Mak Erot (1907− 5 July 2008) was a lady from West Java, Indonesia. She was widely known for helping men to lengthen their penises using traditional herbs and traditional prayers. Her age is disputed; various sources have described her as between 101 to 130 years old. Her story has been made into a number of plays and movies, such as XL (Extra Large: Between Me, You and Mak Erot) starring Francine Roosenda. She died in July 2008 in Caringin village, west Java.
The Woman behind the Legend
Mak Erot is a really old woman, said to be from 90 up to130 by some reports. Originally from Sukabumi, West Java, she is the founder of a now famous business which focuses on bringing joy and satisfaction to a couple’s bedroom pursuits. More specifically, her traditional and possibly magical medicine and techniques claim to cure ED (Erectile Dysfunction) as well as other behind-closed-doors problems.
Men with problems of a delicate nature put their trust in Indonesia’s grand dame of sexual healing. Andrew Whitmarsh sizes up the famed Mak Erot treatment.
The robed, middle-aged man picked up one of the phallic shaped pieces of wood and caressed it from base to tip. Opening one of the coconuts hanging on the wall, he handed me a tiny vial of massage oil to smell. I sniffed it, then rubbed a bit on my wrist to test it out. Nice.
“A massage of the organ takes 10-15 minutes. A man must also massage himself every night until he has seen the desired effects,” he said. A bead of sweat ran down my cheek: the time had come.
Ori, a receptionist at the Mak Erot clinic located just off Jl. Jaksa, is the self-proclaimed great grandson of the old lady. He tells me that, as the eldest child, Mak Erot was the one to receive her mother’s secret recipe. Through word of mouth, news spread of the wonders of Mak Erot’s wonder drink and the stimulating effects of her oil massages. These, combined with specific foods and recitations from the Koran, make up the backbone of her business.
It could be someone you know
A middle-aged Indonesian man shuffles into the reception room. He sits on the couch and puffs nervously on a cigarette. Ori asks if he has an appointment and the man nods. He is escorted into a back room, emerging 30 minutes later and quickly disappearing out the door. This is the typical customer: male, middle aged, married, with a couple of kids and money to burn.
“People in the neighborhood are embarrassed to come here,” Ori says. “Mostly we get guys from the suburbs who can’t get it up any longer, or they’re too small, or don’t have enough endurance. We also take younger people, from 10 years and up.”
Ten year olds?!
“Yeah, these are kids so overweight their penises have actually retracted or are barely visible. This worries the parents so they get them treated here.”
What about women?
“We get them too. Mostly they’re middle aged and have had a lot of kids and want to tighten up ‘down there’. We also do breast enlargement.”
Choosing from the Menu
For a man, there are five options to choose from: increased diameter, length, strength, endurance or power, or to get preventative treatment against future ills. Each one of these treatments costs a whopping Rp 700,000. The cure could require up to 21 days to take effect, but for less serious issues, only two to three. Once you have it done though, you are cured for a lifetime, or so Mak Erot advocates say. Sessions last from 20 to 30 minutes depending on the treatment.
One Power Packet Please
Ori listed my options and I decided on endurance and power – something a man can never have too much of. He then led me to a room in the back to meet 35-year-old Haj Syaifullah, the Mak Erot practitioner and possible grandson of Mak Erot herself (if everyone is to be believed; there are many avowed Mak Erot grandsons and great-grandsons plying their trade across the archipelago).
Seated cross-legged on a rug, he beckoned me to join him. The room contained a mattress on the floor, a couple of coconut containers filled with massage oils, two dozen bottles filled with various, brightly colored liquids, a mantra-filled book, a small bottle of traditional medicine, a couple of small, round fruits and some cooked black rice in a bamboo tube.
Fingering prayer beads, Haj Syaifullah closed his eyes and began reciting mantras over the food and drink in front of him. “Take a small sip of the root and herb drink,” he commanded after opening his eyes and putting the beads down. It was an unsettling, bitter, tea-like taste.
“Now, eat a piece of the fruit along with the rice.”
I choked as the bitter, hard-skinned pancaroba eggplant stuck in my throat. I then chugged down the rest of the drink.
“For this to work,” he told me sternly, “you must not have sexual relations for three days, nor eat bananas or non-prescribed eggplant.” He handed me an Aqua bottle filled with an amber colored liquid. I was to drink one third of the bottle on each of the next three mornings as well as eat a pancaroba eggplant.
The windowless room had become sweltering and sweat ran freely as I waited in anticipation. In moments he would ask me to remove my underwear so the treatment could begin. I glanced at the two wooden phalluses that lay to the side. Did I really want to go through with this?