Earlier this week Nate and I were driving to New Orleans to have lunch. The kids were asleep in the backseat and we began reminiscing about life before kids. We talked for a while, and I eventually brought up fond memories of “Tantra Guy” (aka “Bob”). Nate had no idea who I was talking about. He was like, “Who is “Tantra Guy”? Why do you know someone you like to call “Tantra Guy”? and “Trust me! I would remember someone you liked to refer to as “Tantra Guy.” So I had to refresh Nate’s memory about the time my hairdresser propositioned me with swing dancing and tantric sex back when we lived in Mobile, Al. (Spoiler alert: I didn’t take up “Tantra Guy” on his offer. Pervs can quit reading now.) Nate’s first reaction after I finished the story was, “You MUST write about this.” So, I did.
FYI: In case you are confused and have no idea what tantric sex is, click here to read a post on Cosmopolitan.com that explains it. It was kind of a fad in the late 90s, because Sting and his wife were supposedly into it. I thought about making an infographic to explain tantric sex but ultimately decided supplying a link to the cosmo article would be more appropriate. Also, this story makes me look like a total bitch in some parts. I have no excuse other than I was young back then.
So without further ado, I present “Tantra Guy.”
It was the year 2000 (kind of hard not to imagine Andy Richter’s voice saying that, am I right?), and I was getting ready to attend the Caduceus Ball with Nate. The Caduceus Ball was a dance the medical school my husband attended had for the first and second year students each year. The 2000 Caduceus Ball took place during Nate’s first year. Nate was my fiancé at the time and we were living together “in sin” in Mobile, AL. (The whole living “in sin” thing was a huge deal with my parents as they are Catholic, and Nate and I were going to have a Catholic wedding that summer. But I digress… ) Anyway, I was and still am a huge procrastinator. I waited until the last minute to have my hair colored before the dance. I had to pick a random salon out of the phonebook. This would prove to be an unwise choice.
The salon was a one chair beauty shop in a nondescript strip mall in Mobile, AL. To say this salon was small would be an understatement. The salon had one tiny main room with a stylist’s chair and a hair washing station. It also had a back room that I was fortunate enough to not see.
The proprietor of the beauty salon was a man I would estimate to be in his mid-fifties. I was 24 at the time and thought anyone over 35 was OLD. He had permed, shaggy blonde hair and a beard. He looked kind of like if the painter Bob Ross tried to look like a surfer. He also looked like that Will Ferrell character on Saturday Night Live that posed nude for an art class. I’ll just refer to him as “Bob” for the rest of the post. I actually don’t remember what his real name was. I think I’ve mentally blocked his name. You’ll see why in a minute.
As soon as I sat in the chair Bob started extolling the virtues of tantric sex. He was all, “Have you heard of tantra?” and I was like “Who hasn’t? Doesn’t Sting love that shit?” Because in all honesty, I briefly thought it would be funny to fuck with this guy. He clearly thought it was okay to make me feel uncomfortable by throwing his weird brand of 1970s, hairy chested masculinity all over the place. He was so ridiculous looking that it was like Eve tempting Adam with an apple. Except instead of an apple, Eve was tempting me with a man with a shaggy blonde 70s fro and a beard wielding a comb and a pair of scissors. Basically, I’m not really a mean person. (Or I really need you to believe I wasn’t a “mean girl” back then.) I felt like he started it, so he was fair game. I would find out pretty soon that fucking with this guy was not a wise choice as he did not understand sarcasm. It just made him feistier.
After my funny comeback about Sting “Bob” is smitten. He immediately hands me a book about “tantra” as he kept referring to it, and I’m like WTF? This guy keeps a book about tantric sex on hand to show his hair dresser clients? I briefly glance at it and hand it back to him. At this point he has managed to put the permanent dye on my hair so I am stuck there. I was screwed. Hopefully not literally.
I glance behind me and notice there is a book shelf with about ten books, all of them about tantra (possible titles included Tantric Sex For Dummies, Tantric Sex to the Oldies, and the ever popular Yeah Baby! Tantra!). On the other shelves there are about twenty lit candles with scents like sandalwood, vanilla, patchouli, he who wanders the earth, etc which he informs me are for aroma therapy. I say, “I’m pretty sure it’s not therapeutic if ALL of the scents are burned at the same time but whatever. You’re the expert,” while making air quotes around the words “the expert.” He informs me that the aroma therapy is complimentary and I reply “Hot damn! It’s my lucky day!”
He is very pleased by my reaction. “Bob” then tells me that he would love to throw in a scalp massage with the complimentary aroma therapy and I say “No thank you. I’m good.” But he proceeds with massaging my scalp. Yes, the same scalp that is currently covered in brown hair dye. (I was going from blonde highlights to dark brown, my natural color.) I was momentarily relieved that he seemed to ditch the topic of tantric sex. But not so relieved that I was going to let him continue pawing my scalp with his overzealous, Bob Ross hands, so I told him that I had a traumatic massage experience in the past and would just prefer to skip the massage. He then having clearly heard what I just said as “Hell yes! I love massages!” looked at me and said “Well if you’d like a full body massage when I finish your hair, I have a table set up in the back room. It’s only $30 extra.”
Do you remember how I mentioned this place was small earlier? I can’t imagine the back room was big enough for a massage table. Also, I was mildly annoyed because I thought this weirdo was hitting on me, but apparently he wasn’t because he was going to charge me for the massage that I did not want. Oh but wait, it turns out he was hitting on me. He’s an entrepreneur too hence the charge for the full body massage. His next sentence was. “Would you like to go swing dancing with me and my girlfriend tonight at ____?”
