By Mario Varricchio

This is a true story. It happened to a friend of a friend of a next door neighbour’s cousin who we shall call John (not his real name).

Now, I like a little bit of bodywork as well as the next person and having travelled extensively, I can appreciate the variety and value, as well as health to both mind and body of some deep tissue muscle manipulation. I particularly like being able to access such services the instant I require it, booking an appointment a week in advance is not my thing, instant access to services is!

So I sympathised with John the first time I heard his story and within it found some lessons to share with any of you confused by what’s legit and what’s not in the world of “walk in” massage.

You see, John is relatively new to Footscray, moved here a few years ago from the bush with his wife and two kids. They settled quickly and soon were diving in to all that the inner west had to offer, a family friendly and honest footy club
to follow, Vietnamese Pho, Altona Gate, Ethiopian music, smashed avo on toast and walk in no booking remedial massage shops.

John was a little unsure the first time he ventured into one such place, he had heard people joke about ‘rub and tugs’ and ‘happy endings’ but had never been the sort of guy to seek out and engage in such activities. This place was just up the road and had flashing LED ‘Massage’ and ‘Open’ signs. He was put at ease quickly upon entering, first by the chill vibe and then by the small but clear ‘No Sexual Services’ sign. The resulting massage was perfect and professional, the experienced masseuse helped his aching back and he returned several times over the next few years.

Recently, John, in dire need of attention, headed to his local to find a sign on the locked door.

“Fully booked, come back later.”

The horror! What was John going to do now? It suddenly dawned on him that a new place had opened just up the road. It had a big ‘Remedial Massage’ and the appropriate hot stones on human flesh decal on the window as well as the standard flashing ‘massage’ and ‘open’ signs. Clutching his back, John decided to give it a try, what could go wrong?

First mistake

So John headed up the road. He tried to push open the door but it was locked. He pressed the door bell and within seconds an older woman opened the door smiling and she quickly ushered him into a small room and quickly shut the door. As his eyes adjusted he noticed a large ‘No Sexual Services’ sign and felt slightly relieved until he felt someone touch his arm. He was in the room with another smiling woman who said, “Helllllooooo, you want (motioning with hand to mouth) or (motioning with hand much lower)?”

“Oh. No, no, I just actually want a massage” he said.

“What” she replied with a confused look, “You want remedial massage?”

“Yeah, um, look I’ll just go” he said preparing to leave.

“You want I get my boss?” she said, blocking his path to the door before yelling out something to the woman in the first room. Who replied curtly in another language foreign to John.

“Ok, I give you massage, come on!” she said assertively.

What could it hurt, thought John. After all surely she knows how to massage, everyone kind of does, don’t they?

Second mistake

The next 30 minutes couldn’t go quick enough, she was hopeless. All John could think of were how many dicks her hands had touched that day and how much this was actually going to cost!!

So after the worst massage of his life, John was asked for and paid $50 and went straight back up to his regular place. Still with a sore back this time it was open and to his relief John got an hour of awesome REMEDIAL massage.

Third mistake

Feeling great after his second massage that day, John headed home and, against his better judgement, told his lovely wife about the experience. Now, especially after a few drinks, she tells everyone she meets about the story and John has never lived it down.

The lesson

When you’re onto a good thing, stick to it.

The bigger the ‘No sexual services’ sign the more sexual services offered.

If this ever happens to you DON’T TELL ANYONE!!
 I laugh now every time I remember John’s final words to me, “You know Mario, I should have just gotten a damn blow job!

Mario Varricchio is co-proprietor of arts-focussed café ‘happymaree’ in Yarraville. He cooks, he writes, he draws and is the taker of photos. He also talks.



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