Sex, Travel and Massage - Tales of a SWF in Thailand
Imagine Marilyn Monroe and Nicki Minaj in one body. Retro-classic sexuality, if there is such a thing, crossed with contemporary female vulgarity. This is Mimi, but with a Mickey Mouse heart. I met Mimi during my 10-week Thai massage course. She was that tough, outspoken woman who, from across the room, transcended every boundary of femininity that I knew. She was loud, gregarious, tough, covered in tattoos and piercings, and had the most enormous breasts I’d ever seen on such a hard little female body. She oozed hot, steamy, raunchy sex. If sexuality is a house she had all the lights on and all the doors open. She terrified me and I actually tried to avoid having much contact with her at the beginning. It’s difficult to let close what makes us uncomfortable. I mean, was she going to want to have sex with me?! And then she approached me one morning.
“Do you have a partner today?” She asked in her British-Albanian accent.
I trembled a little. “No,” I said.
“Do you want to pair with me then?” She asked, her eyes forcing themselves down my throat. Shit, maybe she did want to have sex with me.
“Sh-sh-sh-sure,” I responded without hesitation because I thought she might eat me in one bite if I said no. She also seemed to be at the centre of the social circle that had developed over the previous two weeks so I didn’t want to be THAT person.
So we traded massage practice for the day and I learned a little about her. She told me about her divorce, her kids, her newish boyfriend, her appetite for oral sex. She talked A LOT about sex, cock, pussy–subjects that everybody thinks about but few talk about in the presence of strangers or acquaintances. But it wasn’t so much WHAT she talked about, it was HOW she talked about it. Women love talking about sex and when women friends are close enough they can be fairly transparent with details of their sex lives. You’ve all seen that TV series Sex and the City and truth is always stranger than fiction. Mimi could have been a screenwriter with a speciality in dialogue for the raunchiest porn film you’ve ever seen.
She spoke unabashedly about her sexual encounters, providing details beyond the scope of wild imagination, and she usually backed up such details with saucy photos of the men involved in such encounters. Tuesday morning coffees were incomplete without Mimi’s account of her previous affairs and the “elephant trunk” responsible for shifting her internal organs, or the precise movements taken by owner of said elephant trunk with his tongue to… well you fill in the gaps. And she could have sex like a man–with complete emotional detachment to heighten the experience, but enjoy it like a woman–with complete emotional investment to heighten the experience. A beautiful balance really.
She was at the centre of our social group. If Thai massage school is a stage Mimi had a starring role and the rest of us were her supporting actors. She made everyone laugh, mostly out of sheer incredulity that such raunchiness was possible. She stirred sex into our morning coffee and kept conversation from getting too serious or boring. She kicked us out of our comfortable, chaste ways. She introduced many of us to a vocabulary of the anatomy quite different from what we expected to receive in massage school and made us much more creative with the vocabulary we did learn in massage school.
She inspired my newfound swagger. For ten weeks I watched this woman own her shit, for which she is delightfully and rightfully unapologetic. She doesn’t just ooze sex, she oozes confidence, self-esteem, the kind women want all their lives to achieve. At the start I wondered if she used her sexuality as confidence, rather than the other way around. But then I thought, don’t we all to some degree? It’s her signature trait, her charisma. For others it’s beauty, intelligence, artistic talent, Selfish Lying Asshole-Ness (I refer to one person in particular, unrelated to this story), or, in my case, tact.
The first time I hung out with Mimi socially was with our crazy massage group at a bar called Yellow in central Chiang Mai. Yellow is a popular party spot for tourists and locals and it became Mimi’s go-to place during her 10-week stay. On one such party night with the group I sat and watched Mimi perform a proper pole dance using the stem of a patio umbrella in the middle of the bar. Priceless. I couldn’t decide which was more entertaining to watch: Mimi dry humping an umbrella pole or the people around us watching Mimi dry hump an umbrella pole in the middle of one of the busiest social spots in Chiang Mai on a Friday night. This woman wears sex like a rabbit wears fur. I wanted to feel embarrassed for her until I realized that would be insulting. It would be like her being embarrassed on my behalf for wearing tye-dye out in public. She constantly challenged my conceptions of femininity and acceptable, respectable topics of conversation. She made me aware of just how fucking judgemental I can actually be. I always fall in love with people who have this affect on me.
As the weeks went by we spent more time together and I saw that her toughness is the shell of the soft nut inside. But that shell is what gets her through, recovering from everything life chucks at us. She once shaved her head to raise 7000 GBP for a cancer support group. She made a scrapbook of memories from our massage school weekend social escapades. She cries listening to Adele songs. But she might castrate the man who scorns her (will you do this for family and close friends too Mimi?). Her sexuality may be scarlet but her spirit harbours all colours of the rainbow.
She went through a break-up at the the same time I did and we bonded. That’s when I saw her Mickey Mouse heart. Under all her toughness she has a wisdom that rivals my grandmother’s and the Dalai Lama’s. Every once in a while between stories of her sexual encounters she would say something that knocked me off my feet and made all that was fuzzy crystal clear. “It’s difficult to know sometimes if we think we love someone because of who they are or because of how they make us feel, how they fill in our empty spaces,” she said to me once. Fuck, right. I could have kissed her for opening my eyes, smacking my face, and collecting me up in a proper hug all at the same time.
She urged me to get on Tinder, an on-line dating site. Or hook-up app, depending on your opinion. She created a group for the two of us so that she could beckon guys nearly half my age to “get me back in the game”. And as she planned, I had a steady stream of 21 year old boys asking me to “hang-out”. I didn’t indulge but getting back into the dating scene definitely did me a world of good. Just that little bit of flirting was enough to springboard me back to reality. To realize that I wasted a year on a man who jumped over the line of questionable character like an Olympic athlete. To realize that I am now free to date men who are honest and worthy of my goodness. For that, I thank Mimi from the remaining scraps of my heart.
Now back home in England she writes to the group: “I miss Thailand! I want sun and heat and International Cock.” And I miss her more than ever as I plow through the vicious waters of the dating world once again. I could just drop that whole charade and live vicariously through her. She knows more about freedom than most people I know. She knows that woman are NOT the second sex, though society might have conditioned us to view the world as so. A woman’s sexuality is immanent in her very being but she has to transcend all kinds of bullshit to let it shine. It is detrimental to even contemporary morals and it challenges perceptions about how women are supposed to behave if we own our shit. Thank you Mimi for owning yours.
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