I got a massage the other day.
I had to immediately order another one just to deal with the mental stress of ordering the first one.
That’s the thing about a massage. It’s supposed to be this therapeutically relaxing experience, but there are so many nuances of a massage, so many contemplations, that I think I’m more exhausted coming out than before I went in.
Just to forewarn you, this is going to be the first of a two-part series. When the Idiut has a full hour to think about things while being pummeled like a veal cutlet, well, there’s a lot of ground to cover. (And, yes, I did just refer to myself in the third person; I’m that distraught by this whole massage paradox.)
So the first issue arises when you call in to schedule the massage, and the scheduler asks, “Do you prefer a man or a woman?” I’m not sure why it sounds like an accusation.
Well, the reality is, a man would probably serve my needs better. It would take all the discomfort out of the rest of the decision-making. But, not to revert to being a 16-year-old, it just seems weird to actually request some dude to get me all lubed up and rub me down. By, you know, choice. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
(As an aside, when I first started down this whole massage path to deal with back issues, I kind of assumed that a man would be naturally stronger. What I have since discovered is that small Asian women are the strongest humans in the galaxy. You’d think it was those juiced-up Eastern Bloc body builders we used to see in the Olympics when the Olympics actually mattered; but, no, you give me a 103-pound middle-aged Korean, I’ll show you somebody who should be on the cover of an Ayn Rand book.)
So once you show up at the parlor (like it’s really a parlor) and established that a female is doing the massage, then you have to address the whole underwear thing. As in, do I wear them? Do I not? My view is, if you wear them, you risk looking like an amateur. If you don’t, you risk looking like a pervert.
I always have this sort of debate in my head where I picture all the masseuses having whatever masseuses drink after work, and one saying, “You should have seen this creepy guy, showed up today rocking no undies.”
When I do the math, I figure it’s always safer to be considered an amateur than a pervert.
So when you strip down to your underwear and settle in, you know almost immediately if you are going to have a “talker” or not. The question is, how do you handle it? I mean, from their perspective, I get it. You are in a dark room all day, like a troglodyte, listening to “wellness” music. Just once I’d like some tatted-up, hemped-out masseuse to start off the session rocking AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck.” I’d even wear shorts with suspenders – on the massage table – to witness that. But I doubt I’ll see that in my lifetime.
Then you have to figure out what to do when they tell you that you look like you’ve lost weight (total BS tip-sucking alert given that you’ve eaten three ham sandwiches and two bags of chips that morning). Or when they ask about your stretching routine (I’m 51; I don’t have one). Inevitably, I just act like I’m asleep. In fact, next time, I’m thinking about scheduling a three-hour massage and popping half an Ambien so that I’m actually totally out during the hard part. (Of course, then the masseuse could take a siesta and I’d never know. Again, decisions.)
Man, I haven’t even been touched and I’m already exhausted.
For what happens next, read May’s column.