Tuesday, 27 September 2011 13:54

Confessions of a Masseuse

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Duong, 24
Years on the job: 6
We do hot stone massages at our spa, but when I first started working here they didn’t teach me how to do it properly to the customers. I just watched how the other girls did it and copied them. One night a male client came in asking for it. I was really nervous because it would be my first time using the stones. I told him to lie on this stomach, as I went to pick up the stones to place on his back I dropped a couple onto his head. He yelled in pain and got up. I saw there were red bumps on his head. I apologised and he left right away. I never saw him again. I hope he’s OK. Thoa, 20

Thao, 20
Years on the job: 1 month
I’ve just arrived here from the north. My English isn’t very good so I like hearing English customers speak because it helps me to improve and I feel good when I can understand their conversations. Sometimes I still don’t understand though, and my boss gets angry when I give the customer the wrong massage.

Trang, 24
Years on the job: 3
This is a great job because I love making people feel relaxed and happy. The funniest thing about this job is when you get a customer who has never had a massage before. They find it ticklish and can’t stop laughing, which puts the masseuse off. If you’ve been working here for a while you get used to it and it doesn’t bother you.

Trung, 27
Years on the job: 12
Some clients have secrets that they only feel safe expressing to me like a desire to quit their jobs, leave their spouses or their problems with parenthood. Like hairdressers, massage therapists are the people who hear about the intimate secrets that are completely forbidden topics in ‘polite’ discussions with friends, co-workers or family members in Vietnamese culture.

Hien, 25
Years on the job: 2
Usually when I arrive at work our office manager gives me my appointments for the evening. Every night, the manager reviews the house rule — no sexual misconduct and if you’re busted, you're on your own. Pretty simple.

Truc, 30
Years on the job: 7
Sometimes we do facials using masks made from fresh fruit like bananas and cucumber. Once, I left a mask on the customer for 10 minutes and when I came back, she was eating it! I was trying not to laugh but I couldn’t help it.

Thu, 20
Years on the job: 9 months
A sweet little old man would come in every few weeks and have his massage. He was a gentle soul and so sweet. He was a widower and lived alone. You could tell he was lonely and really enjoyed his visits.

Nhu, 28
Years on the job: 7
We have so many funny things happening in our salon. Once, a woman came in for a leg wax and then refused to pay. We threatened to call the police before she gave us the money. Another time, I was trimming a girl’s hair and she started crying. When I asked her what was wrong, she said she loved her hair so much and hated to see it lying on the floor.

Anonymous, Female
Sometimes you get really big people who come in for a massage. I always prefer massaging small people because it’s not so much hard work. That’s not a very nice thing to say, though!

Thanh, 19
Years on the job: 1
At the conclusion of her session, one client confided that during the massage she had heard someone snoring in the next cubicle and wished that they’d shut up so she could relax in peace and quiet.


Check out Tuoi Tre's undercover feature on Saigon's massage parlors here

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