Well, the picture painted of massage parlours in popular media is that of a place where clients can experience a ‘happy ending’ apart from just a body massage as probably should be. Beautiful, skimpily dressed masseuses are depicted rubbing massage oil on a client lying in semi-nude on a table and only covered with a towel. Eager to unravel this mystery surrounding this type of business, we visited one of these massage parlours in the city, otherwise known as massage spas, on Muindi Mbingu Street, Nairobi. It all started with a phone call on Friday, which was picked by a lady who introduced herself as Anne. Posing as a customer, the writer inquired about the various massage services offered and of course the pricing. “We provide full body massage at 3K. We also have a Swedish massage, face scrub, deep tissue massage, reflexology, and back rubs,” Anne said in a soft voice.
Having inquired about the location of this given parlour and whether to book an appointment beforehand, the writer promised to call back again in the course of the weekend. For comparative purposes, also the writer decided to make a second call to a different massage parlour. In less than a minute, the call was also picked by a woman who introduced herself as Vera, who proceeded to explain the various services on offer. “We have different kinds of masseuses from within, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Somalia and even more. You can choose your preferred nationality, who will then accompany you to your own room,” said Vera. What about happy endings? This was the elephant in the room that needed indeed facing head-on. “Yes, of course, there are happy endings if you so wish, although it comes at an extra fee. But there is no s3x between the client and the masseuse,” she clarified. This implies that the furthest one’s s3xual fantasies can be indulged is with a hand-job until one ejaculates. Reports indicate, though, that some brothels use the label of massage parlours just to escape scrutiny, so it is not easy to tell which is which amongst others real spas.
Having analysed the two options at hand, the writer decided to visit the first parlour, located just opposite Jevanjee Gardens, to explore the happenings within these joints that are increasingly popping up all over the city. At 5pm on Saturday, the writer was ascending a flight of marble-covered stairs, that leads to an elegantly furnished room. The air quality inside the building is in stark contrast to the one outside the apartment, where one has to contend with exhaust fumes, dust and the stinking garbage pile-up that are synonymous with Nairobi. As you near the reception area, a sweet fragrance hits your nostrils, while soft jazz music rings subtly all through to you as far as at the stairs. The reception is immaculately designed, with chandeliers above providing the given room with a golden yellow hue. There is a leather sofa for prospective clients to first relax on as they await their turn, whereas a glass coffee table is littered with various attractive fashion magazines.
Seated just behind a mahogany table at the reception is a light-skinned s3xy receptionist – dressed in a tight-fitting black short/mini-dress – who immediately flashes a wide smile as soon as the writer enters the room. “Welcome, sir. Are you here for the full body massage?” she promptly inquires with a soft voice. From her voice, it is easy to tell that this is indeed Anne, who the writer had conversed with a day before. Upon request, she agrees to provide a tour of the facility explaining how the massaging process takes place. “Right this way, although there are rooms that are currently busy occupied,” she says as she ushers the writer through another entrance with the sign ‘Rooms’ above it. This particular entrance leads to a passageway comprising of various rooms on both sides. One masseuse comes out of one of the rooms revealing a customer inside who is lying prostrate on a massage table.
Clearly surprised, the petite lady, in indeed a tight-fitting white mini-dress, quickly retreats into that room, shutting the door behind her firmly. Soon, Anne ushers the writer into one of the empty rooms that is reminiscent of the romantic layout of a good well-prepared bedroom as portrayed in countless romantic movies. Measuring approximately the size of a cubicle, this room consists of, off-course a massage table dressed in a sparkling white sheet. Sprinkled all over the massage table are red rose flower petals. “The flowers are part of the VIP treatment we give to our esteemed customers. It helps you to relax and feel at home because some people often feel tense inside here,” Anne explains. At the corner of that given room is a bathroom separated from the rest of the room by a sliding door. “When you come, you can choose to have a warm or hot shower before the massage or afterwards,” adds Anne.
Hanging on the sliding door is a clean white towel and robe as well as a pair of shiny slippers at the entrance to the bathroom. “First, you take your clothes off here and hang them there. Then you put on that robe or you can tie the towel around your waist and just lie on the table,” Anne responds when asked about what every client is expected to do while there. The sweet fragrance that had ushered the writer into the building still saturates the air within this area. Although the room has a large window that allows in as much sunlight as possible, a red bulb hanging overhead gives the room a cool ambience designed to create a serene feeling to anyone there. The idea of lying on a table in a birthday suit and at the mercy of a beautiful s3xy lass is something that is admittedly nervy for this writer, who shares this anxiety with one Anne.
“In here, well, there is nothing to be afraid of. You will be provided with quality and good services and you will leave here feeling indeed relaxed,” she assures. With this assurance accompanied by a lovely attractive smile, the writer promises to call during the given week and set up a proper appointment. Stepping into the reception area again, there is a couple waiting for Anne with their eyes darting from corner to corner, surveying the features of that particular room. On the other hand, the writer steps out into the streets of the city to once again encounter the all-too-familiar poor air quality and shoulder-bump with other busy Nairobians. This uncomfortable experience only makes the heart yearn for the serenity and hormonal excitement stirred by being inside a massage parlour like the one just visited.