The Kilted Massage Man is here to make those of you born with a Yoni a very special offer. If you have never had a Yoni Massage I will teach you the art of slow, deep-breathing. Be prepared to take some time.
The ad went on like that for a full page, in perfect grammar, explaining the basics of tantra, the verbiage obviously tweaked to perfection over years on Craigslist. I skimmed quickly and fired off a response. Dear Yoni. Your Craigslist ad caught my eye.
He responded immediately. No, YOU have a Yoni. I have the tools to satisfy the Yoni.
Right. “Yoni” is the Sanskrit equivalent of vajayjay. Of course.
Having had this experience, I can tell you that it changes everything. I had no idea you could arrange and enjoy a tantric massage with such ease.
I was on assignment for The Daily Beast, looking for a fling on Craigslist’s “Erotic Services,” a section of the online classifieds which, as of last week, is being monitored to prevent transactions precisely like this one from happening. The monitoring is part of Craigslist’s public-relations offensive to counteract negative media coverage around Philip Markoff, the Boston medical student deemed the “Cragislist Killer”; Craigslist wants to show that it’s trying to prevent the prostitution that it has up until now facilitated. To wit: I found hundreds of ads to choose from, offering all manner of sexual exploits, some directly asking for cash, some making clear that “donations and roses” (read: cash) would be accepted.
Kilt Man and I emailed back and forth. Would I like to meet for coffee in a public place? Why was I interested? He attached a picture. He looked like a jolly masseuse. In a kilt.
As a matter of personal preference, I was much more comfortable with Kilt Man than, say, “Bishop,” one of many advertisers of indeterminate age, employment, and location, who listed his phone number four times and offered a nice sensitive massage WITH EXTRA.
My safety logic was the following: Kilt Man had been successfully advertising on Craigslist long enough to have a schtick (the kilt), a perfect ad (complete with illustrations) and no complaints anywhere on Craigslist (rants and raves had not a single mention of Kilt Man). And he used his real name in his email to me, which I background checked. Chances are that his customers weren’t disappearing.
We agreed on a daylight meeting. And I asked about protection: Would you be comfortable wearing gloves?
He responded. The Kilted Massage Man had a latex allergy. Of course. I spent an hour sprinting to four drug stores, three of which were sold out of the blue non-latex Nitrile gloves I sought.
When I arrived, he led me to his living room, and we sat on his couch and gabbed for 40 minutes. He reminded me of the fathers of my friends—50ish, slightly chubby, a bit dorky, friendly eyes, and inviting cheeks. Probably 210, with notably muscular hands, the sort you want to immediately plant on your shoulders.
I had many, many questions. Beginning with the kilt. “It’s a Utili-Kilt. They’re manufactured in Seattle. Utili-Kilt is the world’s largest producer of kilts.” He reached down and demonstrated the ample toolbelt-style pockets. “After you wear one of these for a week, pants feel constricting. I can’t wear them anymore.”
He told me that his path to becoming Kilt Man began as a 19-year-old, when he was jokingly thrown into a river by his father and brother, landed on a rock, and left unable to walk. (His limp was consistent with this.) He spent 10 years recovering, then two years in Nepal learning body manipulation from monks—and an appreciation for non-pants. Back in America, he began giving massage recreationally, and was doing so at a club one night when he was spotted by a tantra teacher who offered to train him for six months.
He now advertises on Craigslist. “For each ad I put up, I get two legitimate responses—you’re No. 2. And 80 or so spam. Lots and lots of spam. I limit myself to two massages per week. Otherwise I get too drained. I now have women I’ve worked with for four or five years.”
I asked more about his training. He put my hands into a prayer position and, using them as a stand-in for the yoni, stroked them, demonstrating exactly what he was going to do. Clearly he’d done this hands move many, many times.
Sufficiently convinced that he might know what he was doing, I set my boundaries: hands only, external only, no reciprocation. This was what he was planning anyway.
I handed him a box of gloves. “Look, 50 pairs to choose from!” he said.
