Czeck facial leaves tourist a little flushed

Amber Sigman

This story is a little embarrassing – all right, it’s really embarrassing. I even contemplated whether I should tell anybody, let alone write about it in a college newspaper. Then I figured – what the heck.

Studying abroad has its perks, but the language barrier isn’t one of them. During my travels to the Czech Republic, I was interestingly initiated into the culture.

The females on our study abroad trip were brought to a cosmetology house to set up an appointment for inexpensive – really inexpensive – beauty treatments. For $3, the price of a good cappuccino, we could get a facial and massage.

I was amazed. I was so pleased to brag to Mom and Dad back home about the bargain combo I was going to receive, especially when compared to the American price of $60 for a massage alone.

I walked in to the appointment and a Czech lady who spoke little English greeted me.

“Ahoj,” she said, meaning “Hello” in Czech.

That much of their unique language I could make out.

She led me into a room with a massage-type bed and pointed to a set of sheets which sat on top of a banister.

She then left the room, closing the door after her.

I took this as my cue to get undressed. I propped myself face-up on the cooshy table, smiled and closed my eyes as I awaited her arrival.

She came in and sat down next to me.

“Facial. Massage,” she said in broken English.

I excitedly agreed. She began to rub my cheek bones and forehead with a circular motion. This lasted about 45 minutes.

I thought to myself, “OK, this is good, but I’m ready for my massage.”

Partially out of it because of my relaxed state of mind, I thought she was motioning me to flip over for my massage.

I was wrong.

As she took the towel off that was wrapped around the top part of my head to prevent the lotions from seeping into my hair, she said, “Massage upstairs.” She then left again to let me get dressed.

Oh, how embarrassed I was. I’ve never been so humiliated in my life. My heart began pounding, and my cheeks became rosy, either from the massage or my nudity – or both.

So now I realized I was in the wrong department for my long-awaited bargain massage – some bargain.

I went upstairs to get my real massage, but the shop was closed.

My friend Ashley was next in line to receive her “facial massage,” but I forewarned her.

“Whatever you do, don’t take off your clothes,” I said.

I swore to myself I would never reveal to anyone the humiliation I encountered that day. But I eventually couldn’t resist, because I knew my traveling buddies would get a kick out of this one.

That poor woman who gave me a facial, she must have thought, “Crazy American.”

I guess that sheet was just to keep me warm and cozy in case I was cold – oops.

Reach Amber at [email protected] But if you’re planning to study abroad this winter, she’s probably not the best person to e-mail for advice.