the backstage epiphany

where reality is so subjective it's entirely optional

Race, relationship, reflexology

Last night Afham and I tried foot reflexology for the very first time in my life. I’ve always loved a good massage, but I used to think that foot reflexology would be redundant if I’m already getting a full body massage, and Afham’s tendency to be ticklish below the knee made him apprehensive about getting a foot massage. However, after spending the last few weekends going out on both Friday and Saturday nights, and feeling the snowball effect from wearing 4-inch heels every single day, I decided it was time to give foot reflexology a try. And despite his misgivings, Afham was willing to try it as well.

So after dinner last night, we made a wild stab at one of the numerous foot reflexology and massage outlets in Sunway Damansara and got an hour’s foot and shoulder massages. It was, by far, the most effective, and the most painful massage I’ve ever had, and this is coming from someone who has sat through seven tattoos and never told a masseuse to lighten the pressure. It was all right up until the masseuse started kneading my heels and calves, which hurt so badly that even the cheesy Taiwanese Human Tetris game show on TV could not distract me; next to me, Afham was cringing and huffing in the chair next to me as he was torn between pain and ticklishness, but could not tell the masseuse to let up because they were both Chinese nationals.

It was this that led to a conversation — in Mandarin — I would normally never have, much less with anyone I’ve just met:

Masseuse 1: Miss, why can’t he speak Chinese?
Me: Because he’s not Chinese.
Masseuse 1:
Oh, then what is he?
Me: He’s Malay.
Masseuse 1: Oh… But he can still watch that Chinese show and laugh?
Me: It looks funny enough to him, I suppose. But he can understand a litte bit of Chinese.
Masseuse 2: Waaah, but he’s very fair! And so good-looking. He doesn’t look Malay at all!
Masseuse 1: Is he your boyfriend?
Me: Yes.
Masseuse 1: But are you Chinese?
Me: Yes, I am.
Masseuse 2: Oh, really? You don’t look very Chinese. So if you marry him, you will have to convert, right?
Me: Oh, we don’t talk about that!
Masseuse 2: Why? You must talk about it. You are old enough to get married already!
Masseuse 1: And if you marry him and he wants to take another wife, would you be able to accept it?
Me: Um… I guess not.

From that conversation, I deduced that:

  1. My boyfriend apparently does not look Malay to anyone who isn’t Malay;
  2. Even without makeup on, I don’t look Chinese enough to be recognized as one, even by fellow Chinese (nationals, at that);
  3. Our religious differences, and my refusal to address them are apparently two things that have come to be of concern to everyone except myself; and
  4. As soon as one is old enough to be married — which, these days, can be anywhere from the age of 10, or whenever increasingly early puberty strikes — every relationship is automatically inducted into the Marriage Potential List.

And after all that, we took one of the center’s business cards before we left. I suppose now that the masseuses have satisfied their curiosity over our races, religions and relationship, a more peaceful session wouldn’t be too far off.


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