If I’ve learned one thing while traveling; it’s that even though as humans we’re all very different…we’re all very much the same. We all like to eat, we all want to be happy, and we all want to feel good. Thusly, there are familiar things from home you can find abroad. One fun thing I’ve tried to do is challenge myself to step outside the comfort zone and do something completely ordinary, in unique and unordinary places. I’d had a haircut and massage before, but never at the same place, same time, with possibly a man AND a woman.
Once I settled with the man on the street that I wasn’t looking for a three-way, I was ushered in and sat down for a head rub. Only twenty-four hours prior, I had been jogging down from Mt. Meru’s airy 15,000 ft peak to catch transport back into Arusha, Tanzania. I was sore. I felt deserving of some me-time, so the recommendation for a cheap treatment brought me right over. Elizabeth would be taking care of me.
“Tell your friends if you like my service.”
We were now in the smallest room I’ve ever seen. On one side of a sliding plastic door, was a shower, toilet, shelves, and crock pot. On the other side was a padded table that filled wall-to-wall, with just enough wiggle room to get from side to side. Pronounced Eee-liz-a-beet, my new and very close friend began to unbutton my vest for me. “No worries, I’m here for you.” I thought of many things then, and pondered when was the last time someone had helped me out of my clothes. Too long, I realized, as she slipped my pants off. To no-one in particular I simply said, “Gotta trust the process right?”
For all of the potential build-up, it was an extremely regular massage in every way. Even afterwards when she told me she was going to help me shower, she simply pointed out the towels and how to lock the door behind her as she left. All I wanted, was to collect a crazy story of awkwardly shooting down a rogue masseuse pressuring me with the mythical ‘Happy-Ending’. Never have I sought it, but the poorly phrased English and my 13 year old mindset were convincing me that African massage was going to give me a story for the ages.
With a bit of massage oil in my hair and a spring in my step I moved to the front room to start my African haircut. I laughed as I showed the barber what I wanted for style. Not because of anything that had happened, nor the potential for a crazy cut. Because in the end, it turned out I was going to get both the woman, AND the man.”