He pulled on the gloves and led me to a mat in the back room, which he clearly shared with a woman—women’s clothes in the closet, women’s shoes on the floor. His partner of four years.
I pulled off my robe, and we began with breathing exercises and a very relaxing 15-minute back rub. Then I rolled over.
My friends all ask the same question: Was I attracted to him? It’s irrelevant. That’s like asking whether you’re attracted to your masseuse. I was first tipped off that this might be the case a few years ago by Betty Dodson, Ph.D., the sexpert and author of Sex for One and Orgasms for Two, who once told me about her first sex party. She was in her early 30s and scared shitless. A large, hairy man in his 50s to whom she was not attracted came over and proceeded to perform the best oral sex she’d ever experienced. This was how she learned to broaden her horizons.
I learned with Kilt Man. On my front side, he repeated the same sorts of massage strokes he’d used on my back, but this time getting the ever-ignored pectorals and stomach. He then headed south, stroking up and down my legs and abdomen.
Now, this wasn’t sex. It was completely different from sex. Not only do the motions have nothing in common with typical bedroom maneuvers—it’s a sort of massage that forces you to focus energy flow and balance into the body, quite different from direct stimulation—there was also never any hint that sexual activities would ensue, or of intimacy.
This was about just receiving. Women so rarely just receive. And breathe. Even the most uninhibited woman has so many distractions wrapped up in a typical partner romp: the status of the relationship, who’s reciprocating what, how she’s performing, whether her hair has crossed from “sexily tossled” to “2 a.m. drunk.” Sex is transactional. Lovingly so, but transactional. Here, the only requirement was that I explore my own body and its responses. Which I realized I’d never done before.
The closest analogy I can make is talking to your friend versus talking to your paid therapist. Different.
After another half hour, Kilt Man leaned his full weight with his palm onto the soft mound above my pelvic bone. And this, my friend, surges blood downward. Perhaps a little too much—I was a very happy woman in roughly 90 seconds. It was actually a mistake. The idea is to learn energy flow, not orgasm. But I’m new at this.
Now, ladies, having had this experience, I can tell you that it changes everything. I had no idea you could arrange and enjoy a tantric massage with such ease. One assumes that if I’d spent more than 30 minutes searching, and looked beyond Craigslist, I could have found a well-known guru at an official tantra center. It’s not exploitative, and the gloves bring the disease risk to near zero. Aside from the gigantic overriding safety risk—mitigated greatly if you can get a referral, meet first in public, and have a great friend like Kim, who gamely sat in the car outside while this was happening—it’s like discovering Christmas. I am, frankly, having a very hard time seeing the downside.
And I learned quite a bit: that there’s a whole sexual universe that I haven’t yet dipped a toe in, and that climax is very much a mind game, not to mention a few moves I’ll happily be sharing. This said, will I make it a regular habit? No. On a typical afternoon, I’m much more excited about a large serving of red velvet cake than strings-free tantra. But it’s a great opportunity to learn, and I find it disturbing that such a positive interaction is considered illegal if money changes hands.
I got giddy afterward. Very smiley. I couldn’t help it.
We chatted for a bit while I pulled on my clothes, him sitting Indian style.
He walked me to the door, and we hugged. “You’re welcome to make another appointment, any time you’d like.”
And then came the awkward part. It was like the moment where you’re not sure if you’re supposed to tip the bellhop or not. I had no idea if I was supposed to pay. It wasn’t mentioned in the ad, and then he didn’t ask. I don’t know how these things work. Perhaps I was supposed to “tip.” Or perhaps he’d Googled me and knew I was a journalist. Or perhaps—and most likely—his regulars pay, and he wanted me to be one. No idea.
For those worried that I left Kilt Man empty handed, fear not. I handed him the box of gloves for future use. “Forty-nine more pairs to choose from.”
Arianne Cohen is the author of the first ever book about tall folks, The Tall Book: A Celebration of Life From On High (Bloomsbury), which will be released nationwide June 16th.