Five years in and out of the rooms AA and over 40 failed attempts to get sober through the program, this was going to be the last time. I was tired of falling down and picking myself back up. I managed to kick the hard drugs early on in the program but could never quite pull the hooks out when it came to the booze. I decided to switch everything up this time. I abandoned all my old meetings on the South Side of Chicago and found all new meetings on the North Side. New faces. New surroundings. New messages. I took my time choosing a new sponsor. I kept my mouth shut and I observed. A few people stood out. One person stood out in particular. I had things in common with this person that no one else could possibly understand. If he could get sober, then so could I.
He was strict though. He had rules. And amongst many other rules, the one he was most adamant about was no sex and no relationships until one year of sobriety. I was told that the program was to come before everything and that I had no idea what a healthy relationship was at that point in my life anyway. He made it clear that if I couldn’t follow his direction, I would be dropped. He wasn’t the first sponsor I've had who tried to enforce that rule and I explained to him how difficult it'salways been for me to follow it. He understood all too well and that’s how we get to this story. The theory is, that if there’s no emotional connection, there could be no risk of relapse. In the worst case scenario, he explained to me that there were places and people who could take care of those needs.
It was a Friday night. I had just gotten off work. A grueling 13-hour day of hard labor. All my bills were paid and I still had money to burn. You’d be surprised how much money you can save when you’re not throwing it away on powders, pills, plants, and booze. I was three months sober at this point. I was single, lonely, and bored. I remembered what my sponsor told me about the massage parlors that lined Archer Avenue in Bridgeport. I’d lived in Bridgeport almost three years at this point so I drove passed these places on the daily. One of the parlors had recently been raided for prostitution so there had to be something to it. I drove around for a while contemplating whether or not to go in. I couldn’t help but feel conflicted. On the other hand, I really wanted to see what this was allabout.
I found parking right in front of the building. Four blocks West of Halsted on Archer on the south side of the street. There was nothing flashy about the exterior. Just another storefront smashed between storefronts with a piece of cardboard that read “$50 Massages”. I got out of the car. I made sure the doors were locked. I made sure all my valuables were in my possession. And I made sure that I wasn’t parked in tow zone. Check, check, and check. Basic protocol living where I live
I walked upto the door and pulled the handle. The door was locked. I wondered if there was a secret knock. I tried to peer through the window but couldn’t see anything. The windows were blacked out. I looked around for a doorbell. Nothing. Just as I was about to walk away, the door swung open and I was greetedby a middle-aged Chinese woman dressed in a pink teddy and stiletto heels. Her attire seemed to contradict everything you’d expect a legit masseuse to be wearing, unlessof course lingerie and stilettos became the new standard of apparel and I missed the memo. She greeted me politely and I walked inside.
The interior of the building was nothing you’d expect from the unassuming dreariness of its exterior. There was art on the walls, and flowers, and mirrors, and candles. In the center of the room was a red velvet couch hidden behind a red velvet curtain. On that couch sat four Asian girls. They looked young. Not young enough to be illegal, but not old enough to know any better. And they were dressed to the nine. Eyeliner, lipstick, high-heeled boots, garter belts, and mini skirts. And the only thing they seemed to care about at the moment was the episode of Two and a Half Men spewing fromthe giant flat screen T.V. hanging on the wall in front of them. They paid no attention to me whatsoever.
My middle-aged hostess guided me over to the front counter. She asked in broken English if I was here for a massage. I said yes. I sure as fuck wasn’t here for a hotdog. She smiled and pointed to a laminated piece of paper that listed what appeared to be a fairly limited amount of services. $40 for a half hour. $60 for the hour. I paid sixty for the hour. I was actually surprised they took credit. She swiped my card and I signed for it. At this point I was expecting to be given a choice between the four girls on the couch. Maybe that would come later.
When the transaction was complete the hostess asked me to follow her. We entered through another set of red velvet curtains that opened up into a long, tight hallway. The hallway was dimly lit with multiple rooms on each side. The doors of the unoccupied rooms were left open. I peeked into each one as we walked passed. The rooms were small and I could see that some of the rooms had massage tables and some had beds.I took note.
