Thursday, May 7, 2009

It's Only a Paper Moon

The blog's been dormant and I've been lying low online lately while I rehab from a week's vacation at the Club Med in Punta Cana of the Dominican Republic. This story will give a clue as to why I need some down time from my down time.

Your Faithful Correspondent,


Our fellow vacationer raved about the oceanfront massages.

"The sound of the waves. The salty breeze blowing over you. Oh, my God. I didn't ever want to get up," she said.

We didn't need a hard sell since my wife and I usual figure spa services into our trip itinerary. Besides, this was an all-inclusive resort. I couldn't imagine any massage experience so awful that it couldn't be overcome with the help of a few of the prepaid rum concoctions served at the poolside bar.

Before signing up, though, I should have remembered the one other time we received a glowing recommendation for a vacation spa service. That occurred in the northern California wine country and it left me with these two pieces of wisdom:

  • "Mud bath" is code for "steeping in a steaming pile of peat moss."
  • Complete removal of said peat moss from every nook and cranny of your being will require the following: power washer, stiff-bristle brush, rubber gloves, Easy Slide dental floss and half a case of cellar-chilled pinot noir.
When I arrived at the resort spa, the hostess told me to shower, put on underwear and a robe then proceed to the waiting area. This brought about Issue No. 1 -- I was going commando.

Now, before you mentally have me twirling on a brass pole, know that I was sans boxer briefs because I arrived fresh from the beach in swim trunks. This wearing underwear for a massage, I deduced, must be some sort of local health-code requirement even if didn't make much sense given the resort's one open-air dining hall featured tropical birds, stuffed with pilfered croissants and fresh-cut mangos, that regularly performed bombing runs upon unsuspecting guests. (I have a stained T-shirt to prove it.)

But, as I said, this place was all-inclusive. When I opened my locker, I found a tiny plastic pouch about the size of the travel-size Kleenex package grandma's always have in their purses. I popped it open and ta-da -- my first disposable paper thong:

(OK, OK -- get me off the pole again. Let's get back to the story.)

I padded out to the waiting area and, mindful of the delicate-looking Asian woman across from me, crossed my legs with care. In a couple of minutes, in walked my masseuse who quickly directed me toward the beachfront massage tents.

Which brings me to Issue No. 2: I quickly learned my masseuse, Ramona, spoke virtually no English.

When she asked, in a tone closer to begging, if I spoke any Spanish, I dutifully did my best.

"Si," I answered. "Una mas cerveza, por favor, bonita seniorita."

My request that she bring me one more beer got a laugh followed by a lesson from her in how to say the same thing, in of all languages, Italian. Further proof that alcohol -- not love -- is truly the universal language.

We arrived in the tent and I deduced by her hand motions that she wanted me to take off my robe and lay under a towel on the table. She stepped through the opening in one of the fabric walls so I could do this in private, which was polite and all, except for Issue No. 3.

The tent completely lacked one wall.

The wall that happened to face the ocean.

And the beach.

And the two dozen adults and children on that beach -- all of whom were so inclined as to look up in unison at my tent just in time to see my southern exposure.

Did I mention that the paper banana hammock I was dressed in was literally thin enough to read baseball box scores through?

Another two singles for Ichirio Suzuki. The man's a hitting machine!

I dived under my towel, buried myself face down, closed my eyes and hyperventilated while awaiting Ramona's return. When she did, she proceeded to pull my towel down just far enough so I could enjoy the warm Atlantic winds blowing through the palms trees and across the hills of my now fully displayed butt checks.

Rather than painfully detailing the next 50 minutes, I'll sum it up thusly: Shortly afterward, I developed a deep, meaningful relationship with the resort's lemon daiquiris.


  1. Wow - paper thong,,,...didn't see that coming.

  2. Honestly, I was expecting diarehea (sp? who give a shit) or swine flu or something.

  3. sorry "diarrhea"...I guess I give a shit after all.

  4. Goddamn, that was funny. I especially enjoyed the special guest appearance by Ichiro.

  5. Okay so the person who recommended this spot to you likes a lot of exposure? What is HER name?
    You are funny, I do not think I could do a paper thong.

