This time last week Deontay Wilder was waking up after losing his heavyweight title rematch with Tyson Fury in the seventh round. Today, I’m waking up after an hour-long ‘tonifiant’ hammam massage in Morocco’s medina and I feel pretty much the same as Wilder.
This was supposed to be the romantic couples’ massage I’d booked for my wife’s upcoming birthday at the much-recommended Hamman Rosa Bonheur.
Over a Moroccan mint tea we opted for the ‘tonifiant’ massage which we were told meant ‘firm’, its literal translation of ‘bracing’ is much closer to the mark.
I don’t even know the name of my masseuse but saw her profile briefly in the gloom of the massage cubicle and she was unmistakably a big, strong wench. At times during our hour long grapple I felt convinced she had something against me personally or men in general.
Feeling almost completely naked wearing only the scantiest disposable g-string pouch barely big enough to contain even the most modest package I was prodded, pummeled, elbowed, squashed, stretched and occasionally punched.
She started on my feet gouching deep into the soul of my foot and pulling on my toes. Eventually she moved up my leg leaning heavily into my calf and ferociously rubbing the hairs of my upper thigh mostly the wrong way.
While here for one brief moment as she twanged my g-string roughly back into position I dreamt the experience may end happily but no. In a moment my legs were forced asunder as she mounted the couch to use her full weight to crush my rib-cage and start work on my back. Until this point I manfully took it all just emitting the occasional groan and nodding meekly when she asked if it was “good”.
I’ve had problems with my shoulders for years and the pulling, stretching, squashing of my arms was beginning to hurt. Then, despite my protestations she put my arms behind my head and lifted my body weight with my elbows into what I now know from my short attempt at yoga is an upward facing dog position. I hurt like hell, barked ‘no’ and she reluctantly let me slump back to the couch.
On one occasion as my head was turned at a hitherto never before angle the towel obscuring my eyes slipped off briefly. I could just about see my topless wife lying there with a serene smile, almost a smirk, having her breasts caressed by her equally buxom masseuse. It brought great pleasure and some respite from the pummeling until my eyes were covered again and my masseuse turned me round to work on my front.
Eventually the torture was over and I felt good in the way that you inevitably do when pain ceases. Although I can definitely feel the effects this morning, my shoulders do feel a little better which is making me wonder whether maybe she does know what she’s doing.
Unsurprisingly Mrs Jones enjoyed the experience and seemed keen to book us in next time we are in Marrakech. I’m not so sure!