--Iowa City, IA
“Honey, I’m gonna tell you right now, we don’t offer any sort of therapeutic massage,” said the masseuse. “This is a straight up ho-house.”
The words sent chills down Rick’s spine and he instantly felt adrenaline pumping through his veins. He replied almost bashfully, “Well, what do you do?”
Only 11 minutes after entering the building Rick was walking swiftly across the parking lot and climbing into the driver’s seat of his car.
“We’re getting out of here,” he said.
A few minutes later, Rick described what appeared to be nothing more than a standard massage parlor lobby, complete with what he described as a “bogus price list” on the counter. The woman behind the counter was in her mid-thirties and had brown hair, brown eyes, was about 5’ 7" and was curvaceous.
“I paid $43 for what was first described as a 30 minute massage. She told me to go first room on the right and lie naked on the bed,” said Rick. “I kept a towel on.”
Next to the bed was a stand that had pornography, tissues, and lubricant on it. After waiting alone on the bed for a few minutes, the masseuse walked in wearing a black, spaghetti strapped dress and sat on the edge of the bed. She said, “Well, we have half an hour. What do you want to do?”
Rick told her that he was feeling tense and wanted an upper body massage. This is when Rick learned that this was no ordinary massage parlor. He was told that whatever happened in the back room could only be paid for in cash and was considered a tip. After going over the “real price list,” which included $50 for a hand-job, $200 for oral sex, $250 for intercourse, and $350 for what the woman called a “double ender,” Rick explained to the masseuse that he was not sure he could perform the types of acts she was describing and said he wanted to leave. The masseuse said, “Oh, honey, that’s ok. It happens. Go ahead and get dressed. I’ll be waiting up front.”
“She was a very nice woman,” said Rick after describing his experience. “She even gave me a hug when I left.”
The above story may seem like a work of fiction, but it is pure fact. The only detail that has been changed is “Rick’s” name in order to protect his identity.
A Touch of Mink Massage Studio is located in an area that is probably out of the way for an average UI student. Tucked behind some evergreens, and placed between Planned Parenthood and Marco’s Taxi garage, it is entirely possible that one could miss it if they were driving by. The business is located at 920 Orchard St and is open Monday through Saturday from noon until 2:00am and Sundays from 3:00pm until midnight.
A Touch of Mink calls itself as a “massage studio” on a sign on the outside of its building. In Yellowbook, the parlor is listed under “escort services.” The dictionary defines an escort service as “an agency dealing with escorts paid companion, hostess; geisha; gigolo.” In other words, an escort service is a business that specializes in providing customers with a companion for a set amount of time, be it an hour or an evening. The ad’s only words other than the business’s name and a list of credit cards accepted, is the phrase at the top reading, “Sensuous Adult Nude Relaxation.”
“An escort service cannot sell sex. Other than that, they can do whatever they want,” says Sgt Troy Kelsay of the Iowa City Police Department. Kelsay also stressed that, outside of a report made by a potential employee of A Touch of Mink about possible non-massage activities going on inside the business, there have been no reports of “further activities,” and there is no reason for the Iowa City Police Department to believe that there are any illegal activities going on within A Touch of Mink. Kelsay said that because nothing has been reported, that he can only assume that it is a legitimate massage parlor.
When asked about Rick’s experience, as well as the Yellowbook advertisement, an employee at A Touch of Mink named Sherry said that the business was neither a massage parlor, nor a whore house. “This is adult, nude, relaxation center,” said Sherry. “If you want to know more, you can come in and purchase a session.”