies. I have been reduced to wearing a cardigan and whining about the air conditioning. Luckily I have several cardigans (the uniform of librarians everywhere. It’s how we recognise each other) and  the maintenance men in school have been very understanding.

The temperature of the library is controlled centrally. I understand anyone reading this from the six inches of snow currently smothering the UK will have limited sympathy but even though the temperature outside here is in the high twenties, baby it’s cold inside. The air con is so high my nose is running.

After weeks of prolonged moaning, I got an e-mail from maintenance yesterday where they told me they “will be installing a temperature Control knob inside the Library within this week, so you can fiddle & adjust the temperature setting at your finger tip. Hope this will help a lot.”

I shouldn’t take the piss, after four months here I can still only say thank you in Bahasa Melayu (the local language) but I am loving the idea of having my own knob in the library that I can fiddle with. This appears to be killing two birds with one stone.

 I did hate to make a fuss about the air con but I’ll be buggered if I moved all the way to
Asia to still wear vests. Although I did stock up when I was back and have a rather nice selection being posted out to me. This will come as a welcome relief as the ones I had here were ironed by my amah. Who she thinks sees my vests is beyond me, well other than maintenance but that’s a whole other post completely.

Unfortunately along with ironing boards here which only have one setting which is knee height as standard (not as weird as it sounds, so are the Filipino amah’s) the irons only have one setting which is hot, hot, hot (in contrast to the washing machine which has one setting which is cold, cold, cold) Due to the fabric of my underwear and the heat of the iron they have now shrunk and they appear to be the right size for a Barbie doll.

Now if only I could arrange for my body to do the same I would no longer have to suffer the humiliation of going into a shop and asking the shop assistant if they have *anything* in my size? Giggle, giggle, stop dead, sad shake of head, no ma’am being the standard response.
Damn you tiny Asian women.

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