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The Rub

The Rub

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Published by thischrishorne
The first in a series of articles about Macon's massage parlors, the sex trade and human trafficking.
The first in a series of articles about Macon's massage parlors, the sex trade and human trafficking.

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Published by: thischrishorne on Jun 04, 2013
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06/04/2013

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SHOPPING
Dining/Music
11 QUE
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Brooke Taylor
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 Nightly Events, Daily Calendar, Community News Middle Georgia CultureStar of HBOʼs “Cathouse” 
 YOUR CUL TURAL ESCOR T
 JUNE 5 - JUNE 19, 2008VOL 6, ISSUE 7
FREE
The Rub
This story may not havea Happy Ending
Should Macon regulateour Parlors & Spas?
 
16 |
JUNE 5 - JUNE 18, 2008
J
ust touching the door handle feels strange.It’s almost midnight, and I’m trying to walk into the one of the few businesses in Maconthat isn’t a bar or Waffle House and is still open.Or so the sign says. The door, however, won’tbudge. I press the button on an adjacent elec-tronic box. It makes a noise, and I try again. Thedoor opens to a small lobby, like a doctor’soffice—empty chairs and old magazines, thesmell of disinfectant wafting in from someplace. The mamasan—a short, Asian womanwith curly hair—greets me, saying very little.Smiling, she waves me inside and leads me tothe back, down a hallway, directing me withmonosyllabic English: “here”, “go”, “this one”.At once, I am equally piqued by the rush of unveiling the lascivious unknown and somewhatbored—almost saddened—by how ordinary thisactually is. There are no less than 20 of theseplaces in Macon. Except for those with flamboy-ant neon signs that cry out for attention the waya toddler does when it’s ignored, they are unas-suming, blending in, easy to look past on thedaily commute—just another storefront in anoth-er strip mall..The public offers snickering nicknames forthem, the stuff of playground talk, like “nookieparlor”, “jack shack”, “sex spa”. But the men whofrequent them call them AMP—Asian MassageParlor. And everyone knows what that means.“I started wondering why there are bill-boards for something that pretty much everyoneknows is illegal,” Dr. Andrew Silver, a Mercerprofessor who works on sex trafficking issues,says about what initially drew him in. “We don’thave billboards that advertise for heroin, or evenfor porn. People would be up in arms about thatstuff, but they aren’t about this.”Before the Mother’s Day tornadoes alteredthe landscape, Silver counted 18 billboardsalong the 170 miles of I-75 laying south of Macon, seven coming within the few exitsbefore Mercer University. North of the city,
The11th Hour 
counted another ten, a number dwarf-ing the three that promote city attractions.“I do have some concerns about ourimage,” Macon-Bibb County Convention andVisitors Bureau President Janice Marshall says.“Travelers don’t want to stay in an area withmassage parlors because they don’t want to haveto deal with the questions from their children.”Marshall adds, “Aperception is as good asfact. I can’t afford enough ‘Song and Soul of theSouth’and ‘Historic Macon’billboards to coun-teract that.”Lamar Advertising sales director TerryHarvin says that when a business—any busi-ness—is caught in illegal behavior, they pull thesign. To his knowledge, Harvin says they’vepulled every AMPthat has been raided. Dr.Silver says, “Personally, I think it is foolish forthem to advertise like that. It seems like an invi-tation for law enforcement to visit.”
What happens behind closed doors…
I tell the mamasan that I want a half-hour, andshe tells me she wants $40. She asks if I want ashower, but I don’t. I’ve already had one, I tellher. “Just the massage,” I say. She smiles and,pointing at a hook on the wall, tells me I canchange clothes. My girl will be there shortly.Then she shuts the door.The massage table is nothing special, butit’s tidy. Someone has neatly arranged an orangebeach towel over it and placed two thin whitetowels at the foot. I take off my shirt and thenmy pants. The nightstand alarm clock, on theshelf below the baby oil, hand sanitizer andpaper towels, is incorrectly blinking 2:38am.Trying my best to pretend that I’m waiting on areal massage, I finish stripping and wrap a towelaround me. To distract myself, I concentrate onthe muted strains of Amy Winehouse outside thedoor. They tried to make her to go rehab but shesaid, no, no, no…This routine—getting laid in an AMP—iseasy to learn. It’s all over the Internet, on blogsand review sites. Basically: let them know youaren’t a cop but you are interested in what theyoffer. Just don’t ask for anything that isn’t on themenu. In other words, don’t tell the mamasanyou want sex. Wait for them to ask.That exchange is nothing more or less thanan agreement between consenting adults. Or, sosays David Corr, the Chairman of the BibbCounty Libertarian Party, who is easily the mostvisible and vocal proponent of adult entertain-ment in middle Georgia.Not only that, prostitution can be good forthe city. Citing numbers used during the mostrecent SPLOSThearings—that 40% of sales inBibb County is conducted by people from out-side the area—Corr says that these places, aswell as strip clubs and adult novelty stores,could be a boon for local coffers.