Ubud Confidential (Bali, Indonesia)


Lewd prude gets massaged by a dude. We all get hung up on our hang-ups. Swellness, wellness, and a little ‘what the hellness’.

by The Nostomaniac



WANT A MASSAGE? Get one anywhere, anytime, anyhow in Ubud. Swing a dead civet, hit a masseuse. Exaggeration? Sure...but not by much. There are, as far as I can tell, two critical steps to certification: 1) Decide to be masseuse; 2) Be masseuse. On account of rain, I was loitering in the gift shop of my second hotel, Kebun Indah. The female clerk asked if it was a good time for a foot massage. I thought, Is it ever a bad time for a foot massage? I surmised she’d be doing the honors, but alas, it was Wayan’s turn, her male coworker. Here’s the thing: I have difficulty relaxing during strange massages, i.e. massages from strangers. There have been exceptions, but the relaxation is multiplied tenfold when the contact is voluntary and devoid of monetary reward…and performed by the fairer sex. Not sure what that says about me. Prude? And I’ve received many a professional massage to test this phenomenon. 

Leaving aside the fact the masseuse was a man or that it was executed in a chair right in the gift shop for all to see, it wasn’t terrible. It even bordered on enjoyable. But here’s the thing: A foot massage is a bit of a tease, is it not? I considered jesting about this but was afraid it might be lost in translation. I buttoned my lip…but I needed more.

So, I found more.

As I implied, health and wellness is a cottage industry in Ubud. The quality varies wildly. If you so desire, you can pamper the hell out of yourself…or not. When a gentleman outside a small shop said I could get a massage for roughly six dollars I thought, I’d be an asshole not to, no? Plus, it didn’t appear business was robust. Why not share the love? 

I assumed he was merely a tout, but I’d apparently stumbled on a one-man operation. For the second time that day, I’d be vigorously caressed by another hombre. I was beginning to think there was a taboo against intergender massages. I theorized wrong. Just got lucky.

So, there I am lying on a table wearing only super sexy tissue-paper bikini underwear while getting oiled up by Indonesian male massage guy. Didn’t catch his name. Talk about relaxing. All I could think was, This needs to end…NOW!…oooor…NOW!…How about…NOW!? 

But it kept going, mostly because I rarely have the courage to hit “eject” in situations where misunderstandings might lead to hurt feelings. Basically, I didn’t want to insult the guy and felt the language barrier would prevent me from explaining myself. I’d be lying if I said he did not come dangerously close to the kids, and I have to believe the occasional elbow brush against my konker was inadvertent. Fingers crossed.

I wonder, do I sound homophobic? Naaaah. First off, I hate the use of “-phobia” as it implies “extreme or rational fear.” Semantics? Sure, but that term has always been a pet peeve of mine, like those with the “affliction” freak the fuck out and run screaming to safety. 

Gay As You Wanna Be! That’s my motto. 

But men repulse me. I’m a man. I repulse me. I don’t want another me touching me. Just the way it is. I find a woman’s touch so much more soothing. Can’t change neurobiology. Can’t fight the moonlight. Why try?