So my Dubai Diaries would be a non-starter without introducing you to this phenomenon called Massage Centre Cards. They are small, they are colourful, and they have (a million) stories to tell. Which of course they won’t.
But before I get to that, let me warn you: The contents you are about to see are graphic, and can be highly disturbing. In India, the censor board might have frowned. (Or not. They frown only at things that seduce the intellect. I guess I’m safe.)
Name: Massage Center Card
Scientific Name: Massagus Centerus Cardimicus
Size: Slightly larger than an average visiting card
Colour: Skin, mostly
Function: Informational / proclamatory / invitational / motivational (Take your pick.)
Habitat: Pavements, sidewalks, footbridges, and roadsides [Known to infest windows of parked cars in great numbers.]
Feeds on: Human desperation and depravity
- Digitally printed.
- No female with an anatomy is safe from the confines of its four edges. Indian film stars, regardless of their standing, are particularly vulnerable.
- Certain parts of the said anatomy are more susceptible than others.
- Elusive to copyright laws and defamation suits.
- Deposited in place by swift hands and bent heads that pass by on foot or bicycle
Sub-species: New Girl, Good Girl, Sweet Belly, Ya Ting , Lixin, Love Me, Milk Spa, Angel, Personal Care, Jasmine, Rose King, Rose Spa, Royal Rose, Lucky, Marvellous, Relax, VIP… Or [no name].
Evolution: Started out with more text and smaller graphics, plus a map to the location printed at the back. Soon moved towards minimalism, with more visuals and graphics (read more ‘visually graphic’). Currently tend to be spartan, with just monochrome visuals and phone number/s.
- Be prepared for mixed reactions when you are caught picking them up, especially if you are a middle-aged woman with graying hair and an air of respectability.
- Do not think beyond the card.
- Do not ask why they are so blatantly there, at the most obvious places, despite.
- NEVER think about what they imply. You can’t sleep.