A Spa Spy Looks For More Than A “Rubdown” In Dennis Hensley’s Gay Short

"I'm nips to the wind. What are you gonna do about it, stud?"

Every Wednesday, we’ll be sharing short films that illuminate queer life. Welcome to #HumpdayShorts.

A secret shopper at a high-end spa gets in over his head in Dennis Hensley’s spy spoof Rubdown.

Andrew, a gay man, has accepted a job going undercover at a West Hollywood spa to see if a new masseur is honoring the company’s new modesty policy, which stipulates nipples must be covered at all times.

Vimeo/ Dennis Hensley

But when the masseur, Hunter, turns out to be a dreamboat, Andrew has a hard time keeping his mind on his work. Will Hunter break the rules and force Andrew to get him fired?

Hensley, a veteran gay journalist and author of the novel Misadventures in the (213), said Rubdown was inspired by a situation he experienced as a secret shopper himself. He planned to go into the spa as “James Bond in a towel and slippers,” but his inner monologue was “borderline hysterical and deafening.”


“On the surface, Rubdown’s a lighthearted spy comedy with some romance thrown in for good measure,” Hensley said about the short, which premiered at Frameline in 2010. “But to me, the movie is about a guy who needs something wonderful to happen in his life—because that’s how I was feeling at the time.”

Adam Salandra is a writer, performer and host in Los Angeles. When he's not covering the latest in pop culture, you can find him playing with his French Bulldog puppy or hovering over the table of food at any social gathering.