If you’ll remember, in part one, I explained that I had traveled from my job in Saudi Arabia, visited family, and was now one day away from returning to work. Just before leaving I accepted the assistance of the hotel concierge to arrange for a therapeutic massage after dinner and a show. Somehow, thanks in no small part to language difficulties and the concierge having some ideas of his own, I ended up riding down a long dark road outside of Frankfurt, Germany in a limousine with several male strangers headed to, ostensibly, a massage and a show.
I ultimately ended up on a tour of a massive and beautiful Bavarian house while trying to avoid some of the steamier aspects of “the show”.
The hostess was a beautiful and demure woman who, after sensing my discomfort with the theatrics, led me into a hallway that was somewhat narrow but deep and painted in a lush and lavish dark oxblood hue. The ceiling was so high that I could feel my neck muscles straining as I looked up. I caught myself – not wanting to look like the unsophisticated small town girl that I was.
The ornately carved wainscoting on the walls was serving its purpose. There was no draft or dampness. However, if I am being honest, I couldn’t tell if it was the wainscoting or my personal furnace. I had begun to feel a bit feverish and I could not tell if it was the temperature of the building or my own frantic attempts to understand and rationalize what was going on around me.
Being as kind and attentive as ever, the hostess led me into the kitchen and offered me a glass of water. I hoped that my perspiration was not as noticeable as it seemed. However, I thought I could feel my bangs sticking to my forehead.
As she reached into the beautiful mahogany cabinet for the crystal tumbler, I took a moment to get my bearings. The kitchen, like the house, was massive. A fire warmed the room and provided a kaleidoscope of colors reflecting off the elegant crystal chandelier. The coolness of the marble-topped island was a welcome respite to the heat emanating from the palms of my hands. I waited for her to pour the water.
Everything was so impressive to my eyes. And I was once more back to feeling like a princess. The hostess selected a few cubes from the Georg Jensen silver ice bucket and placed them into the water. As she handed the glass to me I thanked her kindly and anticipated the feeling of the cold liquid traveling throughout my body. Once I finished, we stepped back into the hallway and started towards a door on the left.
Behind the door was a beautifully decorated office. There was a large and handsome mahogany and leather executive desk and everything else you would imagine in a corporate office. The hostess, still trying to relieve me of my anxiety, motioned for me to sit in the masculine looking emerald green tufted leather chair. I spun around slowly taking in the sights of the paneled room. The walls were covered with floor to ceiling bookcases completely filled with leather bound books. Many, she said, were first editions.
The smell of cedar from the desk drawers took me back to memories of my grandmother’s bedroom and the cedar chest that held so many precious family heirlooms. I felt myself begin to relax even more. I chided myself for letting my imagination run wild. Granted, there were some things that I did not expect but, really, there was apparently no reason for my apprehension. Here I sat, in a chair worth more than my annual earnings no doubt. What could go wrong? Maybe I was much more of a prude than I had imagined.
Several minutes later she asked if I would like to see more of the house. Curious to see just how the other half (well – maybe the one percent) live, I readily agreed. Having grown up in very modest circumstances, I was excited to see how the mistress of the house had decorated the other rooms.
I was quite aware that I was in my early twenties, from the southern region of the United States and somewhat naive. I was trying to look and act sophisticated but I was still just a little country girl at heart.
The next room was a bathroom that truly fit its name. The bath was Grecian style. It was more like a small pool than a tub but it was beautiful. The entire room was marble. The veins streaked through at random intervals. I ran my hands along the elegantly hollowed surface and wanted desperately to pick up the scented soaps lying in an ornate but delicately carved wooden dish but I restrained myself, to a certain extent. My hostess was obviously delighted in seeing me so excited. She waved me forward, giving me permission to roam the enormous space.
Amazingly, there was a sauna! The smell of cedar and eucalyptus wafted through the air. The hostess offered me slippers as I moved further in because the surface had become a bit slippery. The source of the moisture became evident after a moment as I could hear the gentle hiss of steam. At that very moment the door to the steam room opened and there stood, in all of her natural glory, a woman of my approximate age.
To say I was shocked and embarrassed, obviously in a private part of the house and even more obviously fully dressed and facing someone who was fully nude, is a total understatement. As I attempted to apologize the young woman simply smiled and continued to stand there. She did not seem to understand what I was saying. When she began to speak the German flowed from her mouth but I could not understand a word.