When we reached the end of the hallway, my hostess pointed to the last room on the left. The atmosphereof the room was welcoming despite its sleazy overtones. The walls were painted in a crimson red and decorated in Asian artwork. To the right of the doorway was an small sink. On the wall to the right of the sink was a shelf containing hand soaps and lotions and body cleansers. To the left of the sink along the side wall was an old oak dresser containing fresh towels. On top of that dresser was a large bouquet of flowers and an assortment of oils. In the center of the room was the massage table. The room looked clean and appeared to be sanitized.
My hostess dimmed the lights and asked me to take off my clothes. She excused herself and left me to undress. Istood for a moment and laughed to myself. The first thought that came to mind was whether or not I should keep my boxers on. A host of other questions ran through my head as I was undressing. What was I even doing here? What did I expect to happen? Where did I go wrong in life? What if she’s a cop? Why doesn’t she think I’m a cop? Maybe she does? I decided to shut my brain off and go with the flow. Best case scenario, I walked out relaxed after a much needed massage. Worst case scenario, I walked out in handcuffs caught in the middle of a prostitution sting.
So the underwear stayed on. And despite my underwear staying on, I still wrapped myself in a towel. I sat on theedge of the table and in the back off my mind, was still expecting to be given a choice of masseuse. And that’s when my middle-aged Chinese hostess walkedback intothe room. She asked if I was ready. As soon as I answered yes, she pulled the one-piece teddy over her head and placed it on the sink. Before I even had a chance to wince at the sight of her hairy Asian bush, I rolled onto my stomach and put my face through the face hole in the massage table. It became pretty clear that I wouldn’t get the option to pick my masseuse. It also became clear that this wouldn’t be a normal massage.
I closed my eyes and prepared myselfmentally for whatever was about to happen. At this point I just hoped it was a massage. I could hear the masseuse making her way around the room. She walked over to that oak dresser and put ona soft piece of instrumental music. She sprayed perfume in the air and I could hear her lighting candles. The mood was set.
And that’s when she walked around to the end of the tableand removed the towel that was wrapped around my waste. I didn’t think too much of it until she began to tugat the bottom of my boxers. I lifted my hips just a tad off the table and down came the boxers. So there I was, butt-naked on my stomach at an Asian massage parlor with a naked old Asian woman at my feet. She walked back to the dresser and I could hear her pumping oil out of a bottle into her hands.
She started at my neck and worked her way down my spine. She covered all the grounds. Hands, biceps, shoulders, the back of my thighs, my calves, and my feet. She worked out kinks in my muscles that I didn’t even know I had. She even got up on the table and stood on my back. She stood on my legs and slid her feet up and down until the muscles were back where they were supposed to be.
About a half hour into the massage she started to focus her attention on my hips and my butt. Half massaging, half rubbing, half teasing. She put the towel back around my waste and told me to turn around. I paused for a moment realizing the implications of that move and the potential reality of the situation. Fuck it. I rolled over. She walked around toward my head and re-upped on the oil. She began massaging my shoulders from the front and moved on to my chest. I kept my eyes closed but I could feel her tits rubbing against my face as she reached further and further down towards my torso.
My entertainment for the evening could obviously see that there was a specimen underneath that towel that wascoming to life. She persisted with her techniques. And when that towel became a fully-pitched tent, she went in for the kill. She pulled the towel off and there I was. Fully exposed to myself, my creator, the universe, and a naked old Chinese lady who had just swiped my credit card.
She asked if I wanted her to touch it. Did I really have any choice at this point? And without any skip in her step, she gripped my dick and told me it would be $60 more dollars. I wasn’t really in a position to argue or debate. And after all, this was for the sake of my sobriety under the direction of my mentor and sponsor in AA. No emotional attachment, no risk of relapse. She asked if I wanted to pay cash or if I wanted to pay credit. I wondered what the transaction would read on my statement. Handjob? I told her I had cash.
When the session was over I walked down the hallwayback to the lobby. A door opened behind me to the left. I turned and made eye contact with another patron. He must have been in his late 60’s. He was dressed in a business suit. His face was red and he wore a look of embarrassment as we locked eyes. I wondered to myself if I was wearing that same look of embarrassment. I thought to myself what a scumbag this guy must be. He probably thought the same about me.
As I walked out to the car, careful to not make eye contact with anyone on the street, I couldn’t help but wonder why paying an Asian hooker for a hand job was okay with my sponsor, but pursuing a relationship wasn’t. No emotional connection, no risk of relapse. No emotional connection, no risk of relapse. No emotional connection, no risk of relapse.
I found my nearest neihborhood bar and got myself a drink.