Asian Massage Parlor Happy Ending
In the happy-endings business, it pays to put on a happy face.
Claire knows this well. On a sunny fall morning, she took the train from her home on Long Island to a storefront in Chelsea, where the windows were taped over with yellowing paper.
A maroon sign with white letters provided the only clue about what business was being conducted here: “Spa.”
Inside, it was as dark as a movie theater, the paper and heavy curtains blotting out any sunshine. The smell of sweat rose from the carpet. Soon the place would fill with customers, so Claire changed into a strappy zebra-print dress and steeled herself with a smile for the job of giving massages, and occasionally more, to a parade of men, something she does for 80 hours a week.
Her parlor does not advertise happy endings — that all-too-familiar euphemism — but many clients expect them, she said. Mostly she says no, but sometimes she agrees for those she considers “a nice person, ” particularly for those undergoing trouble in their romantic lives.
“They need help, and I help them, ” she said.
Though Claire is careful not to discuss a price for this beforehand, she knows that providing a mid-massage “manual release” is likely to garner her a gratuity of $60 per customer, money she says she needs to support herself and her 16-year-old son. Claire could make more — as much as 0 per session — if she went further and had sex with her clients. She refuses.
And while most customers shrug it off if she turns them down, some take offense. One grew furious and slammed her against a wall. She slapped him twice in the face and he bolted, fumbling with his clothes as he ran out. But the encounter left her in tears, shocked at how much her life had changed from her time in China, where she worked for 20 years as an accountant for a respectable business.
(Employees) say it’s just like a 9-to-5 job. Go in the morning, jerk a bunch of dudes off and go home at night.- Andy, a Mandarin translator