Finally, she slowed her speech and said the same word over and over. When I had caught my breath and stilled my rapidly beating heart I understood that she was saying “there”. When I turned “there” I noticed that the hostess was gone. But “there” was a robe and towels.
I moved to hand her the robe and as I turned back she had wordlessly appeared at my side, not even three feet separated us. I could hear the click of a door in the distance but I could not tell if someone was going out or coming in.
There were so many thoughts going through my mind but . . .
Stay tuned for Part Three…
I recently participated in a coaching session about promoting myself. The coach asked those of us in attendance, “What makes you special? What have you experienced that most people have not experienced?” That question took me back to a journey down a long dark road in Germany many, many years ago.
I’d flown to Frankfurt from Saudi Arabia to visit my family and have some time away from the restrictive nature of life on a compound. I loved being in Saudi but every few months I was happy to get away. As a nurse I frequently had problems with my back and travel invariably made it worse. This time was no exception.
I always stayed at the same hotel when I arrived in Frankfurt. The concierge and I had become comfortable with each other. He offered excellent options when I needed help and I was a generous tipper. Noting that I was in pain he asked if I would like a massage. At that point in my life, sad to say, I had never had a massage so when he asked me what kind of massage I wanted I asked what he meant. He asked if I wanted a therapeutic massage or something else. I let him know that I was only interested in relieving the spasm in my back. He immediately set me up with a masseuse named Tony and I went for my massage. Tony, a compact and muscular woman, made me comfortable about the entire process and by the end of the hour I felt like a new person.
After returning from my train trip inland to visit family the concierge asked if I would like to have another massage before the long flight back to Saudi. I said yes and he suggested that I relax and enjoy myself before I went back to the rules and regulations – as he put it. He told me that he would set it up. He told me that a car would come for me, I would go to see a show and then have a massage. He also told me that the dress was formal and that I should dress to impress and I did.
Knowing what I know now, I would have paid more attention to his voice inflection or to the ever so slight wink of his left eye. But I didn’t. And so, I agreed to get a massage and see a show.
At precisely 7:00pm the limousine arrived and the door was opened by a liveried driver. It was a beautiful car with plush black leather seats. For a little country girl like me it was much more than I had ever experienced. I was feeling like Cinderella as the car smoothly pulled away from the curb.
Before long a television screen came into view and a movie started to play. Unfortunately the movie was in German and there were no subtitles. However, it was an easy to follow plot. Boy meets girl. Boy chases girl. Girl allows herself to get caught.
After fifteen minutes or so the limo slows to a stop in front of a beautiful hotel. I think I have arrived and prepare to alight from my carriage when the driver explained to me, in the very poor English that he spoke, that I was to stay in the car. I complied and was soon joined by a well-dressed business man.
To say that I was confused is putting it mildly but the new passenger did not look surprised. I surmised that this limo was more like a high-rent shuttle and I realized I was right as a few more stops were made and more well-dressed men settled into the limousine.
A tiny little flag went up but I pushed it to the back of my mind. So far, so good! I was not worried about the fact that I was in a foreign country in a limousine filled with strange men headed to a destination as yet unknown.
It wasn’t until we’d travelled at least ten miles outside the city on a very long dark road that I began to get a little apprehensive. I was beginning to wonder about my fate and if my unwillingness to look afraid had landed me into deep trouble. But soon, we pulled up in front of a beautiful, ornate castle-like Bavarian home. While still wondering where I was, I was greeted at the door by a beautiful and charming woman. My jitters dissipated.
We were escorted into a room with a stage and the show began. The show began simply enough, Boy meets girl. Boy chases girl. Girl allows herself to be caught by boy. After about thirty minutes the play took a decided turn from charming to erotic. Everyone on the stage was fully dressed but there was some serious making out going on. The actors progressed the same way lovers would progress – getting more and more involved and more and more nude as the scenes unfolded.
Once again, I was wondering if everything I discussed with the concierge had gotten lost in translation. Yes, I did want dinner and a show followed by a luxurious massage BUT I wondered if I had gotten on the wrong limo. The color was rising in my cheeks as the clothing was dropping to the floor. It could not be considered pornography but it was getting pretty darned close!
Our hostess, apparently noting my discomfort, suggested that I move to the bar. There we talked and after a few moments she asked me if I’d like a tour of the house. Wanting to get out of seeing-range of the stage – there was full frontal exposure now – I welcomed the tour.
Stay tuned for Part Two…
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