Not that I am a connoisseur of these sorts of things.
I’ve only ever had one before and due to my inability not to personalize absolutely everything, I spent most of it weeping tears of shame while leaking breast milk all over the massage table.
That was years ago, and my milk ducts have long since packed up and moved to a warmer, more fertile environment, leaving empty wind-socks where my womanhood once lived.
But just to clarify, it wasn’t the leaking that induced the shame.
It was the mood lighting. The aromatherapy candles. And the touch of a stranger, so light and ineffective (the touch, not the stranger) that it was impossible not to be distracted by the knowledge that if it weren’t for the money paid, she would never be touching me.
This naturally led me to feeling like a fat, unshaven, douche-bag, stinking of McDonalds, greasy hair and car air freshener, paying for a hand-job in the Trout Lake parking lot. Naturally.
Because if the aroma of fresh linens and calming essential oils and the soft hum of Ah Nee Mah’s River Of Creation and meditation Bowls doesn’t cry dirty-back-alley sex what does really?
I mean, I would be lying if I said it didn’t cross my mind a couple of times that the masseuse probably would rather not be touching me, but the thought wasn’t all-consuming this time. I also didn’t feel cheap. I felt like a snobby. entitled Westmount wife, being rubbed down by a resentful immigrant who was being paid minimum wage to degrade herself for my gratuitous self-indulgence.
I know, I know, I need help. We’ve been over this.
At any rate, there were parts of the massage that were amazing. Which is great. Not only because generally one wants amazing things to happen to their bodies, but also because Franky bought me a gift certificate for 5 sessions and knowing me, I’d go even if I hated it, just to be polite.
The vibe was a little more clinical, with the exception of the new age meditation soundtrack and the shower stall situated feet from the massage table.
The little plaque that reads
Tipping is good for your Karma
confused me. Cutesy and cheap in an otherwise professional feeling environment. This of course led me to inspect the grout between the tiles on the floor. Sloppy work. And the rather shotty workmanship where the paint on the wall meets the baseboards.
The experience in the room was relaxing, over-all but there were surprising elements as well (this massage was not for the weak) such as this repetitive yet unsolicited slamming into the top of my ass-shelf. I’m not sure what that’s supposed to do exactly. I imagine it aligns the spine or lengthens it or something like that.
She also, mid-caress, put sudden brutal force on what I can only assume are pressure points. It hurt like hell at first and my knee-jerk reaction was to slap the girl and scream,
“What the f@#$??!?”
but I honestly didn’t have time before the pain transformed into a muscle melting state of inebriation that caused lifting one’s hand, even just high enough to wipe the drool off your chin, to be too much exertion.
There were only a few minutes where it felt like she was a little directionless and bored but I tried to push my feelings of self-doubt aside.
She asked me a few times whether everything was to my liking which was nice but creepy at the same time ( I know, but I really can’t afford therapy right now. There’s just no room in my budget).
When the massage was over, she brought me a plastic cup of tap water and asked me again if I was satisfied.
She then followed me to the front foyer and sat at he desk where the receptionist had been sitting earlier.
“It’s a gift certificate,”
“I gave it to the receptionist when I arrived”
She looked at me accusationally.
“aren’t you forgetting something? Something for me?”
Her brow furrowed and she actually looked angry and impatiently pointed out,
“Oh, no. That was included in the initial payment. My boyfriend paid the tip in advance”
I reassured her, smiling sweetly.
“Just a moment.”
Holding a finger up in the air at me, as she dialed the telephone and called her boss or receptionist or I don’t know who, and started speaking quickly and sternly in a foreign language while glaring and shaking her head at me disapprovingly.
The euphoric sense of calm dissipated. My jello-legs found their force, and my shoulders started making their way back up towards my ears.
I wanted to walk out or snap the phone out her hand and explain how rude she was being but I have those other 4 sessions to consider and – how weird would it be if she had to massage me a week after we had a physical throw-down in the reception area, on the carpet, in front of the plant, just between the acupuncture articles and the photos of Gwyneth Paltrow’s cupping scars?
Too weird. I remained outwardly calm and asked if I might speak to the mystery person on the phone for a moment.
She rolled her eyes, grunted twice more and hung up the phone.
“Okay, bye. See you next week.”
I smiled back,
I left thinking that it’s best for people who serve you in intimate ways not to deal with the business side of things you know?
Like streetwalkers vs brothels… Let the Madam be the bitch. I’m just saying. That way the client can keep the dream alive.
Because now I know that I don’t like my masseuse as a person. What am I supposed to do with that? I mean how do I even… what do I… She has to touch me. Naked. But now there is this weird dynamic and also WHO DOES THAT???
Who asks you straight up for a tip, like you’re a cheap shithead for not thinking of it on your own, and then calls their boss IN FRONT OF YOU to verify/tell on you??????
I’ll go back next week but I’m going to have to stop personalizing things and seriously channel my inner entitled Westmount Wife because we paid good money for those sessions and I want my other massages dammit!