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  • While visiting Israel on my Birthright trip, my tour group stopped for a nice, refreshing dip in the Dead Sea. Unless you’ve been there yourself, you don’t realize how incredibly sarcastic that last statement was.

    The Dead Sea is basically filled to the brim with salt, so if you have a cut (or, say, a recent bikini wax), it fucking BURNS. The excessively salted water also leaves a slimy oil on your skin, and since the sea is located in the middle of a desert, the temperature of the water is literally close to boiling. You feel more like a flimsy piece of fettuccine in a pot than a hot beach babe. Adding to the extreme heat is the trend of covering your face and body with mud (gift store-purchased mud, not actual mud from the outdoors) for its nourishing properties when mixed with the salty water, so you've got a bunch of tourists covered in mud, floating on their backs while trying to remain calm as the water burns their pores. The Dead Sea is pretty much the antithesis of sexy.

    This incredibly unsexy, uncomfortable atmosphere was perfect for when an overweight, overtanned, middle-aged Israeli man sauntered over to me in the waist-high water, grabbed a handful of salt from the bottom of the sea floor, and started rubbing it on my back.

    “It’s great for massages! For exfoliation!” he declared in his thick Middle Eastern accent as he dug sharp salt crystals into my back without asking my permission first. Maybe it’s because I was in a foreign country and was resolute to present Americans as polite and respectful world travelers, or maybe it’s because I couldn’t float away fast enough, but I let him continue the massage.

    After about 30 seconds, I felt something poking the small of my back underneath the oily water, and this was certainly no fish, as no living creature would be able to survive in so much salt. What else could be grazing my body other than this strange man’s boner, rising with each squeeze of my shoulders?

    I snapped around, muttered a thanks for the impromptu spa treatment, and splish-splashed with all my might back to shelter on land, away from the unwelcome hard-on.

    From the safety of my beach towel, I saw the man attempt the same perverted plan over and over: approach an unsuspecting American girl floating in the water, rub salt on her back for a few seconds until her eyes would widen, she’d freak out and doggie paddle away. He was nonstop in his quest to stick it to an unsuspecting foreigner.

    Then I saw the amateur Israeli masseuse walk out of the water... that is, hop out of the water.

    He had one leg. What I felt poking my back was a stump, the meager remnants of what should have been his left leg.

    I think I would have preferred a boner.
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