Have you ever considered having a full body massage, but worried that your massage would turn into an unwanted sexy fiasco? Here we give you advice on how to recognize the differences between parlours offering sexual services and those that give legitimate professional massages in China.
Although not generally known as a destination for prostitution or sex tourism in the way some other South East Asian countries are – places in which prostitution and pedophiles are a high profile social problem – China is still home to a large sex industry, and a great many prostitutes. The prevalence of prostitution is hardly surprising phenomenon, especially when taking into consideration the abundance of people in China, the disparity of incomes between rich and poor, and the well known adage of prostitution being the oldest profession in the world.
In the Middle Kingdom prostitutes commonly ply their trade in KTV halls, saunas and massage parlors. In terms of massage parlours, it is at times difficult at first sight to tell which places are offering genuine services and which ones are brothels in disguise. Here are a few things to keep in mind when searching out a good venue to have a legit massage in China:
Pink Light Zone
The best way to identify a bonafide massage parlor in China is just to use your eyes. When looking for a massage, using common sense, as it generally does in life, tends to pay off. If the place looks seedy, more than likely it is seedy. The first visual clue to check is lighting. Pink lighting to make an establishment’s wares (the ladies) appear more appealing is the most obvious sign of a brothel. In the rest of the world it is red light; in China it is pink.
Colors aside, there are other visual hints that give away clues as to an establishment’s true nature. If you look though the window – this is particularly applicable to smaller local parlors – and there is a row of dejected looking girls, heavily made-up, wearing revealing dresses and fishnet stockings, grazing on a sofa in front of a TV, then more than likely what you are looking at is a house of ill repute. Dressing “sexy” is not what would immediately spring to the mind of most people when asked to consider what a professional masseur’s job description might entail. Likewise, if you are perusing adverts in the classified section of a magazine looking for outcall massage and the masseur has felt it appropriate to describe herself as “172 cm tall, curvy and sexy” you may be in for more than you expected when the call out arrives at your home. As mentioned already, common sense should prevail.
Looks Can be Deceiving
Ruling out massage parlors that don't look seedy, however, is not necessarily an 100% foolproof way of avoiding that embarrassing “massage situation”, as many more up-market looking and priced establishments have “special services” or “teshu fuwu (特殊服务)” staff. Even in classier looking places where masseurs wear uniforms with numbered badges, one may still fall foul of an attempted happy ending. Having said this, it is less likely in the aforementioned parlors than in the seamier setups around town
Should you still be uncertain of the nature of the massage parlor you're visiting, the best way to safeguard oneself against an unwanted scenario is to choose a style of massage which will less likely lead to misunderstandings. Choosing TCM-style tui na (推拿), or Thai-style massages in which the recipient remains fully clothed, or wearing the pajamas often provided, is definitely a safer option. Oil massage, on the other hand, which requires disrobing could possibly lead to uninvited contact. In this respect, foot massages are always a good bet for those seeking less bang for their buck.
Two’s Company Three’s a Crowd
Should you have followed the above steps but there is still a niggling concern in the back of your mind that your massage parlor is not legit, there is another way of avoiding unexpected services: bring a friend, preferably a female one. Unwanted attention will most certainly be deflected if you are a man arriving at a massage parlor in the company of a female friend.
Word of Mouth
If you're not sure where to find a venue for a professional massage, it's always a good idea to ask for recommendations of reputable parlours. Chinese friends and other expats will more than likely have suggestions which will help you find what you're looking for in your area.
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Wow! This author sounds like a veteran massage customer. Perhaps the knowledge comes from experience? I want to ask the author, "if you know so much about how to avoid the prostitutes, then you must know where to find the prostitutes as well. My question is, is this an attempt to avoid prostitution or a confession of dabbling in it?
Oct 01, 2011 08:04 Report Abuse