If you thought massage in Kampala city suburbs was all about ladies carefully pressing your aching back or soothing your feet; then you are in for a rude awakening.
While stuck in jam this week, my attention was drawn to a signpost of a ‘massage parlor’ in Luzira, a Kampala suburb.
Having spent almost three days on a rigorous and bumpy upcountry trip, I decided to pass by to relax my muscles.
The parlour is tucked away from the main road. I drove about 400 metres off the tarmac to reach the spot.
Upon hooting, a skimpily dressed woman opened the gate. The gardens and flowers were attractive.
I didn’t pay attention to the surroundings as my main objective was to have my muscles subjected to a “deep tissue” massage.
Thankfully, I was the only one at the parlour. At the reception, I was handed a list of different types of massage with accompanying erotic pictures for demonstration purposes.
One was “body-to-body” and also “Swedish massage” plus “erotic massage.” Additionally, the list had “four hands” massage and “deep tissue”.
Four hands massage means two girls massaging you at once while Swedish means a simple massage to allow you cool off stress. Deep tissue massage means pressing the veins harder. Body-to-body massage to a masseur soaking her/his body in oil before rubbing one’s body against yours.
There were about four girls seated on sofas who were apparently eager to “work on” me. The receptionist asked me to choose a girl of my choice. I zeroed on a light-skinned masseur who would give me a body-to-body massage.
She gently led me to a dimly-lit room. The scent of a romantic perfume filled the air. With candles carefully placed in a corner, all one could do was appreciate the room setting.
I looked forward to a peaceful massage.
“Hey, I am Jackie. You are welcome,” the masseur invited me to a chat.
“Okay. My name is Sunday. Make my message a relaxing one,” I responded.
Using Bluetooth, the masseur then rolled out some country music. The volume was maintained low.
I asked to take a quick shower. Jackie handed me a white towel before leading me to the bathroom.
On returning to the massage room, I found my clothes had been kept in a closet and my personal items inside a drawer.
“We keep the phones away to avoid distractions,” said Jackie.
It was a matter of time before we could start on a long and eye-opening journey of a great massage.
“Any special areas that need special attention?” she asked as she covered my body with a cloth.
“I don’t mind at all,” I assured her. In a space of seconds, she was already tickling my feet with tiny objects while gently exerting pressure on the feet.
She rubbed my ankles with olive oil while blowing warm air between my toes. It was a thriller. I felt a tingling current running from my feet through the spinal cord to the brain.
I told her it was a great feeling. “I’ve just started,” she responded.
The entire massage was nothing but a thriller. By using several techniques, she was able to combined deep tissue and soft touches to make me feel great.
During our conversations, Jackie was quite suggestive. “Any extras you wish to have?” she asked.
“What do you mean?” I pressed for details, thinking she was referring to possibly a glass of juice or even beer as an “extra”.
“Okay. It’s okay,” she responded, coyly. “But if you want some, it’s okay,” she added, perhaps to encourage me to make sense of her suggestions.
This tickled my curiosity.
“What are extras?” I asked.
“I can give you a hand job for Shs 50,000. Sex costs Shs 150, 000,” she said.
“No, thanks. Is it common here?” I asked, politely.
“Of course. Most of our customers are married men. We help them relieve their problems. They don’t mind about paying that money. The single people are mean,” she observed.
“What about HIV? Aren’t you worried of contracting HIV from sleeping with several partners,” I inquired.
“Sometimes they want massage only in sensitive areas. They will ask you to focus on those areas for about 30 minutes and then sleep off for like 10 minutes. It works for them. Those who go for sex must wear condoms. We keep condoms here – just in case,” she added.
“But this is prostitution. Would one be right to say this is a brothel?” I pressed harder.
“Not really. We offer massage but if you want sex; we give you at a cost. We are not on sale. But the demand is high,” revealed Jackie.
In a day, the parlour receives about 12-15 clients.
With each paying a minimum of Shs 50,000, the business earns about Shs 600,000 per day. The costs include a towel, electricity, water and the masseurs.
The masseurs don’t get a salary but a portion of what each client pays.
“Sometimes we earn more than our boss. If I can get three clients of Shs 100,000 each for sex, that’s Shs 300,000 – enough money for my monthly rent,” said Jackie, a single mother of two children.
After the massage, she cleaned the olive oil from my skin using a hot towel. Jackie had clearly realized I was not interested in her offers. We chose to be friends.
Being a journalist, I decided to do an investigation into the sex in massage parlours. In the next write-up, I will show why married women also frequent massage parlours and what happens there.