“If we get tourists to come to the spas, they’reobviously going to be buying food and gas andother items,” he says. “That’s going to have apositive economic impact.”Those sentiments are echoed by Grady Odom,who has managed and/or owned area clubslike Boss Hogg’s, Café Erotica, the NeonCowboy and the Cadillac Club. Today, he’s aconsultant for Club Sinsations, a bikini baroff of Riverside Drive.“In this location, if they (City Council)would allow nudity and alcohol to be inthe same place, I think we could bringin two and a half, three million a year.”Rhetorically, he asks, “What’s the sales taxon that?”Between $175,000 to $210,000 a year.That does not include, as Odom points out,the money municipalities routinely charge foradult entertainment licenses. And it doesn’tinclude the licenses that exotic dancers have toget, which is only $50 here, but upwards of $300to $500 around Atlanta.The real money, he believes, is in conven-tions, which the city could better entice with moreadult entertainment. For a city competing withAtlanta and Savannah, every edge is important.“There has to be something for adults todo,” Odom says. “They don’t want to sit at thehotels all night and watch television. This is a$70 billion industry, and we’re missing out onour piece of the pie here in Macon.”Macon city councilman Erick Erickson isdismissive. “Money is not always the best stan-dard to use. What is acceptable to the communi-ty? Look at the conventions we are getting. Doyou think the Jehovah’s Witnesses are going tobe more likely to visit if we have more adultbusinesses?”Marshall agrees, “I’ve been in this businessfor 25 years, and I’ve never had to promote ouradult entertainment opportunities.”Anti-sex industry activist Ned Dominick says,sarcastically, “Think of the taxes if we regulatedcrack cocaine. Really, does money make it good?”This “prudishness”, Corr says, is a minorityopinion. “I think Macon is past that.” He saysthat the success of Club Sinsations and thePlanning and Zoning (PNZ) approval of the X-Mart Adult Supercenter on Emery Highway is“proof that the citizen’s aren’t interested inarchaic morals.”“I’m going to use archaic terms here,”Dominick counters, “I believe the sex industry isstraight-out evil in our communities for all thewreckage of human lives it involves.”
The Rub
“First time?” She asks. I confess and lay on mystomach, trying to relax as she pulls my toweloff, draping it back over my bare rear. Then all4’10” of her hops up on the table and straddlesme. Inexpertly rubbing my back, she asks myname, where I live and how old I am. For amoment, it’s like getting a haircut. Small talk and services rendered.But then she slides back, revealing in theprocess that she isn’t wearing panties beneathher skirt, which I feel instead of see. This is not justsmall talk. With every touch and question, she
Macon’s AsiaMassage Parlors(AMP) with largestnumber of churchesand schools within aone-mile radiusA ** indicates theAMP has an unpaidbusiness liscense
(according to the BibbCounty website)Tokyo Health Spa
478-741-00012790 Riverside Dr.Macon, GA 31204-1461Schools: 2Churches: 2
Hong Kong Health Spa
478-784-00071550 Rocky Creek RdMacon, GA 31206Schools: 4Churches: 12
Palm Tree Spa
478-475-55553096 Riverside Dr Ste BMacon, GA 31210Schools: 2Churches: 2
**Blue Sky Massage
478-744-0014628 Shurling DrMacon, GA 31211Schools: 9Churches: 18
China Doll Massage
478-785-06011091 Eisenhower PkwyMacon, GA 31206Schools: 11Churches: 18
**Friendship Massage
478-474-51173706 Mercer University DrSuite 32Macon, GA 31204Schools: 3Churches: 13
Lee's Oriental Massage
478-745-1719111 Orange StMacon, GA 31201Schools: 5Churches: 13
Rose Spa & Massage
478-476-86334221 Mercer University DrMacon, GA 31204Schools: 3Churches: 13
Soft Hands Massage & Spa
478-743-77791922 Riverside DrMacon, GA 31201Schools: 5Churches: 15
TheRub
This story maynot have aHappy Ending
BY CHRIS HORNEwith additional reporting by Whitney Gray
“First time?” She asks. I confess and lay on my stomack, trying torelax as she pulls my towel off, draping it back over my bare rear.Then all 4’ 10” of her hops up on the table and straddles me.Inexpertly rubbing my back, she asks my name, my age...

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