man stressedI’ve been a bit stressed lately, so in an effort to make me feel better (and to shut me up for an hour), my husband booked a massage for me.

Normally, I love getting a massage, but that’s because it’s usually in conjunction with a day at a full service spa where I get pampered and see how many times I can fart in the hot tub while other people are in it without them noticing.  (Seven.  The answer is seven.)

But this time he didn’t book me a massage at my favorite full service spa.  Instead, he booked both of us massages at a local chain massage parlor.

Now, I can’t fault him too much for this, as he purchased Groupons for 60 minute massages, and he wanted to use them.

I love a deal, and I love a massage, so it appeared to be the perfect combination.  The only thing that would have made it better is if I could eat Nutella during the massage…or a massage with Nutella…

We arrived at the local chain massage parlor approximately 15 minutes before our service.  For purposes of this blog, let’s call it Massage Luxe (because that’s its name).

We were sent to the “lounge” which was basically a room with 4 chairs that didn’t have arms.  So much for comfort and relaxation.  Clearly this location wasn’t interested in pampering me if their chairs required me to hold my arms up.

I wasn’t there for a workout, so where were the arms of the chair?

I didn’t have time to find out, as my masseuse arrived and told me it was time for my massage.  At first I thought he was kidding, as the guy looked as if he was entering the 10th grade and just figured out how to unscramble p0rn on cable.  This guy was going to give me a massage?   Seriously?

Normally, I don’t have a problem with male massage therapists.  Their hands are as good as any, and since I’m “husky,” sometimes I like a guy to get through all my extra “fluff” and get to business.  However, something about this guy just didn’t seem right to me and I immediately got a bad vibe from him.

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Then again, it could have been the mixture of Axe cologne and stale cigarettes that gave me that vibe.  I’m not sure what the guy’s name was, but I decided to call him Joel.

We headed to the room and I discovered it was a room usually reserved for couples massages.  He told me he had been in that room all day.  What he had been doing in there remained a mystery, but judging by the look in his eye and the readily available lotion and towels in the room, I didn’t want to ask.

He told me since there were two tables, I could choose which one I wanted…as if I was picking a lollipop flavor instead of one of two identical tables.  He acted like this choice was something he didn’t bestow upon just anyone.

Just as I decided which table I wanted, he told me to go ahead and take the 2nd table.  Really?  This guy wasn’t off to a good start.  And now I wanted a lollipop.

lotionBefore he left the room to allow me to disrobe, I noticed the holster around his waist.  It didn’t hold a gun, nor did it hold a knife or a pair of pliers.  It held a bottle of lotion.  Yes, lotion.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen many masseuses wear a similar holster filled with lotion, but for some reason, it looked out of place on Joel.

It was as if he was going to be challenged to a duel at any minute, and he would have to be quick with the hand and the bottle of lotion to win.

Wait…that sounds like a different kind of duel…

He left the room and I began getting ready for my massage.  Approximately 30 seconds after I left, he knocked on the door and asked if I was ready to begin.

This guy was an eager beaver and needed to chill out.  I hadn’t even removed both of my shoes yet.  My bra?  Yes.  Shoes?  No.

I told him I needed a little more time, which is something he was probably used to hearing from anyone of the female persuasion.  He didn’t seem to be much of a pleaser.

When I was ready, he entered the room and said we would begin the massage.  I took a few deep breaths and got ready for the relaxation to begin.  I focused on the soothing music in the background, but found myself sidetracked by Joel’s hacking and coughing.

He sounded like he was either choking on his own body spray, or he was in the end stages of emphysema.  My guess was it was the generic “Mountain Spring” spray.

Either option didn’t do much for my relaxation or my massage (or my body, which I was pretty sure was covered in a fine layer of germs from his cough).

I decided I couldn’t fault him for being sick, so I decided not to focus on his hacking.  He then began the massage…and it was horrible.  Honestly, horrible doesn’t do it justice.  He started with my right arm, which is a strange place to start.

What was even stranger was he didn’t bother to use any of that handy lotion he had in the holster.  Instead, he went at my right arm with bare, dry hands.  It was awful.

His hands were calloused and dry, and he pushed hard on my upper arm like he was trying to get the last of the toothpaste out of the tube, although judging by his breath, this wasn’t something he did frequently enough.

sad.jpgFor a moment, I felt like I was a kid again, and my brother got the upper hand and was giving me a painful Indian Burn that would result in a sore arm for me and a kick in the crotch for him.

Was I really paying for this?  Was my arm red from the “massage?”

Part of me wondered if this was Joel’s first day on the job, and his first time ever giving a massage before.  I could also tell he had quite the self confidence in his ability to massage, despite the fact I was muffling cries of pain.

I got an instant image of Monica from Friends when she tried to give a massage and she thought she was good but she was horrible at it.  Obviously Joel got his training from watching that episode.  Monica would have been proud.

As he continued down my arm, I realized he had only one level of pressure…and that level was “Ow”.  Most masseuses will ask if the pressure is okay, or what type of pressure you would like. I filled out my form indicating I liked light pressure, not the kind of pressure that would force the blood right out of your arms.

And couldn’t he feel me tensing up?  Obviously not.

My winces were of pain, not pleasure.  If he couldn’t pick up on that, perhaps my comments of “That hurts” or “Sweet Jesus!” could have clued him in.

However, Joel just kept on “massaging” my arm until I was pretty sure I wouldn’t be able to write for days.  Maybe that was his motivation…he didn’t want me to fill out a comment card.

I got to a point where I couldn’t take it anymore, as I was fearful I wouldn’t physically be able to use my limbs, so I asked him if he could give lighter pressure.  He said yes, and then continued to give the exact same “smash the nerves into your body” pressure he gave previously.

My only relief was when he randomly stopped assaulting me long enough to shuffle around the room to get things, although I’m not sure what things he needed, as it felt like he was just dry humping me with his hands for an hour.

meds.jpgA little dab of lotion would have gone a long way, but I figured he was saving that lotion for his break.

Several times he banged around the room and made me seriously question if he was blind.  That would explain why he wasn’t picking up on the tears of pain streaming down my face.

I didn’t think there were many things to trip over in the room, but judging by the noise as Joel shuffled around, the room was clearly filled with breakable items and symbols.  He sounded like the kid who tries to be quiet sneaking out of the house, but proceeds to knock over the china cabinet.

Only in this case, the china cabinet was a shelf filled with oils, and I was the one who wanted to sneak out.

After what felt like three hours of water boarding, he leaned over and gently whispered in my ear that we were out of time…as if that was a bad thing.  As if I didn’t just endure an hour of complete torture.

I was prepared to tell him my PIN to my bank account and the location of the extra cash I keep hidden in the house, just to make him stop the torture.  This kid shouldn’t be employed with Massage Luxe.

water bottleInstead, the government should use him on recognizance missions to get the enemy to talk.  I know I would have said anything to make that torture end.  And I did.

When he asked me how I felt, I said “Great,” which I guess was somewhat true, as I was just glad it was over.

After he left the room, I slowly put my clothes back on, careful not to touch my skin, as I was confident it was covered in bruises.  When I opened the door, there he was, holding a mini water bottle, accompanied by his pride at a job well done.

I walked through the building gingerly, looking like I was just in a fight instead of an hour long massage.  My body hurt, but I was thankful it was finally over.

When I got to the car I immediately got on the phone and called my regular masseuse at my favorite full service spa.  Matt asked me what I was doing and I told him I was making an emergency appointment.  I needed to get a massage to get rid of all the tension in my body…

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