  6. I needed a good banana hammock story this morning...thanks! :)

  7. I'd like to hang a banana hammock betwixt my trees and take a long nap nestled snug inside it.


    I may be confused.

  8. I was eating my lunch when I read this. Paper thong?! I laughed so hard I lost my lunch. Literally. Now scraping leftover Bertucci's pizza off the floor.


  9. That's too freaking hilarious! Where can I obtain some of those paper thongs for my husband?

  10. First of all, glad to see you didn't die of the swine flu because I was getting a little worried since you hadn't posted in a while. Secondly, I'm both intrigued and slightly grossed out by the photo of the baseball stats through the banana hammock. I hope you threw them BOTH out when you were done taking the picture.

  11. Aside from your embarrassment that sounds delightful! The only massage I've ever had was on the beach in Jamaica...heaven!

  12. This story brought tears to my eyes..... completely at your expense. Too Funny!

  13. When in doubt, flaunt it, I always say. They probably wanted to know why the "full moon" in the middle of the day....

  14. The title of this post alone is sheer (heh...) brilliance, but then you wrote a funny post that allows me to smirk and think "mmm...MANties!"

    manties, manties, manties...

  15. But, but but, was the massage GOOD???? You need to travel more - put on your big boy panties - oh yeah...........well, forget that pantie part, go to more European places where they don't bother to look at naked butts.

  16. As a massage therapist, I can tell you, it's just another body on the table. You'd be surprised at how boring my job really is.

    Now if you were Clive Owen, well that might get my attention.

  17. Wow! Sounds like you needed a massage after the all that stress of preparation.

  18. Now what I was expecting was a good massage story complete with "happy ending"....LOL!

    ps- if your schlong sarong was so see-thru, I hope she only did your back while you were lying face down. Or not??


  19. I will happily bare my ass to a beach full of strangers in exchange for a massage.

    I'm not sure what that says about me.

  20. They really can't do better than translucent paper underpants? Why not at least chop leg holes in brown paper grocery bags? Not saying it's comfortable, but at least you've got the coverage locked down.

    Great story, and great post. Doesn't that, along with the alcohol, almost make it worth while?

  21. Oh, what a delightful way to start my bloggy day.

    Where's my mental floss??

    Shade and Sweetwater,

  22. Wait - was the mud bath place on my recommendation? - Indian Springs in Calistoga? That's the best!

    I had a nice oceanfront massage in BVI this spring, loved it.

    PS I am really sorry they made you wear paper panties. I probably would not have spoken of it again.

  23. Other than the horror of actually picturing the whole sorted affair...this is one hilarious post!

  24. OMG I went for a massage here in Italy ONCE. I just couldn't relax in the paper thong. What is that for anyway? Hygiene? Certainly not discretion. I'd so much rather go naked. The paper thong just kept reminding me of how very naked I was.

  25. Hi there, I am a first time visitor to your blog and found it refreshingly funny and down to earth. I will be back to read agian.

  26. Honestly, I'm laughing with you not at you ;)

    And did you say you had banana daiquiris?! Wow, I am juvenile!

  27. Those thongs freak me the f*ck out.I hate them. LOL

    I think humans are bees. They sense fear*, that's how they knew to look up as you were diving under the sheet. HAHAHAHA

    *I have no idea if bees can smell fear. I just learned that from the kid in Jerry Meguire.

    Well, he wasn't *in* Jerry Meguire... but you know what I mean.

  28. Recuperating from a vacation? LOL!My heart bleeds for you. You're a braver man than I am for sporting those undies.

  29. I could almost feel sorry for you except that while you were in Punta Cana, I was probably scraping ice off my windshield. I did have underwear on, however.

  30. Why is the song 'Moon River' stuck in my head now?

    Well, as my Grandad used to say, "It aint a Party until someone shows their Arse.

  31. LOL... I would make a great and witty comment, but I can't see through my tears and I'm about to pass out because I can't breathe from laughing...

  32. The fact that you could read the box scores -- and proved it! -- was the icing on this particular cupcake.

    Love it.


  33. That was total vacation! Loved it!
    I can't believe you actually put those paper undies on..they looked like some maternity panties I've seen! Are you sure it wasn't a joke on you?


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