Back Story

As some of you might know, I’m not 100% on board with massages. I’ve already posted once about how they make me feel vulnerable and anxious. But last week my back and shoulders were practically cobblestone, and there was no denying the fact that I was in desperate need of a rubdown. So I looked up a cheap massage place near my job and booked 30 minutes (because my anxiety usually sets in around 40). 

First of all, let’s go through my massage salon selection process. Yelp was obviously my first point of reference. I narrowed it down to .3 miles and $/$$, doy. The place I found was at the top, with approximately 1,0000 reviews, with an average of 4 stars. People were like, “It’s not nice in there, but I can walk again!” I also checked out the parlor’s website, which was basically a scrolling page of coupons with various colors, typefaces, and sizes, so I knew it would be grade A. 

When I walked into the massage room, I couldn’t help but notice that the lighting cast the room in a startling shade of red that suggested danger. I ignored this and stripped. There was soothing (?) music playing, and no pesky chimes or scented candles, which I appreciated. 

“You ready?” asked my masseuse, her head peeking through the curtain, suggesting that I better be. 

I gave her clear directions. My only previous massage experiences were frou frou places that I’d found on Groupon, and they basically gave me a gentle skin caress. I didn’t want her messing around. She needed to destroy the knots. 

As I lay on my stomach, she began to knead my upper back. Everything was going well, until I noticed that she was making a weird sound with her mouth, like she was sucking one of those strawberry candies that comes in a strawberry wrapper that only old people like. It was a strange slurp, but I was pretty sure there was nothing in there. I had just spoken to her face, and there seemed to be no candy, no gum. But now the slurp was all I could hear. 

“Girl, what you got in there?” I wanted to shout. But I didn’t, because a) we were five minutes in, and it seemed an odd time to bring it up, b) what if there really was nothing in there, and I just ended up sounding like a complete jerk for criticizing what might be a rare mouth disorder, and c) as mentioned earlier, massages make me anxious. A person is never more vulnerable than when laying face down, naked, fully relaxed on a massage table. She could have snapped my neck and been done with me.

So I dealt with her crazy mouth sounds and let that be that. Really, she was having a field day on my back, so so I couldn’t complain. There was an interesting elbow-on-back scenario that recurred a number of times, which I enjoyed. And at one point she pulled out a ladder and started massaging me from a very confusing angle. I’m not entirely sure what was happening, but I’m pretty sure that if I’d stood up, we’d have found ourselves in an Ethel -and-Lucy situation. Nothing like a little massage parlor slapstick!

About halfway through, the lotions came out. I’m personally not a fan of strange lotions, as I not only hate the smell of everything, but I’m also allergic to everything. This stuff wasn’t too bad, though, and it really made for smooth sailing, so I went with it. 

We were nearing the end when the woman twisted my arm behind my back. Then she punched me behind my shoulder blade. Hard. Like four times. It was startling to say the least. She was punching me hard enough that I decided (around hit three) if she punched me three more times I’d should “please stop!” But, there were only four wops, and I let out a sigh of relief when they were over. I was fully prepared for the punches on the opposite side, and put on my game face. 

Next up came the hot towel, and let me tell you, there’s nothing like a scalding cloth on freshly punched skin. That’s a sensation I’ll never forget.

“All done,” she whispered in my ear. I jumped.

“Thank you,” I said, my eyes still closed, face stuck in the hole thingy. 

When I stepped outside of the room, my masseuse stood holding a Dixie cup of water for me. I drank eagerly. She slurpped on nothing. A nervous condition, no doubt. 

I walked away feeling looser, but wishing I’d gone for a full hour. I wanted more twists, and rubs, and even punches. I’ll know to book a longer session next time. And to pop in my earbuds before she even gets star, just in case I get Slurppy again.