I was flabbergasted for a couple of reasons.
- He has a girlfriend? Who on earth would date this guy? He is the definition of unsmooth. Also, if he has a girlfriend why is he hitting on me?
- Swing dancing is still a fad? I worked at The Gap at the height of the Gap swing dancing themed commercials and that was in 1997-98. This guy was asking me to go swing dancing in the year 2000. But then he thought tantric sex was an appropriate subject to broach with a new client who was young enough to be his daughter.
I calmly explained to him that I was going to the Caduceus Ball with my fiancé who is a first year medical student that night and I would have to take a rain check on the swing dancing. I said it in exactly the sarcastic tone of voice those of you who know me figure I would have said it in. Typically when I played the “my fiancé is going to be a doctor” card guys would back down. Admit their defeat. But poor, wild-eyed “Bob” didn’t seem to hear me. He thought we were definitely going swing dancing with his girlfriend. He kept talking about how much fun the bar was and how I was “gonna love it”.
I just stared at him speechless. I was amazed. He was totally delusional. I had finally met someone weirder than me. It was kind of awesome. He briefly went in the back room to make a phone call. I could hear almost every word as he tried to excitedly convince someone to come down to the salon and mentioned that what they were talking about earlier might happen.
Then his girlfriend showed up. I braced myself for a fight or some kind of standoff with “Bob”’s girlfriend. But she was oddly quiet and just kind of stared at me. By stared at me I mean eyeballed my tits (which were pretty magnificent at the time). However, I don’t think there was much for her to see as I was wearing a protective cape over my clothes. It was then I began to suspect that swing dancing might be code for something else. Like maybe swinging or a ménage a trois. At that point I threw up in my mouth a little. I stared at Bob’s girlfriend whose name I didn’t catch because I was too busy freaking the fuck out and I thought she actually looks kind of normal. Why is she with this surfer, Bob Ross looking motherfucker?
Then it was finally time to wash the dye out of my hair. It felt like at least two hours had passed. Between the aroma therapy and the scalp massage and wrangling his girlfriend to the salon, Bob had been a busy little bee, and I was ready to get out of the area. I was so happy to get out of a salon chair and walk the 12 inches to the hair washing station. I think I skipped the one step it took to get to the chair. Only it wasn’t so much a skip as a gazelle-like leap from the chair to the hair washing station.
As he was tilting my head back to wash my hair I snickered to myself, maybe he’s going to drown me so he and his girlfriend can have tantric sex all night with my dead body. This struck me as the most hilarious thought I have ever had and I cackled like a wild woman the entire time he was washing my hair. He had no idea why I was laughing, but he loved it. I think he may have even let out an Austin Powers-esque “Yeah Baby!” while he was once again running his Bob Ross fingers over my scalp. If this were a Tarantino movie the song “Stuck In The Middle With You” would have started playing at this point, and one of us would have wound up missing an ear. Did I mention this whole experience was weird?
After all the hair washing came to an end and we moved back to the hair styling chair, “Bob” began dancing around to KC and The Sunshine band’s “Get Down Tonight” while he cut my hair. His girlfriend sat in a metal folding chair and silently bobbed her head in time to the music. (BTW – Pretty sure she was high.) Once he was finished cutting my hair and did that thing hairdresser’s do to make sure the haircut is even, I abruptly stood up and announced it was time for me to make my exit. “But your hair’s still wet,” “Bob” protested raising his scissor and comb clutching hands in the air. I paid “Bob” for his services, silently gave him and his girlfriend each a hug, walked out to my red convertible Miata, and peeled out of the parking lot.
It was only January of 2000 and I was pretty sure this would win the award for oddest event of 2000. And 2000 was a big year for me. It was the year I married Nate, and the year I successfully managed to get and keep a job teaching English. Nate and I would go to Europe for the first time. While in Europe I would lick the Rosetta Stone and Nate would almost fall through the second story of Shakespeare’s house. So much more was coming for me that year much less that night which was also pretty eventful. What happened at the Caduceus Ball that night would end up being a story we would tell for years to come. This post is already pretty long though, so I’ll save that for later.
Fun Fact: It has been revealed that the whole Sting and Trudie Styler tantric sex story is not true. Trudie said in a recent interview that Sir Bob Geldof started the rumor and Sting went along with it. So I have decided Sir Bob Geldof is to blame for “Tantra Guy” and he owes me an apology. He also owes me a personal apology for not organizing a Live Aid concert every damn year as I really enjoyed watching the first one at home. If I ever meet Sir Bob Geldof, I’m going to give him a piece of my mind. Most of you probably think I will never meet Sir Bob Geldof. But you know what? Stranger things have happened.
Questions I wish I would have asked “Tantra Guy”:
1. So are you sure you don’t have some form of reverse erectile dysfunction where you can get it up but never have an orgasm?
2. Have you ever in fact had an orgasm? When you do finally have one does it last for like thirty minutes and does your face in fact freeze into your “O face” for the next day or two? (Nate thinks I should explain that “O face” is short for orgasm face or the face one makes whilst having an orgasm. I think Nate needs to mind his business.)
3. Why are you hitting on me? Isn’t this a violation of the salon owner’s code of ethics?
4. Why swing dancing? Why?
Please note some identifying details have been left out and/or changed to protect the tantric sex enthusiast and his girlfriend.
Where is the weirdest place you’ve ever been hit on? Let me know in the comments section.