Max Tyson P.I. and the mystery of the Oriental Massage

“Is it a whorehouse?”

This is the question I have been asked nearly every day for the past few months, without fail. The reason being, a new business has taken up residence in the mini-mall across the street from my work, in what used to be an asian nail salon. The new tenants have covered all the windows and doors in plain white curtains, and nailed up an equally unadorned sign, (white with black lettering, typeface courier new, or some similarly generic font, all capitals) that reads simply “Oriental Massage”. Is it a whorehouse?

That’s not my first question. My first question is, are these actually new tenants? Or did the asian nail salon people simply decide to try their undersized rice-fed hands at something else, and trade their footbaths and emory boards for people-shaped tables and ky jelly? Related question, if yes, is there anything those people can’t do? So industrious.

Either way, to every single person on the face of the earth “Oriental Massage” is evidently synonymous with “You want sucky sucky?”. Are enough Oriental Massage parlors rub-and-tugs that they really deserve this rumor? Can it be validated? I have heard testimony from some people who know some people who work with people who have gotten their knobs polished at a similar establishment in whichever Springfield the Simpsons live in, but I have yet to meet someone who can personally say yes, this happens here. I go in and I pay a middle-aged asian lady with an annoying accent and a funky odor to rub on my johnson.

Is it a whorehouse indeed.

My answer…probably not. My reason being, i’ve never actually seen any customers go in. I feel like, if it were a happy ending type place, it would be busy, because hey, who doesn’t like a happy ending to the grand story that is massage? In the several months that they have been open, and I have been across the street wasting my life at work, staring at their heavily curtained windows, wishing one would fall down so I could see inside, or at least that the Zombies would finally get their act together and start their glorious rebellion so I don’t have to work anymore, the only person I have ever seen enter or exit the building is a small asian man, who I assume is the owner. He alone is entertaining enough, he usually steps outside to talk on his cell phone, or to just stand creepily for hours, but occasionally he brightens my day by doing something really  creepy, like practicing his tae kwon do in the parking lot, or jumping rope. Anything to pass the time as he moves toward financial ruin I suppose.

Honestly, they are being crippled by poor business decisions. Their first mistake was naming the place “Oriental Massage”. You need to rebrand that shitake. When your business’s name immediately makes people ask other people “Is that a whorehouse?” unless you are actually a whorehouse, that’s not good. The heavy curtains and ugly ass plain sign don’t help either. These, plus creepy owner/parking lot gargoyle dude don’t make for an inviting atmosphere, now do they? He can’t very well flag down passing cars and offer free samples either, like the asian folk annoy me with at the panda express at the mall. If I wanted your fried brown turd or whatever you’re selling, I would come up and buy it. Now leave me alone, i’m hungry for something that doesn’t look like you stole it from your neighbors dumpster. A pushy people, the asians. (broad generalizations are fun)

So, back to “Oriental Massage”. Since it doesn’t have any actual customer’s, it probably is not a happy ending type place. It’s kind of sad too, because they can easily get customers if they just renamed themselves. They can keep all the same workers, the interior can be exactly the same, even the exterior doesn’t need to change. Just the sign. If it said something like “Peaceful Rivers Day Spa” or basically anything in french, you know damn well people would be like, “Oh how lovely, I should treat myself and my loved ones to a spa day, spas are so fancy, and I do so need a massage, I wonder if they do deep tissue, or hot stone?” And then they would go in.

“Oriental Massage”, no matter if it is not what people assume it is, cheapens the neighborhood. A day spa on the other hand, how very posh. I can speak only for myself, and the billions of people like me, but I don’t know much about the quality of massages. Slap a fancy name on the place, maybe do some advertising in local media, throw up some stupid indoor water feature, and bam, no matter what they charged, i’d feel like I was getting my money’s worth. A massage is a wonderful thing, it makes a fellow feel luxurious and rich for twenty to thirty minutes. I’ve given gift certificates to loads of loved ones for massages at fancy sounding places, and they’ve always been highly appreciated. Is the massage quality really any different whether it is being given by Sven and Olga, or Kim and Li? Probably not. Once i’m on that table with someone kneading away up to their wrists in my back hair i’m a purring like a walrus.

Oh Oriental Massage. Your mystery runs as deep as the Mekong river. Perhaps I may never know your secrets. Lord knows i’m not going to be the first customer. Someone else should go in though. If they come across the street to my restaurant and tell me what it was like afterwards, i’ll buy them a slice of pizza.

About Max T Kramer

Max has been better than you at writing since the third grade. He currently lives in Connecticut, but will someday return to the desert.
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