Bottoms up in Budapest

As an afternoon of dunking and frolicking about in a Turkish Bath in Budapest drew to a close, I suggested to my ‘other half’ that we indulge in one of the onsite massages offered in this ambient, moist establishment. The masseurs, all male and resembling extras from the “Die Hard” movies, were a professional looking bunch in their white uniforms. While himself was whisked away by one knuckle-cracking individual - a great, dark, sweaty, hulk of a man placed a hand on my shoulder, indicating my luck was in. This giant, who looked like a cross between Tom Selleck and the Alps, led me to a room cum cubicle. Only a massage bed furnished the space – no scented candles, dimmed lights or soft music to encourage my endorphins to come hither. In fact so cold and clinical was this space that I feared I had accidently signed up for root canal work. Soon the bareness of the room belied the fact that there were no towels or sheets to cover my modesty. I was wearing a swimsuit, I reminded myself, so all was well. As I hopped up onto the massage bed my solemn companion muttered the only two English words he appeared to know - “swimsuit” and “off”. I replied by staring at him as if he were mistaken. He repeated his orders. I tried to help him with his English by explaining that a swimsuit was what I was wearing but he nodded that he was well aware of the fact and again, in a very final manner, stated his two words “swimsuit” and “off”, pointing to the corner onto which I could drop my apparel. I had a few seconds to weigh up my options. In the interest of international and European relations, I did not want to appear silly and prudish if naked massages were the norm in these parts. I prided myself on being open-minded and non-judgmental, holding myself up (to myself) as a bit of an enlightened soul. On the other hand, this was no audition for “Fifty Shades - The Movie”. My moral dilemma was cut short when I heard profanities coming from a neighbouring cubicle. I recognized the voice of my beloved. Comforted by his proximity, I asked him if he was butt naked. Answering in the affirmative, through gritted teeth, he also indicated that his legs were being wrapped around his neck. There and then, I decided that what was good for the goose was good for the gander and I whipped off my swimsuit, exposing my bits and bobs to the Hungarian air. As the masseur got to work, the silence was broken only by my partner’s swearing and my audible giggles - "wait 'til the girls at home hear about this".

R Servitova

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